Tag Archives: It’s Complicated

Ready for Player One to Not Be a Hetcis Boy

Publisher: Random House

Author: Ernest Cline

Release: 2011

Recommended? Probably? Just be prepared for 80s gender politics nostalgia.

Dear friend,

It’s midnight on a Monday. I’m logged into no less than 9 different social media/email accounts, with a browser holding 12 open tabs. It’s a calm day. I’m not sure if I spent most of the evening distracting myself from reality in the OASIS of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, or if it was the other way around. The book follows Wade Watts, a poor nobody of a teenager on a virtual adventure in the ultimate video game, fighting against the evil multinational corporation, IOI, competing to win the largest company in the world and save us all from their corruption. A real rags to riches story, complete with a token queer black woman, an underdeveloped and honor obsessed (cliché) Japanese sidekick, and a beautiful (but not too beautiful, she’s got a birthmark) love interest who uses her superior knowledge and ability to help our hero win the game, because what’s a nerdboy story without the manic pixie dream girl? Especially in a world where one’s best friend’s dead wife should OF COURSE be the password in the game winning puzzle. Duh. It will teach the boy to tell the girl he likes her in real life so he doesn’t wind up pining for her in the virtual world for the rest of his days.
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Cry-Baby (1990)



Director: John Waters

Writer: John Waters

Recommended? It’s complicated

Let’s say Cry-Baby wasn’t a movie. Let’s say it was a layer-cake. One of those candy-coated confections that give kids sugar rushes at birthday parties. Hopped up, quick witted, fun with a dash of teen angst. Bad boy Cry-Baby Walker woos good girl Allison in faded Technicolor, making fun of polio vaccinations, air raids and anti-smoking campaigns along the way. To music! (Music!) What’s not to love?

Except, oops, Waters swapped out flour for subtext, slipping in half-hidden subplots that take on race, class, and beauty norms. You bite down and realize the cake’s rich, marbled inside is really microwave meatloaf studded with broken glass. It’s probably good that you’re eating broken glass (metaphorically speaking, of course), because you sure are learning something. The problem is, most people just scrape off the icing and call it quits.

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