In Which I Say God Save Me, Because I Just Discovered Steve McQueen

Yes, yes, obviously I’ve heard of Steve McQueen.

It’s just that I’ve always assumed that he was some sort of fashion designer, like Marc Jacobs or Michael Kors.

And then Cars came out, and someone told me Lightning McQueen was named for him, because he was cool and loved to race cars. Okay. Filed him under “someone similar to Paul Newman” and that was it.

I wasn’t a big fan of American TV shows and movies when I was growing up. My parents were crazy for Shaw Brothers action flicks; eventually we rented nothing but Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies from the neighborhood betamax rental place. I graduated to Mark Gor and got far too enamored with triad films.

The only American actor I knew in my younger years — apart from my beloved Adam West and Burt Ward — was Charlton Heston, aka that dude who made television unwatchable during Holy Week.

[Quick story: Burt Ward was my first crush. The first one I can actually remember, I mean. For at least a year, I was convinced that Ringo Starr’s You’re Sixteen was our theme song. Eww, I know. Sorry. I was eight.]

I think I was in fifth grade already when I started paying attention to American TV and movies. I watched whatever my older cousins watched, like Star Trek (the one with Patrick Stewart, not Shatner). It wasn’t until Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I was really into it, though.

[Let’s keep the “I’m an idiot” theme alive, shall we? Second quick story: for a very long time I was convinced that Data from Star Trek was called Liberace. Like that’s his name, instead of Data. I have no idea why I believed this. And I didn’t find out about my mistake until I was 28 fucking years old. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.]

So it’s not like I ever had a chance to like Westerns, you know?

No one in my family was interested in cowboys. Chow Yun Fat’s Mark Gor was the gunslinger of my young life; why would I even need to watch foreign films to get my bang bang fix?

More importantly, my first brush with a Western was dismal. Horrifying. Traumatic.

I’m talking about Back to the Future 3.

I loved the first movie. I loved it so so so much. These days, I still stop to watch whenever I chance upon it on TV.

But that third movie? Ugh. No. Never.

And so it wrecked cowboys for me.

Until I watched Justified.

I refuse to shut up about this show, because no one I know offline has seen it and I am pissed and I want to talk to people about Boyd Crowder and Raylan Givens and how they should run away and just live happily ever after together. Preferably still shooting people from time to time, of course. (I also want to talk about Tim Gutterson, but that’s a different matter altogether. Hormones are involved.)

That said, I suppose I should mention Firefly first. I didn’t even realize it then, because I’m that dense. I was so focused on the futuristic/space age portion that I flat out didn’t think of the fact that Mal is a space cowboy. (And I’m a space cadet, as it turns out.)

It says that right on the tin, and I ignored it.

That’s when I decided that I actually like Westerns. I like the sassy heroes. I like the smarmy villains. I like the murky gray area of morality they all tread. Best of all, I like how they just shoot everything and everyone in sight. (Also, my favorite triad movie forever, Exiled, is pretty much a classic Western set in Macau.)

So I decided that it was time to rectify my mistakes. It was time for re-education.

I went on Netflix and watched The Magnificent Seven.

And that’s how it happened.

In the first few scenes of the movie I was like, okay, that’s the King and I guy. And then Steve McQueen comes onscreen and acts all sassy and cool and… well… maybe this gif does the explaining better:

Excited-Louise-Bobs-Burgers

[Note: I’ve seen Seven Samurai, but it’s not my favorite Kurosawa film. I like Ran best.]

I am so smitten with Steve McQueen that it’s threatening to derail my re-education. I was supposed to watch The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly next, but now I just want to look up all of his movies and watch him out-cool everyone.

My question now is rather odd: am I allowed to fangirl about a dead person? Is that acceptable? Is it not weird to be smitten with someone who is no longer alive?

I’m dead serious about this, guys.

(Heh, dead.)

(Sorry.)

In Which I Confess to Shipping Bros

First of all: I don’t mean it that way.

Nothing against slash — if that’s how you roll, well that’s how you roll. Not my place to judge.

But that’s not the ship I’m referring to.

I like friendship fanfics.

I know, there are two controversial words in that four-word sentence.

(A) Friendship

As far as fanfic writers are concerned, friendship really is super vanilla. It’s boring. Right? I mean, I understand. If I had to write fanfic (and I have — Slam Dunk fanfic, if you need to know) I would want to write something a little racier or at least interesting. Friendship seems a little too ordinary when you can write about two men getting pregnant together (not that I want to, okay — my Slam Dunk fanfic involved zero male pregnancies, just to be clear).

(B) Fanfic

Ah, yes. Fanfiction. It’s not exactly “respectable”, but sometimes a girl’s gotta read what a girl’s gotta read. (Totally untrue, but sometimes reading fanfic is fun.) I try to avoid really out-of-character fics, or the ones that have atrocious grammar. I try not to read super smutty ones unless I want to induce heavy-duty shower scrubbing afterwards. But yeah, guilty as hell on reading fanfics.

Okay, then.

Obviously I like reading fanfics of my non-canon ships, like Draco and Hermione from the Harry Potter books/series. This is the only way I get to read the characters I like in romantic situations, so hell yes I am so reading these fanfics.  Plus, some writers are seriously freaking awesome that reading their work is enjoyable.

(Weeding through the bad ones can be a chore, though. Blurgh.)

But you know what my favorite HP universe fanfic is? This one, about Harry and Draco getting fucking sloshed at a Muggle bar. Yeah, it’s got a bit of Dramione, but that’s not the point.

The point is that the fuckers had such a fun time getting sloshed and disrupting Hermione’s peaceful life, and it’s just so fun. I like it a lot, obviously.

Admittedly, I like stories of drunken shenanigans so there’s that immediate appeal, but also I think Draco and Harry would be super awesome pals. Like, I just know they would like each other if they weren’t literally trying to murder one another. (That curb stomp bit in Deathly Hallows, though. Woof.)

I have no proof of them being super awesome buddies, but I stand by this friendship ship.

I ship Johnlock, too, but again — not that way.

I like how John and Sherlock are friends, and how Sherlock keeps pissing John off and how John has very little control and may one day just throw Sherlock out of the apartment they share.

I don’t want them to fuck.

There.

I just want them to be super bros, like they’re happy and chilling and having tea and occasionally attempting to murder one another. (Admit it: if you lived with Sherlock you’d think about murdering him maybe once per day.)

And then now of course there’s my favorite BrOTP: Rick and Daryl from the Walking Dead.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.23.35 AM

I have to admit I like the idea of Beth and Daryl (never bought the Carol thing — dude barely looks at her, come on) because it seems like something that could bcool even if they never went the Glenn and Maggie route. Just seeing them as really good friends who might be slightly more than friends is awesome enough for me.

But Rick and Daryl? Damn. Bros are bros.

When Rick went “you’re my brother”, I was like fucking yeah.

It’s just nice, I think, to have great friendships onscreen. Admirable ones, where they enjoy hitting one another occasionally but never lose sight of the bromance. It’s endearing.

Maybe it says a bit more about me than I’d like to acknowledge, but I find strong friendships a lot more interesting than romantic pairings. It’s a lot less angst, too, because mostly you have these bros just doing whatever shit they’re into and they love each other but they kind of won’t go into detail and it’s okay. It’s cool.

Is this a John Woo thing? I grew up watching Woo’s homoerotic Chow Yun Fat movies (Hard Boiled is my favorite, especially with the hospital blowup finale) and I think I always liked how these friendships were so much less complicated than romantic relationships.

I mean, they are friends, they sometimes bash each other’s faces in, but then they’re friends again after. That’s all I want in life. I want to have a friend I love so much that we can try to strangle each other but still stay friends.

Is that too much to ask?

(Corollary: did I also admit to wanting to hit my friends?)

The Man They Call Jayne

Talking about Firefly again, sorry not sorry.

I can't help it. I'm really having a hard time doing anything useful these days, since I'm rewatching both the series and Serenity. I cannot shut up about it. Unfortunate, but true.

I've forced friends to watch it, too, and I'm sort of on tenterhooks wondering if they'll like it.

Anyway, I was rewatching the Jaynestown episode and I have to mention this: I really didn't like Jayne at first. I suppose it was the pilot. I was really unsure where he stood and I had this feeling that he was going to betray Mal at some point, and that's something that freaks me out about characters, you know? I've personally been betrayed by a friend (granted she doesn't own a Vera, and it's unlikely she'll be able to kill me with her bare hands) and that's not something I'm okay with ever.

Plus he was mean to River, which is just awful. The girl's not right in the head. (I'm sort of okay with people being mean to Simon. It seems par for the course, and his face just seems to be begging for punches. I like Simon, I just think he's the sort of guy who literally needs to be punched every few episodes. It's the pretty face, I take it.)

But we get to Jaynestown and I just get turned around. It isn't until Ariel that I really figured I loved Jayne, but that's only because of the residual trust issues. From Jaynestown onwards I figure there's something more to him and that it's not so simple, this guy.

I just think he's the sort of guy who grows on you eventually, like you're not sure where he stands at first but then he shows himself to be of sterner stuff and that's that. The repeated mention of the teachings of Xiang Yu and the freaking volcano, well, that's something Jayne passes with flying colours. He knows shame – certainly something I didn't think he was capable of at first. But when he figures he doesn't want people knowing of his betrayal, well, that's something worth noting.

He's still a jackass, but as long as I know whose side he's really on, I figure I've got enough space in my heart to love this scamp.

Which brings me to this problem: I don't know how to rank the crew. I love them all, and I'm not sure there's a least favourite one in my list now. I guess Book has to be the least, since I don't really think about him that much, but he's the Samuel L. Jackson of preachers, so I can't not love him. Maybe Inara?

I think I only rewatch Joss Whedon shows, but Firefly is the first one to go through repeated and consecutive viewing. I finished it last week and started rewatching again. How obsessed is that?

Since I don't know how to end this, I might as well just quote the most important lines in the Jaynestown episode:

He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor

Stood up to the Man and he gave him what for

Our love for him now ain't hard to explain

The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne!

 

You Can’t Take the Sky From Me

Obviously, I just finished Firefly and its big damn movie, Serenity.

As always, I'm late to the party. How absolutely sad is that? I was in college then, and downloading television shows just wasn't quite an option when you had a dial-up connection. So, if shows didn't appear here (or at least if I didn't know they did) then that was that.

By the time I had the means I sort of got interested in other things and put this one on the bottom of the list. A terrible decision, I know.

I know.

Because Firefly is pretty fucking flawless. I mean, this isn't nice, but lately I've been having trouble with Doctor Who and its crazy story arcs and I just want a science fiction show that has solid story-telling and characters I can care about.

This show more than delivers. It blows everything else out of the water and I'm not just saying that because I've fallen in love with the crew. Each episode is undeniably well-written and the characters are believable and there's a very engaging universe to explore.

Knowing Joss, I full well accept that the show could have deteriorated eventually (remember Connor? I don't, because PTSD) but to have it taken away from us after 14 episodes? To hell with it. How awful is that? We could have gotten at least five awesome seasons, a horrible sixth, then a redemptive seventh.

I don't even want to talk about Whedon's victims anymore. I'm just so sick of him making me love his characters then killing them off. Man is a sadist.

Anyway, yes I've seen Firefly and I've seen Serenity and though I'm years too late I suppose it still means something when I say the show broke my heart. It's one of Whedon's happier endings, yes, but I'm heartbroken over the fact that we'll never have more episodes of what has to be one of the best shows ever to grace television.

At the moment I cheer myself up with the idea that Mal and crew are still out there taking crap jobs, kicking asses, and just going wherever they want to go. Sky's the limit.

PS: How cute is Kaylee and Simon? 🙂