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Cameron H.

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Everything posted by Cameron H.

  1. This month, I’m going to let Grudlian dictate which Friday we do this since I know he watched all the other Twilights in preparation for this, and I would hate for him to have gone through all that effort just to miss out. Grud, which Friday is better for you: the 5th or the 12th?
  2. The way I thought of it, after I wrote that, was that it's like having private-public conversations. If I'm talking to you (that is, I'm quoting you), I'm talking to only you - but other people are more than welcome to listen in and comment if they wish. If I were ever to address (or call out) everyone, I would never do it in post quoting another person. I'm not trying to subtweet anyone And, not that you need my permission, but you should absolutely stand by what you think. You've had experiences that I could never begin to fully appreciate or understand. That's your truth. I would never dream of arguing against that. And while I might seem at odds with the popular opinion, I promise you, I'm not really. Of course I see the problematic shit. I don't think I've outright disagreed with a single thing anyone has said on this thread. Part of what I like about the Twilight movies is laughing at the dumb garbage. I would say my affection for it is about 75% ironic and 25% sincere. And that sincere part is the part of me that says, "While I don't necessarily agree with everything that's being presented, I understand why a teenager might respond to this" and also sees how it fits into the grand tradition of problematic literature.
  3. Because it was part of my “multiple points” You said: But none of those things are mutually exclusive. They don’t contradict each other. And each was in response to a different person, in a different post, regarding a different aspect of Twilight. The quote you pulled of mine up there was in response to things EvRobert brought up. I don’t know why you read that as if it were directed at you or anyone else here. Last night, I was juggling different conversations with you, EvR, Almost a Ghost, Watch Out for Snakes, Grudlian, and SyCasey. I was carefully reading each of your posts and responding as quickly as I could while also doing other “in real life” things. If things sound “muddled,” I don’t know what to tell you. If Person A brings something up, and I respond to them that maybe it would help to view the work as a whole, it has nothing to do with conversation I’m having with Person B about intention versus interpretation. Those are totally different topics. Each with different “points” Of course, sometimes there’s overlap, and it’s not perfect, but that’s just the nature of online conversations. I understand you’re all arguing the same general point, but I’m not looking at is as me talking with a group of five people. I try to treat each of you as an individual that deserves my undivided attention.
  4. Damn, I really want to be done with this conversation, but I don’t remember ever saying this...
  5. I am nitpicking Twilight. I am citing specific scenes and using other books and movies to support what I am saying - just like we always do. I just happen to be nitpicking against everyone else’s opinion (which always seems to upset people) So I’ll stop. No big deal. And in my defense, not once did I say or come close to suggesting we should ignore it and let it continue to be. That’s putting words in my mouth. My point from the beginning has always been, that they are bad, just no worse than other things that have come before it, and isn’t that weird? Why is that? It reminds me of the same stigma Romance Novels get all the time. I’m also merely pointing out that it’s a four book series that should be taken as a whole and not from isolated moments from an earlier book meant to represent the entirety of the work and the author’s philosophy. But I will happily drop it.
  6. And I'm not denying any of that. I'm just saying that for that the conceit of a "Dickish, handsome, rich man that treats the female protagonist like dirt, but is actually an okay dude so you should probably just marry him" isn't unique to Twilight. It's at least as old as Pride and Prejudice, and probably older still, but people still love Mr D'arcy. You say that Stephanie Meyers should have known better, but what of the thousands of other examples of problematic relationships in literature that existed before her? Why don't they get called out? That's my point. Why does Twilight take the blame when something like (Best Picture Nominee) Beauty and the Beast probably conditions people to accept and normalize the same exact dysfunctional behavior and at a far younger age? Why is Belle and The Beast's relationship "romantic," while Bella and Edward's* is problematic? Why was it this struggling and unknown author's responsibility to write a healthy relationship when she grew up surrounded by the same toxic masculinity that's been present since forever? And, again, I'm not saying that it isn't problematic. I'm not saying that bad lessons can be gleaned from it. I'm not defending sick relationship behaviors. I'm not saying that I love the movie to my forever soul. I'm not saying that anyone here has to actually like it. I'm simply challenging the fact that Twilight receives far more backlash than almost any other piece of literature that presents the same exact dynamic. I'm saying I don't think its appeal is because it promotes these behaviors, but that it references these already existing (bad) behaviors and beliefs. And I also believe that a lot of the negative behaviors are addressed and commented upon in the film. *I just noticed the similarity of the names. That had to be intentional. Twilight literally is Beauty and the Beast, meets Dracula, meets Romeo & Juliet, meets Pride & Prejudice.
  7. First of all, the visions were only put in the movie to put more R Pats in the movie. The studio didn’t think it would be a hit if it was just Bella and Jacob. I don’t expect you to know that, but it’s worth bringing up. Her reckless behavior doesn’t help them really. They certainly don’t avoid the bad vampires because of them. It actually just leads to Edward to thinking she died and subsequently attempting to kill himself. (Which is just Romeo & Juliet - which is specifically referenced in the movie) As a result, her reckless behavior nearly drives Edward to suicide, exposes her and the Cullens to danger, and forces their hand regarding turning Bella into a vampire. They don’t “avoid” the vampires, they are forced to deal with them to save their lives. Bella’s visions don’t help them. They cause more problems. I mean, yeah, they end back up together, but it’s not exactly a reward for her behavior. At best, it’s a consequence. And going back to the reckless behavior in New Moon, again, this isn’t about endorsement so much as acknowledgement. It’s just saying that when we break up with someone we care about we sometimes do dumb things. And since she wasn’t about to show Bella shooting up, drinking, playing Russian Roulette, or engaging in unprotected sex, she chose to show her cliff diving and...riding motorcycles? But again, it’s a series about growth. She’s not meant to be perfect from page one, just relatable. If you can show me examples of a bad message in the fourth movie, once they’re married and everything, then I’m more open to criticism. By citing a character as being a bad example before allowing the character to fully complete their journey is, in my opinion, unfair. Why does Bella have to be a perfect role model right from the beginning, but someone like Tony Stark is given space and allowed to be flawed?
  8. Again, the quality of those films are precisely why I brought them up in the first place. I never came close to suggesting Twilight was superior. Just that creators have their works and characters misinterpreted all the time. Hippies (and modern viewers) thought the Hobbits smoking “pipe-weed” meant Hobbits liked to get high even though Tolkien frowned upon drugs. If even great works can have the intentions of their authors misinterpreted, how much easier for an author or filmmaker who isn’t a Tolkien or a Kubrick?
  9. That’s pretty much what I’m saying. It’s the reason it’s relatable to so many. It didn’t create the fucked up dynamics, it just highlighted the fucked up dynamics that have always been present. That’s why it feels “real.” We understand these characters because they are archetypes of people we encounter everyday - especially in high school.
  10. I also think Stephanie Meyers wrote herself into a bit of a corner. It’s a big issue in Eclipse, but the whole idea of Bella aging and Edward staying young really creates issues that I’m not sure she thought out. The problem with the movies is that Pattinson doesn’t LOOK 17. So when you’re watching the movie you’re kind of like, “Why not wait a few years? Who cares?” But if he actually looked 17, 10 years might make a huge difference! So it’s like, “Well I have to make her a vampire at 18. But since vampirism is a metaphor for sex, based on my beliefs, that can’t happen unless they get married. Welp, I guess she’s getting married straight out of high school.”
  11. I just wanted to respond to this point directly. I’m not going against anything that I don’t think is “well thought out.” I think you all have good points. In the quote above, you cut out my sentence where I said i don’t even “necessarily like the series” and I’ve conceded a bunch of times already to a lot the problematic elements. Just like all of you, I used to hate these movies, now I appreciate them for what they are. Mine is the unpopular opinion, so I feel like the onus is upon me to explain what turned me around on them.
  12. My wife and I were discussing this after we watched the movie and we both agreed the biggest hang up was that she was only 18 when they get married which feels a little too young. We were like, “I think people could accept it better if Breaking Dawn was like 10 years later.” But really, it’s not that much different from other romances where kids get married right away. My wife and I met when she was 20 and I was 23 and we got married a year and a half later. 18 isn’t really that much younger.
  13. This got lost in the shuffle, the catalyst for Bella moving to Forks is her mother getting married to a baseball player and moving to Jacksonville. Her father hooks up with one of the women from Jacob’s tribe. (I can’t remember her name).
  14. I’m literally the only fighting in favor of these movies - lol I’m not dismissing anyone or attacking anyone’s views. I’m defending Twilight in the same way I defend the Prequel Trilogy. People pick on them as “easy targets.” The whole reason this even came up was Watch Out For Snakes said she couldn’t get through the first movie. I replied that, in my opinion, they get better and gave a theory I had on the Twilight Saga and was subsequently told that the books were “gross” and “left a bad taste.” After that, I just gave me rationale and defense for thinking they were fine. You guys gave me reasons why you think they’re not. And I responded in kind. I’m not dismissing, I’m listening and I’m engaging. Specifically, I’m engaging in a conversation with about five people who think I’m dead wrong - lol.
  15. Why do you believe this though? If in New Moon, Bella engages in risky behavior after a heartbreak, and every character is like, “What the fuck are you doing?” (Which they repeatedly do), how is Meyers endorsing Bella’s behavior? If she, the author, has her characters questioning what Bella’s doing, then she recognizes that the behavior she is engaging in is wrong. Otherwise, everyone would be like “You go, Bella. Jump off cliffs if it makes you feel closer to Edward! Great idea!” Instead, everyone is like “Pull yourself together. You’re a fucking mess.” What’s problematic is that after engaging in this behavior, she gets back together with Edward. It would have been healthier for her to be like, “You know what? Yeah, you hurt me, bro. But I’m good with being me.” But that’s what would be good in real life. In her books, they are supposed to be soul mates and just meant to be - end of story. They can work through their issues. What works for Bella and Edward works exclusively for Bella and Edward because Bella and Edward are fictional characters in a fantasy novel and that’s what the fantasy novel is specifically about. Obviously this is one specific example, but the point can be applied to most of what happens through the series. As I mentioned above, Belle shouldn’t end up with the Beast. Ariel shouldn’t end up with Eric. Jasmine shouldn’t end up with Aladdin. Snow White shouldn’t end up with Prince Charming. And on and on and on. If someone thinks, “I feel kind of bad about it, but I just watched Aladdin and thought that I would pretend to be someone else for awhile to get close to this person. And if she ever finds out I’ve been lying to her, it’s cool because she will know my intentions were pure” then the problem is with them, not with Disney. What’s important is in the first movie, a scared and indecisive Bella runs away from danger. A single vampire. In the final movie, a strong and confident Bella, literally reborn, confronts an army of the most dangerous vampires head on. So if you’re just looking at movies 1, 2, and 3 and criticizing it for specific moments, but ignoring where her character eventually ends up, then I don’t know what to tell you. It’s like basing everything you know about Harry Potter on the first six books, but ignoring everything that happens in the Deathly Hallows. And, again, I’m arguing for a series I don’t necessarily like. I’m just fighting against knee-jerkism and dog piling. People are so quick to dismiss a very popular book series - and by extension it’s legion of fans. I’d like to afford it at least a little consideration. I’m trying to understand the appeal, and I think I do. That’s all.
  16. And that’s all I’m saying, it’s intention versus interpretation. The author can only control one. If someone interprets Twilight literally, then, yes, it’s no good. But at that point, we’re getting mad at Twilight because someone misinterpreted a metaphor. It’s getting mad at Paul McCartney because he wrote a song about a carnival ride that was later interpreted by a crazy person as the clarion call of a race war. All fairy tales set unreasonable and unrealistic expectations. An abusive, possessive monster becomes a better person due to the patience and perseverance of the woman he holds at his mercy? That’s not Twilight, that’s Beauty and the Beast! At heart, Fairy Tales are dark and are not meant to show a realistic representation of how life actually is. Most fairy tales end in marriage after fleeting encounters. It’s what we hope will happen (“Wouldn’t it be great if I met the perfect person out of nowhere”) not how things actually are. That’s why they are steeped in the magical and supernatural and not about a couple of boring kids who work at Kroger. It’s make believe. It’s not Twilight’s fault if people don’t get that or take it the wrong way. And don’t get me wrong, I used to be down on Twilight too. But my opinions have evolved the more I’ve seen it.
  17. But that goes back to my previous points. The Twilight books weren’t trying to show us a healthy relationship. And I think viewing it as such is wrong. They were showing a relationship teenagers could relate to in their real lives. (“I know a guy like Jacob. He’s so nice. Im just not into him like that.” “I love my boyfriend but sometimes he can be so possessive.”) The ideal relationship (at least according to Meyers) doesn’t occur until the final book/movie. No one should be looking at Twilight or New Moon and expect that what they’re seeing is True Love. If that were the case, there would only be one book.
  18. Yes, and you turned out alright. Taylor read Twilight in High School and now she’s a badass I think we are worrying too much on what we think might happen when people read stuff with problematic elements than what actually does happen. Intelligent people will be fine. Dumb people will always be dumb.
  19. I’m not saying that they AREN’T problematic. I’m saying that they are no more problematic then a lot of stuff. Everything from Romeo & Juliet to The Hunger Games has shit that’s problematic. Twilight just gets picked on more - especially, but not exclusively, by dudes. There are antecedents to everything in the Twilight books, but as a culture, for some reason, we decided they were going to be our punching bag. You both brought up anecdotes of people who emulated Bella and Edward-esque relationship traits. Well, kids used to tie sheets around their necks and jump of their roofs trying to fly like Superman. Some people are just dumb and miss the point, but I don’t think we need to ban Superman or suggest that the writers are failing our children. I mean, are the books poorly written? Absolutely, but that didn’t stop them from being massively successful. Are they lasting pieces of literature? Honestly, I don’t know. What I can say is that we’re still talking about them 10 years after the fact. That’s pretty goddamn impressive. So who knows? (Do people even talk about The Hunger Games anymore?) Are the movies bad? Well, they made a ton of money (mostly from dumb people who hated them apparently ). They were covered on HDTGM? So are the Fast and Furious movies. And, as I recall, Paul, Jason, and Doug admitted to not only liking the last one, but crying at the end! This is what I’m going to say: Twilight is not perfect. There are flaws. Sure. But all movies have flaws. There will always be problematic elements. Hell, all the movies I love have flaws. Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel movies, they are all deeply flawed and problematic. However, the flaws are fun to discuss and pick apart while you’re watching them for the zillionth time. It’s part of what makes them special. It’s the piling on that I object to. Twilight is just fine. It just gets it worse than other genre fiction.
  20. Well, then let’s just go ahead and throw away all Fiction and Art ever created that’s based on a person’s upbringing, beliefs, and religion. Did Burgess write A Clockwork Orange because he hoped people would emulate Alex? People idolize Travis Bickle (for the wrong reasons) so I guess Taxi Driver is completely devoid of merit. Look, I’m not saying the books are perfect or that I agree with everything (or anything) in them. But I feel like most of the criticism about them has to do with a backlash against literature aimed for women rather than anything truly substantive. The same themes that occur on in Twilight are common in a lot of Romance novels, but because Twilight was such a success, it bares the brunt of the animosity. It’s the reason why erotic fiction is looked down upon as being less than even while being a BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. For many years, Romance Novels were Amazon’s primary money maker. Yet, Romance books and writers are under attack all the time. Once Amazon established itself, it immediately tried to squelch the thing that made it a success. So, is Jacob incel? Probably not that extreme, but yes. Why? Because that’s a character type teenage girls are familiar with! He’s fucking Duckie! A character that people understood 20 Years earlier. These criticisms are precisely why the books resonate with people. I mean, give me a movie and I will nitpick it to death for you. Hell, I do it here all the time.
  21. But it’s also a fairy tale book about vampires and werewolves. I don’t think any impressionable teens are walking away from Twilight thinking, “I sure wish Timmy would break into my room tonight and stare at me while I sleep. Then I know he loves me.” He’s supposed to be creepy, weird, and off-putting. What would be the point of making him just like a normal teenager? If that were the case, then you might as well just write a story about two regular old teens falling in love. All the creepy things he does feeds into Bella’s unease. She’s not right off the bat like, “I love him.” She’s drawn to him but afraid of him - which is something in every vampire book and story ever written. So, yes, if we’re talking real life, totally. It’s really problematic. But with narrative shorthand, we get that he’s probably okay pretty much right away. It’s just like we get Mr D’Arcy is okay long before it’s actually revealed or how we know Prince Charming isn’t just some creep who likes to kiss dead women.
  22. In defense of these movies/books, I will say they really work better as a complete series. To @taylorannephoto‘s point about them sending a “terrifying message” to teenage girls, that’s only true if you think Meyer’s point was to say, “Girls, this is what you should be aspiring toward” which I would argue she’s definitely not. She calls Bella out constantly on her bullshit. Bella is the protagonist, but she’s not meant to be a hero to be emulated. She fucks up. She does dumb things. She’s stubborn and petulant. All things teenagers - and adults - can relate to. It’s not about saying, “Here’s a person you should be,” it’s about, “Here’s a person just like you, who feels insecure and helpless and ugly and dumb.” Nor do I feel like it’s saying, “If a person breaks up with you, be reckless,” it’s saying, “I understand what it’s like to hurt. You may want to do something stupid. I get that. I won’t judge you.” Hell, that resonates with me - an adult man. When my first “love” and I broke up, I was a mess for months and months and certainly in no position to be anyone’s role model. That’s what the books provide. That’s where the connection is. As far as her criticisms of her personality, I mean, that’s her journey! The movies aren’t about beheadings and hardcore battles. If that’s what you’re looking for or want to see, then you and the movie are speaking two totally different languages. There is a journey. But it’s an internal journey into maturity. She starts off as an insecure person and becomes a self-confident badass. It’s just crazy to me to expect a person on page one of a four book series to be the same person they are on the last page of the last book. People give her so much shit for who her character is in the beginning, but never stop to reevaluate her as the movies progress. It would be like hating Han Solo in The Force Awakens because he was a cocky, mercenary piece of shit in A New Hope. Sometimes, it seems like Bella is the only literary character that’s expected to be an absolutely flawless character from the word go - and that’s bullshit. Ultimately, Bella is not meant to be a role model. And I don’t think it’s Stephanie Meyers intention or her responsibility to make her one. She’s just Bella. She’s offering the point of view of a normal, sullen, emotional teenager. It’s no wonder that adults struggle to connect with that, but I don’t think it’s right to be outright dismissive of that point of view either. Just because it doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t speak to someone.
  23. Cameron H.

    All the President’s Men

    This week Paul & Amy investigate 1976’s journalistic thriller All The President’s Men! They learn about the controversy surrounding who wrote the screenplay, appreciate the unshowy direction of Alan Pakula, and ask whether Woodward & Bernstein are a true cinematic ‘odd couple.’ Plus: Liz Hannah, the screenwriter of The Post, tells us whether her film was an intentional prequel to President’s Men. What do you think the Treasure Of The Sierra Madre is? Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 with your answer! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Photo credit: Kim Troxall This episode is brought to you by Vrbo, Black Tux (www.blacktux.com code: UNSPOOLED), and Fracture (www.fractureme.com/UNSPOOLED).
  24. Based on Sam's derision regarding her mother's crappy photography and her friends' negative response to her telling them that she was working on a project for the yearbook, am I to understand that Hannah just took it upon herself to pick up new electives mid-semester that better suited her own interests? I thought she was going to school and keeping Sam's academic seat warm as a favor for when her consciousness returned? Yearbook is clearly not something Sam was into. Was she just like, "Yes, there's a very good chance that my daughter's immortal soul is irrevocably trapped in purgatory for all eternity, but while we wait to find out, I might as well make the most of it and get in some of those good, good photography hacks."