Tag Archives: cast of thousands

Why Fans of Classic Movies Should Like Star Trek: Voyager

11 May

I’m a firm believer that Star Trek: Voyager has something for everyone; however, everyone is not the same, of course.  For example, if I were trying to  indoctrinate cajole my Grey’s Anatomy-loving coworkers into watching my favorite show, I would entice them with a completely different set of pros.

As it stands, the following list is inspired by my blog friend Ruth, who is a delightful classic-movie blogger.  Several posts ago, I talked about Voyager’s still enjoyable bad episodes, and she commented that she’d never watched the show before.

That’s an Internet gauntlet, folks.

I’ve compiled this list to attract a certain kind of person, and I have faith in my tactics.  And, as Captain Janeway would say, I feel lucky today!

Series Overview

Let’s get a quick rundown of what’s going on in this series before I start the list rolling.  I’ll pretend anyone reading this has never watched Star Trek, so I’ll try not to be too technobabble-y.

The Premise:  It’s the 24th century, and Earth and several other planets have long ago joined together to form The United Federation of Planets.  Starfleet–a space navy, basically–serves and protects this governmental agency.

There’s some disputed regions on the fringes of the Alpha Quadrant (because they’ve divided the galaxy into quadrants and named them with Greek letters, of course), and a rebel group called the Maquis has sprung up to defend what they feel is their own land.  Officially, The Federation sees the Maquis as terrorists, but they’re all wronged idealists, mostly (and the dudes they’re fighting [the Cardassians], who are officially in The Federation, are sneaky jerks, tbh).

Captain Kathryn Janeway and her new starship Voyager have been sent out to the Badlands to go after a particularly trouble-causing Maquis ship, on which one of Janeway’s oldest friends is serving as a spy!  Quelle drama!

Before she goes, she springs a dude from jail who had been in Starfleet and then also in the Maquis to act as her guide! Quelle more drama!

Well, both the Maquis ship and Voyager get gotten by an alien who pulls them 75,000 lightyears away from Earth–all the way to the Delta Quadrant.  This dying alien is trying to figure out if anybody has similar DNA so that he will have an heir to look after this planet he’s looking after.  Spoiler alert:  Nobody does.

Meanwhile, these other aliens are trying to get at the thing that transported everybody from the Alpha Quadrant so they can use it to gain power and take over stuff.

Janeway can’t let them gain power and take over stuff because they’re meanies, so she destroys the thing, stranding her ship and the Maquis ship in the Delta Quadrant.  Quelle drama-est!

This is the first time Janeway meets Chakotay (the Maquis captain). I hope they both brushed their teeth this morning because dang.

Janeway and the Maquis captain decide to join forces to get back home, so they all take up residence on Voyager and are forced to work together.

Meanwhile, they’ve picked up a few people from the Delta Quadrant to be on their crew:  a dude who’s a trader and is supposed to be good at navigating this–to Alpha Quadrant types–uncharted space and a lady (from the planet the alien who whisked them away was guarding) who has a really weird short lifespan.

Also, meanwhile, the ship’s doctor dies in the first twenty minutes or so and is permanently replaced by the Emergency Medical Hologram.  His journey into sentience becomes a plot point in many episodes.

Also along the way they run into the Borg, a species that is not so much a species but an amalgamation of species who act as one unit, like a hive, and they basically steal other species’ bodies to use in their ultimate goal of perfection through putting together the best parts of every species and then enhancing themselves with robotics.  The Borg are weird and scary and robotic and hard to describe, and when you’re part of the Borg, you have no personality of your own and do only the will of the Collective.  Anyway, Janeway rescues a lady from the Borg, and her journey into humanity becomes a plot point in many episodes.

So, if all the sci-fi hasn’t already turned you off, let’s have a go at the list.

Honorable Mention:  Clean (with a Little Innuendo)

One thing I really love about old movies is that they’re not explicit.  If a couple is intimate, they cut to a fireplace.  If somebody’s mad, he gives a glare and bunches his hands into angry fists instead of cursing a blue streak.

And because of the cleanness, they get to have a little more fun (and be a little more creative) when they wanna be a little bit dirty.  So they say things like, “You know how to whistle, don’t ya?” instead of something yuckier.

Because Voyager aired on regular old TV instead of HBO and because we have a lady captain who is so stagy and sassy, we get cleanness, and a little bit of sassy dirtiness once in a while.

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Dueling Country Divas (And Their Diva Duel Movies That Might Have Been)

12 Dec

Backlots once again is hosting the Dueling Divas Blogathon, which highlights glamorous classic movie stars who hate each other glamorously and fight out their troubles glamorously.  I’m participating in this officially a little later on, but I want to kick things off a little early with a pre-blogathon post that doesn’t exactly fit the criteria.

I’ve chosen five classic country songs that feature ladies in varying degrees of duels.  Each song, in my opinion, would have made a great classic diva duel movie.  Therewith, I will share with you why the ladies in these songs are divas and how the movie that could’ve been made might’ve looked (and I apologize in advance for all the crappy posters).

Honorable Mention:  Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA

The Song:  A sassy widow, the bane of Harper Valley, exposes the PTA as the hypocrites they are when they have the nerve to send a note home criticizing her lifestyle choices.

Main Diva:  The sassy widow shows her divatude in the climactic confrontation with the PTA.

Supporting Diva: Shirley Thompson, PTA board member, who, if you smell her breath, “you’ll find she’s had a little nip of gin.”  There are many antagonists in this story; however, I think Shirley would make the best lead because there’s a lot of inherent pathos in being an alcoholic.

The Movie:  I know there’s already a movie, and I’ve seen parts of it many years ago, but I imagine this starring Ginger Rogers–maybe as a post-Primrose Path or Kitty Foyle endeavor, where she is from the wrong side of the tracks and works her way up and marries a rich dude and then is jilted by him (and then he up and dies), and then the movie includes some flashbacks to life before Harper Valley and then some Stella Dallas-esque scenes of her embarrassing her daughter (the narratrix of the movie, like the song) and then the climactic showdown.  Meanwhile, a glamorously and furtively drunk Ann Sothern–a woman both hard and soft who delivers one-liners like an absolute champ but who can also convey deep emotions–plays Shirley Thompson, whose marriage to Mr. Thompson is on the rocks, and she has her own troubles when Ginger Rogers rolls into town.  The ladies hate each other at first, but then they come to an understanding after the showdown because Ginger’s dad was an alcoholic and ya da da.  And maybe at the happy ending they trade recipes and snicker about the gal who’s having an affair with the ice man.

Harper Valley PTA

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Once Upon a Time Season 1 Recap (All Spoilers, All the Time)

10 Oct

As I’ve noted previously, I often devour TV shows.  My latest has been Once Upon a Time so I can watch season 2 as it comes out.  I thought I might do some recaps of it, just for kicks.

First, let’s talk about how I (and all the girls I watch it with) call this show Xena Damages.

Because this show is all about badass ladies doing badass things in a badass, fantastical world filled with magic, overacting, and oddly poor CGI (à la Xena), but it is also about non-linear storytelling and an HBIC who wears delicious skirt suits, ruthlessly orchestrates people’s destructions, and rips people’s hearts out (à la Damages).

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Dear Googlers: Some Letters to Some People I’ve Never Met (Probably)

5 Oct

Dear Googlers Who Found My Blog Using the Search Terms “why did joan crawford not leave more to her twins?”:

I’m not sure.  If Mommie Dearest can be believed, she didn’t really like children and only had them for the publicity.  But I think her real inner life was probably more complicated than that.  I tend to see the glass half full and choose to believe she genuinely loved her children but couldn’t express herself very well in this aspect of her life because 1. she was in Hollywood too long; 2. She was naturally kind of a cold, domineering person; and 3. Her kids were probably brats anyway.

I doubt any of this is useful.  I wonder about Joan Crawford and her children, too.

Yours inquisitively,
Alexandra

PS How much did she even leave to them?  Is this a relative thing, like my mom leaving me $15,000 would be a big deal whereas their mom leaving them the same would be an insult?

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Dear Googlers Who Found My Blog Using the Search Terms “star trek voyager queen arachnia iphone 4s case”:

If you find this item, which I hope against hope that you do, will you check and see if they have one for Motorola Droid Razr, as well?  Because that would be the most marvelous thing ever.

Thanks a lot and best of luck,
Alexandra

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The Insider Who Is an Outsider

3 Oct

I was thinking the other day about characters in fiction because I was thinking about how when I write fiction I tend to write the same types of characters over and over, and I was thinking about why I might do this–why I’m  not very adventurous and what attracts me to them in the first place.

And I decided that the character who often appears is the insider who is an outsider.

That is to say, a character who knows about the fictional world it inhabits and is privy to vital information in this world but who is emotionally (or physically, sometimes) distanced from it.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized this happens all the time in fiction–not just my own.

For example, Nick from The Great Gatsby is a part of East Egg culture by birth and manners and means and education, but he emotionally connects with Gatsby and is physically distanced from the East Eggers, as well.  He is an insider to the culture he’s narrating about, but he is also, because of his sympathy for Gatsby and his current location, an outsider.

“I volunteer to be your narrator!”

For another example, Katniss from The Hunger Games knows about this Hunger Game world and participates in it, but she is an outsider for a couple reasons.  One, she’s from the least glamorous district, which distances her from the dominant culture of The Capitol and the other districts that hold The Capitol as their zenith of class.  And two, she is isolated even from the others in her district because she hunts illegally, she’s reclusive and introverted, and she volunteers for the games–something no one in her district has ever done.

But what makes the insider/outsider so attractive?  This character instantly gains the audience’s trust because we’re taken into his or her confidence.  We, the readers, are outsiders to the constructed world and need a guide.  We want an effective, reliable narrator to show us the ropes.  We get just this from Nick and Katniss–someone who can tell us the ins and outs, whom we can trust because they, too, are disenfranchised in some way.  They know the goods and the bads, and they have their own biases, but we trust them.

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Who Would Win in a Fight?

24 Aug

John over at The Droid You’re Looking For recently did a post posing this very question, and it got me to thinkin’… I should do that post, too!

And, of course, because I can’t resist the juxtaposition, my matches will pit characters against themselves and actors against themselves.  Everybody’s oiled up, and the mud is drying, so let’s get to the ring!

Annie Oakley vs. Annie Oakley

First off, we’ve got a lady who’s been played up one side and down the other–the heroine of the musical Annie Get Your Gun.  The fighters I’ve chosen are Ethel Merman–the original–and Bernadette Peters–because why the heck not.

I didn’t see either of these productions first-hand, but I have heard the cast recordings, and I know how these gals act.  So who can do what better than whom?

Ethel Annie vs. Bernadette Annie

They’ve both got chops, and they’ve both got big ol’ voices, but if it came to a punch out, my money always must go to Ethel Merman.  Bernie’s got some toned arms, but Ethel was married to Ernest Borgnine for a while.  Plus, Bernie’s version omits a song out of political correctness.  You don’t win fights that way, Bernie.

Advantage:  Ethel Merman

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Top 5 Sequels/Spin-Offs I Wish Existed

10 Jul

We’ve all got our “what if blah blah existed, wouldn’t it be the best thing ever?” lists.  I present one of mine (what sequels/spin-offs I wish would’ve or still would happen), complete with infographics.

#5: Ruthless People The Musical

The Original: In Ruthless People, a sweet but slightly bitter couple hard-up for cash (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) kidnap the wife (Bette Midler) of the man (Danny DeVito) who made them poor.  But the guy hates his wife and drags his feet giving them the ransom until he’s accused of her murder.  Misunderstandings, mistaken identities, and hilarity ensue, all ending in a big-ole seaside showdown.

The Proposed Sequel/Spin-Off: Same plot, plus songs by Bette Midler and Mick Jagger.  I’m debating whether it should be updated for the modern age.  I’m leaning toward yes because the movie is the ‘80s-est thing to exist, so the musical should be the 2010s-est thing to exist—heavy use of iPhone, skinny jeans, and pop-culture references, I’m thinking.
Highlights include the hit songs “The Kidnapped and Gettin’ Buff Blues” and “If We Look Like His Parents.”

Why It Would Be Spectacular:  I can’t think of a reason it wouldn’t be spectacular.  Big budget production numbers.  A gigantic cast.  Clever songs.  Sparkling dialogue.

Starring:

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