The Cure For Toxic Masculinity In Movies (Cross Talk EP 32)

Let’s talk about toxic masculinity and how it is still a dominant force in our art, and in our lives dear readers.

Whether you choose to believe me or not, I know that even within the past twenty years, there has been a very minimal shift in how we deal with the masculine identity. Negative stereotypes abound, comedies fall into the same patterns of sexualizing women and simplifying men, and most dramas won’t touch certain topics, unless it means showing a complete breakdown of man out of touch with his inner strength.

It’s impossible for a man to be vulnerable, soft, passive and equal to a woman. At least, thats what the patriarchal model would expect us to believe.

It’s bad all around, because woman aren’t given equal footing, deal with a constant threat of rape, battery, and death, and to a much lesser extent men suffer from mental health issues, all stemming from millennia of oppression. And that’s an oversimplification. But we didn’t make this Cross Talk episode to do an after school special and wrap a nice bow on the issue – we wanted to open it up, and use specific films to identify how attitudes permeate, using film as case studies.

Which is why Chris, Mike, and I decided to do our part and talk about this issue, and how it has effected us personally. Full disclosure, we openly admit that we are imperfect, not experts, and guilty of ignorant behaviour. But by bringing up the issue of why toxic masculinity shows up in movies, and showing you specific instances of how it takes over, we’re hoping to become better advocates for obliterating objectification for women, for humanity and fostering a better sense of community.

Chasing Amy, (500) Days of Summer, Moonlight. These movies are prime examples of the dangers of continuing to assume gender roles, when more and more evidence that persistence (“it’s all in the chase”) is actually the worst. I sincerely hope you get riled up watching this episode, because I really want this generation to change our habits, and we need to stop glossing over major problems.

This is the thirty second episode of Cross Talk.

theories Summarized

In case you haven’t figured it out from that discussion, while I think the cure for toxic masculinity hasn’t been found yet, I’m confident that raising awareness about toxic behaviour is integral to solving the  global epidemic. We can’t progress in society if we aren’t challenging the status quo, and art is merely a tool to be used for the good or the bad. So let’s please promote good examples of masculine behaviour and make speak out against bad art.

One final theory – you should totally like the video if you enjoyed it, leave a comment if you have some thoughts, and subscribe if you want to see more from us! Your support let’s us know what we are doing right.

And tomorrow I’ll have an album review about sheep dogs.

Tim!

Third Wave Metaphor (Tove Lo, Lady Wood review)

Wiz Khalifa is something of an enigma, he jumped off the lot with Black and Yellow back in 2010, but did you know he had been generating buzz since about 2005? And ever since then he’s collaborated with a ton of other crowd disturber personalities. Did you know he has over 100 collaborative efforts?

He must have some kinda influence? And guess what, he paired up with another Swedish shit disturber to riff on the subject of influence. And she’s on the docket for a review this week too…

Tove Lo – Lady Wood
released October 28, 2016
******** 8/10

tove-lo-lady-wood-cover-1024x1024

Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, better known by her stage name Tove Lo, is a Swedish singer and songwriter.

Lo formed the Swedish rock band Tremblebee in 2006, but when that group disbanded, she pursued a song-writing career and was able to get a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell music in 2011. By 2014 she secured an incredible arrangement with Wolf Cousins that led to a record deal with Island and Polydor. Tove Lo has now released two studio length albums, the first being Queen of the Clouds, and most recently the two-part concept album Lady Wood.

In addition to solo work, Lo was a co-writer on Hilary Duff’s Sparks and Ellie Goulding’s Love Me like You Do. She has also worked with Coldplay, Flume, Nick Jonas, Years & Years, Seven Lions, and Wiz Khalifa, among others. Lo is known rather openly for her autobiographical lyrical content and the often dark tone which moves the narrative of each song forward. She is also quite comfortable with indulging love, sex, and death wherever and whenever she can.

For instance, in anticipation of her album release, Tove Lo just released an accompanying short film called Fairy Dust which pairs with and features tracks from Lady Wood. It ‘s directed by Tim Erem and stars both actress Lina Esco an Tove Lo in various vignettes which tell a slick story with a strong third wave feminist bend to it. I can’t say too much about the explicit direction of the story (and it is explicit, too explicit for YouTube), but it is rather conceptual and definitely not something to open at work or around the kiddies.

Part I is about the movement towards sex – anticipation, indulgence, consideration, consequence.

Yeah you give me wood, give me lady wood – This is the anthem of this first half of the album. Whether it’s about the addictive nature of lust on Influence, the technical and literal of what happens to a woman’s chemistry on Lady Wood, debauchery and complexity of emotion serviced via synthesizers on True Disaster, the allure of having fun and hooking up on Cool Girl (an homage to the Gone Girl persona), and finally that feeling of love as it overtakes your sensations delivered via Vibes.

Part II is the aftermath of it all – loneliness, vulnerability, complexity, withdrawal.

It’s darker and dejected, almost like that afterglow is gone, but the energy of desire hasn’t returned just yet. Don’t talk about it, sweep it under the rug like we do, do – and such is the anthem of the second half of this album. The questioning hedonist, wondering if the consequences have been worth it, but still alone. Don’t Talk About It is an expression of lamentation, while Imaginary Friend is more of a defence mechanism against haters, Keep It Simple an update on Habits (Stay High) because she’s still struggling but older, while Flashes is straight up self-awareness minced with self-hate, and last but not least, WTF Love Is audibly shows the problems she faces, confusion about her identity and desires. She has emotions she cannot harness and yet she wants something personal.

Ultimately, you might not “like” her music, but it’s really difficult not to get on board with Tove Lo and her natural ability to produce a strong set of tracks. Lady Wood is clever, catchy, and conscious. I cannot believe I read this in The National of all places, but they’re on point. Tove Lov is making the closest thing to punk rock EDM as is possible right now. It’s dark and desperate, but her sense of counter culture is ever-present – She’s under the influence, and this is the best place in the world.

 

 

 

Let’s close this review out with a dovetail. You should probably listen to this album. But you’re an adult and you can make up your own mind. So I’ll let you think on it. But if Wiz Khalifa is into it, and he managed one of the biggest hits of all time via See You Again, then it’s time to stand up and listen. Could just be a theory though.

Tim!

Love At First Fright (Love In The Time Of Monsters review)

For someone who claims to not want to watch horror movies, I seem to be reviewing a number of them already this year.

I would complain. but I’ve been rather fortunate to have watched really excellent movies, ones that walk the fine line between fear and folly. Which only adds to my theory that satire is the best way to communicate issues we’d rather ignore.

And so here we are, at this week’s Theatrical Tuesday with a horror movie that just might warm your stone cold heart.

 

 

 

Love In The Time Of Monsters (2014)

Cast: Gena Shaw, Kane Hodder, Marissa Skell, Danny Vasquez, Michael McShane, Hugo Armstrong
Director: Matt Jackson
released on blu-ray February 17, 2015
******** 8/10

love-monsters-poster

IMDB: 5.4
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A, Audience Score 74%
The Guardian: N/A

 

Matt Jackson is something of a unicorn as it relates to the movie industry. I scoured the internet and found very little in the way of information about him other than learning he has been involved in entertainment for over a decade now, getting his start in Arizona and developing his skills over a myriad of independent productions. He has directed the action/adventure/comedy Background(ed) and the horror/comedy Love In The Time of Monsters.

He frequently collaborates with producer Andy Gunn, and I hope they are either working on a sequel or something equivalent soon. Did I just give away my thoughts on the movie?

Love In The Time Of Monsters is not, despite the clever title, a parody of Love In the Time Of Cholera, which I am thankful for because that movie was super boring. I know, I know, it’s beautifully shot, but so what? If something is polished and turdlike, that doesn’t make it worthwhile, its just shiny shit.

So what is LITTOFM then, you ask?

It’s a story about two sisters who have lost their father to a family vacation accident many years previous and how they have grown up as a result of said accident. One is a hopeless romantic about to get married, and the other a cynic with no interest in long-term attachment.

We follow them as they take a vacation to Uncle Slavko’s All-American Lodge, where Carla (Marissa Skell) hopes to surprise fiance Johnny who is working at the resort as a Bigfoot impersonator (one of many). Marla (Gena Shaw) wants to have fun and hopefully have a casual encounter or two, though she has no luck with this. While this is happening the entire fleet of Bigfoot impersonators (save one) are exposed to a chemical waste that turns them into mindless zombielike creatures, and some/one of them even gain powers akin to Gremlins 2, which gave me a particular moment of glee.

What is amazing about this movie is that somehow through all of the absurdity, the tongue-in-check horror movie moments, the b-movie practical effects, and the expected Bigfoot cameo, we easily relate to each member in the sizeable cast of characters. The backdrop mainly serves as a plot device, but it truly is a story of love in the time of monsters. And if you’re caught of guard, love will appear.

 

Pros: There are a number of horror actors who represent in the movie and the cliches are played to a T. I especially enjoyed the dynamic between Carla and Marla. Also Dr. Abraham Lincoln was comedy gold.

Cons: My major complaint is the introduction to the story – I kept expecting there to be more of a tie-in to the father’s death and the one scene about it felt somewhat forced. This is worrisome because a casual movie viewer might get turned off before the story gets interesting.

Runtime1 hour 37 minutes

Points of InterestThe one gratuitous nudity/death scene was delivered by Heather Rae Young – she happens to be a former Playboy Playmate.

I keep thinking back on the film as I write this review and I can’t help but smile when I think about all of the goofy special effects and the use of CGI in a disarming and fun way. I always wonder if a horror comedy is going to go off the rails and make me want to swear them off altogether, but Love In The Time of Monsters has cemented that love in my heart to keep back at least a dozen bad examples of the genre.

Jackson has done an excellent job adding to the oeuvre of horror comedy and I sincerely hope that another of these flicks gets made, even if it’s on another horror topic. With that said, I highly recommend you take some time out of your day and watch Love In The Time Of Monsters, I have a theory you just might fall in love with it.

Tim!

The Creep Show (The VVitch review)

 

It can be difficult to watch a horror movie even in the daytime. Horror movies are designed to use your natural fears (and sometimes create fears) to get a negative emotional response.

If you feel bad while watching a horror movie, it’s doing its job. This week’s review did that and more. I watched last Tuesday and I am still creeped out.

 

 

 

The VVitch (2015)

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw
Director: Robert Eggers
released on blu-ray May 17, 2016
********** 10/10

The-Witch-Poster-Large_1200_1776_81_s

IMDB: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, Audience Score 55%
The Guardian: ****/*****

Robert Eggers is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for his 2015 film The Witch, originally titled The VVitch: A New-England Folktale.

 

Did you know that The Witch is Eggers own script? It’s an old concept, that of a ghost story. But we are used to seeing modern tellings of these myths and legends. Eggers decided to direct a story about the beginnings of western culture. Set in New England The Witch is a tale of evil in the woods, plain and simple.

The story is rather chilling too.

In the 17th century a puritan family is banished from their larger plantation community because of the fathers accused pride (Ralph Ineson). We then watch husband and pregnant wife move to a large forest and build a farm there with their four children. Some time passes and Katherine (Kate Dickie) gives birth to their fifth child.

The story slowly unfolds as newborn Samuel goes missing while the oldest girl Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is babysitting him near the woods. It reminds me very heavily of listening to a camp-fire story except we have the added bonus/cruelty of witnessing the story for ourselves.

As a movie, The Witch functions as something of a slow-burn, carefully building towards the climax but not revealing the source of the kidnapping until the final scenes. This is intentional and helps to cement The Witch as a unique piece of horror cinema.

Playing off elements of both ambiguity and very clear scenes, the fear and paranoia is what sets up the tension but the final scene and the lingering thoughts and feelings after the curtain call are what make this one so haunting.

 

Pros: Horror has great potential to make you see things you didn’t want to see, when done right. This movie is one of those diamonds which is both scary and intelligent at the same time.

ConsOddly enough, it does such a good job of accomplishing what it sets out to do, that I have a hard time recommending it to others to watch because they may either miss the point or be too heavily affected by it.

Runtime1 hour 32 minutes

Points of InterestEggers based his film on research of New England witch hysteria, several decades before the Salem Witch Trials. Stephen King admitted that he is terrified of this film, also The Satanic Temple has endorsed this film, if that means anything.

While I am not certain if this is a film focused solely on female empowerment, a classic and well-executed horror story, commentary on Christian themes or possibly a combination of the three, The Witch is like nothing I’ve seen in some time.

The Witch has given me some bad dreams, I don’t think I’ll sleep well for a few weeks. Regardless of the terrors presented, this movie manages to walk a fine line between scary and conceptual, and while I wouldn’t recommend it to the impressionable or those with strong religious convictions, it is something to consider and think upon.

Hopefully it doesn’t give you nightmares.

100% Certified (Space:Nunz interview, Authenticity)

In what seems to be a backlog of entries… Special thanks to my car problems and computer problems for delaying the last post of this kind, this post, and one more future post.. I have ANOTHER delayed post to deliver up.

One which is now 4 months in the making… That’s right, I’m releasing another featured artist (or should I say artists) on timotheories interviews!

But that’s not all, this is a two-for-one and a first ever experience for us here at timotheories!

So strap in and hold on tight because it’s time to pump up the jams! The Space Jams! Okay, actually that’s not true, I hear the word space and Bugs Bunny immediately comes to mind, damn you Michael Jordan and your well-aging bio-pic that features the Looney Tunes!

This time when I refer to space I’m hyping up a band of nuns from space – Space:Nunz.

They aren’t actually nuns though. It’s just a clever name for a fun and friendly band. You guessed it, our next episode of the timotheories interviews series features this likable and neat act.

You see, dear readers, Space:Nunz are an Edmonton based folk feminist comedy musical duo with big dreams and even bigger hearts. Social justice warriors with a penchant for the atypical topics of the audio arena, Laura Stolte and Nathalie Feehan are making comedy music that is purposefully not sexist, racist or problematic at all. Their humour is part of a refreshing brand of comedy which has been emerging out of Edmonton in the past few years. Though it pains me to write the newness of that mentality here.

Space:Nunz just finished their first-ever curated event this month, and are ready to take the world by storm. How you ask? They manage to ride the line between music and comedy, which lets them operate in both realms and expose all kinds of audiences to their satire.

Think a better version of Flight Of The Conchords and Alanis Morissette and your on your way to understanding their work.

But that’s enough from me, as promised here is Episode 6 of timotheories interviews, featuring Space:Nunz.

And if you want to check out more videos from us, please visit our YouTube channel. Leave some comments and of course subscribe to the feed if you haven’t yet.

Please also check out Space:Nunz Facebook page and like their stuff.

And of course my sincerest thanks for Laura and Nathalie for being lively and neat, logical and noble, lovely and new, and lastly, leaders and nice.

Tim!