Theatre Thursdays: The New Cinderella is the Best Cinderella

Cinderella- Broadway Revival LogoDespite loving this musical since childhood, I had no great desire to see it on Broadway. I don’t get to see many shows on the Great White Way, so whenever I get the chance to go I try to see musicals I’ve never seen. As such, I am completely indebted to my show buddy for choosing to see the revival of Cinderella when we went to NYC a few weeks ago, because otherwise I never would have known just how amazing this production is.

Though this is actually the first Broadway production of the musical, it was considered a revival when Tony nominations came around, which was possibly due to how much was changed for this incarnation. In my opinion a revival should maintain the spirit of the original piece while introducing something new and fresh into the experience, and this version of Cinderella does just that. Specifically what it has done is make the characters more intricate; the story more engaging; and infused a much more feminist sensibility into the narrative without losing the charm or magic that Cinderella’s story needs to have.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Sexualities in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2

A horror movie from the early 80’s may not seem like a likely choice for a discussion of sexuality, but when that movie is A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, it’s quite a different story.

Nightmare on Elm Street 2Sex is a common element in horror movies; in fact it’s usually the main indicator of who’s going to die (sexually active people) and who’s going to live (virgins, or at least monogamous partners) but very rarely have horror movies explicitly depicted anything other than heterosexual relationships until recently. There have been exceptions, such as the cult classic Sleepaway Camp, but the second Nightmare film is probably one of the most mainstream horror films to have included not only homosexual subtext but also blatant, in-your-face homosexual text. Today I will discuss three of the main characters from the film: Coach Schneider, the Phys. Ed. teacher; Jesse, the lead; and Grady, the friend.

(WARNING: Under the cut is a lengthy and mildly NSFW article)

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The Women of Elm Street: The One-Offs

In the long history of the Nightmare series (at least seven films spanning 10 years, or nine films spanning 26 years if you count those apocryphal additions) there were of course some women who only led the fight against the villainous Fred Krueger for one film. These women are Lisa Webber of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and Maggie Burroughs of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

Nightmare on Elm Street- Lisa and MaggieUnfortunately, these are two of my least favorite movies in the series. Starting with Freddy’s Revenge, it had the problem that is so common when a surprise hit is given an unplanned sequel in that it didn’t understand what was great about the original and failed to re-capture its magic. Its main problems were replacing the female lead with a male and going with a concept that almost entirely did away with the nightmare aspect by having Freddy reincarnate himself in the real world.

Now, if this movie was so bad and didn’t even feature a female lead, why am I talking about it? Well, I do want to give it credit for trying to push the series into new territory rather than being a retread of the original (just because the risk didn’t exactly pay off doesn’t mean it wasn’t admirable) but also because it played with the typical gender roles of horror movies.

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Fanfiction Fridays: “Grounded”

Grounded by tumblr author Jackasslow is a three-part Big Time Rush fanfic about two of my favorite aspects of the show: Kendall and Logan’s relationship and Mrs. Knight’s parenting.

The story begins with Kendall disrespecting his mother (bad move, bro) so she grounds him. He is grounded not only from the usual privileges like television and cell phone, but also from something far more important: Logan! This is extremely difficult for Kendall, and Logan too. To be honest, their attachment to each other bordered on unhealthy in the early days of this show, constantly needing physical closeness and reassurance from each other, and this story takes place during those young, clingy days of new love, so they’re not handling it very well.

The reason I enjoy this fic so much is because it highlights Jennifer Knight’s ability to handle her children. What I’ve always loved about Mrs. Knight is that she is not the absent, neglectful, overbearing, flighty, or otherwise ineffective parent that tends to appear in Nickelodeon shows, and most shows aimed at the teen/tween demographic. In most of these shows, if a parent is present (and many times they aren’t) they’re usually the butt of the joke in their magnificent ineptitude, but Jennifer Knight has been an exception to that rule since the beginning of the show. She demands respect from her children and the other boys in her charge and makes them take responsibility for their actions. She’s actually, you know, parenting. She doesn’t always know what to do but she manages, and that portrayal of a parent who disciplines and loves and struggles is one of the most unique and beautiful aspects of Big Time Rush to me.

Even though this story is primarily about Kendall, it’s the attention given to Mrs. Knight that makes it stand out to me. She is the one who gets the plot going and causes the personal growth in the main character which finally leads to the resolution. The story is also hosted on fanfiction.net as a single chapter rather than broken into three parts if you’d prefer to read there rather than on tumblr. Check it out; it’s a great little piece celebrating some of my favorite characters.

The Women of Elm Street: The Apocryphal

We will begin our series on the female protagonists of the Elm Street series with two movies which exist outside of the main arc of the seven-film series, and the women who lead them: Lori Campbell of Freddy vs. Jason and Nancy Holbrook of the 2010 remake A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I wasn’t sure if I would include Freddy vs. Jason or the 2010 version of A Nightmare on Elm Street in this series. I considered including FvJ since it is made in the same universe as the rest of the series, even if it doesn’t fit in perfectly with continuity, but I really had reservations about including the remake for a couple of reasons. It creates a new canon, for one, and is the first time Freddy Krueger is not played by Robert Englund, but more importantly, it ruins the series’ tradition of strong female leads and I just plain didn’t enjoy it or remember enough about it to include it. Like it or not, though, it bears the Elm Street name and including it gave me a good way to also include FvJ.

Let’s start off with Lori. Continue reading

The Best Part of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ Movies

It’s the kick-ass women, no lie. Even before I identified as a feminist, they were the main reason I loved this series. Back in October I mentioned my intent to talk more about this film series, and it’s time to make good on that promise.

The Nightmare on Elm Street series has always stood out from its contemporaries as a horror franchise with a focus on women as protagonists. Though female characters are often the focus of slasher films, they aren’t exactly what one would call a “protagonist”, and they usually fall into one of two categories: meat or Final Girl. (I wish I could remember the blog I got these titles from, but I can’t seem to find it) The meat are there often to be objects of lust, the comic relief, the mean ones, or some other minor role to fill, but ultimately they’re there to die. They are nothing more than fodder for the killer. The Final Girl is just what you’d guess from the title: she’s the one who makes it to the climax. She’s not necessarily the smartest or the strongest and she usually doesn’t do anything, she just lives the longest. She is the best avoider of death, typically through little to no effort on her part.

From the very beginning, however, A Nightmare on Elm Street was different. The first (and best, in my opinion) protagonist of the series is Nancy Thompson, played perfectly by Heather Langenkamp. Nancy is smart, resourceful, and determined. She was the first horror movie character who I saw take an active role in her own survival. She was proactive rather than reactive: she didn’t just wind up in a confrontation with the killer and have to fight her way out—she planned her attack. She learned all she could about her enemy and then researched methods of attacking him. Nancy Thompson is quite literally my hero.

The series continued to put women in roles of power and agency as it went on; some were more significant or worthwhile than others, but all of them managed to carry the film and, if not deliver the final blow themselves, had a direct hand in the climactic defeat of the villain. In the near future I’m going to take some time to discuss each of these women, from least to most prominent in the series, so if this post has piqued your interest in these movies (and I hope it has, because they’re awesome) you can look forward to hearing more about them soon!

Fanfiction Fridays: “Stupid” by disorient-me

Today I’m going to post something a little different from my usual fanfic fare. Oh it’s still Big Time Rush, of course, but for once it’s neither romance nor Kogan. “Stupid“, a oneshot written by disorient-me, is a story that was actually written for me, a fill to a request I had made on the now defunct BTR Fluff Meme on LiveJournal, and it’s wonderful.

One of the things I mentioned when discussing the characters on the show is how Carlos and Logan are often foils for each other, between Logan’s straight-laced and restrictive personality and Carlos’ wild inhibition and spontaneity the two make a great dynamic. They butt heads frequently on the show, probably more than anyone else in the band, so it’s important to see their more affectionate interactions which happen on the show, but not all that often.

I also love how much this fic applies to my headcanon of Carlos being this sensitive little boy who feels things much deeper than he lets anyone know because everyone thinks he’s just this wild ‘n’ crazy kid (TM) but he has shown he has the biggest heart and like most people with big hearts he’s very sensitive but his friends tend to forget about that fact because his main personality is so boisterous and he’s really just this delicate little flower and he needs to be taken care of sometimes and… and…

This fic establishes the closeness that’s hinted at between the two but not often fully realized on screen and I love it. All the relationships between the guys are so interesting on the show and I think the show does a pretty good job of presenting them, but of course fanfic fills that need to see those relationships expanded on beyond the constraints of the show.