Book Review: Joss Whedon: The Biography

Joss Whedon: The Biography

*Update: I was informed by author Amy Pascale on Twitter that Joss Whedon: The Biography is not an “authorized biography” and have edited this review to remove any references to it as such.  I apologize for the mistake.

I had some mixed feelings about reading a biography of Joss Whedon.  For starters, I rarely read non-fiction (just as a matter of personal preference), but what made me more reluctant was my personal admiration and loyalty to Joss, the man who has created so many of my favorite stories over the past fifteen years or so.  The man who created “cult classics” like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly in addition to writing and directing The Avengers, one of the most successful films of all time, is certainly a subject ripe for study, but what to expect from a biography?  Could it capture the essence of this Lord of the Geeks that his fans all know and love, while managing to explain to the uninitiated why he’s worthy of our praise, while managing to find something new that will surprise even his most devoted followers or that could give a deeper meaning to his work?  While I found the book to be an enjoyable read, the bigger answers to these questions turned out to be something of a mixed bag.

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Quote of the Day

Dollhouse, Season 1: Episode 3 – “Stage Fright”

Paul Ballard: We split the atom, make a bomb. We come up with anything new, the first thing we do is destroy, manipulate, control. It’s human nature.

Victor (as Anton Lubov): Yeah, people are mostly crap.

This is not the Joss Whedon article I intended to write…

I had every intention of writing an article exploring Joss Whedon’s treatment of sex in his various works, and then I started doing some research online.  When I write articles like the one I was envisioning, I worry about unintentionally copying someone else’s ideas, so do a bit of searching to make sure that I still have something new to say.  Sometimes I find that someone else has put out an essay that says exactly what I wanted, only better, and I’ll simply abandon my idea.  Other times, I’ll find an article arguing the opposite of what I want to say, but in a way that allows me to write my opinions as a rebuttal (this worked really well for my Star Wars prequel analysis).  It’s important to read a variety of opinions, because challenging ourselves is the best way to grow, both as a writer/blogger and as a person.

But something different happened to me when I started searching for articles about Joss Whedon and sex.  I still have a lot to say, and maybe I’ll write that analysis soon, but for the moment I’m giving up on it.   Continue reading

Review: Much Ado About Nothing

(This was movie #4 of my 4 movie marathon day.)

How do I become friends with Joss Whedon?  If this is how he spends his vacations, filming Shakespeare adaptations at his absolutely stunning house with a troupe of enormously talented actors and friends, then sign me up.  Much Ado About Nothing is damn near perfect, the melding of two brilliant minds across 400 years.  It’s clear that both Joss and his cast have a deep understanding both of the subject matter and the Shakespearean dialogue, and I hope we get to see a lot more of this sort of thing from him, once The Avengers 2 is done filming.

Much Ado About Nothing tells the story of two romances that take place as a prince comes to stay with a local governor.   Continue reading

Not Exactly a Review: The Cabin in the Woods

It seems a bit silly for me to review a film that came out over a year ago, just because I finally got around to watching it.  So instead of a traditional review, I’m instead going to offer up some disorganized thoughts about The Cabin in the Woods.  (For the record, I give the film an A.)  I didn’t see it in the theaters mostly because we generally don’t go see horror films, both out of personal taste and a general lack of quality.  I’ve never been one for the sort of “jump out and get you” scares, but prefer more cerebral horror.  Give me Hitchcock or The Exorcist over Saw any day.  (We also don’t see a lot of comedy in the theater, but that’s a story for another time.)

Obviously I should have known better, considering the script was by Joss Whedon and one of his frequent collaborators, but the trailers didn’t help the situation.  They presented it as a standard “cabin in the woods” type thriller with a sci-fi/conspiracy twist.  That sort of thing has been done before.  So after it was released I read the plot on wikipedia and it seemed more creative than I had originally supposed, but still not enough to get me to go see it.  However, I recently read the script online out of curiosity which changed my mind, and I finally rented The Cabin in the Woods.  Here are my thoughts: Continue reading

Trailer Tuesday: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.

(Update: A new trailer has been released and you can read my thoughts on it here.)  Yes, I realize that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not a movie and that this is not technically a trailer.  But too bad, because I could not be more excited about S.H.I.E.L.D., the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which continues the story from The Avengers and is being overseen by the incomparable Joss Whedon.  Take a look: Continue reading