Ladies I Love: M is for Marjane Satrapi, Graphic Novelist and Film Producer from Iran

I can’t believe I’m already writing my “M” post for the A to Z Challenge!  I’ve got another cartoonist (I think this is the last one) for today’s Lady I Love: Marjane Satrapi.  I chose Marjane Satrapi for today for two very interesting reasons:  first, she grew up in Iran under the Muslim fundamentalists who took power after the Iranian Revolution; and second, she’s an outspoken woman who lived to tell about it.

Marjane Satrapi header

Marjane Satrapi was born in Iran in 1969 and lived in a middle-class family with highly educated parents in Tehran until 1983.  During her childhood, she was rambunctious, strong-willed and outspoken, and her family feared that her behavior (and mouth) would get her into serious trouble with the authorities, who had strict behavioral codes for women.  So, her family arranged to have her study in Vienna for high school.  She returned to Tehran after a near-deadly bout of pneumonia and stayed there for several years, but now lives in Paris with her husband.

Satrapi’s childhood and teenage years are detailed in her autobiographical graphic novels, Persepolis 1 and 2.  I loved them because she grew up in an entirely different world than I did (geographically, at least, which was fascinating in and of itself), but for all those differences, I could see ways in which she was no different from many of us growing up: questions, conceptions of right and wrong, repression (in her case the government, in my case, parents), and general teenage angst.  Half a world away, and it was like I knew her!

Marjane Satrapi - Michael Jackson

In 2007, Persepolis was made into a feature film and debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.  In 2008, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, making Marjane Satrapi the first woman nominated for the category.  In 2011, her graphic novel “Chicken with Plums” was made into a live action movie as well.  There are several interviews with Marjane Satrapi about her work, but I found this one and this one to be very interesting – if you have the time, check them out.  And, below I’ve included the trailers for both Persepolis and Chicken with Plums.  Perhaps you will put them on your “to watch” list!

Ladies I Love: K is for Killers (and they say we’re the gentler sex…)

Killers - Keep CalmJust a heads-up: this post does contain some violence.  It’s fictional, but could be disturbing to some of you softies.

For today’s Ladies I Love post in the A to Z Challenge, we’ll be talking about killers.  Just to set the record straight, I’m not a huge fan of violence, and I don’t believe there’s a place for murder in society (heck, I’m even opposed to the death penalty).  But do you ever watch movies and wonder why so many primary action heroes (whether they are good or bad) are played by men?  And when you do see badass females in an action role, do you notice how they really stand out, and they stand out even MORE when they have at least a touch of villainous attitude about them?  If you’re like me, sometimes you just can’t help but say WOW and admire the artistry of their fighting, trickery or determination to survive by whatever means necessary.

So today I thought I’d write a little about those (fictional) women who yes, are killers, but who (in some cases) have complex backgrounds and reasons for acting the way that they do.  Others are just badasses.  Here are my top 10 favorite lady killers – how do they match up with yours?

10.  Tank Girl.  Tank Girl, played by Lori Petty in the 1995 movie of the same name, pretty much sucked.  However, I first started admiring Tank Girl (a.k.a. Rebecca Buck) as a comic character drawn by the British team of Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin several years prior to the movie.  I loved the artwork in the comics, and Tank Girl’s take-no-prisoners attitude.

9.  Aeon Flux.  This is also another movie character, played by Charlize Theron in 2005, based on a cartoon that aired on MTV’s Liquid Television during the early 1990’s.  Aeon was an acrobatic assassin in a futuristic dystopian society, fueled by imaginative science fiction story lines.

8.  Annie Wilkes.  Oooooh – this is one of my favorite roles of Kathy Bates!  Annie Wilkes was the crazy “number one fan” of Paul Sheldon, a writer who was taken in by Annie to rehabilitate after his car wrecked in the snowy mountains.  The 1990 film was adapted from Stephen King’s 1987 novel Misery and earned Bates the Academy Award for Best Actress.

7.  Haley Clark.  Ever see the movie “Hard Candy”?  Ellen Page plays a young girl in this 2005 thriller that will completely creep you out.  She basically hunts a man she suspects is a pedophile and tortures him…a truly horrific story, but a brilliant performance from Ellen Page.

6.  Hit-Girl.  Starring as a sidekick in all the “Kick Ass” movies, Hit-Girl is an 11 year old girl who is “truly dangerous and genuinely mad”.  She was raised in an environment where she wasn’t taught anything else but violent crime-fighting, and isn’t treated “like a girl” in any respect other than she wears a skirt and likes purple.

5.  Trinity.  With a starring role in the Matrix, Carrie-Anne Moss plays a computer programmer / hacker who is also skilled in martial arts.  She works with a group of like-minded rebels to crack the Matrix’s coding and free the human race.

4.  Ellen Ripley.  Is there a bigger badass in the universe than Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in the Alien movies?  Yes, there are three of them (see 1-3 on this list).  However, Ellen Ripley is my number 4 because she is a pro at killing aliens, and anyone who wants to keep them alive.

3.  Jen.  In “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon“, Zhang Ziyi plays Jen, the pupil of Jade Fox who killed Li Mu Bai’s master.  The film is about revenge, loyalty and honor, and features amazing fighting scenes filmed in traditional martial arts style – lots of acrobatics using ropes and an abundance of skill.  Beautiful story, amazing acting.

2.  Arya Stark.  The tomboyish daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark, Arya transforms throughout A Song of Ice and Fire from a girl chasing cats through castle halls to a murderous assassin on an unknowing journey towards the Iron Throne.  Arya is skillfully played by Maisie Williams in the TV adaptation of the novels, Game of Thrones.

And my number one favorite female killer is:

1.  Beatrix Kiddo.  In a role that seems to be crafted just for her, Uma Thurman played Beatrix Kiddo (codename Black Mamba) in both Kill Bill movies, directed by Quentin Tarantino.  A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Kiddo is attacked by her former team members and left comatose in a hospital.  But after waking and finding she has had a child, she proceeds to seek revenge and retribution from those who sought to kill her and harm her child.  Uma Thurman does an AMAZING job in her role as a huntress, survivor and martial arts superstar.

This is one of my favorite scenes from the Kill Bill movies.  It occurs when Kiddo goes to Japan to kill O-Ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu).  However, first she has to get past Gogo and the Crazy 88!  This clip shows the battle between Kiddo, Gogo and the Crazy 88, stopping short of her fight with O-Ren Ishii.  Enjoy!

Ladies I Love: E is for Éowyn, Badass Shieldmaiden in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

I thought finding a Lady I Love for the letter E was going to be a tough one in the A to Z Challenge, but if you haven’t figured it out by now, I do have a bit of a geeky side to me which means literary resources abound.  And today that will manifest itself in the form of crushing on one of my favorite fictional characters, Éowyn from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I read the trilogy many years ago, and my all-time favorite scene by far is from Return of the King, when Éowyn is fighting the Witch King during the Battle of Pelennor Fields.  Although Éowyn was a trained shieldmaiden of Rohan, her uncle, King Theoden, ordered her to stay behind with the women and children to guide their people while the men went to their almost certain doom to fight against the tides of Sauron.  She said, “screw that” and disobeyed him, dressing and acting as a man to sneak her way into the battle.  In the book, she meets the Witch King (the head of the ghost kings with the Nazgul) on the battlefield just as he has injured Theoden.  The Witch King is all, “No living man may hinder me!” because there’s a prophecy that states that the Witch King could not be felled by the hands of a man.  But Éowyn takes off her helmet and reveals herself, saying:

But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.

And the dumb-ass Witch King attacks her, but surprise!  Éowyn ends up kicking his ass and killing him.  Well, Theoden still dies, but it is a fantastic scene.  The movie plays it down a little bit, but it’s still a highlight for me.  To get the full impact, you really should read the book, but here’s a clip for you to enjoy in the meantime!

Ladies I Love: D is for Drew Barrymore, because I’m a Drewbie!

Ten reasons why I love Drew Barrymore

Today’s A to Z Challenge post is brought to you by the letter D!  I know it’s kind of silly, but I’ve had a girl crush on Drew Barrymore for as long as I can remember.  She’s only a year younger than me, and I’ve always admired her because she seems like a real person – she’s definitely had her ups and downs, and even though she’s Hollywood Royalty, she doesn’t take herself too seriously.  She’s not afraid to be dorky or play real people in her movies, people who aren’t always beautiful and perfect.  I don’t know – maybe I’m projecting my admiration onto someone without really knowing who they are, but from what I see, I’m proud to be a Drewbie!  Here are only ten of the many reasons why I love Drew Barrymore:

  1. Drew is a great sport, and seems to be without the Hollywood snobbery that many movie stars are afflicted with.  Watch My Date with Drew, a documentary produced by a guy with a huge crush on her, who has one goal: a date with Drew Barrymore.
  2. Drew is the godmother of Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of the late Kurt Cobain and his wife Courtney Love.
  3. Drew is the youngest person to have ever hosted “Saturday Night Live”; she was only 7 years old at the time!  She then went on to host SNL five more times.
  4. Drew (born Feb. 22, 1975) and I (born Feb. 25, 1974) are both Pisces, the best astrological sign to be.
  5. Drew doesn’t seem to care about being dorky, and even makes being dorky awesome.
  6. Battling world hunger has been an important cause for Drew in the last several years.  In 2008, Drew donated $1 million to fund the Word Food Programme’s school food projects in Kenya.
  7. Drew is undoubtedly beautiful, but in many ways, she doesn’t embody the typical Hollywood beauty standard of being impossibly thin with perfect features.  Yet she was crowned the No. 1 Most Beautiful in People Magazine’s annual “100 Most Beautiful People” list in April 2007.
  8. Drew’s struggles during her childhood were very public when it came to drinking, drugs, addiction, family instability, and recovery.  She survived a lot of turmoil and came out on top, writing a book (“Little Girl Lost“) about her challenges at a young age, then continuing on to have a very successful career in film and directing with her own production company, Flower Films.
  9. Drew is an animal lover!  She has been a strong supporter of the work of Southern California’s Wildlife Waystation.
  10. Perhaps the number one reason I love Drew Barrymore (even though this is listed as No. 10) is because she’s a fan of roller derby, as evidenced by the fact that she made her directorial debut with the movie “Whip It” and even did a lot of her own skating for the film!

Game of Thrones is Ruining My Life!!!

I’m soooooo happy that I’m on book 5 of the Game of Thrones series.  Why?  Because book 6 hasn’t been published yet.  Which means I can get my freakin’ life back.  Because ever since Kellie convinced me that I needed to read the Game of Thrones series, all of my free time has been held hostage by my NEED, my THIRST, my OBSESSION to read these books.  Let’s see how my life has suffered, shall we?

1.  BOOK CLUB.  Ok, each month I’m supposed to read a book for book club.  I’ve been pretty good about finishing books…until a few months ago.  Each GoT book is between 800 and 1200 pages, which means that I have trouble reading GoT AND a book club book.  Guess which one wins???

2.  BRAINY GIRLS.  Poor Brainy Girls.  I haven’t had time to put the archive for the last issue together, nor write almost anything for this issue. Which SUCKS, because the theme for this issue is insects, which is awesome, and I’m running out of time to adequately cover the subject.  Can I just finish this last GoT book already so that I can get back to doing quality Brainy Girls work, please???

3.  ROLLER DERBY.  Ok, not really.  I’ve been able to stay pretty much on top of practices and events.  Chris and I even went to the Rose City Rollers Hometown Championships a couple of weeks ago at the Rose Garden.  It was awesome!!!  HOWEVER, I did volunteer to set up and maintain the Storm City Roller Girls website (what was I thinking???) and that has fallen a little behind, too.


Guns N Rollers battle it out with the High Rollers for 1st place!

4.  DIGITAL MEMOIRS (aka scrapbooking).  My 2012 book is almost finished except for the covers and title page.  I put in sooooo many hours working on that book and I just have to cross the finish line…however, finding out where Arya Stark is in Braavos is apparently more important than finalizing the record I have for everything I did in 2012.

 

5.  OUR YARD.  I will not post pictures.  We have a guy who mows our lawn, but I’ve been meaning to get out there with the weed whacker for WEEKS.  There are weeds in our back yard that are 6 feet tall.  We have not planted our garden (except for the weeds).  Shameful.

6.  MY SLEEP.  I’ve been sleeping HORRIBLY lately, and I suspect it is because I stay up late reading GoT.  I wake up and think about GoT in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep.  It’s starting to catch up with me.

7.  HUMAN INTERACTION.  I’ve become a recluse.  My only social outlet is now online, and I’m behind at that (see above).

So, THANK YOU, George R.R. Martin, for hijacking my life.  I’ve watched seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon and am waiting for season 3 to come out.

Oh, crap – are you kidding me???  I can’t wait to be done with your epic stories and find out how this all ends.  I can’t wait to resume life as a regular human…that is, until book 6 is released…

Happy Unofficial Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Awareness Week!!!

And happy new year, as well! I’ve taken a good hard look at this blog and have decided that it has morphed into something not very Marcilicious in recent months. I mean, who wants to just read about all the things I’ve done, places I’ve gone, and people I’ve seen? Right. So, I’m assuming that, like me, you’re much more interested in other things…like zombie apocalypse readiness. Or, like me, maybe you’re just missing fresh episodes of “The Walking Dead” (damn, you mid-season slump!). To lessen the withdrawal symptoms, I’ve been watching the “Resident Evil” movies, but I only watch one a week because I get DVDs one at a time from Netfarts. But at that rate, The Walking Dead will be back before I know it.

In the meantime, I’ve declared this week Unofficial Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Awareness Week! Never mind that it’s Wednesday and the week started on Sunday – it’s never to late to brush up on your zombie readiness tactics; that is, unless, you find yourself in the middle of a Level 2 zombie infestation and you are not prepared. So, really, I guess its never to *soon* to brush up on your zombie readiness tactics.


So let’s start. Take a look at Figure 1, below:

Figure 1

It’s time to make some tough decisions. When the zombie apocalypse comes a-knockin’, what will you do? Most people will ultimately serve as screaming brain-stuffed appetizers prior to the main course of screaming brain-stuffed entree. I, for one, will choose not to be in the red zone. I will not divulge my zombie resistance survival plan here, but I strongly suggest you read “The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, poste haste! You will want to be prepared, and if you can’t be a badass (see Figure 2):

Figure 2

…or if you don’t have the resources for genius (see Figure 3):

Figure 3

…then I suggest you start reading right away. You can also attempt to desensitize yourself by watching zombie movies as well. Some of my favorites are Shaun of the Dead (of course), Tokyo Zombie, and RoboGeisha (which is not a zombie movie, but I came across it when I found Tokyo Zombie). And, because they’re worth mentioning again, Resident Evil and The Walking Dead will provide invaluable information on how to survive the zombie plague.

Good luck, my friends, let me know how things turn out for you!