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Women X Festival 2022

Attending film festivals has been a dream since I was aware they existed. However, it’s always been a distant dream because I can’t travel for them…well without at least spending a bunch of money I don’t have. This past year, thanks to the rise of online film festival attendance as the world was told not to travel, I’ve been able to live out that dream. From September 2nd to the 4th, I was lucky enough to experience a glimpse of the Women X Film Festival founded by Caris Rianne. As a Trans Woman, being a small part of this festival meant the world to me and I hope to attend in person someday. For now, here are some short(ish) thoughts on the amazing projects that I watched.

Head Over Feet: A Series of Shorts

First Kiss With A Girl is a short voiceover with related imagery about a girls first kiss with another girl. It’s really cute, shot in a 6:9 ratio, with the theme of the part at which this case occurred being present but not obvious until it’s stated.

Kiss Chase sees a young girl of colour struggling with a crush on another girl, while a boy develops a crush on her. It’s a classic “nerd to beauty” story done well, made more uncomfortable by the age of those involved, which I’m sure is the point. There’s really no knowing what children get up to and the thought that several of the more intense scenes in here do occur is terrifying.

Silent Pride features a private spat between two best friends at a party. The most notable aspect is that one of the girls is hearing impaired, although that’s never the sole purpose of the story. It is used for a cute little moment of connection though.

Virtual Love sees a female couple playing dom and sub for viewers on a camgirl website until an argument breaks out. It makes excellent use of the website itself, often showing the chat window which is itself a lynchpin of the plot. Despite being in skimpy clothing, the camera never leers, which shouldn’t be noteworthy but it is.

Pitching features a woman lost in her tent on a trail, leaving a desperate voicemail for her former girlfriend. The frame composition is fascinating, having been split into 9 squares, each telling a different story from the relationship. At 17 minutes, it’s one of the longer shorts but the lone voicemail is heartbreakingly engaging throughout.

The Cost of Living focuses on a woman in control of her life finally giving up control for the seductive personification of death. It’s the artsiest film in this series and it’s totally engaging. Seems to have the highest production budget so far but this story would be wonderful regardless.

Pragma sees a woman partaking in a rigorous Partnering Programme but struggling to trust the system. It also has a higher production budget and a longer runtime but it’s also consistently funny. A really interesting take on the two core kinds of relationship (short-term and long-term).

Besties: A Series of Shorts

Scuzz features the surprising friendship of a female rocker and the young teen boy who stole her guitar. It’s super sweet and it demonstrates the kinder side of Scotlands gig scene which could use more prevalence.

Venetian Men is the tale of two 15-year-old best friends’ trip to Venice. It has an excellent blend of photos and footage taken on the trip with interprative dance scenes featuring actress stand-ins. The voiceover is soothing too, telling of an often underappreciated time in young women;s lives.

@scroll_alice features a conversation between two people about the benefits of Instagram. With the stop-motion animation depicting conversation topics and use of AI voices, it comes across as a little horrifying despite the dialogue claiming otherwise. It feels like it lacks humanity but at the same time it tells such a human story. Brilliant.

Run With Her is a short documentation of an Irish teens friendship with her running partner and best friend. This short was also featured in last years EIFF so this is a second watch for me but it’s no less lovely. I hope everything is working out for them.

Farewell She Goes sees two Gregorian women grappling with how to bury a bird at sea whilst a deeper issue lies just below the surface. It never explicitly states that one of thee women wants an abortion but it’s made clear through the dialogue, line delivery and notes about abortions history at the films conclusion. Sad but necessary.

Sequin features a little girl at a bus stop encountering a drag queen who looks just like her Barbie doll. It’s adorable and a perfect demonstration of how accepting children are. It manages that without anyone ever uttering a word, which is a real skill.

7 Bannanas features a woman dealing with the deathvof a friend sh’ed been neglecting to message. It feels real, grappling well with the genuine emotions of grief and guilt. Serves as a poignant reminder to keep in touch with people more.

Homegrown: A series of shorts

GSNE is a small doc centres around the foundation of Girls Skate North East, a group specifically for female skaters in the North East of the UK. It’s about camaraderie and support and being female in a seemingly male dominated space. Very inspiring.

After the break is a monologue about living life away from the tv screens and the music. It’s interesting to listen to with simple but elegant visuals.

The Air in Cyberspace features the beginnings of self organising cyborg existence. Not live-action so it caught me off guard, but the CGI visuals and visuals are very impressive.

The Girl Next Door sees a girl trying to vlog her life whilst her psychotic adopted sister lurks in the background. Shooting it purely from the cameras POV is a great way to tell the story and the performances are wonderful.

A Call to the Void follows 24 hours in a depressed young mans life and is quite the experience. A self-motivational tape plays over the entire short providing this juxtaposition between what the world expects and the reality of life.

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Halloween Watchlist 2022

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

One of the earliest, and finest, family-friendly horror films. A loving homage to the genre with plenty of laughs, scares, and references to both the character’s history as well as the history of horror. Full review in the upcoming edition of UnDividing Lines.

Cloverfield (2008)

A certified classic that solidified the “found footage” style of horror movies. With regular, flawed characters and a shining example of having a horrifying creature without having to show much of it. Full review HERE.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

A stunning follow-up that proves not only can a sequel be as good as the original, but it can be better. Perfect use of a minimal environment with a twist that continues to chill, even if you already know what it is. Full review HERE.

ET The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

A beloved family classic for a reason. It has marvelous characters, great emotion and excellent visuals…all of which were stronger upon a cinematic viewing. Beautifully re-mastered and masterfully scored.

Jaws – in 3D! (1975/2022)

The original blockbuster remains one of the best. It’s a slow burn, with very few shots of the shark and a minimalistic but beautiful score. Also stunningly remastered for the big screen.

Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

The first new release on this list is a delight. Funny, full of violence and with an on-point take on class structure this is worth catching up on if you missed it.

Werewolf by Night (2022)

An MCU installment that’s only an hour long, and it’s about time. This spooky tale feels unlike any other part of the franchise, proving Michael Giacchino isn’t just great with music, but can master any craft he puts his mind to.

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared [Series](2022)

Based on the YouTube series of the same name and created by the same team, this show is a trip. Life lessons shrouded in humour and dark imagery, it’s exactly the kind of show young people deserve.

Gravity Falls [Series](2012)

One of the greatest shows ever created and worthy of a full, loving analysis someday. Funny, heartfelt and occasionally featuring genuine scares, the story of the Pines family is worth every second.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

An odd creature for sure. Developed in the same way as it’s predecessors but lacking the same oomph, it’s worth watching for a couple performances and the score. Full review HERE.

The Babysitter (2017)

A new seasonal classic from Netflix, this is an absolute delight to watch. Horror-comedies feel underrated and with films like this, that shouldn’t be the case.

The Simpsons Halloween Specials I-XII (1990-2001) / The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XIII-XXI (2002-2020) / The Simpsons Thanksgiving of Horror (2019) [Series]

A staple of the holiday that continues to entertain with new installments every single year. The “original” run of 7 episodes were solely focused on horror and remain undisputed classics, but even as the series began to lean more heavily on current pop culture references it never began to disappoint. There are a couple of dud segments but no entire episode worth skipping over. The Thanksgiving edition is especially wonderful.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

More proof that a sequel can be as good as the original. It manages to retread old ground without ever feeling like a direct copy, has plenty more laughs and features the sweetheart of the moment Jenny Ortega.

ParaNorman (2012)

Coraline may have thrust Laika Studios into the limelight, but ParaNorman ensured that they stayed there. This loving homage to the horror genre may be a little basic but it has everything it requires to entertain people of all ages. Full review HERE.

The Lost Boys (1987)

The Joel Schumacher classic remains a seasonal favourite for a reason. Only a director like Joel in a decade like the 1980s could have brought forth something this bizarre, camp and filled with brilliant special effects. Worth hunting down if it continues to escape your watchlist.

Ghostbusters (1984)

One of the best films ever made. Sure, it’s cheesy and the special effects aren’t exactly on par with something like The Terminator, but it has so much character. Every cast member is bringing their A-Game, the effects are still impressive, and it’s tied together beautifully with that ethereal score. Full review HERE.

Ghostbusters II (1989)

A guilty pleasure for many fans, including myself. It feels at times like a rehash of the original and is definitely more geared towards children, but it has just as much fun packed into it. Full review HERE.

Beetlejuice (1988)

A highlight of the season every single year. It’s a special effect, comedy, and acting masterclass all rolled into one package. Relentlessly quotable with a great score, it sticks in the mind all year round. The soundtrack for the Broadway musical gets plenty of playtime too. Full review HERE.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Only the second viewing for this apparent classic and it’s not difficult to fall in love with. It’s corny in a way that only 1990s Disney Channel movies can be but is held together by some extremely over-the-top performances and a heck of a musical number. Another highly quotable delight.

The Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021)

The Muppets have always rolled with the times and this special is no exception. With a slew of current celebrity cameos and a delightful performance from Will Arnett, it’s honestly just nice to hang out in the Henson realm for a bit. And there’s no better choice for this bizarre season than the oddest of Muppets – Gonzo.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

I’ve often heard this described as THE definitive version of Dracula but that might just be in reference to the vampiric maestro himself. This adaptation is gorgeous to look at but is often too surreal for its own good when it isn’t being dull. It’s a lot of flair with very little punch.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Director Henry Sellick’s timeless fantasy continues to delight. It’s all about the visuals and the score, both of which are on point. Though the story and characters are basic, they have a certain amount of charm that makes seeing them once or twice a year totally worth it.

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

If the original was corny in a 1990s way, then it makes sense that the sequel would be corny in a 2020s way. Once that’s accepted, it can often be just as wonderful, even if there are perhaps more musical numbers than there need to be. The childhood counterpart for the Sanderson sisters do a particularly wonderful job.

Tucker and Dale Vs Evil (2010)

An underrated classic, which has been on my watchlist for many years now. A hilarious subversion of horrors “killer hillbillies” trope, with a couple of endearing performances from the main pair of bumbling doofuses. It doesn’t skimp on the gore either, leaving it in the same vein as something like Scream.

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Ranking the MCU

How does one rank 29 movies (and counting)? It seems like such a Herculean task and yet it looks like everybody else has already done it. Perhaps, I should have kept tabs along the way or perhaps I should have been more ruthless in my final decisions. Nevertheless, here it is…my ranking of the MCU from best to worst. I’ve chosen to split the films and television shows into two separate categories because they are designed differently. The films have a single runtime which usually maxes out at 3 hours, whilst the TV shows split many hours of content over 9-ish episodes in a televisual format. Also, fitting them in was too hard but know that they all make the lower quarter of the list.

I’d love to tell you this is the final ranking but it will continue to fluctuate for as long as I live. It won’t fluctuate by much, however, meaning everything here is in roughly the correct order. “Correct”, of course, being my own subjective opinion.

Avengers: Infinity War

The beginning of the end of 10 years of build-up. It can also be seen as the last part of the Infinity Stones Saga if you wish to disown Endgame. It’s full of a decade worth of payoff and features an astounding ending that still provides chills.

Captain America: The First Avenger

The best of Phase One, featuring the most likable and relatable of its heroes. Steve Rogers was the everyman and, despite his newfound powers, continues to fight for the everyman. Hugo Weaving also provides a stunning performance as Redskull and it doesn’t shy away from the nazi angle. It’s technically a War Flick and I thoroughly enjoyed it, which is something I can’t say of that genre as a whole.

Ant-Man

Despite spending years in development hell, this managed to be the funniest of all the MCU installments. Casting the ever-likable Paul Rudd definitely helped and giving him relatable issues makes him sympathetic. Also features the best Thomas the Tank Engine cameo of all time.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

This was a surprise. I fully expected a film built on fan service and callbacks but instead it was a solid story that provided a decent continuation of old stories for the most part. Still works better if you’ve seen the prior Spider-Man franchises but doesn’t rely on them. Also, Defoe is allowed to go full ham and it’s thoroughly engaging.

Thor

The best of his trilogy, the original story for the God of Thunder is gorgeous. Director Kenneth Brannagh was a perfect choice to bring a very Shakesperean reality to life and Hemsworth is inherently likable despite playing somebody who is kind of selfish. Grand in scale, shot wonderfully and it introduces Hawkeye.

Iron Man

The very first and one of the very best. RDJ was a perfect pick for the role and the warmongering subplot has remained annoyingly relevant throughout the years. Remember when superhero films used to be about something important, as opposed to pandering to fans? We’ve come a long way from the pseudo-realism in this film but it remains great.

Avengers: Endgame

I wouldn’t have this one so high on the list if it wasn’t the end of an era. There are elements that still annoy me to no end and I disagree highly with several character decisions but that final battle clenches it. It also doesn’t destroy the ending of Infinity War, allowing the heroes to live with their failure.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Marvel really decided that this character was going to have hilarious, relatable and often tragic installments. It’s more cohesive than the first but no less energetic and it’s about family. Perfect little palette cleanser before the last two Avengers films.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Again, it’s about family. James Gunn is known for stories driven less by plot and more by character actions and dynamics with this being no exception. Big one for Marvel fans with Daddy Issues and fans of David Hasselhoff. From here on out, the films are going to be what I’d classify as “lower-mid tier” so this is a good one to look at before the fall.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

An action flick featuring Steve Rogers should be an instant win but this is more of a generic film. It also heavily features Black Widow who is wasted by this franchise on top of being a bland character. Good Nick Fury angle though.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

More Nick Fury! He truly is underutilized in this franchise, not that he should ever be a focal point. The highlight of this one is the demonstration/adaptation of Mysterio’s powers and Jake Gyllenhaal gives a delightful performance. Was never keen on this Peter Parker so it’s a little difficult to become invested.

Captain America Civil War

A definite turning point in the MCU but not entirely for the better. This marked the beginning of a solo movie no longer being entirely focused on the titular character, with this one getting dubbed Avengers 2.5 by fans. Held together by a moderately compelling story and Baron Zemo.

Iron Man 3

Underrated, but not perfect by any means. Acts as the conclusion to Tony’s arc but isn’t particularly memorable. That said, it has some excellent moments such as the destruction of his home.

The Incredible Hulk

Also underrated. This one is more of a character analysis than a plot-heavy flick but it does feature a magnificent performance from Tim Roth as The Abomination.

Black Panther

Fairly forgettable aside from being a major deal for people of colour. The final battle sequence noticeably needed more time and Martin Freeman isn’t the greatest of actors. Kept afloat by brilliant performances, especially by the late Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan.

Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch is really trying his best with that accent but it’s just not working. As origin stories go, this one isn’t particularly notable although it does feature Wong. It’s the special effects that save this one, especially if you saw it in 3D.

Guardians of the Galaxy

It’s fun enough and the characters are likable enough but the romance between Starlord and Gamora really drags this one down. When people talk about “Marvel Humour” this is one of the films where it’s more prevalent, except James Gunn at least writes engaging characters.

Thor: Ragnarok

Entertaining on a first watch but grating whenever I revisit it. Thor has always been one of the most underdeveloped MCU characters and he shows a little growth here but it gets undone by the end. Also the comedy is prime “Marvel Humour” which is a shame because Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett are in this.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Kind of a mess, though still not as bad as some fans claim. Ultron is entertaining, the battles are intense and The Avengers are constantly on edge but there are too many plot threads that don’t really get resolved. It’s another set-up movie, which is a hindrance.

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Ah, the second best movie of Phase 4… not that it’s a high bar. For all the talk of Martial Arts films as inspirations, this comes off as more of an imitation than a homage. Those snappy Marvel edits remain intact and the final battle is primarily CG, which has become tiring. Sam Liu as Shang-Chi is lovely and it was a delight to see Trevor Slattery again.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

The Vulture is the only thing keeping this film from being closer to the bottom of this list. Peter Parker’s determination to please Tony Stark and Tony’s consistent presence throughout the plot, really don’t feel necessary. It draws the focus away from Peter and his adorable little friendship with Ned.

Thor: The Dark World

Another installment that’s an absolute mess, but isn’t as bad as fans claim. Kat Dennings as Darcy has always been underappreciated and Loki’s story in this one is full of melancholy but it does feel like several different films spliced together.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

This should have been better with Sam Raimi at the helm with this premise. I talk a lot about managing fan expectations, but with a movie title that promises madness across the multiverse, it’s reasonable to expect that. This film doesn’t deliver it and has the most obvious fan pandering I’ve ever seen with The Illuminati. Visually cool though.

Iron Man 2

This one is just really mean-spirited. Tony is at his most unlikable, Arnie Hammer has too similar a personality and Whiplash is underutilised. Plus Pepper and Tony are going through a rough patch and Rhodey has to be the one to restrain him. Just unpleasant to watch.

Captain Marvel

A lot of fun with a colourful aesthetic but categorically basic as films go. Designed primarily to pander to a female market who presumably are sick of being pandered to (I know I am). Rushed to introduce the character before she serves as a Deus Ex Machina in Endgame. Even if this was Top Tier Marvel, the motives drag it down.

Avengers Assemble

There’s no denying how culturally important this film is but when you strip that away, it’s not that good. The camerawork is astoundingly bad with constant close ups and cuts during scenes. The dialogue is very “of the director” too, who obviously doesn’t deserve to be named. It looks and feels like an episode of TV and it’s the only MCU film like that, which only makes it more jarring.

Black Widow

Remember when people wanted this film when the character was introduced in 2010? And then they didn’t make it until 2019, only releasing it after the character had been wasted for a decade and murdered violently? And then they refused to release it during The Pandemic, causing a lack of already waning interest? And it was a basic spy flick, which seemed designed to set up the next generation of Black Widows, with bad greenscreen effects?

Thor: Love and Thunder

The levels of cringe radiating off this film are unparalleled. The shots are flat, the characters wasted, the tone uncaring. Yet it seems so smug about its own existence. Gorr the God Butcher and The Mighty Thor both deserved better than this, considering they were the highlights.

Eternals

This one reeked of Oscar-Bait and the studio did not attempt to hide it. That kind of vibe doesn’t fit the MCU but, worse than that, most of these characters suck. Kingo, Karun and Phastos retain my interest but the rest are bland or unlikable. For the most part, the film also looks exceptionally grey, like an early DCEU movie. Uninspired and dull.


Hawkeye

Clint Barton has gone unappreciated in his time, so it’s great to spend more time with him. He also has an adorable relationship with Kate Bishop who is a lovable dork. Plus it has all the vibes of christmas.

Wanadvision

The only one on this list that justifies being a show instead of a film. It makes good use of different sitcoms for the first half, with excellent performances from Liz Olsen and Paul Bettany. It also brings back Darcy, which is an instant win.

Loki

The running theme here seems to be “characters I care about” and Loki is no exception. His relationship with Mobius is great and it doesn’t make a mockery of time travel. The series finale also sticks the landing, which is a nice change.

What If

Full of interesting ideas but it never carries any of them to fruition. The primary interest here is The Watcher, who could be one of the coolest characters in the MCU if they allow it. The worst aspect is that, despite occurring over multiple dimensions, every iteration of each character looks the same.

Moon Knight

Came the closest to being like the Netflix Marvel shows but refused to fully commit to the violence or dark themes. Oscar Issac is trying his best with that accent and there are interesting elements throughout the series but it could have been more condensed.

Ms. Marvel

Blurs the line between Disney Channel and Marvel without ever being good at either. Kept afloat by a wonderful performance from Iman Vellani and Kamalas relationship with her family.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

This one really wanted to be about something but again it refused to commit. It’s difficult to have a show about how prevalent racism is when you’re also trying to condem people who think that *checks notes* there shouldn’t be borders because the world works better that way.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

2022 Oscar Predictions

It’s that time of year again. The supposed best and brightest in Hollywood have gathered to shower praise on a handful of movies. Elsewhere, the rest of the movie industry have gathered to share their own thoughts/complaints about the nominees. Whilst the relation of Oscar Wins to Movie Quality is questionable at best, there’s still a certain amount of entertainment in seeing if you can predict the winners. What can I say, I’m a sucker to peer pressure.

I have split each of the categories into two – one for who I think should win and one for who I think The Academy is likely to vote for.

Best Supporting Actress: Should go to Kristen Dunst for The Power of the Dog. Will go to Kristen Dunst for The Power of the Dog.

Best Costume Design: Should go to Cruella. Will go to Cyrano.

Best Sound Design: Should go to West Side Story. Will go to West Side Story.

Best Original Score: Should go to Encanto. Will go to Encanto.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Should go to The Power of the Dog. Will go to Dune.

Best Original Screenplay: Should go to The Worst Person in the World. Will go to The Worst Person in the World.

Best Animated Short Film: Only saw Robin Robin.

Best Live Action Short Film: I didn’t see a single film on this list.

Best Supporting Actor: Should go to Jesse Plemons for The Power of the Dog. Will go to Jesse Plemons for The Power of the Dog.

Best Editing: Should go to The Power of the Dog. Will go to Tick Tick…Boom!

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Should go to Cruella. Will go to House of Gucci.

Best Animated Feature: Should go to The Mitchells Vs The Machines. Will go to Encanto.

Best Original Song: Should got to Encanto. Will go to Encanto

Best Short Documentary: Didn’t see any of these

Best Feature Documentary: Only saw Flee.

Best VFX: Should go to Dune. Will go to Dune.

Best Cinematography: Should go to West Side Story. Will go to Dune.

Best Production Design: Should go to West Side Story. Will go to The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Best International Feature: Should go to Drive My Car. Will go to Drive My Car.

Best Actor: Should go to Benedict Cumberbatch for The Power of the Dog. Will go to Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Best Actress: Should go to Kristen Stewart for Spencer. Will go to Penelope Cruz for Parallel Mothers.

Best Director: Should go to West Side Story. Will go to The Power of the Dog.

Best Picture: Should go to West Side Story. Will go to The Power of the Dog.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Bea’s Comfort Content

As C-3PO once so eloquently pointed out “we seem to be made to suffer, it’s our lot in life”. He was, of course, talking about himself and R2-D2 stranded in the dunes of Tatooine, but I’ve often felt the exact same sentiment in my own life. Over the past couple of years, I’m sure I’m not the only one, so I wanted to share some of the content that’s helped me through.

MOVIES

Matilda

This 1996 classic, directed by Danny Devito, based on the Roald Dahl book is a staple of my life. It’s an adaptation that captures the charm and whimsy of the source material whilst providing one of Hollywood’s greatest villains with Headteacher Agatha Trunchbull. Whose heart wasn’t warmed by Miss Honey?

Toy Story

PIXAR Studios’ first feature film and the first fully animated feature-length motion picture is still a perfect hit of nostalgia. It has a great plot, likable characters, and one of the greatest scores ever written but it’s also a franchise I’ve grown up with. Realistically, any PIXAR film could go here, although The Incredibles is a close second.

The Lego Batman Movie

Batman, as a character, is most entertaining to me when he’s not being too serious. Batman ’89 captures the comic book vibe and the 1960’s Adam West show captures the perfect camp nature but this film achieves both. It’s also overflowing with warmth, in-jokes, and obvious respect for the character. It’s a perfect introduction for children and I love it more on every rewatch.

TV SHOWS

Doctor Who

I started watching this British sci-fi classic when it returned to our screens in 2005 and it’s those few years that I find myself rewatching the most. It’s the era where I fell in love with this show, with superb scripts from Russel T Davies and a stunning score from Murray Gold, but in particular, it’s that first series I fall back on most regularly. Never skip 9.

Spongebob Squarepants

The first few seasons of this show, which started airing in 1999, contain some of the funniest moments ever aired on television. Again, this is a show I grew up on because it simply saturated Nickelodeon thanks to reruns. Stephen Hillenberg created some of the most likable, entertaining characters and educated us on Sea Life without us noticing. He is missed constantly.

Bob’s Burgers

This animated adult comedy about a man, his family, and their burger restaurant is one of the best shows currently airing. I started watching during The Pandemic and quickly fell in love with these characters as well as the various forms of comedy employed by the show. Slapstick, sarcasm, and one-liners all have a part to play in making this semi-sitcom as quirky as it is.

YOUTUBE CHANNELS

Tomska

Primarily known for his asdfmovie series, Thomas “Tomska” Ridgewell and his friends create some of the funniest videos on the platform. Whether it’s their Content series on the second channel “Tomska and Friends”, the live-action sketches, or even asdfmovie itself, I’m constantly dipping back into his videos. Content is especially neat because it feels more like hanging out with the boys than watching a video. The very wholesome boys.

Tom Scott

Youtube is home to a bounty of educational content and Tom Scotts channel is home to much of it. From visiting amazing places to his series Things You Might Not Know, as well as the roundtable games he plays with his friends, Tom is a bastion of knowledge and entertainment. He also has one of the most relaxing voices I’ve ever heard.

Hbomberguy

Harry Brewis is known for his zany energy and only uploading twice a year, but every time he uploads he raises the bar for video essays. They are always well researched and manage to keep me engaged despite their, occasionally rather long, runtimes. Television, gaming, and real-world events all get a look in with his often thought-provoking work.

MUSIC

Queen

I don’t really listen to music but I grew up listening to classic artists like Bowie, Abba, and Queen. Honestly, any of their works could go here, but I find myself returning to Queen’s catalog the most. There are all-time greats like Bohemian Rhapsody but songs like Hammer To Fall are just as wonderful.

The Lord of the Rings OST

Considering my love of movies, it should come as no surprise that I lean towards soundtracks instead of mainstream music albums. John Williams’ work is unparalleled but if anyone came close, it was Howard Shore with his compositions in the Middle Earth films. Not only are they hauntingly beautiful, but they make me feel at home. Concerning Hobbits never fails to make me smile.

West Side Story OST

If it’s not film soundtracks, it’s musicals. I grew up with the likes of Hairspray and Grease but more recent productions like School of Rock and Beetlejuice: The Musical arejust as great. My focus often shifts, as does my mood, so I go through a wide variety of scores but for today’s recommendation, it felt right to pick West Side Story. Steven Spielberg recently released his own film based on Sondhiem’s musical and Sondheim recently passed away. If you have somehow missed out, now is the time to jump in.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Road to No Way Home

It’s no secret that I was hesitant about Spider-Man: No Way Home. The third in the MCU’s trilogy of Spider-Man films seemed like it might be filled with nostalgia and very little else. This was the cap on an iteration of a character that I hadn’t been overly fond of in a franchise that has been known to rely heavily on connections to itself. I was hesitant.

Then I saw it and came to a conclusion that I did not expect – it was good. It wasn’t perfect, not the new “Best Spider-Man Film” as many fans claimed, but that over-reliance on nostalgia never manifested. Instead, there was a decent story, with the occasional flaw, which ultimately resulted in a solid origin story for the MCU’s Peter Parker.

However, it never occurred to me that this might be the case. I hoped, of course, but never let myself believe it and I made my hesitancy known. What follows is a collection of every single tweet I made in regards to No Way Home, both on my professional and private accounts. It is preserved here as a reminder, both for you and myself, that opinions can change. You never truly know what a movie or television show is going to give you until you see it for yourself.

(08/12/20) Do not drag the Raimi trilogy into the MCU. Stop.

(09/12/20) If Disneys Spider-Man 3 fails, people will cite that it’s because there were too many villains/characters. I would like to be the first to say, miles ahead of time, that this is incorrect.

(09/12/20) If they called it Spider-Man: No Place Like Home, I would die of embarrassment on Disney’s behalf. Be funny though.

(30/01/21) Listen. I like canon as much as the next nerd BUT I doubt that the MCU will make Agents of SHIELD and The Defenders and its associated shows canon. IF any characters make their way into the MCU, it’ll probably be as alternate versions of those characters. This also applies to the upcoming Spider-Man 3, Doctor Strange 2, and WandaVision because this will end up being a massive multiverse just NOT in the way that you think it will.

Please remember to manage your expectations

(24/02/21) Good morning to the MCU fans who thought we were getting a Spider-Man 3 title because Tom Holland was on a talk show last night.

(24/02/21) I would not at all be shocked if we only get a Spider-Man 3 title when WandaVision is over. Maybe even a “Wanda Will return in Spider-Man: Home Run” at the end of Episode 9

(24/02/21) Spider-Man: No Homo

(24/02/21) With the announcement of Spider-Man: No Way Home, I would like to tell you all that the FIRST Spider-Man 3 is good and that Marc Webb deserved to make Amazing Spider-Man 3. This should be the 3rd time we’re being entertained by a “Spider-Man 3

(17/04/21) My fave thing about Alfred Molina returning as Doc Ock is the use of de-aging in some scenes. So they’re almost definitely pulling the old “he’s been in the MCU all along, we just haven’t heard from him yet” bit. It’s kinda ridiculous and I’m kinda here for it

(1/05/21) Spider-Man: No Way Home is trending today and it will trend again tomorrow due to one of these 3 things. 1) The trailer doesn’t come out and people get upset. 2) It comes out and confirms the involvement of Maguire and/or Garfield and everybody loses their collective minds 3) It comes out and DOESN’T confirm their involvement prompting a backlash. REGARDLESS of the outcome, Disney is going to get free publicity for their movie so react however you want because it literally does not matter to them. (Personally don’t want them involved btw)

(31/05/21) When we do get a trailer for Disney’s Spider-Man it will ABSOLUTELY use at least their voices. The amount of hype it would produce would be unfathomable. I wouldn’t agree with this tactic but I’d understand it. Still don’t want them in the movie though.

(01/06/21) Spider-Man: No Way, Homo

(23/07/21) SPIDER-MAN TRENDING AGAIN?? They will release it when they release it.

(23/08/21) Waiting for the official release of the Spider-Man: NWH trailer like a good little nerd

(24/08/21) I will not let the No Way Home Trailer nostalgia-bait me. It is a lazy tactic to draw me in… I’m still gonna watch the movie though. Doc Ock looking fine.

(27/08/21) SURE SPIDER-MAN 3 ISN’T PERFECT BUT IT ISN’T THAT BAD. I DON’T WANT A SINGLE PERSON TO PRAISE NO WAY HOME BECAUSE “IT MADE MULTIPLE VILLAINS WORK”

(08/11/21) Me saying that I don’t trust spoilers and then being proven right is pure narcissistic joy.

(08/11/21) All Spider-Man: Now Way Home fans

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(9/11/21) Perhaps Sony is releasing images of Tom Holland on a bridge to remind you that this is a Tom Holland Spider-Man movie because SOME of you seem to have forgotten that.

(9/11/21) If not seeing Tobey and Andrew in NWH will “ruin” that movie for you, if you’re going to throw a hissy fit because “Sony lied” then do us all a favour and please keep that opinion to yourself.

(26/11/21) Hot MCU Spider-Man takes.

*Peter should have been an adult

*No Way Home feels like it was made as a reaction to Into The Spider-verse

*Making MJ a WOC was their best decision

*Villains are the main reason the films are good

*Venom doesn’t fit the MCU

(10/12/21) This might be a tad controversial but This Picture, TO ME, is emblematic of my main issue with NWH. Marvel is just using these characters because they can. So that they can rush a Sinister 6 film. They will just adapt the characters we love to fit their narrative.

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(13/12/21) 31st December. That’s the soonest I can see it. “Frustrated” doesn’t cover it.

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(15/12/21) Sometimes a small-scale story is OK. Not everything has to be bigger than the last. Yes, this is about No Way Home/ Dr. Who

(15/12/21) Saw Spider-Man: No Way Home spoilers and the WORST thing is that I kind of don’t care. It just confirms my hesitations about the film. Hoping I still have fun with it but full thoughts in a couple weeks I guess.

(22/12/21) Marvel having their whole NWH marketing campaign be about avoiding spoilers, only to start marketing the follow-up barely a week later is the most hypocritical, corporate BS I’ve ever seen.

(27/12/21) Keep thinking about how I will have seen No Way Home by the time the year ends. Absolutely wild. It’s been part of Conversation for like 2 years now and soon it’ll be over. And then it gets to consume my thoughts for another few months presumably. Pray for me.

(31/12/21) Spider-Man: No Way Home is good. Peter Parker faces off against multiversal foes in a story that is fun but held back by relying on the worldbuilding of other creators. It’s exciting to see these characters again in what is the best MCU Spidey movie but it also makes some bad choices.

Spoiler-Free Review: https://shakesqueer.home.blog/2022/01/08/spider-man-no-way-home-spoiler-free/

Spoiler-Filled Review: https://shakesqueer.home.blog/2022/01/09/spider-man-no-way-home-spoilers/

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer