This week, I'm in love with Scarlett Johansson. She's always been beautiful and charismatic, and she has some serious vintage style chops, but she's never struck me that much as an actress. I was really impressed with her voice work on Her - it's seems like it would be so difficult to bring a character to life using only your voice, and she absolutely sold it. She brought the same nuances and engagement to Captain America: The Winter Solider as super spy Black Widow. She was funny, sarcastic, smart, vulnerable, and tough. I love a woman who can kick some ass, and she kicked all the asses. One of the things that I loved about the movie is that the defining relationships were not romantic, but friendly. Cap and the Black Widow are friends, co-workers, and allies. Sure, they share a kiss, and yeah, it's pretty hot, but they still have a fundamentally platonic relationship. I can't wait to see what they do with that chemistry in the Avengers sequel that's out next year.
I'm really intrigued by the next couple of movies that she's involved in. Opening in wide release this week is Under the Skin, in which she plays an alien who preys on men. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and her performance in particular has been highly praised. It's also one of the few sci-fi/fantasy movies coming out that isn't a sequel or a reboot, which is exciting in its own right.
She'll also be starring in Lucy, which opens in August. Everything about this hits my happy buttons - Luc Besson wrote and directed, it's about a woman who takes revenge on the mob after she's used as an unwitting drug mule, the drugs they sewed up into her abdomen gave her super powers, and it's Scarlett Johansson dealing out the ultraviolence. Midnight showing, anyone? Click here for the trailer.
And now, for a discussion that will likely infuriate some of you...
Why should I worry about spoiling Game of Thrones for people?
The first book in A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones, came out in 1996. A Clash of Kings followed two years later, and the book that the series is currently covering, A Storm of Swords, came out in 2000. Just to make my point really explicit, that is nearly fifteen years ago. If this book was a person, it would be getting a learner's permit and making bad decisions at parties. I started reading the books at about that point, so I've known for close to a decade and a half who lives and who dies. I was one of hundreds, if not thousands, of people who literally jumped up and down for joy when I found out GoT was being made into a series, and by HBO, no less. I don't claim to speak for all the nerds out there who have known and loved these books for as long or longer than I have, but I think a certain segment would agree with me when I say that if you can't be bothered to read the books, why should I bother to keep my mouth shut when I know there's something exciting in the next episode?
I got into a little bit of an argument with my boyfriend over this last week. Episode one ended, and the previews foreshadowed a death that people have been panting for since the moment they met the character that's being knocked off. In my excitement, I said, "yes, finally! I hate him so much." The other people in the room who knew what I was talking about gave me a very stern lecture about how if I couldn't keep my mouth shut, I shouldn't bother coming, although I'm not sure if the non-readers actually noticed or not.
Not everyone who's really into the show is going to have read the books beforehand, but once they realize how awesome it is, why wouldn't they just read them? The books are fantastic in their own right, and as an added bonus there wouldn't be thousands of people with advance knowledge that they don't have, just lurking around waiting to spoil things for them. Why am I responsible for guarding their willful ignorance?
My boyfriend pointed out how arrogant that is, and I honestly can't disagree. I'm clearly privileging my desire to talk about something that excites me over their desire to be surprised. Even though I'm very happy that GoT has become such a hot property, I feel a little smugness that I've known about it for years now, and a little irritation that something that I've loved passionately for so long is a trend for other people. Those are ugly feelings to admit to, but they're there.
So, long story short, I'm going to try to avoid spoiling things for my friends because I'm not a total asshole, but I'm not a good enough person to be totally ok with it. Agree? Disagree? Want set me on fire? There's no wrong answer there.