Tag Archives: Leonardo DiCaprio

My Hate-Love Relationship with Historical Fiction

8 May

I love historical fiction. In fact, I’m currently binge reading, watching, and writing it right now. But I have a beef with it. (Does anyone even say that anymore? No? Oh, well.) If you’re curious, I’m reading Stalking Jack the Ripper, watching Reign, and writing a book set in the ancient world. Very different time periods, but all can easily fall into my hate-love with the genre.

So what is my issue with the genre?

My biggest pet peeve with historical fiction is when I look up the factual story and the factual story is MORE—more fascinating, bizarre, fun, gory, symbolic, or anything MORE.

Let’s look at a few examples:

In the movie The Revenant with Leonardo Dicaprio, Hugh Glass fights his way back from the wilderness to enact bloody revenge on the two who left him to die. In real life? He actually tracked down the two men and ultimately forgave them, because it was better for society. (One was a solider and the other a young man with a family.) I actually LOVE the real version, because I think it teaches us more about survival and sympathy and societal sacrifice. But forgiveness doesn’t feed into the bloody climax many expect, does it? (On a side note, Hugh Glass could’ve been a pirate…but that also doesn’t make it into the movie either. Boo.) Here’s an article if you’re interested in more info: The Real Story of ‘The Revenant’ is Far Weirder (and Bloodier) Than the Movie.

In Reign, the show follows Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, as she marries the Dauphin of France. And it’s entertaining, don’t get me wrong. Lots of betrayal, murder, and sex. But the real-life version, if the show had been expanded to show more years, has MORE. Nearly everyone loses their head, country, or both. (It’s very Game of Thrones.) What I find strange, though, is not the focus but some of the blatant inaccuracies portrayed as fact. For instance, the show takes (weird?) liberties in taking shots at the blond hair Francis has when Mary herself was famous for blond-red hair, while Francis was the brunet. They even go as far as to say all Scots have dark hair. (Or bringing her mother into it, when they never saw one another after her childhood.) In real life, over time, there are three husbands. (Perfect for a trilogy, no?) That aside, I’ll absolutely acknowledge that brutal story is not the target audience or goal for the romantic TV show on the CW. Which brings me to my next point…

I don’t blame the authors or any creators behind this. Why? Because I get it. Truth is often stranger than fiction. If you wrote down some of the actual events that happened, readers or viewers would have a harder time believing that than the completely fictionalized version of an event. Not to mention that life doesn’t serve a linear, symbolic purpose…and with stories, that’s the whole point, especially when you bring genres and expectations for that genre into play. Not to mention the traditional narrative viewers and readers expect from certain historical periods. 

It was discovered, for instance, that slaves were not used to build the Great Pyramids. Skilled (and paid) craftsman were, which is why they could stage protests. (In fact, the first protests we now know of.) But our fictional worlds have yet to reflect this. (Oh, did I mention they were often paid with beer? I mean, come on.)

History—and what we understand of history—is constantly changing, and the genre should change along with it.

I want to see more Norse women out on Viking Voyages, as skilled seafarers. (Source) I want to see black cowboys (Source). I want to see skilled craftsmen building the pyramids (Source). I want to see the female sailors on the doomed Franklin expedition, especially since the entire crew was reported to be male (Source). I want to see an all-female battalion in the Russian Revolution (Source). I want MORE.

I get that it might be a little strange to see some of your favorite historical figures (and narratives) in a different light. But why not?

Why not challenge the traditional narrative, especially if it’s backed up by science and other types of studies? Why not write a version that’s based in factual evidence more than on speculation? On the opposite end, why not write a version that owns the fact that it’s not based in reality at all, like My Lady Jane (where royalty can shape-shift into animals)? Why not push those limits and expectations of what historical fiction can be? (On a side note, there’s actually a really funny/enlightening Oatmeal comic on why this is so difficult, and you can read it here.)

Historical fiction has limitless, constantly changing possibilities, and I cannot wait to see how it morphs in the future.

~SAT

The Oscars: Who I Want to Win This Year

2 Mar

Before you indulge in the Oscars like I did, I hope you’ll take the time to read my latest interview. When Jera’s Jamboree asked me where I get inspiration for my novels, I wasn’t sure what I would say, but I am glad she asked. Yes, at 22, I still have night terrors as well as nightmares that are difficult to differentiate from reality, but I also tackled social barriers in this interview. Please read it by clicking here

Last year, I confessed that my favorite awards show is the Oscars, and I shared who I wanted to win. This year, I am doing the same thing, and I would love to hear who you are rooting for! The ones I completely bolded are the  ones I feel the strongest about.

Best Picture: I predict that 12 Years a Slave will win, but I personally loved American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street so much that I cannot chose between them.

walfhustle

Actor in Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street. Not only does he already deserve an Oscar, he did an amazing job in this movie. His range was unbelievable. 

Actress in Leading Role: Amy Adams in American Hustle. Although I truly enjoyed Meryl Streep’s performance in August: Osage County, I feel like Adams rocked this role beyond any expectations people had for her.

Actor in Supporting Role: Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street. I thought he showed serious skill in this roll since he normally does comedies.

Actress in Supporting Role: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. That being said, I found Lupita Nyong’o was really talented in 12 Years a Slave. I thought she played a very difficult role very well. It’s just extremely difficult to look at two, very different roles.

Animated Feature Film: Frozen. I don’t even feel like it needs an explanation. If you haven’t imagesalready seen this movie, go watch it now. It’s beautiful.

Cinematography: Gravity – which I feel like went (sadly) unnoticed.

Costume Design: The Great Gatsby. I think everyone remembers those costumes. They were beautifully done.

Directing: Gravity – again, I feel like it deserves attention.

Film Editing: Gravity – I saw some of the behind the scenes, and it’s absolutely amazing how much which into this movie.

Makeup and HairstylingThe Lone Ranger – Honestly, I didn’t see the other two (Dallas Buyers Club and Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa) but I still think the makeup was pretty neat in this remake, and I liked that Tonto finally got to say something.

Music: Although it’s difficult to remember the soundtracks of these films, I recall Gravity the most.

Music “Original Song” – Let It Go from Frozen. It’s safe to say this song went viral for a reason.

Production Design: The Great Gatsby – the scenes were like the clothes, carefully constructed and lively.

Visual Effects: Gravity. The trailer alone blew me away.

Writing: Adapted Screenplay: Philomena: I don’t know what will win this category, but Philomena’s story is so sad and also very true for many women. I feel like it is a very important movie that many overlooked.

Writing: Original Screenplay: American Hustle or Her: I would just say American Hustle, but I also think Her has some relevance in the world today. I just watched a documentary about Japanese men dating their cell phones instead of their wives.

Topics I’m not voting on (because I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of the movies.)

oscars-2013-3Foreign Language Film

Documentary Feature

Documentary Short Subject

Short Film Animated

Short Film Live Action

Topics I’m not voting on (because I don’t know that much about it):

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing

What do you think? Who are you cheering on tonight? 

~SAT

February’s Entertainment Reviews

26 Feb

When The Eye-Dancers interviewed me one year ago, I didn’t even have a publishing contract for The Timely Death Trilogy. Now, they have emailed again, and you can see how much my life has changed in just 365 days. Read the full interview here to find out how I define myself as a writer and person.

I know. I know. On my last post, I said this would be February’s Website Wonders, but I am switching it up mainly because it would conflict with the Oscars. (What?) Yes, the Oscars. Since I posted about the Oscars last year, I decided I will post about it again this year. So, the next few posts will be a lot of fun!

Here’s the schedule:

2/28: February Ketchup (or Catch-Up – haven’t decided yet) This will be dedicated to showing everyone a list of February’s postings as well as the most popular post according to my stats.

3/2: The Oscars: Who I Want to Win – I think the title is pretty obvious as to what this post will be.

3/4: Website Wonders – See? I told you I would share them. They will just be shared a few days late.

Thanks for understanding!

Onto the entertainment reviews:

Movies – I’m starting out with these, because I watched so many of these that I couldn’t decide which ones to share…so I’m sharing pretty much all of them. It’s safe to say that I really, REALLY enjoy watching movies.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street: I hope Leonardo gets an Oscar. Seriously. Other than the fact that he already deserves one, he shows some crazy acting skills in this movie. From drugs to sex to sociopathic Wallstreeters – he covers a wide range of emotion in this movie.
  • 12 Years a Slave – It might win film of the year. But it was really depressing for me, which is the point, so it’s successful. That being said, I thought some of the long pauses were overdone and actually took me out of it instead of the intended effect, which – I’m assuming – is to give the viewer a moment to breathe and/or seriously think about what is happening. I still enjoyed this film.
  • The Lego Movie – I can admit I was laughing. If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would’ve enjoyed the flick a lot more.
  • I, Frankenstein: cheese graphics, definitely not the traditional tale (which I wasn’t expecting anyway.) If you’re okay with predictable action, go for it. I did think the gargoyles were cool, but that’s because I grew up watching Gargoyles, so I have a soft heart for them.
  • Last Vegas: This movie is definitely not directed for my age group, but I watched it with my father, and I was laughing along with him. He was laughing harder, but this cast was amazing. The storyline is predictable, but – come on – we’re talking about a comedy, so I had no problem with that. It was a great laugh.
  •  My Neighbor Totoro: As much as this is debatably the most popular and influential anime movie, I was slightly disappointed. Not saying I didn’t like it. I enjoyed it. But I would definitely put Grave of the Fireflies, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away above this one. (P.S. anyone else hoping Hayao Miyazaki isn’t actually retiring? If he truly does, I am heartbroken.)
  • 24 Short Films of Famous Directors You Can Watch on Youtube: very interesting! Tim Burton’s was my favorite, but he’s also one of my favorite directors so this wasn’t a surprise to me. (I also loved Guillermo del Toro’s.)

1796519_2251975777559_1704430684_nCooking: Because I have to share this recipe. I made it for Valentine’s Day – because I needed an excuse to make something with this much chocolate in it – and I will probably make it again.

  • Oreo Lasagna: Yep. I made it, and – no shame – it was beyond delicious.

Books: Since February is the month of love, I wanted to share love books that I love.

  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver: Love is a disease. Do you need to know anymore? It’s an amazing trilogy – one of my favorites.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I couldn’t do this blog post without mentioning this tale. You must read it, especially if you’re going to see the movie in theaters this year.
  • One Day: This is probably one of my favorite novels. The tale takes place on one day over forty years. It shows how love can grow and die over a lifetime.
  • The Sad Love Story: For manga fans, this might be my favorite. I don’t want to spoil the story by describing it, but the title isn’t lying.
  • The World’s Greatest Love Letters: “for evil nor good shall never make me go from it.” This collection is beautiful and heartbreaking and everything in-between.

Music: One is technology, but the last three are playlists from 8tracks.com.

cat

My “Party Animal”

  • Party Animals: it’s a dancing cat. What could be better than that? I hook it up to my iPod or computer, and my cat dances to the music. I love it. Not going to lie.
  • Violin and Cie: a violin playlist
  • As One: if you like foreign music – in this case, Korean – then check this out.
  • Something Else: This is described as chill step, but I thought it was just mellow and wonderful.

Hope you check some of these things out! If you have already, be sure to let me know what you think below in the comments. If you have any suggestions, I’m always open, too.

~SAT

Movie Mention: Django Unchained

3 Jan

Last night, I saw Django Unchained, and I loved it!

If you are a Quentin Tarantino fan, buy a ticket and drive to the nearest theatre now. Seriously.

Not only is Jamie Foxx entertaining, but Christoph Waltz’s character, Dr. King Schultz, is hilariously brilliant. You’ll be cheering for these two bounty-hunters as they fight to save Django’s wife from the ruthless Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio…and, come on, who doesn’t like a little Leo now and then?)Django_Unchained_Poster

However, I understand Quentin Tarantino films are very gore-filled and extremely violent, so this movie isn’t for everyone (and it’s definitely not for children.) As Calvin Candie said, “Adult supervision is required.” So get some friends together or take a date, and go see this drama-filled western.

More information on Django here.

Enjoy!

~SAT

 

%d bloggers like this: