Things We Learned from 5 Bad Movies in 2015

2015 isn't over yet, but seeing as how we're in November, I figured we were deep enough into the year to talk about some movie that didn't turn out so hot. We've had a lot of movies this year that felt really terrible in a way where it just felt like being begged the question "it's 2015-- Have we not gotten this down after nearly a century of filmmaking?" And the answer, sometimes, is no.

I'm going to put in here a disclaimer, that I feel shouldn't be necessary, and yet it totally is: these are just my opinions. I'm sure a lot of people disagree with them, and a lot of people agree with them. I'm gonna make my case, and maybe even engage with you on the subject, but no one is obligated to care about what I think, or even read this piece!

Anyway, let's get down to business.

Aloha. 2015 has been a year of some huge strides being made toward acknowledging the structural problems America faces when it comes to respecting POC, and some people just totally not getting the point at all. Aloha is one of those messes. The majority of Hawaii is not white, yet in Cameron Crowe's Hawaii, pretty much the only POC were service people for a cast of white characters-- including Allison Ng, a "quarter-Hawaiian" character portrayed by Emma Stone, of all people. Akin to Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" video, Aloha made the offensive mistake of thinking that POC are invisible, not worth being depicted, and overall ruinous of a white fantasy of playing in an "exotic" land without any of the people who actually live there.
What did we learn: Whitewashing will make people angry. Whitewashing means: a) making something "whiter" in order to make it less "other," thereby reinforcing the "othering" of POC, b) removing influence of POC people from a work (or giving white people credit for it) in order to continue disempowering and undervaluing POC, c) changing things to cast white people in a more favorable light than what actually happened, which erases the real, lived histories of POC. 

Jem and The Holograms. Jem and the Holograms is a beloved Hasbro property that a lot of young people today are getting introduced to from either its appearance on Netflix and/or from its new comic book-- but I hope no one is getting introduced to it from this movie. This movie failed for two big reasons: not staying true to it's totally awesome (however dated) source material, and for completely misunderstanding a generation of young people to the point where the entire movie is a condescension to us and those after us. io9 writer Charlie Jane Anders reviewed the movie pretty well in a piece entitled "Jem and the Holograms Fails In A Way That I've Never Seen A Movie Fail Before." Her piece opens "Young people, right? They like young-people shit, like YouTube videos, Instagram selfies and crazy hair. If you hate young people but want to pander to them for some reason—like, if you have loathsome, foul-smelling stepchildren—you can always take them to see Jem and the Holograms."
What did we learn: Don't mess too much with the source material of something already deeply beloved. No one wants to see their fave bastardized by some misguided "new spin." Also, if you're going to make a movie about young people, you might need to actually understand them, and not write a movie about how self-absorbed and fake they are and overlay it with pop music to make it seem empowering.

Pixels. It's an Adam Sandler movie that is incredibly sexist, and rips off the plot of an episode of Futurama. I have no words for how terrible this movie is, but a lot of other people do: E!Online rounded up 23 of the best burns the critics had for this garbage fire
What did we learn: Stop letting Adam Sandler do stuff. Oh wait, we didn't actually learn that because Netflix penned a 4 movie deal with him, during which his "satire" Ridiculous Six caused cast and crew to leave due to how absolutely offensive it is.

Fantastic 4. This movie is, cinematically, kind of a hard-sell to begin with. The powers and costumes in this franchise are overwhelmingly cartoony, so to have them done with real people is a real obstacle rather than say, using animation. Add onto that "too many cooks in the kitchen" with studios, execs, and creatives fighting over everything, and the story got turned into an incoherent mess that pretty much no one is proud of. Which really sucks considering most of the people involved are pretty talented.
What did we learn: If you're going to do something, commit to it-- commit to a vision, commit to a story. In addition, maybe be more selective about which superhero properties you bring to life.

Pan. I love Peter Pan, and I'm always eager to see new takes on it-- some of them are great (Peter and the Starcatcher) and some of them are terrible. Pan is terrible. One critic says it's so terrible you HAVE to see it because you will never believe how resoundingly awful a film can be.  Despite a high budget and a talented cast (featuring the highly questionable use of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily), this movie is awful. Everyone overacts a spider-web thin plot, with stunning visuals that have pretty much no plot to back it up. 
What did we learn: If you are going to make an origin story, it needs to at least make sense. Casting won't make up for a terrible/non-existent plot. Stop casting white people as POC (wow we really have not wrapped our heads around this, have we?) Also stop making characters that are Indiana Jones rip-offs-- it's just lazy.

What movies did you think were terrible this year? What do you hope Hollywood will learn from them?

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Friendly Reminders for Black Friday

You are stressed, you are tired, and you are trying to vie for the best deals. I get it, I've been there. But that's no reason to be rude to the people who work in retail/service on Black Friday. Here are some friendly reminders for this time of year to just not be a butthead on Black Friday.

Be nice. It is someone's job to assist you to the best of their ability. It is not their job to put up with your crappy attitude. Be understanding of them as they work one of the busiest shopping days of the year-- retail is hard enough without you losing your temper.

Don't make ridiculous demands. Retail employees will know better than you whether or not a coupon works, whether or not they have something in stock, etc. In fact, they have a computer that tells them this information in most cases. They are not trying to screw you over, or hide stuff from you. If they say they can't do it, they can't do it. Respect that.

Try not to screw up the shelving/stacking of inventory. This takes time to fix, and that's time they might not have on a day as busy as Black Friday. Try to lift-then-pull something out of a stack rather than just tugging and destroying everything. It is not that hard to take a few extra seconds to not wreck a display.

Say thank you. People don't get enough thank yous in their lives, and we all know that Black Friday, and for some people even (Thanksgiving) is a hard day to work. Show them some love and appreciation.

If you can't keep it together, just shop online. If the crowds, the stress, and the intensity of shopping in-person on Black Friday are too much for you, that's fine! Stay home and shop online-- consider trying stuff on in store and making note of your sizes at particular places if you have to. Most places will have online-deals and free shipping, especially for large orders.

Black Friday is a great time for deals, but it's no reason to forget your manners. Happy hunting ya'll, and don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel to catch up on my Black Friday Haul video. Or maybe videos.

Lastly, if you're a Star Wars fan, don't forget to check out my awesome giveaway!

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Star Wars x Love and Madness Giveaway

Grand Prize Pack!
I'm giving away prizes to three (THREE!) winners in anticipation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will hit theaters on December 18th. I've partnered with a totally awesome brand called Love and Madness that creates geeky accessories for ladies who feel that geekdom, badassery, and femininity should come together in rad pieces. They work with Disney, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, and there are more on the way! They're an all-female run business (#whoruntheworld) and I love talking about them!

Necklaces by Love and Madness
Things that are cool: epic battles between good and evil; space travel; aliens; fight scenes. Things that are not cool: gatekeepers of fandom trying to tell you you're not the right kind of fan. Girls and women have often been kept out of geekery-- from science and math to Star Wars and video games. We grew up getting told the these things weren't for girls, or maybe the more subtle "wouldn't you rather do something else?" I think fewer girls are growing up hear that kind of stuff today, but it still happens a lot. We have a right to consume and enjoy things and explore and express that enthusiasm however we see fit! And that includes anything from fanfiction to buying awesome merchandise and wearing fandom-y outfits. That's why I love supporting businesses that not only totally get why I love certain movies and TV Shows, but also aren't afraid to cater to women. We like geeky stuff too! We shouldn't be forced to choose between geeky and feminine, and the geeky, girly stuff that's out there shouldn't be shoddily-crafted!

I know tons of you guys feel the same way, and tons of you guys also love Star Wars (or know someone who does) so I'm giving away some totally rad pieces from Love and Madness' Star Wars collection. The giveaway will run through Sunday, November 29th so get your entries in before time runs out. Let's get into our fabulous prizes!

Metallic Star Wars Flash Tattoos by Love and Madness
One winner will get a metallic zipper pouch filled with awesome Star Wars goodies including a Love and Madness x Star Wars necklace and a Love and Madness x Star Wars metallic flash tattoo set along with some Covergirl Limited Edition Star Wars Lipcolor!

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Black Friday Prep: Your Guide

It's that time of year again: Black Friday Prep. I'm one of those people who is big on Black Friday because I love a good sale, and this is the mother of all sales. It also helps that for me, Black Friday is a family affair that my sister and parents love as much as I do! (Well, almost as much.)

I've created a long-loved series of posts on exactly how to tackle this beast.

Step 1: Make your Lists (and check them twice).

Step 2: Plan your Outfit for maximum efficiency.

Step 3: Put together your Game Plan to help get the most out of your time.

Step 4: Pack your kit so you don't go out unprepared.

I'll be coming out with more Black Friday content for those of you fellow shoppers.  Don't miss it!

What tips for Black Friday are you looking for?

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How to Organize your Job Hunt

When you are sending out 10 job applications a week, it can be difficult to keep track of. Your poor computer weeps as you leave open 15 tabs of jobs you want to apply for but haven't gotten to yet. You can't remember if this new posting is for a job you've already applied for, or a new job at the same company. I have been there, and done that, and it's no fun. But luckily for me, and now for you, I discovered a site that helps handle all that for you!

It's called JobHero, and you can access it for free at You sign up and it basically compiles the job listing you save to it, kind of like pinterest, but instead of images with links, it has a listing with all the relevant info, the link to the original listing, and handy color coded buttons to help you keep track of the status of your applications.

Now you can close all those tabs, save listings to review later, and keep track of where you are in the applicant pool all from one spot! You can easily fill in the necessary fields using the bookmarklet which you can add to your browser, and then all you need to do is click it and highlight the necessary info. For certain job boards, like LinkedIn and Indeed, it will even upload all the detail automatically with one click.

This tool totally saved my sanity during my job hunt and it might save yours, too!

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November Wishlist

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
November is upon us! I'm a little scared of the impending winter since moving from DC to New York, but I'm sure I'll make it through. I'm very excited to go home for Thanksgiving and also for Black Friday-- I'm sure I'll snag some great deals!

Starbucks Gift Cards - As the chill picks up, I'm all about hot drinks. The ubiquitousness of Starbucks in the city, the convenience of loading up and paying for drinks with the Starbucks app (and earning rewards!) all adds to the temptation towards the Salted Caramel Latte! It's my favorite drink this season. Starbucks Gift Cards can get loaded into your Starbucks app for easy payment, and you can even gift them digitally. They're a nice little pick me up!

Holiday Cards by Minted - One of the things that I have really looked forward to about adulthood is the Holiday Cards (and Holiday decorations, but I don't think I'm there yet in terms of space and disposable income). I'm not a religious person, but something about that dependable once-a-year update from a friend, coworker, or family member, no matter how far flung, wishing a better new year ahead and a magical end to this year is something that I find very comforting, joyful, and symbolic of adulthood. Now that I'm out of school, I'm trying to determine what traditions and benchmarks are important for me moving forward, and sending out holiday cards seems like a really good one. I really love the designs from Minted, and you can filter by holiday, business-y or not, photo-y or not, etc. Buy through this link and you get $25 off your order!

Alice in Wonderland Latte Mug - As of right now, I'm mugless. I wanna fix that, just in time for hot drink weather! I'm planning on keeping this mug at work for my daily coffee. The design is just so pretty and Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite franchises for its visual motifs! This mug is really cute, and there is a similar Stitch mug, and I also really want the Art of Jasmine set as well, which you may remember last month.

Fantasyland 8" Plate - I've also been updating my dishware. I've decided it's time to upgrade from the Target plastic dishes I've had since college. I think having these plates will be a wonderful way do add a little more magic to my apartment, and will also make me more motivated to cook at home! There are matching sets of these for Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland as well, which are all part of the Magic Kingdom in DisneyWorld!

Vanellope Von Schweetz / Wreck-It Ralph Ears - I love the movie Wreck It Ralph and there just isn't enough merch of it out. I'd love to see more, especially since the Sugar Rush aesthetic is SO great! I bought my first set of ears when I went to Disneyland this summer and I think I want to start a small, heavily curated collection of them, both official and not. This set of ears is from an Etsy store called We've Got Ears!

Don't forget to check out my video of everything I loved in October!

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