Results of Joss Whedon Poll: And the Winner is…

My poll on the best early Joss Whedon creation has closed. The real battle was quite obviously between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Dollhouse, Angel, and Firefly never had a chance. And with a margin of one vote, the winner is…

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I’m not that surprised since Buffy has such a big cult following (including myself) but I really thought Firefly was going to get more votes. It’s great and there was an uproar of disapproval when Fox canceled it. Oh well.

I want to find the one person who voted for Angel, sit them down, and bitch slap them. Just kidding. If you’re out there, kudos for going against the grain! Really against the grain.

So I’m going to create a new poll. Check it out!

The Iron Lady

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Watching this movie was an interesting experience for me. When I watch a movie for the first time, I usually prefer to do it alone, because some people like to talk during movies (like pretty much my entire family). And then I ask them to stop and then of course they just do it more because it annoys me. I swear, I could be watching  the most intense, important scene of a movie, and suddenly my Dad would say “Who is that actress?…Is she still alive?…Why is Bruce Willis holding a Samurai sword?…I think John Travolta secretly wants to be a woman…” I love my father, but seriously, I don’t watch movies to have conversation. But of course a couple of days ago I have to be nice, and when we didn’t have anything to do I just had to mention that I had a copy of The Iron Lady. And of course, the movie had been playing not ten minutes before “Is that Glen Close?” Happy Father’s Day Dad :).

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Yet despite the unwanted disruptions, I really enjoyed this movie. The Iron Lady is a British film released in 2011 and directed by Phyllida Lloyd about the life of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The movie begins with Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) as an old woman suffering from dementia. As you continually watch her struggling with old age and dealing with her hallucinations of her dead husband Denis (Jim Broadbent),Thatcher has flashbacks to when she was a young woman (Alexandra Roach) trying to become a politician in a world of men, and eventually the wife and mother who becomes the first female Prime Minister in a western country.

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There are so many great things about this movie. Although I might be biased as someone who majored in English and history, making me always up for a historical film. I’d say one of the best things about this movie is the artful way in which it was put together. This includes the inspired choice to not have a consecutive storyline but use flashbacks. This choice really gave more power to the tragedy of Thatcher’s aging as she reviewd her life.

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The Iron Lady also has one of the best casts I have ever seen. Meryl Streep was amazing no doubt. Some critics were quoted saying something along the lines of she had more iron than the real Margaret Thatcher did. She was completely transformed. But I also loved seeing Anthony Head, the actor who played Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is currently playing King Uther in the show Merlin, pop up in a huge movie like this. And Jim Broadbent who played Margaret Thatcher’s husband Denis, did an astounding job, especially the scenes in which he was Margaret’s hallucinations.

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However, best of all, this movie had probably one of the most subtle yet poignant endings in film history. It ends with the elderly Margaret Thatcher washing a tea cup. Which of course sounds ridiculous by itself, but becomes increasingly powerful when I tell you that early in the movie, when Denis proposes to her, she tells him “I will not die washing a tea cup.” But what’s so beautiful about the ending is that Thatcher cleans the cup, puts it on a shelf, and goes on about her day. She didn’t die washing it, she continues to live. Despite her dwindling mind, she will continue to remain a strong female figure in history for all time. Sorry, did the English major in me just wax too strong?

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I think I only have one complaint about this movie. I felt it got a little repetitive, which I know is inevitable when it is constantly going back in time. However, I got tired of all the images of angry Englishmen tapping on her car window. After seeing it five times, I wonder, was the writer of this film not able to come up with another way to display the country’s outrage?

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I would describe this movie as beautifully tragic. It is tragic in the way that Thathcer is fighting so hard to retain her sanity, in the way that she desperately misses her husband, and in the way that as Prime Minister, she finally understands that even she can go too far. I give the Iron Lady a 9. And after seeing it I should probably add Meryl Streep to my list about my favorite actresses: https://hereslookinatyousquid.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/my-favorite-top-ten-actresses-13-2/.

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Joss Whedon does Much Ado About Nothing

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As I am a writer of a movie blog, I’ve been keeping tabs on movies, so as can be imagined from The Avengers shattering box office records, I was reading about the entertainment titian today and found out the news that director Joss Whedon (if you’ve been living in a box for the last ten years and never heard of him, Whedon is known not only for directing the Avengers but also for shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Doll House, and Fire Fly) is now working on a smaller scale film adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

Here is a little personal information. I am an English major. I am actually about to start working on my PhD in English literature. In high school I use to memorize Shakespeare for fun (yeah, I didn’t have many friends then 🙂 ). Much Ado About nothing is my favorite Shakespearian play ever since I read it when I was 15. So of course, when I found out Whedon is getting in touch to his Bard side, I had a very emotional response. I tried to find everything I could. Sadly, I assume because it’s still early in production, I couldn’t find out very much, but here is what I do know.

The film will be completely black and white. Also interestingly, Whedon did all his filming for Much Ado About Nothing at his small home in Santa Monica. I desperately tried to find the cast, but all I know is that the film features the actors such as Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg and Fran Kranz.

 

Now, I am a pretty big Joss Whedon fan. I’ve seen every Buffy episode. Loved Fire Fly, and even The Doll House. I think I know every song from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog by heart. However, I am somewhat skeptical about Whedon doing Shakespeare. Maybe this is just because he’s working with my personal favorite play by the Bard, but I think my concerns are legitimate considering that including The Avengers, pretty much everything Whedon has done is full of monsters and heroes and action. But despite this little kernel of fear, I do have some hope that he will do justice for a play so near to my heart. This is simply because underneath all the monsters and CG and action, everything Whedon has ever directed has tones of female empowerment. There is a reason the Slayer was a female. And Much Ado About Nothing is all about female empowerment. I know, hard to believe that something feminist could ever come from the same writer who created The Taming of the Shrew, but, anyway… The reason I love Much Ado About Nothing so much is the fiery character of Beatrice who is so determined to not have a husband. She detests the character Benedict. They have spars of whit that are incomparable. And since Whedon is so good at creating strong female leads, I am hopeful that his Beatrice will be a tour de force rather than a damsel in distress.

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Of course, there have been other film adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing. Kenneth Branaugh gave it a shot in 1993. He played Benedict and gave the role of Beatrice to his wife Emma Thompson. While Branaugh pretty much defecated on Frankenstein (another one of my favorite pieces of literature) this choice was genius. Right now, Emma Thompson is Beatrice for me. While I have faith in Whedon, I think he’ll have a hard time finding a better actress for his heroine. But I love being pleasantly surprised. Of course, Branaugh also made a horrible casting decision when he gave Keanu Reeves the role of the villain. Actors like Keanu Reeves just don’t belong in Shakespeare. And I think putting him next to great actors like Thompson and Denzel Washington was exceedingly cruel. It makes it painfully obvious just how much Reeves has no acting ability.

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So now I am eagerly awaiting Whedon’s latest film endeavor. Just please, please don’t be an idiot and cast Keanu Reeves. Once was more than enough.