As it was in life, so also is it in death; MoviePass is not going gently into that good night. The moviegoing subscription service finally shut down last month, and while MoviePass’ impact on the exhibition industry has outlived it, so too apparently have its issues. That’s because MoviePass is reportedly still charging customers despite shutting down.
After looking dead for some time, MoviePass finally gave up the ghost and officially shut down on September 14 at 8 a.m. Despite the shutdown, MoviePass allegedly still charged customers in September. That’s according to former MoviePass subscribers who told The New York Post about a variety of mysterious charges from the service appearing on their credit cards.
According to one former MoviePass subscriber, she was charged twice in September after service was terminated. One of those charges was for the $9.95 membership fee and there was another unknown charge in the amount of $5.64.
Another former customer who cancelled her MoviePass subscription in January, prior to the service’s shutdown, says that she was also charged twice in September, nine months after her cancellation. That customer says she cancelled at the beginning of the year due to what she saw as MoviePass’ broken promises reducing the value of having the service. She has since moved on to AMC’s alternative.
It’s unclear exactly how many MoviePass subscribers believe they have been charged in error following the subscription service’s shutdown. In addition to those two accounts The New York Post also cites former subscribers who have taken to Twitter over this past month to express frustration over allegedly being charged following the shutdown, waiting for refunds and being unable to contact customer service. MoviePass, however, rejects the claim that it is still charging customers.
In a statement, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe says that the reports that customers were charged following the September 14 shutdown are false. He says that only one subscriber out of all the thousands MoviePass was charged; that happened on September 15 and that amount was subsequently refunded. According to Lowe, former MoviePass subscribers are misreading their bank accounts and mistaking refunds for charges.
Whether customers are misreading their statements or MoviePass is indeed still charging former subscribers in error, it is a bad look for a service whose reputation is in tatters and will need some serious rehabilitation should it ever be rebuilt, as former Helios and Matheson head Ted Farnsworth hopes to do one day.
MoviePass achieved overnight success and popularity with its $10 unlimited service, which proved to be an ultimately unsustainable business model. Combined with a series of mistakes, including plan changes, service interruptions, poor communication and seemingly shady behavior that eroded its reputation with its subscribers and the public, MoviePass was never able to recover.
No matter how you buy your movie tickets, there are plenty of worthwhile titles headed to theaters the rest of this year. Check them out in our 2019 Release Schedule.
Just when you thought Lewis Capaldi couldn’t make you cry any harder than he did with “Someone You Loved,” the singer-songwriter is airing out his heartache all over again. Someone give this man a hug, pronto.
On Friday (October 18), Capaldi debuted the video for “Bruises,” another compelling ballad that details his post-breakup blues. “I’ve been told, I’ve been told to get you off my mind / But I hope I never lose the bruises that you left behind,” he belts while standing in the middle of a desolate scene.
The majority of the video, directed by Emil Nava, centers around a young couple and the dramatic aftermath of their relationship. As they stare intensely at each other, we see flashbacks of their ups and downs together, and the tension eventually comes to a head with a molotov cocktail-fueled riot. Capaldi himself goes up in flames (literally), and the whole thing ends very cryptically — does the couple reconcile, or are they too burned and bruised? Watch below and decide for yourself.
“Bruises” is taken from Capaldi’s EP of the same name, as well as his debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent. The single was originally released back in 2017, but it’s found new life as Capaldi’s star power has grown this year, thanks in large part to “Someone You Loved.”
The Scottish singer-songwriter, who is October’s MTV Push artist, recently gave us an exclusive performance of “Bruises” and discussed the genesis of the emotional single. He said, “‘Bruises’ was probably the first song I wrote about that breakup that I had with this lady, and it was the first time that I’d ever written song that was proper about heartbreak and stuff like that.”
He also revealed that “Bruises” was the first song he ever wrote on a piano, which totally changed the direction of Divinely Uninspired. “I wrote it the day I turned 20. The album I was making was going in one direction, and then I wrote ‘Bruises’ and things just tilted slightly,” he said, jokingly adding, “So if anyone is not a fan of my piano, sad, heartbreaky, ballady stuff, you can blame this song for doing it.”
Charlie Bucket takes his Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory tour in October, so this is the time of year I always think about how much of a selfish shit Grandpa Joe truly is. There’s even a Facebook group called “The I Hate Grandpa Joe From Willy Wonka And Chocolate Factory Page” and yes I joined it.
Grandpa Joe has to be one of the worst characters in any children’s movie. Sure, it’s just fiction, and sure there are “villains” in other stories who do worse things, but they are openly treated as villains. In the 1971 Willy Wonka movie, Grandpa Joe is treated like he’s one of the good guys. Several children get their just deserts as “villains,” but Grandpa Joe does much worse throughout the film and is rewarded. What kind of a message does that send?
So here’s my October rant against Grandpa Joe, pointing out 12 times in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory when he proved he’s the real “bad egg.”
Grandpa Joe Has The Nerve To Complain The Floor Is Too Cold For Him To Get His Ass Up
Grandpa Joe’s first words in the movie are complaints, of course. He immediately sets a miserable tone, whining to his daughter and never even considering helping her, even though it’s made clear to viewers that all four grandparents have been in bed for 20 freaking years. (Charlie’s mom is never given a name, which really says it all. She’s a martyred saint who is clearly so used to abuse that she’s internalized it.) Here’s Joe shouting at his hard-working daughter about Charlie working too hard; he also replies to her heavy hint to Get The Fuck Up And Help, Dad with a nasty shot about the floor temperature:
Grandpa Joe: He works too hard for a little boy. He should have some time to play.
Mom: Not enough hours in the day. With the four of you bedridden for the past 20 years, it takes a lot of work to keep this family going.
Grandma Josephine: If only his father were alive.
Grandpa Joe: Soon as I get my strength back, I’m going to get out of this bed and help him.
Mom: Dad, in all the years you’ve been saying you’re going to get out of that bed, I’ve yet to see you set foot on the floor.
Grandpa Joe: Well, maybe if the floor wasn’t so cold.
Slap his ass for that! Show him what’s really cold. Four people bedridden for 20 years, and the mother has to do it all — including, presumably, pour out those bedpans we see under the bed. Joe isn’t even concerned about helping his daughter, though, he’s too busy pretending he’s going to get up and help Charlie. Sure, Joe. Do you think Charlie’s father is really dead or did he just run for the hills, since these four clowns must’ve been bedridden for about a decade before Charlie was even born? Imagine that.
Grandpa Joe Doesn’t Care How Charlie Got Bread
Charlie ends up late for his paper route job because he’s too busy standing outside the candy shop like an idiot watching smarter children go inside for free candy. When he finally does get to work, he immediately demands his money and then quickly goes through his job by haphazardly flinging papers willy-nilly. When he gets home to the shack, it’s clear he just got his very first paycheck. So I’m not sure where the idea that Charlie works too hard for a little boy came from, other than maybe Grandpa Joe thinks no one but Charlie’s mom should ever have to work.
When Charlie gets home, Grandpa Joe is eating the cabbage water they all have for dinner. Charlie says he’s fed up with that and whips out a loaf of bread. Charlie’s mom — who has a moral compass that she got from somewhere — asks Charlie where he got the bread. She wants to make sure it’s legit. Grandpa Joe? Couldn’t care less. He snaps back to his daughter:
What difference does it make where he got it? Point is, he got it!
Yeah, to Grandpa Joe, the point is just to get it. It’s all about being on the take. This dynamic repeats throughout the movie, but thankfully culminates in Charlie showing he takes after his mom more than his grandpa. Not that anyone punishes Joe for that.
Grandpa Joe Has Been SmokingA Pipe A DayIn That Bed
This seriously blows my mind every time. Charlie takes his change from work, gives part of it to his mom, and gives the other part to Grandpa Joe — saying from now on, Charlie will pay for Joe’s tobacco. Joe finally has a glimmer of self-awareness on how selfish he has been, and says when a loaf of bread looks like a banquet, he has no right buying tobacco. That’s when Charlie’s enabling mother jumps in with this humdinger:
Come on, it’s only one pipe a day.
Jumping crocodiles! He has been smoking a pipe a day in that bed for 20 years?! Can you even imagine the smell? The pipe, the dirty unwashed foursome, those bedpans. And yet it takes the shame of Charlie paying for Joe’s tobacco to get Joe to even consider quitting.
Of course, Joe does take Charlie’s money anyway. Not that Joe would know what to do with it — he’s not getting out of bed to buy tobacco! Are you crazy? He has people for that! He’s just going to have to give that money back to Charlie’s mom to buy it for him, and the Stockholm Syndrome will force her to go ahead and do it. Madness. This useless family is going to run the Wonka factory into the ground. You know they’ll probably end up selling the Oompa Loompas.
Grandpa Joe Gets Out Of Bed The Second A Good Deal Emerges
This clown’s nerve knows no bounds. When Charlie gets the golden ticket, it seems obvious he should finally treat his long-suffering mother to a chocolate factory tour. Or at least thank his grandmothers for knitting him a new scarf. Instead, Charlie tells his Grandpa Joe, “I wish you could go.” And then Grandpa Joe immediately gets up! Twenty years of bedpans and making his daughter do everything and he never once says “No, take your mom” or “No, if I’m not going to get up for work I shouldn’t get up just for a free candy trip.” No, instead he gets up and does a damn dance around the room.
Grandpa Joe Sings For Himself And Dances ForHisGolden Ticket
The full Nancy Kerrigan. That’s what I’d give this fool. I’d stop Joe halfway through his obnoxious dance, grab that cane out of his hand and whack him behind the knees. I don’t care. He’d deserve it. Grandpa Joe is such a piece of work, he doesn’t just accept the trip to the chocolate factory, he lords it over the three other bedridden fools and brags about his luck in front of his long-suffering daughter.
He literally dances around the bed, singing for himself, bragging “I” and “me” in every word as if this is all about him, which of course it is.
I never thought my life could be anything but catastrophe, but suddenly I begin to see a bit of good luck for me. ‘Cause I’ve got a golden ticket. I’ve got a golden twinkle in my eye…
I half expected him to push Charlie out of the way to claim the whole thing for himself. It would’ve been perfectly on brand. The selfishness is breathtaking. It’s almost impressive. Future supervillains should take notes.
Grandpa Joe Allows His Daughter To Handle Everything
I’m not letting Charlie’s mom off the hook for her enabling. She should’ve tipped that bed over 20 years go. This Martyr Mom enabled everything from the pipe smoking to allowing Charlie and Joe to walk over her. She’s the one who notices the golden ticket says the the tour is the next day. Grandpa Joe tells Charlie they have a lot to do — comb your hair, wash your face, polish your shoes. Mom says she’ll take care of everything. Come on! That’s when Grandpa Joe should say, “No, now that my ass is finally up, let me finally do a single goddamn thing to help.” But of course not. Wouldn’t even occur to him.
Grandpa Joe Has The Nerve To Suggest Someone Else Deserves A Kick In The Pants
When they get on the boat at the chocolate factory, Veruca Salt says, “Hey daddy I want a boat like this…” Grandpa Joe whispers to Charlie, “What she wants is a good kick in the pants.” Oh oh, she does? We’re meant to chuckle and agree with Joe, because — yes — Veruca Salt is a pain-in-the-ass brat. That is made clear. She’s also a kid who was raised badly. Grandpa Joe is an adult responsible for his own behavior, and as we’ve seen he’s been nothing but a selfish ass for the past 20 years. So he really has some nerve to say anyone else wants a kick in the pants. But, once again, he’s treated like one of the good guys. He didn’t even wear pants for 20 years!
Grandpa Joe Has The Nerve To Suggest Someone Else Is A Nitwit
Grandpa Joe always has something nasty to say about someone else, including children. After saying Veruca wants a kick in the pants, he insults Violet Beauregarde. When Violet takes the gum from Wonka and pops it in her mouth, Charlie is the first to ask what it tastes like. When Wonka lazily tells Violet please no stop, that’s when Charlie turns to his Grandpa Joe:
Charlie: Why doesn’t she listen to Mr. Wonka?
Joe: Because, Charlie, she’s a nitwit.
Oh oh, she is? You mean like the nitwit who follows this by not listening to Mr. Wonka and instead nearly gets his grandson killed by stealing fizzy lifting drink? No, you’re right, Joe, it’s much worse to chew too much gum.
Grandpa Joe Has The Bright Idea To Steal Fizzy Lifting Drinks
Classic Joe. Grandpa Joe is a terrible influence on Charlie, and he almost loses Charlie everything — including his life — with this stupid, selfish, childish decision. After Willy Wonka brings the group into the fizzy lifting drink room, he says he dares not sell it yet because it’s too powerful. Everyone else listens and follows him out, except for Joe and Charlie.
Joe: Let’s take a drink, Charlie, nobody’s watching.
Joe: A small one won’t hurt us.
WRONG. So they have a fun time floating along until they realize they’re getting too close to the ceiling. When Joe burps, he realizes that’s the way to get down, but Charlie almost gets ripped up by the fans. Not that Joe ever apologizes or takes responsibility for that bad call. Of course not! They should’ve been thrown out right then and there, considering they did bump into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized. If Augustus contaminated the chocolate river, Joe and Charlie did just as much damage.
Grandpa Joe Has The Nerve To Call Wonka A Crook
Grandpa Joe ends the movie with a series of his trademark bad judgment calls. After the factory tour ends, Wonka tries to get back to work. Charlie even asks Joe, “What happened? Did we do something wrong?” as if he really has no idea. So Joe busts into Wonka’s office to find out how they get that lifetime supply of chocolate. When Wonka points out they broke the rules, a confused Joe says, “What rules? We didn’t see any rules” as if he didn’t tell Charlie to sign away on the contract, because they had “nothing to lose.” Wonka points out they stole fizzy lifting drinks and bumped into the ceiling, which has to be washed and sterilized — so they get nothing. Grandpa Joe has the nerve to react with shock and anger:
You’re a crook. You’re a cheat and a swindler! That’s what you are! How could you do a thing like this? Build up a little boy’s hopes and then smash all his dreams to pieces. You’re an inhuman monster!
Wow, if he made that speech to the mirror I’d say he was halfway there. But instead, Joe really does think they’re owed a reward, even though everyone else was punished for breaking the rules. Lucky for Joe, he gets his reward anyway.
Grandpa Joe Suggests They Give Slugworth The Everlasting Gobstopper
In his infinite wisdom, the outraged and self-righteous Grandpa Joe decides to follow calling Wonka a crook by telling Charlie they should sell out Wonka to Slugworth. Joe wants Charlie to go back on his word about the Everlasting Gobstopper, because lying and cheating is fine if it benefits Joe.
Come on, Charlie, let’s get out of here. I’ll get even with him if it’s the last thing I do. Slugworth wants a gobstopper, he’ll get one.
Charlie — who thankfully still has a lot of his mother’s influence in him — finally stops listening to Grandpa Joe and goes back to Wonka’s desk to give back the gobstopper. Wonka rewards the honesty. “So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
Grandpa Joe Immediately Asks What’s In It For ME?
Never mind that Grandpa Joe just slammed Wonka as a crook and an inhuman monster. Never mind that he just suggested Charlie go back on his word and give Slugworth the gobstopper. Never mind that Charlie only “won” because he blew off Joe’s own terrible advice. The second Wonka reveals the truth about Slugworth and Charlie passing the test, Joe puts his hand out for another reward.
Wonka takes Charlie and Grandpa Joe on the Wonkavator and tells Charlie he’s giving him the whole factory. Joe proves has learned NOTHING along the way by immediately asking what’s in it for himself. He doesn’t even ask about his own daughter, wife, or in-laws.
Wonka: So the factory is yours Charlie, you can move in immediately.
Grandpa Joe: And me?
Charlie: What happens to the rest…?
Wonka: The whole family. I want you to bring them all.
If only Wonka had replied to Joe with “No, not you,” and then dropped him out of the Wonkavator. Charlie is the one to ask about the rest of his family.
There’s a Willy Wonka prequel movie in the works, but if there was ever a sequel I wonder how things would turn out at the factory. I can see Charlie’s mom working hard and Grandpa Joe sitting back and letting himself be waited on hand and foot.
None of this is a shot at the late great Jack Albertson, who played Grandpa Joe in the 1971 movie, which you can stream on Amazon to rent or buy. And I still love the movie to bits. I’m just one of the many fans still waiting for Grandpa Joe to be flushed down some chute so the Oompa Loompas can give him a morality song and dance about being lazy and selfish. #JusticeForCharliesNamelessMother
This year marks 50 years since the death of beloved showbiz icon, Judy Garland. The life of the actress and singer was cut short back in 1969 due to a drug overdose, but her memory lives on a half a century later as two filmmakers helm odes to her life ridden in troubles, amidst her glitzy stardom. Following early Oscar buzz about Renée Zellweger’s performance in Judy, a Showtime documentary titled Sid & Judy is set to premiere, Friday.
The 95-minute doc about Judy Garland will offer an additional look at the life of The Wizard of Oz star, namely through the lens of rare recordings of Garland’s voice and passages from Sidney Luft, her third husband. Luft’s words come from his memoir and will be read by Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Sid & Judy touches upon topics such as Garland’s troubling up-bringing, history with addiction and life in the spotlight through an additional lens, just as Rupert Goold’s Judy gains momentum with audiences.
In the new documentary, interviews of Judy Garland opening up about growing up with a “stage mother” who would threaten her to go out and sing of she’d wrap her around a bedpost, a USA Today reports ahead of the television premiere. She also calls being famous “lonesome”, comparing herself to the Statue of Liberty.
Sid & Judy will also feature footage from a celebration of the star in Hollywood Forever Cemetary in 2017 when her remains were transferred there. Her arrival brought in a swarm of fans dressed in Dorothy’s checkered blue dress were interviewed. They call her “timeless”, “the epitome of hope” and touched upon her status as a gay icon.
Fans of Judy Garland certainly have no shortage of content surrounding the late singer on the year on this 50th anniversary. Or to those who have always wondered about who Judy Garland was, Sid & Nancy looks like it will delve deeply into her life. Sid & Judy follows the biopic starring Renée Zellweger, which also tracks many accurate happenings in her life as the narrative tracks her on her last tour in London as she deals with her addiction and losing custody to her young children.
While Judy places the spotlight on her fifth husband Mickey Deans (played by Finn Wittrock), Sid & Judy will offer up some perspective from her third husband. Her and Sidney had two children together, Lorna and Joey. Lufts was her longest marriage, they were husband and wife for 13 years between 1952 and 1965 before they divorced, Garland accusing him of being an alcoholic and abusing her.
Renée Zellweger incredible transformation as Judy Garland is certainly expected to be in conversation as award season begins to take shape. Check out our exclusive interviews with the cast of Judy, see it in theaters & check out Sid & Judy premiering on Showtime Friday, October 18.
For right now, per Variety, Naomi Harris is in talks to play Shriek in Venom 2. If a deal is worked out, she would be the fourth actor to join the sequel, following behind Woody Harrelson, Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, with the latter two obviously reprising Eddie Brock and Ann Weying, respectively.
No specific details about Venom 2’s version of Shriek have been revealed yet, but if she’s anything like her comic book counterpart, we can presumably count on her working with Carnage as the story unfolds. In the comics, Shriek debuted at the start of the Maximum Carnage event, where she was freed from the Ravencroft mental institution by the symbiote-powered serial killer and caused a lot of trouble with him and other unhinged super villains. Since then, she’s bounced between continuing her partnership with Carnage and allying herself with other Marvel antagonists.
Shriek’s traditional powers include flight, sound manipulation and tapping into a person’s inner darkness. That said, it’s unclear if she’ll have those same abilities if Venom 2 or if she’ll be given a different set of powers. Who knows, maybe this version of the character will simply follow in Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady’s footsteps and be bonded to a symbiote.
Regardless, considering that Shriek’s only appearances outside the comics have been in one animated series and two video games, getting to participate in Venom 2 will boost her profile significantly. And with the sequel scheduled to begin production in the coming months, we should know soon whether it’ll work out for Naomie Harris to play Shriek, or if a different actress will ultimately be chosen.
Along with playing Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall, Spectre and the upcoming No Time to Die, Naomi Harris’ credits include two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Collateral Beauty, Moonlight, Rampage and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. She can next be seen in Black and Blue, which opens on October 25.
Although Venom 2’s release date hasn’t been officially announced yet, given that Sony scored the October 2, 2020 slot for one of its Marvel adaptations, we can reasonably assume that’s where Venom 2 will go since Morbius is already scheduled for July 31, 2020. In any case, keep checking back for more news on its development.
Although this weekend sees the long-awaited release of Zombieland: Double Tap, fans of horror-comedy are also eagerly awaiting the return of one of that sub-genre’s signature franchises, Evil Dead. Fortunately, there looks to be some movement on that front. The next Evil Dead movie has taken a big step forward, according to face of the franchise Bruce Campbell, who recently said:
The next Evil Dead movie has a filmmaker on board. Although Bruce Campbell did not say who it is and there has been no formal announcement, it seems that there is a director attached for the next installment of the Evil Dead franchise. Whoever it is, he or she has apparently been handpicked by franchise creator and the writer/director of the original Evil Dead trilogy, Sam Raimi.
This would seem to indicate that Fede Alvarez, who directed the 2013 remake of the property, will not be returning for this new film and a newcomer will be brought in. Whoever it is they’ll have help because as Bruce Campbell told the audience at the Rock and Shock Convention in Massachusetts (via Bloody Disgusting), Sam Raimi will be very involved in this next iteration of his horror-comedy franchise.
Over the summer Sam Raimi spoke about his desire to get another Evil Dead feature film made, and it seems that things are progressing in that regard with a director attached. Back in July Raimi said that there were a couple of ideas he, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert were looking at for the next movie and it seems like they must have settled on one.
Bruce Campbell seems confident that another movie is happening and said that they have a cool premise for it, teasing creepy books and people to torment, hallmarks of the franchise. He also said that Sam Raimi will be heavily involved in the film and the story, which should be encouraging for fans of the original trilogy.
In classic Bruce Campbell fashion, he also noted the importance of finding actors who don’t suck to star in the next Evil Dead movie. Sadly, Bruce Campbell’s Ash will not be among the cast, no matter what this next movie is. Following the cancellation of the Starz underwatched but fan favorite series Ash vs. Evil Dead after three seasons, Bruce Campbell officially retired as his iconic horror character.
Bruce Campbell has spoken about wanting to see someone else take up the mantle and he reiterated that again when he said:
Self-deprecating and hilarious as always, Bruce Campbell isn’t precious about Ash and is totally willing and even excited to see someone else take up the boomstick and save the world from evil. Who that will be and what that story will be is something we’ll have to wait to find out.
If a new actor plays Ash or if the franchise gets a new lead hero, it would point towards the next Evil Dead movie being a reboot, unless they choose to do a continuation of Fede Alvarez’s remake. I suppose they could do a sequel to the original trilogy and Bruce Campbell could return briefly just to pass on the mantle, although that was kind of what he was doing in Ash vs. Evil Dead.
Wherever the Evil Dead franchise goes from here, fans can take comfort knowing that even if Bruce Campbell is retired as Ash, Evil Dead is not dead and things are in the works. With a new filmmaker attached and Sam Raimi in the fold, maybe we’ll hear more about this project sooner rather than later.
Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the big movies coming to theaters this year and for the latest horror movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.
The relationship between BTS and their fans, called ARMY, is a special one. For starters, it isn’t some kind of one-sided devotion; for the members of BTS, their fans are as integral to their success as their music. And with the release of their latest collaboration — a version of “Make It Right” featuring singer-songwriter Lauv — they’re showing ARMY just how much of an impact they’ve had on their lives.
Written in part by Ed Sheeran, “Make It Right” was originally featured on the Korean group’s EP, Map of the Soul: Persona, earlier this year. The latest version features an English-language verse from Lauv and more soft, breathy vocals from BTS. “You were the only one who understood me / And all that I was going through,” he sings. “You were there for me through all the times I cried / I was there for you but then I lost my mind.”
The accompanying visual features footage of both BTS and their faithful fans from the superstar group’s Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour in addition to a colorful animation of a young man who finds strength and companionship in a young woman. The fable depicts the relationship between BTS and ARMY; as the boy could only slay the dragon with the support of the young woman (figuratively) by his side.
No matter how many dragons BTS face on their way to the top, “Make It Right” is a meaningful reminder that ARMY will always be there to fight alongside them — and, in return, they’ll help their fans slay their monsters, too.
Close your eyes, snap your fingers, and sway to the beat. But don’t make a sound (sorry, it’s contradicting) while Summer Walker and her band play while you watch her perform at NPR’s Tiny Desk series. You’re there in spirit, absorbing the warmth in the room. The vocals, the instruments, the presence, everything just borders on overwhelming your pleasure senses. Now, come back to reality. Walker’s five-set, fifteen-minute performance is instantly unforgettable. After watching it, don’t stand up too fast or you’ll get dizzy.
From the moment that the video starts, Walker looks like an absolute star. She wears these magnificent, diamond-encrusted glasses that draw all eyes to her. She kicks things off without discussion, strumming the guitar while she softly sings “Session 32” with equally talented backup singers. She then immediately went into “Wasted” and let her soulful vocals grow louder as the warmth of the sun bled through her words. “Girls Need Love” was next, sans Drake of course, that began with a sip of water to clear her throat and moisten her chords. An electric piano gave the oh so familiar starting point and then she raced into the slow-moving number, softly fitting in between the backup singers and simple drum patterns.
Afterward, the band introduced themselves before going into “Riot.” It was clear from Walker’s lack of words that she was focused intently on the music and ensuring the best possible listening experience for those in the room. After “Riot,” she wrapped things up with her current single, “Playing Games.” It was the softest moment yet, with the backup singers working with Summer for an epic, twisting finale. It put the finishing touches on one of the smoothest Tiny Desk installments yet.
My sister warned me long ago that weddings stop being fun in your 30’s if you’re a single woman. I didn’t think this would apply to me, as I’ve never fantasized about wedding dresses or being a princess bride. In fact, I never thought I’d get married at all. And yet, no matter how happy I am in my life with my career, friends, and endless adventures, I still find myself crying unnecessarily in bathroom stalls at weddings or getting overly defensive when yet another relative or “concerned” friend asks me why I’m not married yet.
Why am I the only person okay with me being single? Probably because getting married is what women are supposed to do—I’m either willfully breaking these all-important rules society has forced onto us or (gasp!) nobody actually wants me. I know the latter is bullshit, though it feels true at weddings for some reason. The truth is, I could easily get married if I really wanted just any shmuck. But I am instead—buckle up—choosing to stay single because it turns out a woman can be happy without a man. Revolutionary idea, right?
The fact is, I’m actually quite open to having a partner and even like being in a relationship, so long as it’s a good one. But even then, people love to pester me about wedding bells as if the trajectories of my relationships are any of their damn business. As we’re finally starting to acknowledge, hetrosexual marriages are often a bad deal for women. That’s not to say getting married can’t be a wonderful thing—but only when it’s to a partner who shows you love, respect, and willingness to share trash duty. In my experience, there are a million reasons to stay single and only one not to: You find a partner who is an equal, not a needy man-baby.
So, if you’re single like me, it’s probably not because you’re a loser but because you know that there are plenty of ways to be happy and fulfilled without a wedding. To shut the judgmental if unintentional haters up, here are some good comebacks when they ask, “So, when are you getting married?”
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Disney’s sequel to the 2014 retelling of Sleeping Beauty with Angelina Jolie that’s in theaters now, is sort of strange and dark for a fairy tale. And naturally, that’s what makes it so great. The movie covers a lot of things—motherhood, the loss of innocence, love, hate, immigration, power, magic—without losing focus. The costumes are, and I cannot stress this enough, excellent. And best of all, it honors the most enduring tropes of Disney fairy tales (spoiler: good triumphs over evil) while updating the princess narrative in subtle and powerful ways.
Just look at Aurora’s (Elle Fanning) story. She’s now 21 years old and engaged to Prince Philip. It’s hardly surprising or revolutionary that she’s marrying her first boyfriend, but we then learn they’ve been dating for five years. Five years! Compare that to the “love at first sight, married the next day” plot of, well, just pick a movie. Aurora is no sleepy princess, either. She’s the strong-willed barefoot queen of the Moors, the forest wonderland where magical creatures live, having given her previous castle to “the people.” We stan an egalitarian monarch.
Of course, this will come as no surprise to those who saw the first film, a decidedly feminist reboot of Sleeping Beauty. But Linda Woolverton—the screenwriter behind both Maleficent films and basically your entire childhood (Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, hello!)—tells me that turning a tale of problematic true love on its head was a challenge at first. While writing the first film, she struggled with making the Disney villain sympathetic. “What on Earth happened to this woman that she was that pissed off?” she asked herself. And so, “I had to give her a real reason.”
The answer: She wrote a scene in which Maleficent is drugged by a paramour and wakes to find he’s cut off her wings. “It was…nothing we ever said out loud, but it feels like a date rape,” she tells me. “It’s funny, I worked really closely with Angelina Jolie on the whole script—she was fantastic—and we never actually said date rape. It wasn’t until after that it was like, ‘Oh, huh, that’s what that is.'”
That powerful metaphor in Maleficent’s backstory wasn’t the only twist in the first film, though. You may recall that it’s actually Maleficent herself who breaks the sleeping curse by kissing Aurora on the forehead. (Turns out the unconditional true love of a mother is greater than that of a random paramour’s.) That moment was yet another instance of Woolverton realizing, after the fact, what she had written. “For the first Maleficent, I was talking [in an interview] about the moment when Maleficent wakes Aurora up and gives this speech, and I broke down,” she says. “It was so terrible. I realized that the whole movie was an apology to my daughter for getting a divorce.” She adds, “I didn’t even realize it until that moment that the whole movie was about that.”