Movies

The Oscars And The Politicization Of Everything

Critics and film journalists are expecting “La La Land” to walk away with Best Picture and Best Director tomorrow night at the Academy Awards.

Since the film premiered in Venice last fall, the film has been praised left and right for it’s charm, visual extravagance, passionate music, emotional impact, and joyous energy in an anxiety-ridden post-Trump America.

Now, on the eve of the Oscars, the film has somehow been bastardized into some sort of a win for Trump’s America.

There’s always a backlash. 

And it makes no sense.

“Moonlight”, a great film, is considered the movie that should win by many because of its powerful resonance in today’s times.

Although it’s a great thing for art to be analyzed, I feel the politicizing and tearing apart of nearly everything in our culture is getting out of hand.  

If you didn’t like “La La Land”, no problem.

To each his or her own.

Taste is subjective.

However, the idea that La La Land is racist or sexist is totally absurd and stupid.

As someone who is to the left politically, I think this is indicative of the shallow, hyper-political correctness that has permeated American culture.

It’s gone too far.

The series of clickbait articles about whether or not it is racist that Ryan Gosling’s character, as a white male, wants to save jazz is unbelievably stupid.

Yes, jazz originated as a black art form in New Orleans, where I’m from, but white people like jazz, too.

Shocking, right?

And many of the greatest jazz musicians of all time were white, and made major contributions to this type of music.

Photo Credit: PROThe Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker, Herbie Mann, Gerry Mulligan, just to name a few.

Gosling’s character is not a “white savior”.

He just has such an appreciation for traditional jazz, he wants to open up a club that honors it. 

I won’t even engage the articles that claim Gosling “mansplains” too much or that Emma Stone’s character isn’t enough of a feminist, because it’s just not worth it. 

Read More: Meet Daniela Núñez, The 23 Year Old Mexican Who Wants To Change The Way We Bury People

This year has seen an improvement in regards to diversity in film.

Films nominated for Oscars this year include “Moonlight”, “Fences”, “Hidden Figures”, “Loving”.

All of these films deal somehow with race in America.

Other documentaries nominated are “O.J. Made in America”, “13th”, and “I am Not Your Negro”.

These docs also deal with race issues in America, and one of them will win best documentary on Oscar night.

So what if “La La Land” has two white leads?

So what?

As Jerry Seinfeld puts it when speaking out against political-correctness in comedy: “People think it’s the census or something…this has gotta represent the actual pie chart of America?”

The same can be applied to film.

Does every race and ethnicity need to be present in every film?

Does every ethnic box need to be checked off when telling a story? 

Liberals needs to stop crying wolf.

Not everything is racist.

Not everything is sexist.

Use discernment.

Political correctness is diluting the impact of the equality movement that currently needs to be more powerful and dignified than ever. 

This is not to say that there is not a problem of diversity in Hollywood.

There is a well documented lack of minority directors and behind the scene staffers and that is a real systemic problem.

But while that is a problem, does that mean that we can’t enjoy anything until there is total parity?

“Moonlight” is a very good film, but should not be considered the better film simply because it is about identity politics.

This is “ideology trumping aesthetics”, as writer Bret Easton Ellis would call it.

This is the message of a movie, or what it portrays socio-politically, being held in higher regard than the actual craft of the filmmaking.

Just because a film has a good message or has political resonance doesn’t mean it’s a good film.

Luckily, “Moonlight” is also excellent, but that’s what it should be judged on.

The craft.

Giving the Best Picture Oscar to “Moonlight” to spite Trumpism shouldn’t be the goal here.

If it does win, that’s great, and I’d be happy.

But the message that the win would send to America is a byproduct, not the primary reason it should be voted for. 

This Oscars will be political.

Speech after speech will reference the Trump Presidency.

I reject Trump, didn’t vote for him, and agree with most liberal values.

But I also understand the disdain felt by working class Americans towards the liberal elite telling them what they should or shouldn’t believe.

There are issues and concerns related to jobs and trade that don’t effect many of those in Hollywood.

The fact of the matter is, none of the anti-Trump speeches given at the Oscars will have any effect.

None of it will make waves.

It is preaching to the choir.

Voters across the country make their political decisions based on the issues and concerns happening in their immediate environment.

What a celebrity says has no effect.

It is up to the left and political leaders to address those concerns, and change to course of this country.

Stop putting it on the movies.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Why Leonardo DiCaprio’s Golden Globes Speech Will Go Down In History

The 73rd Annual Golden Globes Awards Ceremony was a big night in Hollywood.

“A” list celebrities were out in force anxious to see who the winners and losers would be in what is often thought as the Oscar’s most reliable prognosticator.

Millions tuned in to see the likes of Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer and Matt Damon glammed up, decked out and walking the red carpet smiling for the cameras.

But what made the night bigger than awards, terrible jokes and fashion faux pas’ was that in his acceptance speech for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, for his role in The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio did something not done since 1973.

When DiCaprio accepted his award, he paid tribute and respect to the Indigenous people around the world and brought attention to their issues:

I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the Indigenous communities around the world,” DiCaprio said. “It is time that we recognized your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”

WATCH: Leonardo DiCaprio Golden Globes speech

For those unaware, First Nations is a term used to reference the people in Canada once termed Indians. In the United States, the term is Native American.

What made DiCaprio’s speech special was that this was the first time since 1973 an important Hollywood actor during a major award ceremony acknowledged the serious issues that Native Americans and First Nation people are facing.

The first one to do it was Marlon Brando- sort of.

In 1973, Brando won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather. Instead of accepting the award, Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American actress and activist, in his stead to stage a protest and refuse the award because of the treatment of American Indians by the film and television industries during the protests at Wounded Knee, SD.

Watch: Sacheen Littlefeather refuses to accept Marlon Brando’s 1973 Oscar for Best Actor. 

In refusing the award, Brando brought much needed attention to the struggles of Native Americans who were suffering in an era of corrupt government, severe racism, extreme poverty and crime rates resulting in the lowest life expectancy rates in the nation.

Fast-forward forty-three years, DiCaprio picked up where Brando left off.

In sharing his award with First Nations and Indigenous communities, DiCaprio addressed two very important issues: 1) Recognizing the importance of Indigenous history (a topic I have written on before) and 2) Protecting indigenous lands from attack by corporations.

There are few things more important to First Nations and Native Americans alike than their history and land.

Paramount to mankind’s physical survival is his connection to the Earth.

Paramount to mankind’s physical survival is his connection to the Earth. Tribes on both sides of the border teach that the Earth is our sacred mother and that mankind, as her children have a duty to protect her.

With respect to cultural survival, Tribal nations teach their traditions and customs orally from grandparent to grandchild through songs and stories. Cultural survival is only possible when accurate history is taught and protected.

DiCaprio’s speech – like Brando’s protest – comes at an appropriate time where Indigenous culture and land are under attack.

Native cultural survival has been threatened due to years of cultural extermination tactics designed to solve the “Indian Problem” such as the Indian Boarding School systems in both the United States, and Canada. The effects of these efforts to assimilate the “savage” and are still felt across Native communities today.

Since 1492, Native North American lands have always been under threat from government and corporate invaders.

Legislation such as the Dawes Allotment Act, an appalling piece of U.S. legislation, removed land from Native American tribes and unjustly gave ownership to non-natives.

More recently Indigenous lands are threatened by the Keystone pipeline project, fracking in the Dakotas, crude oil extraction of the Alberta oil sands and the suspiciously-passed Oak Flat copper mining legislation in Arizona to name a few.

And while it was cool to hear DiCaprio – the man who has played Howard Hughes, J. Edgar Hoover, Jack from Titanic and even the Wolf of Wall Street give a shout out to a portion of the population that is both misrepresented and underrepresented in film and pop culture – DiCaprio’s words were more than just a “Hi Mom!” moment on television.

DiCaprio’s speech signifies that some very important people in the world are aware of the struggles of Indigenous people. DiCaprio inspired many to keep fighting a fight that if won will yield benefits for Natives and non-Natives alike.

It’s not easy to do what DiCaprio did. Taking a political stand has the potential to ruin Hollywood careers. Littlefeather was an aspiring actress whose career never really got off the ground due in part to her speech at the 1973 Oscars.

But unlike Littlefeather and Brando, the reception to DiCaprio’s words seemed more positive, and even though the orchestra tried to play DiCaprio off the stage he kept speaking until we heard what he had to say.

In a world that has literally tried to exterminate Native Americans and First Nations alike, DiCaprio’s words injected a shot of hope, energy and pride to a people trying to stay true to their values.

All the best to you this award season Mr. DiCaprio, thank you for what you have said and may you finally win the Oscar you deserve.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Fights Fights and Fights/Youtube (Screengrab)

 

Why Star Wars Proves There Is Success In Diversity In The Movie Industry

By Kelsey D’Auben

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has become one of the most successful films in modern movie history.

It had the most successful opening weekend in history, grossing over $200 million in box office sales worldwide. This past week the highly anticipated Star Wars sequel broke yet another box office record, passing both Jurassic World and Titanic to become the second most grossing film of all time. And with this after only 19 days of being in theaters, Star Wars is also expected to pass James Cameron’s Avatar and claim the number one spot shortly.

A new trilogy means one sure thing in the Star Wars world- a new trio set to save the galaxy from the dark side.

First came Luke, Leia, and Han Solo in episodes IIV, X, and XI, then Obi Wan, Anakin, and Padame in episodes I, II, and III.

In The Force Awakens we are introduced to the new team- Rey, Finn, and Poe.

This new group of leading characters is much different than the ones before them. They are made up of a Black man, a Hispanic man, and a woman. This is a significantly more diverse cast than the saga’s previous films that had casts that were nearly all white.

Not to say that this film doesn’t have a largely white cast as well. Rey, the female lead of the film, is white and so are Leia and Han Solo, previous lead characters brought back from the original saga.

Star Wars has always been sure to include strong, kick ass, fighter women in their films.

But this time the role wasn’t of the girl who fell for the Jedi, or the princess who needed saving.

Rey isn’t either of those tropes. Rey is (spoiler alert) the young Jedi discovering her powers – a role traditionally only given to the white male characters.

This kind of representation is a crucial aspect of film and television that often is ignored, especially in big budget blockbuster movies. Nearly every other film on the most-grossing films list alongside Star Wars have all-white, mostly male casts.

Titanic, Jurassic World, and Avengers to name a few. For films that are meant to make money and sell a lot of tickets, they seem to only be marketing towards a select few.

That is one reason why Star Wars is gaining more success over it’s competitors. A wider and more diverse cast is more attractive to wider and more diverse audiences.

More people will be willing to go to the movies and spend $15 dollars on a ticket because they see there is a character there for them, someone they can watch and relate to.

This representation is even more important to younger audiences. Seeing a hero who looks like you, up on the big screen, can mean the world to a child. It gives them someone they can look up to.

Star Wars is the first in what will hopefully become a new wave of representation in television and film, opening doors for new actors and audiences of all genders and colors and creating an industry where everyone is represented and welcome.

Cover Photo Credit: DAVID HOLT/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s The 10 Best Christmas Movies From The Past 30 Years

By Tyler Wilson

Christmas is one of the best times of the year to snuggle up and watch a good movie. Here’s a list of the 10 best Christmas movies of the past 30 years (or so).

  1. A Christmas Story’ (1983)

This family classic will bring joy and laughter to everyone in your house, regardless of age. It is a movie about a young boy by the name of “Ralphie” who “convinces his parents, his teacher and santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940’s.

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ (1989)

Also a classic, National Lampoon’s family is anything from ordinary. This comedy is full of jokes, gags and tons of humor. The main character “Clark” is set on an adventure preparing his house for his arrival of his large family.

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (2000)

Just because this movie was made by Disney doesn’t mean those over the age of 8 can’t enjoy it! The Grinch (played by Jim Carrey) is sure to make anyone chuckle, it is about a green “Grinch” who is very determined to steal christmas from a small village. Although his fate gets changed along the way.

  1. Santa Clause 3’ (2006)

Although this is the 3rd installment of the series, this is the one that truly gave everyone the warm feeling of Christmas. When Jack Frost attempts to steal Christmas from Santa Claus (played by Tim Allen) he must fight through time in order to save Christmas for kids all over the world.

  1. Elf (2003)

When an unorthodox Elf (played by Will Ferrell) is sent to New York to find out who he really is, he’s sent on an adventure through modern technology. This is a must-watch, the humor and jokes in this movie are promised to make the whole family laugh.

  1. Home Alone’ (1990)

When 8 year old Kevin (played by  Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left at home while his parents go on vacation, he protects his house while two men attempt to break in. This is a very funny and great movie to watch with the family and has a nice “kid-like” point of view on things.

  1. The Polar Express’ (2004)

When a young boy is awakened by the sounds of a train late at night, he is greeted by a very exciting adventure to the North Pole. This is a thrilling family movie and will be guaranteed to make you feel like a part of the ride!

  1. Gremlins’ (1984)

This thriller is about the darker side of christmas. When a man gets an interesting pet called a “Mogwai” he’s given very strict rules. When these rules are broken he is sent on a very hair raising adventure. This movie would be better without the kids but it is still a very good classic and is a must see.

  1. A Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

When Jack Skellington (The king of Halloweentown) gets bored with his repeating lifestyle, he demands a change. When he accidentally stumbles into Christmas Town, he is greeted with an entirely new lifestyle. When he gets back he attempts to bring the idea to Halloweentown. Its is a great family movie and will make everyone feel good.

  1. Scrooged’ (1988)

When Frank Cross (played by Bill Murray) resents the idea of Christmas, he is greeted by the ghosts of Christmas past to get him in the “Christmas Spirit.” It will make everyone in your family get in the Christmas mood and will be sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Cover Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

WATCH: The First Trailer For Ellen DeGeneres Centric “Finding Dory” Movie Is Out And Its Making Us Feel 10 Again

Today, Pixar released the first trailer for the highly anticipated sequel to Finding NemoFinding Dory.

The Ellen DeGeneres fish centric flick is sure to remind people of 2003, when Finding Nemo was released. The film will star DeGeneres as Dory the forgetful Pacific regal blue tang, Albert Brooks reprising his role Marlin, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ed O’Neill and Willem Dafoe among others.

Does this bring back some memories?

WATCH: Finding Dory Trailer

 

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Cover Photo Credit: Pixar (Screenshot/ Youtube)

10 Reasons Why Luke Skywalker Is Actually Kylo Ren

By Daniel Mirolli (originally published on Medium)

Before people begin lobbing thermal detonators my way I’ve actually thought long and hard about this and tonight’s trailer release simply confirms my suspicions. Yes, much of this is speculation. Duh! None of us have seen the film and I’m not privy to any information that isn’t available to everyone.

So if you’re reading this before the release and I turn out to be right then, SERIOUS MIDICHLORIAN-SHATTERING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

If not then the odds you’ve wasted a few minutes listening to a member of your fandom unsuccessfully navigate a trailer release are approximately 3,720 to 1.

So, here’s 10 reasons why Luke is to Kylo as Finkle is to Einhorn.

1. The Poster

You know, this poster. The poster everyone flipped their Force about because Luke isn’t in it.

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But he IS in it. I know that’s a “he said, she said” game but let’s do a head count.

Rey, Finn, and Poe? Check.

Han & Leia? Check.

C-3PO & Chewie? Check.

R2 & BB8? *beep* *boop* *whir*

Luke? …Luke? ….Beuler?

Be honest, does it make any sense to not have Mark Hamill in your poster for a movie that will cause box office records to pull an Alderaan (too soon)? Abrams and the rest of the Disney / Lucas Film studio aren’t thinking, well…

There’s more to this but for now let’s move on to —

2. The Cowl

We’re dealing with two ancient and opposing, albeit evidenced, religions in the Star Wars universe; Jedi vs Sith. Mysticism, symbolism, and color are very important. There’s a “reason” Jedi fight in bathrobes instead of a more combat ready, blaster repelling, MJOLNIR Mark VI armour (sweet Cortana, someone please create that side fiction) and it’s, “our Jedi Order says so”. Everything is to align itself with the ideas and mythos of their side of the force.

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Taken from the second trailer released for the upcoming film there’s little doubt that this is Luke and his trusty companion R2-D2 — the mechanical right hand is a dead giveaway for that. But look at the cowl the character is wearing.

Remember in Episode VI when Luke faced off against Vader in the final fight? He wore an all black outfit (actually throughout the entire film). Why this shouldn’t give us pause, let’s go back to Episode III.

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As Anakin progress in his use of the Force and his eventual awakening to the dark side his outfit begins to incorporate more black. I’m sure another fan will correct me on this but none of the Jedi Counsel, with the exception of Shaak Ti (and sometimes Kit Fisto) who is a certifiable badass, wear black.

The Jedi gravitate towards browns, tans, and whites; unassuming colors to help combat the pride that leads to comparison, anger, hate, suffering, and Yoda-speak. In The Return of The Jedi we see Luke wearing all black, facing off against his father, and being told to give into his hatred. Despite Luke’s dismissal of the Emperor’s offer there is a part of him intrigued by the dark side of the force — at the very least the desire to get shit done on his own (see: leaving the Ewok enclave to confront Vader mano y mano). Which leads us to

3. The Timeline

We know from the trailer that many years have passed between VI and VII. Luke changing sides is not something that would happen over night. Like his father, he needs time to strike out on his own and attempt to establish real change in the galaxy by defeating the Empire and establishing the Alliance (like Anakin initially did in the Clone Wars). But the Alliance is just that, an alliance! It requires the independent choice of a multitude of people, a change that takes much longer to realize than the bending of galactic will to a particular vision.

But that is a more effective route and it provides Luke more control. Remember when Luke was training on Degoba what Yoda says to him?

Luke is Anakin’s son. He has the same rebellious, assertive, Type-A tendencies. Now imagine, you’ve just defeated the Empire. The Rebel Alliance is in shambles but victorious. The Empire still has the more fire power. Coruscant is a distant legend. There is sudden peace and no clear leader. Chaos ensues with the Outer Rim warlords seizing the power vacuum left by the Empire. You have to try to remake the galaxy into the prosperous and functioning system it was before there was war, all without using the Force for attack, or a clone army and armada that you quite literally just inherited.

How long before you’d convince yourself you’d get more good done by using this once evil force to unite every world under a single banner? How long before you then had to rely on the Force for attack? How long before Yoda’s admonition for control became validation for your desire to control whole worlds?

4. Mark’s Age

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Back to practicality, Mark Hamill is old. Yes, Harrison Ford is older but that’s like comparing Achilles and Hector. We know from Abrams’ behind the scenes videos that he’s a fan of analog and puppetry over CGI. We also know that the force affords its practitioners sustained mobility in old age. To me, that means that while we know Mark did suffer an injury on set, it would behove Abrams to have a stunt double option for Mark readily available for all action scenes and that’s much easier if your old actor chooses to wear a mask.

5. Kylo Ren

So what do we actually know about this guy? According to the Star Wars Wiki, Kylo Ren was born sometime after the Battle of Endor. And while initial assumptions are that he was physically born after the Battle of Endor we also know one very important thing:

Kylo Ren is a title.

Leaked concept art.

Leaked concept art.

We also know that, while serving under Snoke in the Knights of Ren he was obsessed with Vader and is believed to have modeled his look and behavior after him. It is not a stretch to imagine Luke recognizing the frustration his father saw in establishing a new order and following in his footsteps.

6. Yin and Yang Film Cycle

If you haven’t caught on to this yet, the Star Wars franchise oscillates between a Sith and Jedi dominated story line, influenced by the Yin and Yang culture which the originally story was likely plagiarized from (The Hidden Fortress).

Odd Episodes = Sith Wins

Even Episodes = Jedi Wins

Episode VII will be a win for the Sith. And while there’s no guarantee that the new Disney/Lucas Films mashup will stop printing money at Episode IX the franchise does operate on a trilogy cycle. Which means that either Episode IX has to end with the Sith winning or something really interesting has to happen. But how does this all come together?

Queue Star Wars Magic:

7. The Pledge

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary but of course… it probably isn’t.

Despite how new the 3rd trailer looked, we’ve been here before. New characters are introduced (Rey, Poe, BB8), someone discovers they can use the force (Finn), a baddie is revealed (Kylo), and we “rediscover” a wise mentor (He-Who-Shoots-First Han). This is identical to Episode I and IV.

From what I can gather, Force Awakens begins with the First Order beginning to fill the power vacuum left by the fighting through a unified assault (using Empire weapons and armada). The Jedi are viewed as a myth as evidenced by Han needing to affirm that all the stories actually took place. It’s true. The Dark Side. The Jedi.

In Force Awakens, Han plays the role of Yoda in Episode V — he knows about the past and a crucial detail to the present (one that he doesn’t reveal). And that’s fine, because we’re still meeting the new characters and learning how the world works. We’re establishing assumptions based on what we can glean from the plot until —

8. The Turn

The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled.

Episode II, V, VIII. Anakin turns, Vader is Luke’s father, Kylo is Luke. This is a far more compelling story line that simply a new bad guy is bad and Luke is absently being a hermit because Obi Wan.

Imagine walking out of the theatre on December 18th. You’ve just witnessed the First Order run train on the free world(s). Poe is a funny pilot. Finn is the most relatable and powerful character you’ve seen in a while. And Rey is a badass testament to Feminism (and ultimately Humanism) everywhere.

And while Han has been able to provide great intel on Kylo Ren and the First Order no one seems to be asking where this guy came from or what really happened to Luke.

But Han remembers. He remembers how he and Luke had initially set off to rebuild the galaxy together. How they had become frustrated after years of seeing little progress, already exhausted from their fight against the Empire. He remembers how Luke would disappear on missions, dressed in all black, saying that because he could use the Force he was better suited for single stealth missions. He remembers the unease Leia felt whenever she was around Luke. He remembers the first time he found the mask, in the floorboards of Luke’s X-Wing, and wondered who it belonged to.

Han knows who Kylo Ren is. He’s the sacrifice of principles for ambition. He’s the abandonment of freedom for control. He’s a friend turned an enemy — born out of the Battle of Endor. He’s Luke Skywalker.

9. The Prestige

But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”

Episode I, III, VI, IX. The birth of a chosen one, the hope of new life, the redemption of a father, the redemption of a son. Luke being Kylo affords the franchise an incredible opportunity; conversion. Remember the pattern of film victors? We’re set up to have the Sith win in XI. While that might make sense to usher in another three films, it’s entirely possible it ends with IX.

Episode IX allows for Luke to look himself in the mirror. Who knows what traumatic event this will be? Perhaps Leia will die? Or another pivotal character? The point here is that we get to see why Luke is like his father and, hopefully, better than Vader. Anakin died as Vader but Luke could still die as Luke. Remember, the battle of Jedi vs Sith is at base a religious conflict over the use of the Force. This is a battle won with ideas more than brute strength. If Luke destroys the idea of Kylo and the Sith, the Jedi (and by extension the Alliance it established and protected) win.

Because let’s be honest, this battle looks like it’s only going to go one way…

10. Abrams — The Easter Egg King

Photo Credit: Joi Ito/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Joi Ito/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Let’s face it, the guy loves leaving gotcha clues throughout his movies. As a fan I enjoy this. But, remember that poster from the beginning? The masked Kylo Ren ominously looming over everyone makes me wonder if Abrams didn’t purposefully request that poster to be able to point fans back to at the end of Episode VIII. Just a thought.

Alternative Theory — Clones!!!

I have to give my roommate credit for this one as he’s actually read the Timothy Zahn series of VII-IX. He pointed out that the final installment of that series, The Last Command, sees Luke encounter a clone of himself.

“Yes, Jedi Skywalker,” C’baoth said quietly from behind him. “He is you. Luuke Skywalker, created from the hand you left behind in the Cloud City on Bespin. Wielding the lightsaber you lost there.”

And what did we see in the released trailer tonight? Luke’s original lightsaber — lost on Cloud City during his battle with its former master.

1*js_bIA-Oyirb-gUC-buPjAThis story was originally published on Medium.  

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Does The Movie “Suffragette” Create Delusions About Modern Day Feminist Success?

By Sean Moran

At the October 7 London premiere of the film Suffragette, several activists from the group Sisters Uncut crashed the red carpet and released smoke canisters as part of a protest against recent budget cuts to facilities that offer care to victims of domestic violence. When asked why they chose this film for the protest, one activist replied that the film’s “celebratory sense” has created a “delusional element” that feminism has accomplished its goals.

Suffragette, set to begin a limited American release on October 23, tells the story of one mother’s experiences as she gets caught up in the female suffrage movement in early 20th century Britain. The movie stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter (who also happens to be the real life great granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, the Prime Minister who opposed female suffrage), and Meryl Streep as the leader of the suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst.

A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?

Along with the protest at the premiere, the film has also received some backlash against a promotional photoshoot where the actresses wore t-shirts that read “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.” Critics immediately began criticizing this quote for perceived racial insensitivity. Some pointed out that Emmeline Pankhurst and many other suffragettes were not advocating for black female suffrage too.

As much as people try to argue that the Pankhurst was a progressive feminist, the truth is that she wasn’t. Pankhurst was aided by her two daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, the former much in her mother’s image, while the latter had much more radical beliefs. Neither Emmeline nor Christabel believed women should wear pants or short hair, and both detested the rise of the Labour Party that represented the working class. Emeline also believed women should remain chaste, and all but denounced her daughter Sylvia when she had a child out of wedlock.

This raises an important issue with historical films: is it okay to force historical facts to fit a modern narrative? A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?

It would seem more authentic if characters did have inconsistent beliefs about equality, believing men and women should be equal but only some men and women (white, educated, upper class, etc.).

So in a way, the protestors at the premiere were right; this film shouldn’t be seen as the epitome of feminist ideology (Note: I have not seen the actual movie yet, and the film could totally address these issues).

Having said all that, I think this film will provide an adequately objective viewpoint. In an interview with Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, screenwriter Abi Morgan admitted that she didn’t want to do a feminist film.

“I don’t think any of us said, ‘Let’s make a feminist movie.’ I think we kind of went, ‘This is exciting. We never see women blow up buildings. We never see them militant.’”

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