Willow Movie Review

Once upon a time, there was a man named George Lucas….

And if you don’t know who he is – what – have you been living under a rock since the 1970’s?

Anyway, back in 1988 just nine days before I celebrated my first birthday, the movie Willow hit screens.

Wikipedia describes Willow as a “British-american high fantasy film.” Husband described it as “like the hobbit, but different.” Prior to watching the film I knew these things:

  1. It was about a dwarf who finds a baby and has to do something with it
  2. It has Val Kilmer in it
  3. George Lucas wrote it
  4. Ron Howard directed it
  5. It’s not on Amazon Prime OR Netflix

I was very prepared to be vastly underwhelmed by the movie. BUT Husband was very adamant that I watch it, so we went on our own quests of sorts to find a copy of the movie.

So – earlier this week, we pop the DVD into the Playstation and I settle into the couch with hopes that it won’t be too boring or corny.

It was corny. But it was also made in 1988 so the special effects of the time are just part of the charm.

I promise, I’m getting to the point of this post.

I really LOVED the film.

What I realized as I watched it was how the film was pretty feminist WITHOUT taking away from the male characters.

The film is about this evil queen that is all freaked out because the Seers have foretold of a baby girl being born that will be the sign of the queen’s downfall. So – evil queen impressions all the pregnant women in her kingdom and waits for the baby (identifiable by a special birth mark) to be born. Once the baby is born, it gets snuck out by the midwife and found by the dwarf.  He’s told by this Queen of the Fairies to take the baby to find this enchantress who will help him and the baby. While all of this is going on, the warrior-princess and some pretty intense soldiers are hunting the baby to being it back to the queen so she can do this ritual on it. Willow (the dwarf) teams up with Val Kilmer who helps with all the fighting and whatnot. When Val Kilmer and Warrior-Princess meet, they start to fall for each other. As foretold, Warrior-Princess changes sides and helps Willow and Val. Eventually, there’s a big fight over the baby between the evil queen and the enchantress. Willow comes in and saves the day, but not after these two older women take some pretty intense beatings from one another.

Alright – here’s why I think it’s feminist but NOT femma-nazi.

The women characters all have SOME sort of power (physical or magical) as well as agency. Agency is the key word here. It means that the characters have the ability to act for themselves. Sleeping Beauty – for example – lacks agency. All her abilities (in the fairy tale) are given to her when she’s a baby, she doesn’t have to work for anything, and wakes up to a husband after a long nap. The women in this film, all have the ability to make decisions on what they want to do, and they do it. This is best shown by the warrior-princess changing sides. Yes, she does it for a man – but who cares? It was HER decision. And, she can kick his ass if she ever needs to.

Also, the human society overall seems to be more matriarchal (the dwarves are a bit more patriarchal – and there’s nothing wrong with that) . The queen doesn’t have a king and isn’t being threatened of losing her position in the kingdom by her daughter getting married, or being forced to marry again, OR by any sort of male. She’s threatened by being replaced by another woman.

Alright, and here’s where it gets good. No one is complete in their strength. The male heroes very much seem to compliment and fill in the gaps for the females and vice versa. Which is awesome, if you ask me.

So here’s my big issue with in your face feminist movies and whatnot. A lot of the time, it’s kinda in your face and you’re forced to be aware of it. And, if you’re anything like me, you don’t appreciate that. Also, not sure if there’s any real proof, but it would seem to me that if the message is more subtle, it’s more likely to seep into someone’s subconscious and then really start the wheels going.

Also, and this is something that I hear a lot, it seems that in children’s books, films, and even TV/ commercials, the women are strong at the men’s expense. For example, I loved the Berenstain Bears books, but my Dad hated them. He’d tell my mom that he didn’t like that the Dad was such a doofus and was worried I’d start to see him like that.

For me, feminism is about being proud of my gender, embracing the things that make women women, but – mostly – it’s about equality. Feminists will rant and criticize movies where the women are less than the males – but not when the coin is flipped. And that bothers me.

So – that’s why I really appreciated the movie. The women and the men all had their own kind of power and agency, but never at the expense of anyone else. They all had their special role to fill.

Anyway… that’s my rambling review of Willow.

 

People That Stick With You

There are people who challenge you every day. They challenge you to be braver. They challenge you to be stronger. Nicer. Better. Kinder. 

There are people who bring out the best in you. These people can take all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s your husband. Sometimes it’s your boss. Sometimes it’s your best friend. Sometimes it’s a total stranger next to you in line at the grocery store.

Then, there are people who give you the opportunity to learn who you are and who you can be. These people are the ones that makes you doubt yourself. These are the bullies, the naysayers, the haters. Just like the others, these people can be anyone. They can be a sibling. They can be a coworker. They can be that jackass in the next lane that cuts you off.

These people, the “good” and the “bad” shape who we are. How we react and how we change defines how the world sees us, and how we see ourselves. 

Then, if you’re anything like me, there’s the scenes that play out in your head. The World of What If. What if I was kinder? What if I stopped and gave that homeless man I pass on my way to work my yogurt in the morning? What if I was braver? What if I told that coworker to go to Hell? What if I rammed that jerk in the bumper at the next red light?

I see these scenes play out so vividly in my mind. Mostly, I’m the hero. Other times, I’m the villain. All these people and all these choices to live in the World of What If are opportunities.

What people don’t know, is that for a writer, we live in the World of What If. Everyone we meet. Every person that makes an impression on us (good or bad) is free game. I might not be able to tell that creeper at the pharmacy what I really think about him, but in my writing I can. In the World of My Words, I can come in dressed in a cape, say something so clever and witty that ass won’t know what verbal onslaught just hit him, and then spray him with mace. 

This is your warning, people in the Land of the Internet. Piss me off, I will slay you in my next short story. Give me strength and I will make you a hero in my next epic. For all those people out there, the ones that stick with me, are the ones that will become characters in my stories. Good or bad, you will be my inspiration. 

I like the good, but the bad are just as fun to play with. 

So, I dare you. Challenge me. Push me and see what happens. Support me and see yourself through another’s eyes. I’m always looking for more characters for my stories. Just ask yourself first, “Who do I want to be?”

Loving Imperfections

I’m one of those people that likes to troll Facebook in order to see the funny articles, videos, and occasional updates from my friends. I don’t really pause to examine your dinner in full detail nor do I feel compelled to read every status update on your new born. Don’t get me wrong, I like babies, but I don’t need to know what color his/her snot is.

However, the other day I saw an article that made me stop and read the whole thing through. It was a link to a blog post about 7 Cultural Concepts We don’t Have in the US. The concept that spoke to me the most was this one called wabi-sabi. From the blog post and a small bit of other research, I discovered that the wabi-sabi way of looking at life might be something that all artist should adopt. Basically it’s a Japanese idea of finding beauty in something that is imperfect and/or worn. One web site defined it as ignoring perfect and embracing the worn and asymmetrical, and proposes that doing this can change the way you see the world.

It’s already helped me accept my knitting mistakes. Each time I purl instead of knit and each time I knit instead of purl I’m making a mistake that (while annoying) adds a since of humanity and beauty to the scarf. A machine can knit tons of scarfs in a day with no imperfections, but it won’t do it with love. It won’t come home from work and think of that special person each time it adds a row.

But this is a writing blog.

So what does this have to do with writing?

Everything.

That first draft of anything you write should be full of grammar mistakes and plot holes. You should work hard on it and love those imperfections as you write. If another writer hard the same plot and characters and everything, they wouldn’t make the same mistakes that you do. And maybe something that looks like a mistake (a character turns out a bit differently than you intended) might be that thing that pulls the story together later on in other drafts. You need to make those mistakes to see what your story is just as much as you need them to see what your story isn’t.

Well, what about the last draft? The story will never be “perfect.” Each time you read it you’ll think, “Oh, I should have changed that phrasing…” So – just love the story for what it is. Sure, you’ll need to fine tune those rough edges, but by the time you are done that story will be well worn. It will be full of little quirks that is all you. Quirks that you might not even notice. Quirks that make up your own unique writing style.

Maybe its just me, but I think that sounds like a good way to go about writing. This concept of wabi-sabi is what finally got this idea of being okay with your sh*tty first draft. And, the cowl I’ve been trying to knit since October.

Writing Prompt 1: Breaking Up with Writer’s Block

While checking out some different writing prompts on Writer’s Digest I found this awesome free guide that they off. They call it, The Writing Prompt Boot Camp. It’s a free download and you can get it here. I thought, that for my beginning of this weekly writing prompt challenge I’ve set for myself, that this guide would be a good place to start.

If you’ve been having some of the same problems as me, then I really encourage you to join me! I’d love for anyone who wants to to post their responses in the comments below.

Anyway… here’s the first one:

Breaking Up With Writer’s Block
It’s time for you and Writer’s Block to part ways. Write a letter breaking up with Writer’s
Block, starting out with, “Dear Writer’s Block, it’s not you, it’s me …”

There we go. So, you mission, whether you choose to accept it or not, is to break-up with your writer’s block. We all know that it’s an unhealthy relationship. Just pull the plug already.

So. Ready…..

Set….

Go!

Making Time to Write

Well, I’m doing it. I’m getting back to my writing.

One piece of advice that I hear all the time from people on how to be a good writer is to write something everyday. Which doesn’t really sound all that hard now does it? Just sit down, with pen and paper, and just put some words down. It doesn’t have to be the beginnings of amazing literature. It just has to be something.

Yeah, it’s not that easy. Maybe for some people it is, but not for me. I do this thing where I psych myself out. I over think my writing all the time and don’t allow it to be crappy. I mean, no matter what, when you write something you need to allow yourself to write that shitty first draft.

I don’t do that. I put too much pressure on myself and I know it’s stupid, but I do.

Then, on top of all that, I have to make time for writing. Again, not that hard, right?

And again, for me it is. I work a full time job now, I’m married and (call me crazy) but I like to spend quality time with Husband, I have friends that I already don’t spend as much time with as I should, family, reading, blogging, and I joined a gym. By the time I get everything done in a day that I need to do, there’s not a ton of time or energy left over for writing.

I suppose that’s what self discipline is for, but even that comes in limited quantities.

So how do I go about making time to write and making sure I have energy?

I don’t know really. I’m still trying to figure it out. It would make sense to set time aside everyday for writing, but I’ve tried that before.

Really, I’m just making excuses. I’m going to try different strategies and we’ll see what happens.

My first plan is to participate in the weekly writing prompt that Writer’s Digest has on their webpage. My plan is to post the prompt (and others that I come across) at the beginning(ish) of each week, and then post what I write on it by the time I post the next prompt. We’ll see how this works. I’d love it for anyone to join me and in the comment section leave some of what they wrote in response 🙂

What about you? How to you make sure that you have time to write?

Inspirational Images

Here are some fun images that, will hopefully, inspire you to keep at it. I know whenever I hit a wall, I make one of these the background on my computer and bust on through… 


Sometimes I kinda wish I could have a video clip of Christian Bale in all his Batman glory saying this to me in his Batman voice. I think that could scare some creativity into me.

I found this (I forget where… I’m pretty sure from Chuck Wendig‘s blog) and I just love it. Granted I am the Queen of my story… Not king…

Love this image? Why not copy my html code and have it as a badge on your blog/ webpage?
I think you should 🙂

I want this on a print, framed, and hanging above my desk…

Yeah, I want this on a print as well for above my desk….

However, my Husband and parents may tell you otherwise. Books are my crack.