Predatory Romance in Harrison Ford Movies

Jonathan McIntosh dissects iconic Harrison Ford "romance" scenes, and reveals how troubling they are. How Han forces himself on Leia in Empire Strikes back was pointed out to me just a few years ago, and I've been coming to terms and reconciling with how these scenes have impacted my thoughts and character since. I also know many people who hold Ford's characters and swagger in near-mythological regard. Hopefully McIntosh's work helps others reconsider how they view and think about movies.

Board Game Reviews by Girls' Game Shelf

I recently discovered Girls' Game Shelf from a Shut Up and Sit Down news post. I love their mix of light tutorial, gameplay, and review, and how the videos are only 10-15 minutes. I found myself nodding along with every ounce of doting and critique on their Codenames video, and now I can't wait to point to them when asked "where do you find all these games?".

Empathy Ain't Easy - Spoiler Warning vs Trigger Warning

Note: I am not a person with a trigger, so my writing is from an outsider's perspective.

Spoiler warnings are a strange phenomenon. Once upon a time, there was a play called Romeo and Juliet where-in the titular characters' deaths were revealed in the opening lines. Now, we have TV shows that if someone online simply says "character x, though," it's treated like the show has been ruined. Generally speaking, spoilers are plot points revealed out of context, such as a character dying or an unexpected event. People like the surprise and second guessing that can come from big plot twists, understandably. This has led to discussions of recent media to include spoiler warnings to let people know to stop reading or listening if they want to keep the surprise. The downside has been a lot of outcry whenever spoiler warnings aren't included or somehow not sufficient.

Trigger warnings are also strange, but only in that they're usually missing. Because unlike spoiler warnings, when a person triggered has to re-experience a traumatic point in their life. Unlike just learning new info from a spoiler, they are put into a painful and possibly dangerous space. Spoiler warnings are strange because they might maybe somehow lessen or change one's enjoyment of media. They're strange because people are frustrated when they're missing. They're strange because when trigger warnings are present, people also get frustrated and cry "politically correct garbage." How is it that people are wont for spoiler warnings and begrudging of trigger warnings?

We need trigger warnings. If you have ever had something spoiled for you and felt frustrated, do your best to imagine what it must feel like to be triggered. It's not the same, not at all, but it's a path to understanding a stranger's plight. Try before you begrudge the alleged "political correctness." Because that's empathy, and empathy ain't easy.

Faves of '15


Mad Max: Fury Road

Wow. A thrill ride in every sense. Great action, great characters, great word building, great cinematography and direction. Not a shot wasted. Simply great. Movie of the year.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This movie brings Star Wars out of the 80s, while giving out generous high-fives and slaps to the face of the best and worst of the fandom. A perfect movie? No, there's borderline excessive fan-service and that ending scene could've been like an hour shorter. A perfect Star Wars movie? Yes, inarguably so. It's every bit the myth, updated to a modern pace. I'm champing at the bit for the next film in this new trilogy. 

Seriously, though, how many shots of staring at each other do we need? Only to add a helicopter shot of them still just standing there? So glad JJ isn't directing any more, lest he let his personal flairs out more.


You need to watch this movie. All I am willing to say is that the entire movie is filmed in one continuous shot. Not like last-year's Birdman, but one take and realtime. It's like you're spending the movie's duration right there with the characters, and what it accomplishes is extraordinary. Don't watch a trailer or read anything else about Victoria. This is a movie that you need to fully experience.

Magic Mike XXL

Magic Mike XXL is a perfect road trip movie. The more I think about it, the more I fall in love. I'm not saying it has the most innovative, intricately woven, or even solid plot structure; the plot is nothing more than a striptease itself. I'm saying this movie sets out to have fun, poke fun, be fun, without putting anyone down. Too often "comedies" these days are all "It's funny because she's fat! It's funny because he's handicapped! It's funny because we're racist-homophobic-mysoginistically-judgmental prats™!" Magic Mike XXL says "let's just have fun with it." Every characterization and interaction is highly refreshing.

XXL posits that women can consider male strippers as both object and person, while I doubt masculine culture even bothers to consider female strippers. I can't deny that Magic Mike XXL is a simple road-trip comedy with it's fair share of problems, but it's this movie's exuberance of fun and giving that make it worth seeing.


Rey - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Stop holding my hand!

She's badass, capable, determined, has little-to-no concept of Earthly gender norms, adorably as excited and fangirl-ish as the rest of us, and a total mystery. I can't wait to see her (and Finn and Poe and BB-8!) again. Possibly the best part of The Force Awakens was getting to meet new characters and knowing that there's more to their story that we haven't yet seen.

Also, where are the Rey toys? She's the star of the movie and there's NOTHING. Just Kylo Renn this and BB-8 that. Disney knows girls can be cool and marketable even if they aren't wearing ball gowns, right? Rey's stuck on the bench with Black Widow for whatever odd Dumbsney reason.

We'll see each other again. I believe that.

Imperator Furiosa - Fury Road, AVA - Ex Machina

Both Furiosa and Ava are trapped in male fantasy worlds, and use the men's expectations to find their freedoms. Charlize Theron killed it as Furiosa, carrying all of the emotional weight of the movie. As for Ava, it took a while for the ending to click for me, because I was stuck in the dudes' perspective as they "tested" her AI. Turns out, she was testing their empathy, and they failed.

Rick Ford - Spy, LeBron James - Trainwreck

Jason Statham and Lebron James parody themselves and are the highlights of these movies. That is all.

Sadness - Inside out

First there's Joy, then there's Sadness. We think we see our heroine and her foil, only to slowly realize that while Joy claims to understand that the other emotions have a purpose. Through Sadness, Inside Out demonstrates that we shouldn't look for happiness from itself, but rather from empathy and emotional maturity.



A hip-hop musical telling a story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. I put off listening to the soundtrack, mostly out of ignorance. Don't make the same mistake. Listen ASAP.

Bushes of Love


Song of the year. Need I say more?


Enforced Doubt

Enforced Doubt

Ever wish you could rewind time and change what you said? That you could go back and maybe make a better choice? Videogames have always let you restart the checkpoint and try again, even when you had to reboot the console and start completely over. And yet, Life is Strange is the first time I've had that idea, redoing everything, put front and center without a failure mechanic alongside. At any point, I hit a button and I go back, even when I succeeded.