Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

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Wednesday

29

July 2020

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TTTE& Chill: Daisy

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Woo-woo! Grab your milk van and be sure to follow fitter’s orders, because it’s time for another episode of Thomas the Tank Engine & Chill. Daisy doesn’t get many speaking roles in TTTE, but everyone’s favorite female diesel rail car made quite the first impression. This collection also includes the infamous “Whistles and Sneezes” saga, where Henry fends off some evil boys using only his stuffed up smoke box. Trevor also makes his debut, dreaming of uncomfortable subjects…

 

This collection includes the following episodes:

 

  1. Daisy
  2. Percy’s Predicament
  3. Whistles and Sneezes
  4. Saved From Scrap
  5. A New Friend for Thomas
  6. Tender Engines
  7. Percy Takes The Plunge

Photo courtesy of the Britt Allcroft Company

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Tuesday

28

July 2020

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Everybody Wants Some!!

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Join ITM for a solo episode on the 2016 Richard Linklater film, Everybody Wants Some!! Ian talks about the college coming-of-age comedy and the ways it reminded her of her own college experience. Nostalgia is a powerful, often toxic force that suffocates people in the past. Nostalgia can be a particularly perplexing force for transgender folk, parsing the good from the bad with the understanding that longing for ones memory is a dangerous proposition. 

 

Ian’s review of the film: https://ianthomasmalone.com/2020/07/everybody-wants-some-presents-a-subtle-indictment-of-nostalgia/

 

Film poster courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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Monday

27

July 2020

1

COMMENTS

Everybody Wants Some!! presents a subtle indictment of nostalgia

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Preseason is a magical time to be on a college campus. With classes on the horizon, there are seemingly infinite possibilities for new friends, fresh perspectives, and plenty of parties. Semesters are short, a handful of weeks before holidays and exams take hold.

Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! focuses its narrative on a three-day stretch before classes start, centered around a college baseball team arriving for preseason in Texas. The team is good, nationally ranked, but Linklater recognizes this period for its finite body of time. These players are on top of the world, a reign unlikely to last past graduation. Fortunately, most of them seem to know it.

Jake (Blake Jenner) is an artsy freshman pitcher, hardly the kind of talent destined for the big leagues. He finds mentorship in the form of Finn (Glen Powell), an upper-classman eager to enjoy life wherever he can. The film spends most of its time capturing brief snippets of the baseball team lounging around, partying, and gradually learning to tolerate each other’s existence.

Linklater’s wandering narrative beautifully captures a finite piece of the college experience. Your friends in August hardly need to be your friends for life. The passion brought out from the freshness of new beginnings doesn’t last forever.

We see little of consequence among the baseball team, a hardcore group bound to possess a few bad apples. Bad apples don’t need to rot in August. Time reveals true colors, but Linklater wielded time to his advantage.

Many narratives, in literature or film, unfold over weeks, months, or even years. Everybody Wants Some!! says what it needs to say in mere days. There is obviously more to the story, as there is more to every story, but Linklater takes comfort in the idea that you don’t need to see all of that to have a good time with these people, over this short period of time.

It would be easy to dismiss Everybody Wants Some!! as the product of an aging director fondly reflecting on his youth. The narrative is one that’s bound to resonate with most with viewers who can relate to the particular experience. Very quietly, Linklater introduced a powerful commentary on nostalgia.

As fun as preseason can be, with an entire ocean of possibilities still ahead, Linklater is careful not to frame these three days as anything more than a very fun time. Moments are born, destined to end. New beginnings give way to new adventures.

Linklater presents more of an indictment of nostalgia than a tribute at its alter, moments to be celebrated without needing to long for their return. The “good old days” can be fun to reflect about, as long as you don’t forget that these aren’t supposed to be the best moments of your life. Better days will come for Jake. It would be very tragic if they didn’t.

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Thursday

23

July 2020

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Transgender Storytime: One Wand to Rule Them All

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***Note this episode is probably not for everyone.***

There are many in the gender critical movement who think transgender people are sexless blobs, incapable of any pleasure whatsoever. Ian debunks the nonsense, explaining how her wand vibrator helped her rediscover her sexuality after bottom surgery. This subject is certainly an awkward one for many, Ian included, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there. The “othering” of trans people is based on a lot of myths and false theories.

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Friday

17

July 2020

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TTTE & Chill: Thomas, Percy & The Dragon

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The era of BoCo is upon us! Join Ian & Tarabelle for an exciting episode of Thomas the Tank Engine & Chill, covering the Thomas Percy & The Dragon collection, full of twins, depostations, and the death of that awful, totally not essential, spiteful brake van. Should Sir Topham Hatt have been more sympathetic to Percy’s scarf dysphoria? Is “Edward’s Exploit” the old blue engine’s finest hour? Tune in to find out!

This collection includes the following episodes:

  1. Thomas, Percy & the Dragon
  2. Donald and Douglas
  3. The Deputation
  4. Time for Trouble
  5. A Scarf for Percy
  6. The Diseasel
  7. Edward’s Exploit

VHS image courtesy of The Britt Allcroft Company

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Thursday

9

July 2020

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Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a frustrating masterpiece

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For many, bars are places of community. Bars are places to get away from the world. In more extreme cases, bars are more of a home than the place one rests their head at night.

Imagine if that place you treasured so much closed. That is quite literally what Bill & Turner Ross did in their latest film, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. Presented as a documentary covering the final day of operation for a bar in Las Vegas called The Roaring Twenties, the Ross brothers skirt the lines between fiction and non-fiction. The documentary is filmed in New Orleans, not Vegas, featuring a bar that is not actually closing.

The Ross brothers frame their film like flies on the wall, capturing conversations between the “patrons.” There is no background given on the bar and only a minor attempt is made to explain why it is “closing.” For the most part, the film is simple conversations between people.

Does the deception actually matter? Surprisingly, not really. Especially in these post-COVID times, there’s something oddly captivating about watching unremarkable people converse in unremarkable ways. Michael the barfly is essentially the film’s “protagonist,” a real-life stage actor who practically says as much late in the narrative.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the characters get really drunk. The conversations become a little less interesting at that point, especially to sober outside viewers, but the Ross brothers do manage to capture the essence of intoxicated banter. There are points where the drunkenness does reveal a degree of deception, as repeated efforts by one character that he loves another ring hollow. It is not always so convincing in its attempts to portray the bar as one happy family.

People act differently when they’re being filmed. With that in mind, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets doesn’t really differ from any “documentary,” even if it feels weird to call it that. That’s completely okay. The Ross brothers deserve a lot of credit for their ability to craft a meaningful narrative while completely upending their genre.

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a deeply frustrating film, a genre-defying triumph of humanity. The kind of masterpiece that makes you want to scream. It’s absolutely beautiful.

The film is surely not for everyone, especially those who aren’t fans of feeling tricked. Where the Ross brothers find their greatest success is in their ability to circumvent the kind of criticism there were bound to receive for a stunt like this. It probably shouldn’t have worked, but Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is such a fascinating gem.

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Thursday

9

July 2020

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Jack & Yaya

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Today we welcome the directors & stars of the new documentary Jack & Yaya to the show, breaking EI’s record for number of guests on one show. Jack & Yaya focuses on the lifelong friendship between the two trans people, neighbors who found a sense of belonging in their shared companionship. Directors Jen & Mary, along with the eponymous Jack & Yaya talk all about the film, many of its exciting scenes, and what they hope viewers take away from the touching narrative.

Jack & Yaya is available now on Amazon, Vimeo, and other major streaming platforms.

Website: jackandyaya.com

Facebook: JackandYayaFilm

Twitter: @JackandYayaFilm

Instagram: @jackandyayafilm

Ian’s review of the film: https://ianthomasmalone.com/2020/07/jack-yaya-is-a-touching-testament-to-the-power-of-friendship/

Film poster courtesy of Hewes Pictures

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Tuesday

7

July 2020

1

COMMENTS

Jack & Yaya is a touching testament to the power of friendship

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The toxic nature of homophobia can have an especially profound effect on LGBTQ youth, especially those of us still who are still in the closet. It’s hard to imagine prosperity in a world that so tolerates intolerance as the not-so-distant past once permitted. Companionship is a valued commodity particularly to those who know all too well what it’s like to be othered.

The documentary Jack & Yaya centers itself around a lifelong friendship between two transgender people who found a sense of belonging with each other, well before either knew they wanted to transition. Directors Jen Bagley & Mary Hewey chronicle their journeys to self-realization in a touching, quiet narrative.

In many ways, the film feels aimed at the relatives of trans people, especially those who might be struggling with the concept of gender identity. Christina (Yaya) in particular faced some challenges in acceptance, even from a gay brother, demonstrating the complexities of LGBTQ tolerance. Jack’s extended family are a treat to watch, exuberant in their embrace of him. There’s a bit of a “looks can be deceiving” angle at play, as many of Jack’s extended family look like the kind of folk you’d expect to see more at a Trump rally than a Pride parade.

The film is pretty light on conflict or drama, the kind of tension that tends to drive most narratives. Given how often transgender narratives are sensationalized in the media, this approach is hardly unwelcome. Bagley and Hewey keep the focus grounded in reality, which itself offers some moments that should remind everyone of the struggles that so many in the LGBTQ community face.

In some ways, the film does focus a bit too much on the transition angle, an origin story that at times feels at odds with the trajectory of other trans narratives in the year 2020. Transgender people often point out that their transitions are the least interesting elements of their identity. For those of us who wish to see trans narratives move beyond the rudimentary nature of transition itself, Jack & Yaya does leave a bit on the table to explore.

Transgender people often feel alone, afraid to live life as ourselves. Jack & Yaya is a touching narrative that celebrates the vital relationships we make across our journeys. LGBTQ rights have come a long way since the time when Jack & Yaya were little, but their story serves as an important reminder for the challenges that too many in the community still face.

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Tuesday

7

July 2020

0

COMMENTS

Relic is a chilling slow burn

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For a film like Relic, dementia is a natural fit for the horror genre, a real life terror that anyone familiar with the disease can understand. To lose yourself is bad enough, without all the external considerations of a supernaturally charged terror. Set in an eerie house in Australia, Relic stakes out its territory in the kind of frights that naturally creep up on you, because in a way, they could.

The film follows Kay (Emily Mortimer) and her daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) and they check in on Kay’s mother Edna (Robyn Nevin), an elderly woman suffering from dementia living alone in a dreary home. Edna has been missing for a few days, though reappears unexpectedly without much of a clue where she’s been. The house holds secrets of both a personal nature and those of the more supernatural variety.

The acting is superb. Nevin steals the show as Edna, a resilient woman reluctant to be treated like an invalid. She’s stubborn while still being sympathetic, a kind of persistent pride that lingers even in the face of her illness. Mortimer and Heathcote are quite good as well, layering the horror in a compelling family drama.

Making her directorial debut in addition to writing duties, Natalie Erika James crafts a rich narrative that moves at a careful pace. James frames her shots in a way that lets the house itself function as a character in its own right, a kind of claustrophobic environment that reeks of decay, the perfect setting for a horror film. James makes great use of the lighting, dim, creepy, and bleak.

Relic is a meticulously crafted slow burn. James has a superb sense of pacing that keeps tensions high. The film essentially divides itself into three acts, making quick work of its runtime of just under 90 minutes. You feel like every scene serves a specific purpose, without the need to explain every last detail.

As a horror film, Relic falls more under the category of creepy than outright scary. It’s the kind of narrative that crawls under your skin more than making you jump out of it. James has made a bit of an esoteric type of film, one that encourages critical thinking well after the credits have stopped rolling.

Relic is a breath of fresh air in the genre. In the past, it may have seemed absurd for a film to give such a meaty role to an elderly woman like Nevin. The female-led production produced a well-crafted delight for horror fans, one that’s perfect for today’s shelter-at-home climate.

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Tuesday

7

July 2020

0

COMMENTS

JK Rowling & The Future of Fantastic Beasts

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Join host Ian Thomas Malone for a short episode on the world’s most notorious Feminism-Appropriating Radical Transphobe (FART), J.K. Rowling. Rowling’s latest collection of transphobic temper tantrums have thrown the future of the Fantastic Beasts franchise into question, a series already beleaguered by various controversies surrounding Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller, not explicitly gay Dumbledore, and Nagini the snake.

How many horcruxs does Rowling have left? Tune in to find out.

Trans rights are human rights.

If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to tune in to our episode dedicated to Not Explicitly Gay Dumbledore, which was recorded last year.

 

 

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