Tag: steven spielberg

8 of Literature Worst Monsters (Who weren’t all that bad)

Who are literature’s worst monsters, but aren’t actually all that bad? Who has a silver lining that we can look into? Who are the almost monsters of literature that are almost terrible but not quite?

Let’s find out!

 

 

8-Vernon Dursley

Vernon Dursley

Image Via Cat and Ellie’s Bookcase – WordPress.com

 

At least Umbridge told Harry the truth! At least she told him that he shouldn’t lie!

Not only did this pig in a human suit lie to Harry, but he abused him since he was a BABY. He’s not even magical.

Objectively, of all the characters from the Harry Potter series, Vernon Dursley is just the worse. He’s human, so we can judge him as much as we want, for keeping a baby in a closet under the stairs for ELEVEN YEARS. Voldemort had the decency to try and kill Harry, Umbridge at least spoke in a nice voice, but Vernon just yelled at him, smacked him around, lied about his parents, and threw him under a closet for ELEVEN YEARS.

To make matters worse, no one called the cops. At least Petunia kept the blanket Harry came in when he was a baby.

At least Umbridge told Harry the truth! At least she told him that he shouldn’t lie!

Voldemort had the decency to try and kill Harry, Umbridge at least spoke in a nice voice, but this pig in a human suit just yelled at him, smacked him around, lied about his parents. At least Aunt Petunia kept the blanket Harry came in when he was a baby. Of all the characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s not even magical, but he’s certainly one of the worse.

OR IS HE?

Horcruxes can influence those around them and Voldemort made one out of Harry. Thus the Dursleys’ dislike of him was exacerbated by Voldemort’s magic.

 

J K Rowling
Image Via Parade

 

Granted, J K Rowling said this:

James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom.

Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James  explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold.

Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.

Either way, Vernon might not be as bad we thought he is (though he’s still pretty terrible)

 

7-Moby Dick

Moby Dick

Image Via Public Radio International

 

The titular character from Moby Dick, at the end of the day, is a WHALE. It has no concept of good of evil, it’s just a big whale.

 

Captain Ahab

Image Via The Guardian

 

Captain Ahab is the rotten one here. Blame him, not the whale!

 

 

6-Alexandra Finch Hancock

Image result for Aunt Alexandra
Image Via To Kill A Mocking Bird.com

 

While not the worse character in To Kill a Mocking Bird (the real monster is Bob Ewell), Aunt Alexandra is a racist piece of crap. The formidable matriarch of the Finch family, Aunt Alexandra is the king of woman who wears a corset even under her bathrobe. Before she even comes onto the page, Scout compares her to Mount Everest: “throughout my early life, she was cold and there,” but when she comes on the page she far exceeds our expectations of her.

Bossy, hyper-critical, Aunt Alexandra likes thinks done her way or the highway. Imagine the pressure poor Atticus is under when she targets him, taking umbrage with his client, Tom Robinson, noting that the case might endanger the Finch reputation.

She forgoes human decency because of the family. To her, “what is the best for the family” is more important than the family itself.

Aunt Alexandra, in underlining the moral of young Sam Merriweather’s suicide, said it was caused by a morbid streak in the family. Let a sixteen-year-old girl giggle in the choir and Aunty would say, “It just goes to show you, all the Penfield women are flighty.” Everybody in Maycomb, it seemed, had a Streak: a Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak, a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak.

She’s obsessed with family streaks, hinting that she believes that the Finches are destined to be superior. In a book about racism, the real reason Aunt Alexandra doesn’t think Atticus should take the case are clear.

She also uses it to beat Scout over the head with.

Oh, yeah, Scout is in her line of sights as well. Scout is a tomboy, Aunt Alexandra is a proper lady, the pinnacle of the South. Thus, Alexandria sets to work trying to quash Scout’s tomboyish tendencies and forge a new identity for her.

Aunt Alexandra’s vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father’s lonely life.

But it’s not just racism, Aunt Alexandra is also a classist. When Scout wants to play with Walter, a poor boy, Aunt Alexandra:

…took off her glasses and stared at me. “I’ll tell you why,” she said. “Because—he—is—trash, that’s why you can’t play with him. I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what.”

 

Image result for Atticus Finch and Aunt Alexandra
Image Via PInterest

 

However, are we judging her too harshly? Is our picture of her incomplete?

After Tom is killed, family affection that looms largest for Aunt Alexandra, telling Miss Maudie:

“I can’t say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he’s my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end. […] It tears him to pieces”

She’s concerned for her brother, standing by him even when she disagrees with him. Make of that what you will, but at least she’s not Bob Ewell, a man so terrible that I’ll bet when Boo Radley killed him no one in town even batted an eye. Not even his daughters.

 

5-Grendel’s Mother

Image result for Grendel's Mother
Image Via ArtStation

 

Depending on your translation of Beowulf, she is either called Grendel’s mother or Grendel’s dam, but I’d liked to call her Mother-whose-son-had-his-arm-ripped off.

I think we can all sit down and agree that Grendel is a monster. He terrorized a village and Beowulf was in the right in defending the town against that monster, but Grendel’s Mommy isn’t that bad. Her son was returned to their cave mortally wounded, one of his two arms (or claws) ripped from its shoulder socket and now hanging in a mead-hall as a grotesque trophy.

Of course she’s going to be mad. And you know what? Good for her for stealing her son’s arm back. Why’d they even want it so bad?

 

Grendel's Mother decapitated

Image Via PInterest

 

But Beowulf just had to come, invading her home, and decapitating her.

Her motive is human and, from her point-of-view, she’s lived there over a hundred years and was never a problem. She just wanted her son’s arm, but they just had to kill her because she was a monster. As Tyrion once said, “I wish I was the monster you think I am!”

 

 

4-Cholly Breedlove

Image Via Baakari Wilder

 

Pecola Beedlove, a young black girl, is routinely mocked by other children for her physical appearance. The only person to find her desirable is her father.

Cholly Breedlove makes this list. To make a long story short, he abuses his wife, he burns down his family home, and repeatedly rapes his own daughter.

But he’s not quite the evilest character Toni Morrison has ever created. In his one and only appearance in The Bluest Eye, we learn quite enough about him that creates a picture of how abusive is cyclical.

 

Cholly Breedlove

Image Via Youtube

 

Abandoned in a junk heap as a baby, Cholly is taken in by two white men who force him to perform sexually for their amusement. When he finally meets his father, he shits his pants.

Thrown in a world where people abuse him, Cholly grows up into a man who doesn’t care about life. He’s free, but he cannot love or be loved. He does what he wants, uncaring for what happens him.

He rapes his daughter to remind himself that he is alive. He rapes her to feel the pain he felt as a child because that’s all he knows. He’s a monster made from monsters who tries to make his own daughter into a monster, all the time thinking ‘monster’ is synonymous with ‘human.’

 

3-Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister
Image Via A Wiki of Ice and Fire – Westeros

 

Kingslayer.

Oathbreaker.

Snobbish, rude, Jaime Lannister is in a relationship with his twin sister, Cersei, making three bastards that are set to become Kings and Queens themselves without the actual King Robert none the wiser. He even throws Bran out a window when he catches him having sex with his sister, crippling the boy.

But do I even need to explain why this character from George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series just isn’t as bad as he sounds?

At the age of fifteen Jaime become the Kingsguard to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. He took an oath to defend the King no matter what, and he broke that oath.

 

Jaime Lannister

Image Via PInterest

 

Yeah, he killed the king, but for two years he witnessed the Mad King’s growing insanity and tendency for burning men alive first hand. One night after burning someone alive, Aerys visited the chambers of his wife and raped her. During this time, Jaime was outside, telling his fellow Kinsguard that they were sworn to protect the queen as well, to which he was told, “but not from him.”

Later, during a rebellion, Aerys devised a plot to burn the entire city to the ground rather than lose it. Upon learning about this plan, the Hand to the King resigned and Aerys burned him alive. Jaime stood back.

When Aerys ordered the city to be burned, Jaime killed everyone involved, including the King, an action which saved the whole city and caused them to hate Jaime for breaking his oath. Even after he was pardoned, even Jon Snow, who “[knows] nothing,” notes that “[t]hey called him the Lion of Lannister to his face and whispered ‘Kingslayer’ behind his back.”

 

2-The Wicked Witch of the west

The Wicked Witch of the West

Image Via THe Vintage News

 

Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a witch by their name. Plus, odds are this witch only chose the name because of the alliteration. Ignoring the film adaptation and the musical and book the musical is based on, the original Frank L Baum book introduced her only when some magician tells Dorothy to murder her.

Taking the film into consideration, however, the Wicked Witch is still sympathetic. Dorothy murdered her sister, dropping a house on her head, and then her sister’s body disintegrated. The last thing the Witch has to remember her sister by is a pair of shoes, which Dorothy can’t give her and Glinda refuses to take off her feet.

 

Wicked

Image Via IMDB

 

Imagine if your sibling was murdered and the murderer had their prized heirloom on their feet, refusing to give it you because they didn’t like you. And why doesn’t Dorothy try to talk to the Witch? Is it because she’s Green?

The Witch was in the right. She might not have gone about it the right way, but Dorothy is a murderer hanging out with a discount iron man, a scarecrow (don’t give him any fear toxin), and a lion.

Plus, Wicked, both book and musical changed our minds about this Witch.

 

 

1-The SharkJaws

Image Via Amazon

 

IT’S A SHARK! It has no concept of good of evil, just food and hunger. Both in the Peter Benchley novel and the Steven Spielberg film, it is a big hungry shark.

 

Image Via MovieFanFare

 

The mayor should have closed the beaches. Blame him (or the mob), not the shark.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Decider

First Look at the Cast of Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Remake

Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story has gone into production. Featuring a cast of newcomers alongside established actors, it follows rival gangs, The Jets and The Sharks, who butt heads when the sister of The Sharks’ leader, Maria, falls in love with the friend of The Jets’ leader, Tony.

 

 

20th Century Fox released the first official cast photo. Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler) are in the middle, with the Jets on the left and The Sharks on the right.

 

Image Via Deadline

 

The critically acclaimed Broadway musical was originally adapted into the 1961 film, starring Natalie Wood as Maria and Richard Beymer as Tony. The film was critically acclaimed and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. Though lauded, the film has received criticism over the years for the casting of a white woman (Wood) to play a Spanish woman, controversy that Spielberg and company intentionally avoided with this remake.

Disney will release the remake of the film on December 18, 2020.

 

 

Featured Image Via Leonard Bernstein

Oprah Takes a Bite Out of Apple, Reveals Bookclub Revamp

On Monday, Oprah took to the stage at the Apple ‘Show Time’ event, at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California campus, to announced that she will be teaming up with Apple to dominate the market.

 

Apple company
IMAGE VIA TECHWEEZ

 

Let’s back up, because that’s the only way to show how cool this all is.

The first half of the convention was mostly clearing away the smoke. It’s been known for a while now that Apple has been planning to enter the streaming wars: the question was: how?

What the event made clear is that Apple is still trying to sell people its vision of the future—a future filled with with what Wired keenly described as “a seemingly effortless lifestyle filled with always-accessible media, exclusive video games, and cash-back incentives from a literal titanium credit card”.

So basically the same future they’ve been selling since 1984 with the surreal commercial. Watch it below:

 

 

Back to 2019.

Let’s look at some of our new toys: A bundle of subscription services, including HBO, Showtime, 300-plus magazines, and two – count them TWO! – Oprah-endorsed documentaries. (We’ll get to those in a bit).

And, according to Imore, it’ll all be available on the Apple TV+. You don’t have to buy a new product to get it, it will be available on Apple TV app. Don’t know where to find the Apple TV app? It’s on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV 4K, and/or Apple TV HD, and it will come to Mac and smart TVs in Fall 2019

Sorry Android users. Apple hates you, because you’re competition. But you can still buy streaming sticks and boxes starting in Spring 2019. Or just buy Apple products. Remember, an Apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Not sold yet? Well guess who came out on stage?

 

Steven Spielberg under the power of Apple

Image Via Granite Greek

His name is Steven Spielberg, and he created your childhood. ET? Jaws? Jurassic Park?

What’s he doing on this stage, you ask?

He’s making a TV show and Granite Geek summed it up  pretty well saying “One of the shows being produced for Apple TV’s new streaming service [is] Steven Spielberg’s resurrection of his ‘Amazing Stories‘ anthology series, which was something of a dud in the 1980s”.

Taking a bad idea with a cool premise and remaking it so it’s, dare I say, cool? Sounds great!

Not sold yet? Maybe you’re a cynical person who doesn’t want a new TV show to catch up on. Even with entertainment giants Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and J.J. Abrams you’re go… ‘Who cares? What’s next?”

She’s next…

 

Oprah, here to save you wearing a white cape in front of black background.
VIA ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

 

Oprah Winfrey, in case you don’t live on this planet, is amazing. Winnipeg Free Press dubbed her the ‘Queen of All Media’, while Forbes named her the wealthiest African American billionaire, and she’s been rocking those titles.

The Oprah Magazine notes that she opened up “by explaining how the company helps people connect—much in the same way she used to during her twenty-five years on The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

This is what she said, as per Vulture:

“There’s nothing more thrilling than being transported by a brilliant book — nothing…The only thing more gratifying than an extraordinary read is being able to share that experience with others, and we’re going to do just that by building the biggest, the most vibrant, and the most stimulating book club on the planet. This is a club, imagine, where Apple stores stream a conversation with the author and me across all the devices, across all borders, uniting people to stories that remind us that no matter who you are or where you’re from, every man, woman, and child looks up at awe at the same sky. So I want to literally convene a meeting of the minds through books.”

A meeting of the minds? That sounds cool, but what’s that really mean? It means not one but TWO Oprah-endorsed documentaries.

Yes, two.

One will be called Toxic Labor, a documentary currently that, according to Entertainment Weekly, “will explore ‘the toll of sexual harassment and assault and violation in the workplace.'”

The second, unnamed currently, “will focus on mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress, with the hopes that ‘if we do our jobs right, we can replace stigma with wisdom, compassion and honesty’.”

 

Oprah's book club
IMAGE VIA OPRAH.COM

 

In addition, she’s bringing back her Book Club and it sounds great! The Oprah Magazine summed it up with these perfect collection of words with, “[Oprah] plans to bring what she’s best known for—her journalistic expertise—to Apple by interviewing artists, newsmakers, and leaders. That’s right—not only will there be an Oprah-led book club on all of your devices, but you’ll also have new programming from Oprah right at your finger tips.”

Broadly speaking, this could be a revitalization for Oprah. Her book club was a recurring segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996 (the year I was born, which might mean I had something to do with it) which drew book reader’s eyes away from their books and TV viewer’s eyes to a new image.

Vulture notes that the with segment’s “popularity among viewers and literature lovers alike nearly eclipsing the prominence of the show itself…it would later be revived as Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 when she expanded her digital media empire in 2012.”

 

Oprah under Apple

Image Via AP News

However her selections have gotten rarer. Her last book was Becoming by Michelle Obama, released last October and still going strong, and despite selling a cool ten million copies, thus becoming the bestselling memoir of all time, it still came out half a year ago.

To put things in perspective in 2015, and I’m quoting straight from The Oprah Magazine here, “Oprah revealed she was starting a new imprint with Flatiron Books called ‘An Oprah Book,’ which would focus on publishing nonfiction stories. Now, three years later, we finally know what will be the imprint’s first title…” That book turned out to be Alicia Keys’s More Myself, and while it’s great for Oprah to put the highlight on the book, the time frame for her to announce and choose a book was concerning.

But when she walked on stage with Apple, it was a sign that she was in partnership and thus has to pump out more book-related content.

 

Oprah and Tim Cook

Image Via ABC

Yay! What could possibly ruin this beautiful moment?

According to CNN  “absent was price information and a specific debut date, though [both Oprah and Spielberg new products are] targeted for the fall”. Yep, Apple company came with an air of bravado that could make one forget that even the earliest services aren’t coming in for a few months. This amnesia is understandable, given that Apple usually announces products weeks, if not days, before the product is available.

Maybe there’s a reason Apple didn’t reveal the pricing for their TV+ service at the announcement.

Guess I’ll stick to Netflix and books when I don’t want to leave my house.

 

 

Featured Image Via EURweb

New ‘War Of The Worlds’ Adaptation Begins Filming

Another adaptation of H.G. Wells’ epic science-fiction novel War of the Worlds is coming to the small screen. Filming has begun in Bristol for an eight-episode miniseries from AGC Television.

First published in 1897, War of the Worlds was one of the first stories to deal with the concept of contact with extraterrestrial life and follows two protagonists, a father and daughter, as they try to survive an incoming attack from martians. Two of its most famous adaptations include a 1938 radio broadcast, which fooled people into thinking that aliens were actually invading, and a 2005 feature film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning.

 

Movie poster for War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise
Image Via Amazon

 

The miniseries will star Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern and will be set in present day Europe as a re-imagining of the classic story. It is unknown when the series is scheduled to be released.

 

Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern
Image Via The Hollywood Reporter

 

This is not to be confused with the BBC adaptation starring Rafe Spall and Eleanor Thompson which will be airing later this year.

 

 

Featured Image Via BloodyDisgusting

Steven Spielberg’s Anticipated ‘West Side Story’ Remake Has Found Its Maria

A fresh new face will be playing a classic role in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the 1961 musical West Side Story.

Image Via Variety

 

The role of Maria, the titular love interest of the story, will be played by newcomer Rachel Zegler in her first film role. Zegler was one of 30,000 Latina actresses to audition for the role of Maria.

 

Zegler has stated that she is honored to play the role of Maria in a film, having previously portrayed her in a school play.

 

West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”

 

The news comes as the other film’s stars have also been announced. Tony, Maria’s love interest, will be portrayed by Ansel Elgort, the star of Baby Driver. The roles of Bernardo, Maria’s brother, and Anita, Bernardo’s girlfriend, will be portrayed by Broadway veterans Ariana DeBose and David Alvarez, respectively. Hamilton performer Josh Andres Rivera has been case as Chino, Maria’s would-be suitor. Rita Moreno, one of the film’s original stars who won an Oscar for her performance as Anita, will return in a new role and also serve as executive producer.

 

 

arian debose david alvarez josh andres rivera rachel zegler

Image Via Deadline

 

The casting of mostly Latino and Latina actors was important for Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner. The original film has been accused on whitewashing over the years since its release. Most notably the casting of Natalie Wood, a white actress, in the role of Maria. Spielberg said that he is proud of the diverse group of actors who were cast in the film.

 

“When we began this process a year ago, we announced that we would cast the roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino and the Sharks with Latina and Latino actors. I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community.”

 

 

The film is set to start filming this summer.

 

 

Featured Image Via ComingSoon.net