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Why I Don't Buy the 'Begin Again' Hype
I might be late to the party, but if you haven't see Begin Again yet - don't. Please. If you really, really must see it, stop reading this immediately. Major spoiler alert. This movie was supposed to be great. It starred Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine. It was set in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. It had a stellar soundtrack. So where did it go wrong? First things first - are we supposed to like Mark Ruffalo's character? Sure he's artistic and depressed and 'is all about the music' but he's also a drunk dead-beat dad. He only comes back to life when Keira Knightley's character sings a half-catchy tune at open mic night in a dive bar. We rewind and see why she's singing her sad song in the first place and its a classic 'dating a musician who gets famous and cheats one me' story. Oy vey. She then is convinced by this hairy drunk man (yes, that's Ruffalo) to miss her flight back to London and record a record - without a record deal, recording studio, or any money whatsoever - and sleep on her friend's floor. Of course, Ruffalo is miraculously friends with C-Lo Green who pays for the entire recording process and everything works out. And during this entire process Knightley is able to teach Ruffalo's daughter that she'll probably get more guys if she dresses like a lady and suddenly the family is back together again. Knightley then gets a record deal! Dreams come true! But then of course she blows it off because she wants to give her music away and, with Ruffalo's blessing, she uploads her songs to the interwebs and gets a whopping 10k downloads in the first week. This does not happen. Not even in this world of YouTube stars and Kickstarters. There are such things as happy endings and big breaks, but I found the story ridiculous, the characters bland, and the portrayal of independent songwriters infuriating (as someone who has been involved in the music business and plans to pursue a career on the business side) Directors and script writers - stop trying to hide your 'meh' film under Keira Knightley's talent. Even she couldn't fix this one. The only positive thing I could say is that they didn't force a weird Ruffalo/Knightley love line. Even though there was that weird 15 minute long montage of them running through Manhattan together sharing an iPod? Did I totally miss the point of this movie or do you guys agree? I'd love for someone to convince me to like this!
Did they seriously put Scarlett Johansson in yellowface?
Dear Hollywood: Asian actresses exist. Of course, you wouldn't know it just from watching our movies. Of the top films in 2014, only 5.3% of the characters were Asian, and only about 2-4% of main characters on television are Asian (via). Even on shows like Orange is the New Black, which has been lauded for its progressive representations of race, gender, and sexuality, only featured Asian characters as central to the story in season three. Representations of Asian people in our media is sparse as it is. Which brings me to Ghost in the Shell. Polish actress Scarlett Johansson has been cast to play the Japanese character Motoko Kusinagi. And to add insult to injury, there's a rumor that the studio was experimenting with CGI to make the white actors they cast appear more Asian (via). Instead of actually CASTING an Asian person in the role. The idea has reportedly been rejected, but why on earth was it even considered in the first place? When Asian actors absolutely were never on the table??? Ghost in the Shell is NOT a universal story. The story was originally released in the 90s, during a period when Japan was dominating in the field of technology. Every major innovation, from cars to video games, was coming from Japan or relied on Japanese technology. They were a world leader in a way that no one expected them to be. In the aftermath of World War II, this was a huge source of pride for the Japanese people (via). Ghost in the Shell is a story about Japan's relationship with technology. It's something that an American audience can understand and relate to, but it's not one that we specifically experienced. It is literally not our story. Does it feel like a big deal? Representation might feel insignificant if it's something you already have. After all, it's just tv, just movies (just books, just our political system, just our lives...) but representation is how we shape our identities. Exposure to television can actually lead to a decrease in self-esteem for white and black girls, as well as black boys, but an increase in self-esteem for white boys. What kind of message are we sending when we prioritize white faces over others? We're saying: You don't matter. You are less important. And when that is the prevailing- if not the ONLY message- it's impossible not to hear it. It's deafening.
The 3 Countries Where Adele Isn't No.1
To tell you they're sorry for breaking your heart, Adele. WHAT!? Adele didn't achieve world domination. She may be the biggest star in ALMOST every country in the world however three countries seem to disagree. They're too preoccupied with their own music tastes and Adele just isn't one of them. In 29 international markets, Adele managed to rank No.1 in 26 of them which is basically unheard of. She's the No.1 artist in 110 countries on iTunes worldwide except for three. '3' really isn't a magic number for this pop star. Despite her record breaking album '25' : 3 million copies of the album sold in the first week of American sales alone, being the biggest-selling album released since 2011, the most sold album yearly since 2004, and broke records in how quickly her European and North American tours sold out, Adele pretty much wins...99% of the time. Thanks to Fusion.com, data was collected to show that these countries have different chart toppers and their fans wouldn't want it any other way. These countries have another preference... South Korea Why they don't prefer Adele? KPOP! Its the Korean Pop sensation that seems to dominate the music tastes of the country. The singers are hot. The music makes you want to start dancing. The music videos are strangely mesmerizing. And you've never had a party without wanting to scream at the top of your lungs to the clever lyrics that most Americans don't understand (aka Gangnam Style anyone?). Also, one must take into consideration that Koreans chart differently than most other Western countries. They have : domestic album sales, international sales, and a synthesized chart. Fusion.com found that Adele may be winning over their international chart however her streaming and album sales in South Korea are no comparison to the outstanding domestic sales of KPOP within the country. Here are Korean's top albums: - "The Most Beautiful Life," Pt 2 by the Bangtan Boys - "MATRIX" by B.A.P. - "Dear Santa - X Mas Special" by Girls Generation TTS Japan Why they don't prefer Adele? Japanese only track physical sold copies and as of now, Adele has only sold enough to make her the 7th highest album as of Dec. 7, 2015. Japanese also love KPOP but they're not as influential. It's also important to take note that digital downloads in the Japan music market outsell albums by 400% according to Fusion's research. Here are the following albums that have outsold Adele : - "For You" by Infinite - "Chandelier" by Black Number - "Sight of Blue" by Motohiro Hata Greece Why they don't prefer Adele? Blame it on the way they chart. They tracked how many '25' albums were shipped into the country instead of how many albums were sold total. Talk about bizarre. Even with Greece's adoration for American and British music, Adele only hit the No. 2 spot on Greek charts. They may track domestic and foreign music sales however their marks are harshly skewed. Sorry, Adele. The data didn't help you. Here are the albums that topped Adele: - "Ap' To Vorra Mehri to Noto" by Vasilis Karras - "M' Agapouses Ki Anthize" by Eleanora Zouganeli - "Nikos Vertis" by Nikos Vertis So really, other than MAYBE South Korea, Adele has won over everyone except for KPOP fans. There's always next time, Adele.
If Your Favorite Pop Star Was A Pokémon Gym Leader
Leader: Rihanna Badge: ANTI Badge Special Move: Diamond Storm What's her name? Leader Rihanna! If you're looking for love in a hopeless place, Rihanna will let her Pokémon do all of the talking. Leader Rihanna is known for shining bright like a diamond with Fire and Dark Pokémon types. First she'll make you stay, then she'll give you four to five seconds to recover, and then she'll take her bow after she destroys you. You'll have to work work work work work work to beat this woman of Disturbia. Leader: Britney Spears Badge: Venom Badge Special Move: TOXIC It's Britney, b*tch. You want a piece of her? Be aware, Leader Britney may seem like a womanizer but she'll hit you baby one more time. Leader Britney loves her special move, TOXIC which will make you wanna go until the world ends. Her ending line when she beats you is, "Oops, I did it again." The gym is like a circus as her Pokémon are practically her slaves. But after all, don't hold it against her. Leader: Beyoncé Badge: Alliance Badge Special Move: Blue Flare Who run the world? Leader Beyoncé! Listen, Queen B is known for her fighting Pokémon who will show you that her badge is the best thing you never had. You'll fall crazy in love with trying to beat her but Leader Beyoncé puts her love on top calling out all of the single ladies proving that pretty hurts. Can you see her halo? Don't get an ego if you do happen to win because she's flawless. XO Leader: Adele Badge: Crying Badge Special Move: Mind Reader Hello, it's Leader Adele. We all know that you're looking for that hometown glory but Leader Adele with her normal Pokémon isn't going to let any water under the bridge. When you are young, it's easy to think there's someone like you. However, rumor has it Adele makes her competition roll in the deep, watch the sky fall as she sets fire to the rain and she will take it all. You'll be the one chasing pavements as you run to escape from her turning tables. Don't worry, she'll try to make you feel her love even though she can't make you love her if you don't. Good luck. Leader: Sia Badge: Wig Badge Special Move: Heart Stamp You'll definitely feel alive when you meet Leader Sia. The Dark, Ghost, and Psychic Pokémon Reaper will show you that Big Girls Cry. This is the gym where fire meets gasoline, an exotic experience where Sia frequently hangs from a Chandelier as she triumphs over the battle. Don't worry about your elastic heart, you can try again for another opportunity. Just know you've been changed.
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