Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Blood of Heroes

How had I never watched this movie?

Classic late-80s apocalypse movie with strange blood sports that make no sense and people who make a living making armor out of spare tires in a desert wasteland while these pale vampire people rule the abandoned underground cities and watch the more formalized version of the blood sport for fun. It even has Rutger Hauer. It was apparently written by the same guy who wrote Blade Runner, which is how I found it. Comb through IMDB profiles and you can find some interesting stuff.

The surprising part about this movie was that the main character - our plucky hero who wants to join the blood sport team heading through his little town so he can make it to the big leagues in the city - is actually a she, played by Joan Chen of Twin Peaks fame. And holy crap - unlike a lot of other crappy post-apocalypse movies, she actually gets to kick ass! And have meaningless sex! And kick some more ass!

The brutal band of blood sport folks (who go by the ridiculous name "juggers" and run around with chains and dog skulls and yeah, but Mad Max made no sense either handwave handwave) also includes a tough female equivalent of a line backer whose whole face is a mass of scars and a big African American guy with tribal tattoos.

Did I mention that Chen's character breaks people's legs and bites a guy's ear off? Brutal blood sport, right? And she doesn't even have to die at the end! Oh frabjuous day!

J. and I enjoyed this little post-apocalypse romp for its sheer ridiculousness, lame dialogue, silly storyline, and crazy blood sports, but it really stood out to me not because of its B-movieness (I'll watch just about any 80s post-apocalypse show and get some kind of enjoyment out of its craziness), but because it did that thing that is, sadly, really different - I got big brutal heroines and a diverse cast of characters.

I just wish they'd been better actors with a budget and a non-ridiculous script. There's a lot of window dressing here that makes no sense (and let's not even get into the ridiculous of the dog skull thing. Or the chain wielding. Or the... yeah, anyway).

I'm telling you, the Nyx books would be awesome on film.

For a more coherent summary of this bad movie, which helped explain some of the absent, meandering plot to ME, as well, see here (it is worth mentioning - which the reviewer doesn't - that our heroine has sex with two people on the team, not just the team leader, and eyes up some male prostitutes, and she pays no whore price for doing so. Her sexuality feels totally on par with the men's [read: a real person], which I appreciated).

I can be satisfied....

...when just *one* reader "gets" a story.

I'm not sure this makes me a very marketable writer.

I think we are far too in love with being mass-loved. I don't write the sorts of stories that get me mass love. I write about machete-wielding matriarchs.

It does make me wonder, tho, what all of us are writing for? The day job writing pays the bills. The night job writing... more and more these days, I wonder what it's for. It used to be a great way to funnel a lot of anger; a great way to wake people up. We get so complacent in our soft, cozy lives. I've spent the last year oh-so-cozy in mine after nearly two years of terror involving crazy people (one of them being me), chronic illness, job loss, homelessness, grunt work, and soaring medical costs. I live knowing full well that Bad Things can and will happen. You roll the dice. I know what I'm in for. And it makes the soft, quiet, cozy time that much more precious.

I already know what's in the closet. So it does make it hard to visit the horrorshow on purpose at the keyboard every night, when you know it's really out there somewhere - waiting.

Thoughts on Spock/Uhura

One of the quibbles I had about the new Star Trek was the "oh man, the one female character is having sex with her commanding officer" thing. It sucked, cause Uhura was in all other ways such a great update of the character. But see, I was reading this from the perspective of a white chick.

Here's a much more interesting take, which turns Spock/Uhura from EpicFail to EpicWin:

Uhura being single in TOS was not empowering.

She was single because the male leads were all white and as a black woman she was less of a person than them, she was less of a person than a white woman, and the fact that this serendipitously ended up meaning that she didn't have to spend all of her time mooning pathetically after dismissive men does not make that any more acceptable.

She got to sit in the back and rarely do anything and have her sexuality ignored not because they respected her so much as a colleague and a person, but because she was not a full, real human being and when you're not a full, real human being the idea that actual people would ever desire you or romance you or love you is ridiculous. You are invisible.

I love it when somebody points something out that makes me read an entire situation totally differently.