Fix It Jesus – Mother!

So “Fix It Jesus” is a new series I’m going to be doing sporadically. Where I apply my imagination and problem solving skills to a movie or TV series or game and write out how I would change the plot to make it less offensive, or less or just less bad.

In this first post we’re gonna talk about Mother!


Now I did not see Mother! because I love myself but I did read Bitch Magazine’s wonderful and informative review. Now the main problems I see are the same old suffering woman trope and the idea that exploring that means relying on it even more. She suffers and suffers and dies which…no thank you. The movie also suffers from what I saw as a problem in one of Aronofsky’s previous films – Black Swan. Aronofsky loves metaphor, which is fine, that’s great. I love a metaphor myself but he piles them on like some self-important 90s film student who doesn’t know when to stop or something James Franco would make today.

In Mother! he also mixes metaphors and mythologies very weirdly. Mother Nature gives birth to Jesus? All the power is given to the man and she only seeks to serve him until others intervene? WTF is that?



I would erase all that shit about Adam & Eve and Cain & Abel stuff which just serves to overstuff the narrative. We keep “Him” – and give him a fucking name for God’s sake! Let’s say Bob. So Bob is a metaphor for some divine creative force. Then there’s Mother – except it’s super creepy for anyone but someone’s child to call them Mother unless it’s a formal title. So let’s just name her Jackie.

The basic beginning is the same. Bob and Jackie are living alone in an isolated house where he is obsessed with creating a singular poem and she is still obsessed with the house. Except that it’s framed as all she has to do and does not derive true pleasure from it. By excluding any other people in the lead in it becomes more of a creepy horror narrative about the labor women do to support mediocre men who never appreciate it. We see Jackie wanting to break away from this situation and from Bob but she is trapped by their isolation and her lack of any support. The psychological horror of her increasingly small world is shown in detail as it drives her mad. When she reaches her breaking point and decides she has to leave or die she discovers she’s pregnant which serves to isolate and trap her further. She stays trapped by the child she never wanted and by Bob’s overbearing personality and increasing neediness as he reverts to a more and more child-like state.

Jackie begins to carve the house into a nest, destroying many of the things that Bob enjoys about it. When Jackie finally gives birth it’s to a multitude of children of different ethnicities and genders and ability-levels meant to represent the emergence of humanity as a whole. It is these children, not the party guests which begin to destroy the house. They enslave one another and kill one another. The visuals of children performing these acts are shocking and horrifying to the viewer which serve to underscore the horror of humanity and its disgust with itself. Seeing all this Jackie falls into a deep depression which Bob of course ignores as he sees nothing wrong with their children and increases his demands on her. Finally Jackie cannot take it anymore. She starts to hunt down and kill the children in horrible ways but they continue to raise up from the dead and in fact seem to multiply. They haunt her and hurt her in various ways. Finally Jackie realizes there is only option. She gathers Bob and all the children in one room – Bob’s private work study, which she’s never been allowed into. She then sets the house on fire, fighting and keeping them all in there while they all burn.

After the conflagration there is only Jackie, burnt and hurt but alive and surrounded by the charred skeletons of Bob and their children. The ground around her is also burnt to blackness but as the audio focuses on her strained breathing another sound starts to break through the sound of growth. Next to Jackie’s head a flower begins to push itself from the ground she struggles and turns her head and as the black skin flakes off to reveal healthy brown skin (did I mention in my version Gabby is played by Gabourey Sidibe?) and she sees the flower. The camera zooms out as plant life begins to grown around her and slowly fades out on Jackie alone, surrounded by a beautiful garden, her laughter the last sound we hear.

There it is – my take on Mother!

Classic SF Film: Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames

Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames is the classic science fiction film you might have never seen. The amazing socio-political science fiction film you’ve been waiting for? Was made in 1983.


Live in that photography, cause it is everything.

I was made aware of Born in Flames years ago in a Lesbian/Queer Representation in Media class. It’s a mockumentary but I hate that term for films like this, mockumentary implies comedy and films like Born in Flames and Watermelon Woman may have funny parts but they are not comedies. There’s probably a term for a film that uses the documentary style not for mockery I’ve yet to learn.

The movie starts with a science-fictional (and really the only bit of science fiction in the film but a very important bit) premise – we are ten years past a socialist-democrat revolution and everything is equal. Except not really. Misogyny is still tolerated, as is racism and classism and all the other -isms. The revolution is slowly becoming like the old regime and serving some citizens more than others. Then things begin to get even worse.


Honey (Honey), Isabel (Adele Bertei) & Zella Wylie (Flo Kennedy)

The film refuses to be summarized simply, it has documentary portions and portions that are much more like narrative film. There is no main protagonist, there are instead many different women who share their positions. There are the two different radical underground radio stations – Radio Ragazza & Phoenix Radio – run by Isabel & Honey respectively who share some ideals but have very different focuses and perspectives. Then there’s Adelaide Norris and the other leaders of The Women’s Army and the three white women who run the Socialist Review (one played by a very young Kathryn Bigelow) and the older activist Zella Wylie (played by actual activist Flo Kennedy). All of them sharing their experiences and opinions of the state of the the new socialist-democratic republic. As the cracks begin to widen, we see them take different positions and different actions in reaction. Many storylines parallel journeys of actual civil rights leaders in the 50s, 60s & 70s. In many ways the protagonist of the film? Is the collective women as a force. Men are negligible in this film, the only ones who really appear are on the side of evil (read the interview link down below for more info on why Lizzie Borden did this, also on how there was actually very little script.)

Like any good documentary many points of views are represented and  you as the viewer are allowed to interpret and understand along with the characters. I also hesitate about not calling this a real documentary, because though the story may be untrue the emotions and factions and beliefs are not. The divisions in feminism that Lizzie Borden explores in the film? Are the very divisions we still talk about today. The hypocrisy she calls out in many of the leading figures in the government are still visible in our elected leaders.


1983? Or 2016?

The things The Women’s Army fights for, are not things that are made-up or imaginary goals – an end to misogyny, sexual assault, racism, heterosexism, classism. Lizzie Borden does not leave any of these isms to languish and through the format is able to show us how they interweave and inform each other and how even some activists can be blind to them. The themes and story that Born in Flames tells includes many things we are dealing with today: equal treatment under the law, anti-police brutality, the inequity of the justice system, an end to the biases that have tainted this country for centuries. It will make you sad for the fact that we still deal with these so much and hopeful that such powerful art was being made about it even 33 years ago.

Some enterprising and blessed soul has uploaded the entire film to Youtube. Watch it below. It’s worth it.

In my search for Born in Flames images online I found a few other people writing really smart things about this film. I will say that I have tried my best to avoid spoilers in the above but some of these pieces assume you have already seen the film, proceed at your own risk.


The Feminisms of ‘Born in Flames’  by Heather Brown in BITCH FLICKS

We Still Need the Women’s Army: Form and Politics in Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames by Brent Bellamy in CLEO: A JOURNAL OF FILM AND FEMINISM

And a WONDERFUL interview of the filmmaker Lizzie Borden (yes, that’s her real name) by Betty Sussler in Bomb Magazine in 1983 right after the film’s release. 

PPZ Review & P&P Publication News!

I am a huge Pride & Prejudice fan, yes also of Jane Austen in general but specifically Pride & Prejudice. I’ve read the book multiple times, seen most of the adaptations and own the seminal (for me) 6 hour BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle.

People knew this so when Pride, Prejudice & Zombies was published I got it as a gift and read it cover to cover. My response was an underwhelming “Eh.” The zombie aspect didn’t really add anything to story itself and there were some really uncomfortable moments of orientalism. There also seemed to be this obsession with Darcy’s “most English parts” and for the life of me I couldn’t tell if the author was talking about Darcy’s ass or his crotch. The one really fascinating C-plot is *SPOILER ALERT FOR THE BOOK* that Charlotte Lucas is infected and begs Lizzie to spare her because she wants to experience married life before she fully turns. Lizzie acquiesces and later when she goes to visit her friend? Charlotte has made the full transition to zombie status and no one notices.  Not her new husband, not the famous zombie killer Lady Catherine, no one but Lizzie. I thought this was a really great insight into how women’s health and well being is often ignored by others around them but it never really goes anywhere.

Now I’m the first to admit that some things work visually that just don’t work on the page. PPZ seemed likely to be one of those things. When I saw the initial full trailer:

I was excited and all in. I love a combination of period piece and warrior women, not a combination we get often. I saw the film and they added some things to the plot of the book that worked – the idea of zombies who can maintain their composure – and some things that didn’t – an oddly divided map of England/London that only added confusion. Overall my feeling of the film was…meh

– Some great fight scenes, especially when it’s all the Bennet sisters fighting together
– The sisters sparring beneath the house
– When the cinematography was on? It was great! Same with costumes.
– Matt Smith as Mr. Collins? Was utterly fantastic.
– Every time Mrs. Bennet was on screen I wanted to scream “Tilly!” Only Miranda fans will get that one.

– Lena Headley is entirely, ridiculously, unbelievably too young to play Lady Catherine. Like at least twenty years too young, it kept yanking me out.
– The actresses playing the Bennet sisters were so milquetoast & similar. It was like when Ryan Murphy casts male romantic leads. They all had to have different hair colors and glasses and such so the audience could tell them apart. Or at least so I could.(Surprisingly the actress who played Mary seemed to be putting the most into it.)
– They made Lizzie emotionally weak which she never really has been, like that initial scene where she overhears Darcy disparaging her and she fires right back? In the film she goes outside and cries. What the fuck? That’s not my Lizzie Bennet.
– It was entirely too long. I could have edited that down by thirty minutes and made a much tighter action film.
– Most of the performances were meh

Also I should say I saw both Deadpool and SW:The Force Awakens right after which were excellent so that might have tainted my opinion of PPZ.

In Pride & Prejudice related publishing news. Shipwreck, the erotic fan fiction competition I’ve participated in has an anthology coming out.

Loose Lips: Fanfiction Parodies of Great (and Terrible) Literature from the Smutty Stage of Shipwreck

Some fantastic authors are included in this collection, including Seana McGuire, John Scalzi, Mara Wilson, Naomi Novik, Holly Black and many more including ME!

My story is a Pride & Prejudice entitled The Sisters Lucas which focuses on, you guessed it, the sisters Lucas. Though specifically the younger sister Maria. It’s an exploration of power and sex and gender and I hope everyone loves it.

P.S. – So much of my story can be blamed on K. Tempest Bradford. She was visiting and we re-watched the six hour miniseries and she kept pointing out the girl that turned out to be Maria Lucas. In all my previous viewings I thought she was just different bland girls brought in to fill in the background. It was Tempest who pointed out sad Maria, who just wanted to be friends and was ignored by everyone. After that the story just came out of me.