Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Final Trailer is Uncomfortably Creepy -- and Good

The trailer for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie is finally here.

We’ve seen snippets and on-set photos from the film for about a year. With each released photo and snippet, we’ve become more and more excited. This trailer for Joker did not disappoint. It’s no secret that everyone who plays Joker will be compared to Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Heath Ledger’s Joker. Jared Leto’s Joker seems to divide many fans. And while the trailers for Joker 2019 are all we have until October, we think Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker portrayal will be legendary.

Warner Bros’ Joker film is an origin story, moving away from the existing DC Universe lineup to focus on Batman’s fiercest adversary. There are still media outlets referring to Joker as a superhero film and it’s anything but. While DCU films tend to be darker than their MCU counterparts, director Todd Phillips and producer Bradley Cooper have taken a drastically different direction with Joker altogether. This is a psychological thriller.

Arthur Fleck is a clown-for-hire in Gotham City who just can’t catch a break from life in 1981. His passion is stand-up comedy, except no one finds him funny. He spends most of his time tending to his dying mother. He gets beat up in an alley. He gets shut down for making a woman’s child laugh on a bus. Late night talk show host Franklin (Robert De Niro) mocks him on live television. His therapist tells him that “This will be our last meeting” and Arthur is clearly already at the end of his rope because his therapist has not been listening to him at all. His descent into madness was inevitable.

Although Warner Bros said that this Joker movie is completely independent from the DCU, we get to see Thomas Wayne (played by Brett Cullen) punch Arthur Fleck in the face. We can’t help but wonder if this could be a separate universe altogether.

The Joker movie is inspired by three classic Martin Scorsese films: Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and The King of Comedy. And you can see homages to those classic films in several scenes in the trailer, including Arthur looking at a clown in the back seat of a taxi as it drives by a la Taxi Driver. And the fact that Robert De Niro is playing a character similar to Rupert Pupkin, as in his character in the film The King of Comedy is definitely paying tribute to Scorsese.

Also starring in Joker is Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2, Atlanta) as Sophie Dumond. While it’s clear from the trailer that she is Arthur’s love interest, it’s unclear whether she will be an accomplice or victim of Joker’s chaos. This is a Joker origin story, so we are not expecting a Harley Quin or Joker and Harley Quin-like relationship.

Joker hits theaters October 4.

James Bond Passes Code Name: 007 to Lashana Lynch

Instagram @lashanalynch

Instagram @lashanalynch

At the end of Spectre, we know that James Bond retires from the life of espionage.

Fans speculated about who would replace Bond in the franchise, many casting their bets on Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Henry Cavill, and even Harry Styles. But the 007 production crew has been known to keep mum until they are ready for the world to know. Well, they are ready. Lashana Lynch has received the 007 baton.

Of course, James Bond is still, well, Bond. But he’s out of the game, now. It’s only natural that a fellow MI:6 operative take over the code name. Lynch will be playing Nomi, fellow super spy in the upcoming film. Of course, Bond will be Bond and will likely try and probably succeed in seducing his fellow operative. Does this mean the franchise is retiring the Bond name and continuing on future films with code name: 007? No one knows at present. We will just have to wait and see.

With the recent news that The Little Mermaid live-action film will have Ariel played by a Black actress, we are anticipating some backlash. But for now, Bond fans are expressing their delight in having the first woman 007 and are welcoming the change.

Lashana Lynch is an English actress of Jamaican descent and is known for playing fighter pilot Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel, ABC’s Still Star-Crossed, and British television show Bulletproof. Bond 25 is still filming and is set to be in theaters April 2020.

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A lickle taste... #B25

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What do you think about 007 being a woman? A Black woman? Over here, we love it.

12 Movies That Define Generation X

Even though Generation X (people born between 1965 and 1980) is the middle child, or Jan Brady of generations, our cultural influence is undeniable.

Those of us born between 1965 and 1980 are outnumbered by both the previous generation of Baby Boomers and the younger generation for which Baby Boomers blame everything, Millenials. I read somewhere that a generation is a group of people with collected, shared experiences. And boy do we have them. From VCRs, the introduction to the CD-walkman, and corded house phones during a time when MTV actually played music—like full music videos—we remember. We reminisce.

And that reminiscing is, according to the Journal of Consumer Research, is one of the many reasons Gen X, though only 25% of the population, has the most spending power. Gen X founded more than 51% of startups, make up more than 30% of U.S. income even though we are only 25% of the population, and accounts for more than 50% of leadership roles globally.

Sure, we had an angsty youth, constantly being called lazy—disaffected—by our Boomer parents. But we grew from the constant put-downs into today’s leaders. But the 80s and 90s saw film being revolutionized in ways that gave our generation a voice. Whether exaggerated our culture is in these films and continue to an influential voice.

Here’s 12 movies that defined Generation X and why we appreciate them now more than ever.

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Boyz in the Hood - 1991

The late John Singleton’s autobiographical masterpiece was groundbreaking. The 80s and 90s saw African American filmmakers beginning to be heard and being allowed to tell our stories our way.

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Reality Bites - 1994

To sell out or not to sell out—that was the question this brilliant Ben Stiller film asked in the form of Leleina choosing between two very different men representing both.

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10 Things I Hate About You - 1999

Here’s the film that introduced us to Heath Ledger and making us fall in love with his serenade—swoon, amazing soundtrack, dialogue that’s just as fresh and witty today as it was 25 years ago!

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Romeo & Juliet - 1996

Modern filmography with William Shakespeare’s unchanged play created a beautiful film. Even if you couldn’t understand Shakespearean, you felt it.

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Empire Records -1995

“Damn the man! Save the Empire” was the message. Basically, fuck corporations. Fuck selling out.

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Clueless - 1995

This cinematic, modern interpretation of Jane Austen’s Emma was genius. Although many didn’t even realize it was a reimagining of Emma, Clueless still one of the most quotable films of all time.

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The Breakfast Club - 1985

“Dear Mr. Vernon…You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.”

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Boomerang - 1992

Boomerang was the first African American, upscale romantic comedy, the lives of successful Black people as heads of companies, in love, in, in lust, not being drug dealers, drug addicts, prostitutes, gang members—just unapologetically Black and living their lives.

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Hackers - 1995

Cyberpunk never looked this fun (up until that point at least).They were Anonymous before Anonymous existed. Computer geeks were the cool kids.

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Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead - 1991

So many films about parents going out of town and leaving their kids make sure that the kids pretty much destroys the house or at least some property. This fun, dark comedy does the opposite.

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To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar - 1995

The hilarious, real, and beautiful film that every single male director passed on was directed by an up and coming femme director of a new tv series, “Orange is Not the Only Fruit” Beeban Kidron.

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House Party - 1990

Hilarious classic party film. Black kids being allowed to be Black kids and have fun without having to the funny side kick friend to a White protagonist.

We questioned our Boomer parents’ want of us to “sell out". We fought for more minorities to be in command of telling their own stories their own way. We fought to just be able to have fun. And we did it with a dope-ass wardrobe and soundtrack. That’s what Gen X contributed, much to Boomers’ chagrin. Now, if we can stop making remakes of everything, that’d be great.

Which films have influenced you?

Rebecca Sugar, You’re My Hero

To put it simply, I do not believe there is a better show in existence for young children in the current day and age as Steven Universe.

Steven Universe, Cartoon Network

Steven Universe, Cartoon Network

Simply by turning it on, and watching any of the numerous episodes, one can learn so much about how the world should work. Let’s start with the main cast. The focal point of the series is the adventures of Steven Quartz Universe and his three mentors/senior teammates, Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. From the first moment, these three female leads are among some of the best.

All of their voices stand out, from the heavily accented Garnet, voiced by singer/songwriter/producer Estelle Fanta Swaray who traces her roots back to Grenada, to the Raspy and energetic voice of Amethyst, Michaela Dietz, a Korean-American singer and voice actress by trade, to the haughty and motherly voice of Pearl from Deedee Lynn Magno Hall, a Filipina-American voice actress who is best known as Princess Jasmine in the Aladdin Broadway production.

No two characters sound alike. Although relatives tend to have similar voices, all show an insane degree of personality. From the Pizza family, who are immigrants from the country of Ghana, the father, Kofi Pizza, and the grandmother Nanefua Pizza, to his daughters, Jenny and Kiki Pizza. The latter two were clearly raised in America. The entire show brings a realistic representation of life in America. If you lived in another country for years, you will have an accent. And then, in this show, that accent is never grounds for a joke. It’s merely a factor of these character’s lives and personality. Ethnicity is never a point of contention, neither is gender. Characters can be weak, strong, light-hearted, serious, but it’s all based around who they are, not what they are.

I wish I had grown up with this show. I really, truly do. Allow me to spoil an episode, known as “Alone Together”. Though Steven Universe has had many groundbreaking episodes, this, was the first. It introduced a character known as Stevonnie. A fusion of Steven, the main character, and Connie, his book-smart, sword wielding best friend. (Her full name, for the record, is Connie Maheswaran, she is of Indian descent) Stevonnie is created in a flash of pink light, and where two children stood, now stands a beautiful, no, a stunning figure. Tall, not lean, but just soft enough in the right places. Instantly, the first thing they do is stand up, and run around, laughing. Yes, I said they. Stevonnie is the first purely non binary character in the series. Not male or female. Non binary. They take themselves to Garnet, who tells them that, “Stevonnie, listen to me. You are not two people, and you are not one person. You, are an experience! Make sure you’re a good experience. Now, go have fun!” After another run on the beach, followed by a cliff dive into the ocean, they find themselves hungry, and head into a local donut shop for a snack.

Lars and Stevonnie, The Big Donut Shop

Lars and Stevonnie, The Big Donut Shop

Two recurring characters stand behind the counter. The tall, lanky, sometimes unthoughtful Lars, and the short, stocky, strong, sometimes hard headed and manipulative Sadie. At the sight of the attractive Stevonnie, both characters find themselves flustered. Stuttering. Unable to form cohesive thoughts, and end up giving away the food for free, to which Stevonnie actively flirts back over their shoulder, “But, just so you know, that isn’t a very sound business practice.”

Stevonnie sees the power their attractiveness wields, and decides to wield it in kind. But, like most swords, there is a double edge, which appears later, in the form of Kevin. Stevonnie, still reveling in their newfound power, decided to head to a local rave. As music plays and lights flash, they begin to dance--their beauty and acrobatics attracting the eyes of the entire venue. Does this flatter them even more? No, it, in fact, induces an extremely harsh anxiety attack, prompting them to run into the corner, lamenting the fact that if they were to split back into Steven and Connie, they would at least have each other. Instead, they’re alone, together. And that’s when Kevin arrives.

Kevin and Stevonnie

Kevin and Stevonnie

Now, most of us have met a Kevin at least once in our lives. Acts like they are a Greek statue given life. You’re lucky to know them. He’s the best thing that will ever happen to you. He approached, breaking through their personal space. Flirting, patronizing, calling them “baby” and “girl” clearly interested in only their body, and how having his pushed up against theirs will make him look. Stevonnie, ready for their night to be over, pulls Kevin onto the dance floor, seemingly broken down by his incessant bothering and not taking no for an answer, and proceeds to dance so hard, they fall apart. Literally. They split, reforming into the now laughing and weeping at the same time Connie and Steven. To his credit, he leaves with a simple, “That’s two kids! I’m out!” as Connie and Steven enjoy their dance--together.

One simple episode brings up so much. Identifying as non binary, using sexuality as a weapon and enjoying it, being pressured by someone into doing things you don’t want, especially in a sexual way, and fighting against it in order to be yourself. Even then, more episodes with more lessons spring to mind. “The Storm in the Room” has to do with not defining yourself by the actions and reputation of your parents. “Mindful Education” and the song “Here Comes a Thought” are about dealing with anxieties and not letting them consume you. “Pool Hopping” is about recognizing that you can never be totally in control, and at times just have to take things as they come.

Rebecca Sugar, you really are my hero. You’re a bisexual, non binary woman who creates incredible story lines, beautiful art, and unbelievable music every day. I want to be more like you. This article is my love letter to your series, Becky. I am thankful that you created it, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Comment

Sophia Sunday

My opinion is my opinion. I would never say it's the right one. I just think it's what makes the best world available. Mid-20s, Trans, in the woods. Possibility of going feral rises every single day. If you're reading this, please listen to Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. It takes a listen or two to get used to it, but dear god, it's such a good album. Also, fuck capitalism, cops, and our current state of Democracy. Feast on the bones of the rich. Wake me up when Stone Ocean is animated.

Game of Thrones Fans Are Weirded Out By Arya's Scene With Gendry

Game of Thrones Fans Are Weirded Out By Arya's Scene With Gendry

Arya is a fan favorite on Game of Thrones. We’re emotionally invested in her story. And during season one of GoT, we even ‘shipped her with Gendry, the late King Robert Baratheon’s eldest bastard son. Their back and forth banter was just so adorable.

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After Only One Episode of Season 8 of Game of Thrones the Memes Are Lit

While some people thought the first episode of Game of Thrones season 8 was a bit slow, others thought the episode was amazing.

It’s true that the first episode of each new season of Game of Thrones is usually extremely dry and a bit difficult to get through. But Season 8 started off as basically one big meme factory. And we’re here for it.

Memes have truly become a necessary part of pop culture and can even be like a companion guide or accessory to a movie or TV show. That’s why we love these GoT memes. And most of the memes that sprouted from this episode are either about that infamous Bran/Jamie near reunion or Daenarys and Jon Snow. Either way, the memes and commentary are EVERYTHING. So, here’s are some of our favorites. With no context. We hope you enjoy these as much as we have.

How Close Are We to Becoming a Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale?

“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”

The Handmaid's Tale is a Hulu original thriller series based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel of the same name. It explores what can happen when extreme, fundamentalist Christians take over the United States. Fiction though it may be, is it even remotely possible to happen for real? The short answer: Yes. It's very possible.

The premise of the show is, in the very near future, an extremist Christian group within the United States attacks the Northeast coast and overthrows the government, replacing the United States government in New England with a totalitarian, theonomy--governance based on the strict adherence of the divine law of the Old Testament.

The democracy that was the United States was replaced by the militaristic, totalitarian, theonomy of The Republic of Gilead. Gay and lesbian men and women were murdered, with the exception of women who were able to conceive. Fertile women were forced to become surrogates or “handmaids” - baby-making factories - for those in power who could not reproduce. These women were forced to bear children they did not want - forced to have sex in order to procreate. Raped.

Gilead is a nation where women’s bodies are governed—every inch of their bodies policed. Women wear uniforms, each class having a designated uniform according to their relationship to men: the aunts, wife, handmaid, martha, and unwomen.

How did the the United States become the Republic of Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale? The never-ending belief in male dominance, women’s complicity in those beliefs, and people not wanting to be bothered with anything that did not immediately affect their lives—that’s how. Offred, the protagonist was guilty of the latter, just as many are guilty of that today.

While policing women’s bodies is not a new concept (Napoleon Bonaparte famously once said, “Women were nothing but machines for producing children”) it is not acceptable, especially in 2019. Why, then, do politicians continue to police women’s bodies according to their religious interpretation or morality when the U.S. Constitution expressly calls for a separation of church and state? They do it for the same reasons boys in gaming spaces like to tell femme gamers to go back in the kitchen or make them a sandwich. There’s a perceived superiority of men over women and an unwillingness to believe women should be the gatekeepers of our own bodies and our own happiness.

Legislators are creating laws that make getting a safe abortion legal based on legislators’ cherry-picked religious beliefs but no laws regulating the male body. Legislators pass laws that would make allow employers to not allow birth control to be covered by insurers, but Viagra and other male libido enhancement medications remain untouched. The governors of both Kentucky and Mississippi recently signed six-week abortion bans and Georigia’s new governor is awaiting Georgia’s 6-week abortion ban to hit his desk so that he can sign it.

Politicians brush off with sexual assault like it’s okay, openly admitting to sexual assault—boys and men threaten women and girls with rape and assault for disagreeing with their opinion or daring to voice their opinion. And when we speak out on it, try to correct their behavior or say “I don’t like this” we’re called sensitive, snowflakes, PC! When we simply say “No, I’m not interested,” we’re harassed. How far is too far?

Anjali Sareen Nowakowski perfectly summed up how similar our reality is to that of the Republic of Gilead. “All it took to build Gilead, though, was the silence of those that would resist and the vast expansion of government power.” While there are similarities between US and Gilead, can we all work together so that “Under his eye” and “Blessed be the fruit” are not the only things we’re allowed to say to each other?

Season 3 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale premiere’s June 5, 2019.

Why Piracy is Making a Comeback

Why Piracy is Making a Comeback

People flocked to streaming services because of the exorbitant pricing of bundled cable and satellite television services. These bundles forced consumers to pay upwards of one-hundred dollars for 5-10 channels that they actually watch because services bundled those handful of channels to only be purchased with the addition of 200+ other channels. Not only that, but Netflix offered consumers convenience. Soon, other streaming services followed suit and illegal downloads fell. So what happened?

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Classic Witch Movies to Binge While Giving Out Candy on Halloween

Classic Witch Movies to Binge While Giving Out Candy on Halloween

Not everyone dresses up for Halloween. Some of us enjoy staying home and handing out candy and being entertained by the awesome costumes of trick-or-treaters who beg for candy.

Staying home and handing out candy doesn’t have to be dull. After all, Halloween is supposed to be a magical night, as pagans believe it’s the night that the veil is thinnest and we’re able to more easily communicate with and feel the presence of our lost loved ones. It’s basically “The Season of the Witch.” Here are some amazing witchy classics to binge-watch while handing out candy this Halloween. Or just to binge watch period, because they’re just that freakin’ good!

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