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Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : cinema

Lists: A Salute To 90’s Cinema Bad Boys

The 90’s were a great time for the you if you were young, a boy, and white.

I have always been drawn to films that feature this type of privileged, manipulative young male character who spends the entire film mind fucking all the adults in his world while he orchestrates his own brand of chaos.

I suppose I enjoy imagining what grotesque adult characters they could grow up to be.

The Good Son (1993)

I loved Macaulay Culkin’s portrayal of Henry Evans, a precocious psychopath who terrorizes his cousin played by the equally cute (but now scary looking) Elijah Wood.

Almost as interesting as the film is the back story. Macaulay Culkin’s father threatened Fox, which had been saved from financial disaster by the unexpected success of “Home Alone,” by saying he would pull his Mac from “Home Alone 2” if he wasn’t given the image-altering starring role in “The Good Son,” which was about to start shooting. He also made sure his daughter Quinn received a role too, as Henry Evans’ little sister.

At the time, Macaulay Culkin was a bankable star who – at 12 years old – was making over $8 million a picture.

Problem Child (1990)

Oh, sequels are never as good as the original!

Michael Oliver charmed me and inspired me to run away from home in his portrayal of Junior, an orphan who is adopted by his dopey but loving dad Ben Healy, played by John Ritter, and his obnoxious wife, Flo (she doesn’t make it to the sequel).

When Junior arrives at the Healy residence he finds a bedroom just for him – filled with clowns.
That alone, in my mind, gave him full justification to wreak havoc for the rest of the film. This film inspired me to start another list called “films with kids who go on joyrides with serial killers”.

Problem Child was Michael Oliver’s big screen debut. Problem Child 2 was the last film he ever starred in and he is best known for the related lawsuit – his manager/mother coerced Universal into renegotiating his contract on the eve of filming Problem Child 2 . Universal owed Oliver $80,000 for his role in the original pic but was forced to pay him $250,000, the jury found, and he was obligated to return the balance.

I would assume the lawsuit explains why Problem Child 2 was his last movie.

Dark City (1998)

The evil little kid in this film is played by Rowan Witt, also known as the “spoon” boy from the Matrix.
I know he doesn’t have a starring role but this movie is sick so I had to mention it.

Lord of the Flies (1990)

Oh, Jack Merridew! You personify all that is glorious about the 90’s bad boy.

Masterfully played by Chris Furrh in the second film remake of the literary classic, Jack Merridew
is one of the young military school boys stranded on an island after their plane crashes (clearly, they come from money). After Ralph is elected leader (because he is bigger and kinder), Jack neglects his assigned duty to watch over the fire camp and they all lose a chance to be seen by a helicopter. Instead of being sorry, Jack divides the group and splits leadership, becoming the leader of his own tribe who is responsible for hunting. This positions him as an even greater leader and threat, as now all sources of meat rest in his hands.

Watching Jack devolve into primitivism, using fear to control the other boys, hunting and chasing pigs and then eventually hunting Ralph is something to behold. Not as good as the book, but still worth viewing.

After “Lord of the Flies”, Chris Furrh was never as challenged in a role again. He went on to do a few television roles and hasn’t made a film since.

What other Cinema Bad Boys can you think of? They don’t have to be from the 90’s.

Afro-Punk thread: Black Female Antagonists in Cinema

I love the feedback and opportunities for thoughtful interaction that I get through my profile on

Within this space, I recently re-posted an older blog entry I had written a while ago about Girl Antagonists in Cinema. Matrix commented and asked me to expound on a similar yet slightly broader (and more challenging) category: Black Female Antagonists.

(my original definition)
Defining the Girl Antagonist:
She has no allegiances, rebukes any boxing in of social norms. She manipulates the common stereotypes that come with her identity – The Young Girl: Innocent, Meek, Naive. She does not seek protection and in fact is a destructive force. Regardless of who may be hurt in the process (like the typical male antagonist) she will use any subversive means to achieve her goals.

In most films, the girl antagonist, like the femme fatale, usually “gets what’s coming to her” however there are rare occasions when she suffers no retribution.
She didn’t specify age range so I am adhering to my original definition but not limiting it to
characters under 18 years old.

I am purposely avoiding characters from blaxploitation films because that is too easy.
Feel free to comment and leave those if you would like, along with any other black female antagonists I may have missed.

Some Recent Examples of Black Female Antagonists:

(The Craft, 1996)

Rachel True’s character Rochelle is part of a teenage coven of witches who are social outcasts at their Los Angeles catholic high school. Rochelle uses witchcraft to seek vengeance on her bullies and eventually turns on her own friend, Sarah Bailey, when she refuses to participate in their increasingly dangerous games. The karma of her spells catch up on her and eventually she experiences a “hair raising” punishment that, in the end, is a lesson she doesn’t gain any real insight from.

(Queen of the Damned, 2002)

Akasha and her King are the makers of all vampires who, after drinking the ancient world dry, are found slumbering by Lestat in a secret room. Akasha eventually drinks her own King to death and sets her sights on Lestat, wanting to make him her new main squeeze. When Akasha rescues Lestat from a vampire attack, she flies him to an island where she had already killed everyone and makes love to him as a means to share her blood with him. It is not to be however, as ancient vampires seek to overthrow her rule and eventually Lestat chooses a human over her and tries to kill Akasha. In an epic vampire battle, Pandora drinks the last drop of the queen’s vampire blood and Akasha turns to ash.

A lot of people did NOT like this movie but I thought Aaliyah’s performance was provocative and entertaining.

(The Chronicles of Riddick, 2004)

The Necro Dame Vaako (Thandie Newton), is a dame not to be trifled with. She is power hungry, so much so that she is willing to orchestrate a coup on her own leader. She discovers that Lord Marshal, leader of the Necromongers, previously tried to exterminate the race of Furians (Riddick’s heritage) because of a prophecy which foretold he would be killed by one. After a battle, Lord Marshal believes Riddick is dead and as a reward promotes Vaako , Dame Vaako’s partner and political puppet, to first among Commanders. Dame Vaako manipulates Vaako into believing they should allow Riddick to kill Lord Marshal so that Vaako can kill Riddick and then become Lord of the Necromongers. Her plan doesn’t work however because Vaako is unable to subdue him, making Riddick the strongest and therefore the new leader of the Necromongers.

(The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006)

Thandie Newton does it again!
Her portrayal of Linda, the impatient and overworked wife to Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, could arguably be grouped under the black female antagonist umbrella. She leaves her husband when he needs her the most because he refuses to give up his dream, and is also fine with leaving her child without giving him any explanation. Ultimately, she moves across the country without any indication that she plans on keeping contact with her own son. Her motivation is to “seek a new life”, a life that apparently doesn’t involve her child. This blatant lack of maternal instinct, quite visible in her son’s pained reaction to her absence, positions her to qualify as an antagonist.


(The Color Purple, 1985)

An example of a black female character who begins as an antagonist but ends as a protagonist is Margaret Avery’s portrayal of Shug Avery in the cinematic interpretation of author Alice Walker’s masterpiece.

Shug Avery is a “loose woman” with a dark past.
She storms into Celie’s world like a herd of snarling, wild horses. She allows Celie to wait on her hand and foot (enforced by Mr.), is blatant about her sexual past with Mr. and treats her stay in the Johnson home as the opportunity to release a barrage of verbal and physical abuses on anyone who crosses her path.

Eventually she softens her heart to Celie and in turn, teaches Celie how to stand up for herself.

I like the original version of their relationship in the book because it is more blatant that they shared an intimacy that was clearly out of taste for Steven Spielberg’s sensibilities.


I am sure there are more but these are the only examples I could think of off the top of my head.

Can you think of any others?

Homework Notes: La Jetée

– image via lemmy_caution on flickr

I decided to write this before reading any information that was available online. The following notes were written based on my own impressions after watching La Jetée for the first time.

La Jetée is a 30 minute short science fiction film. It deals with the following themes: war, time travel, romance, abusive authority and identity. The filmmaker’s decision to use (primarily) still images, limited sound effects and a narrator, works as a short film. The director relies on our own imagination and identification with the main character to create the illusion of distinct periods of time, the blending of time and communication between characters.

I would not be able to watch a feature length sci-fi film (as much as I love them) if it were composed entirely of still images, but I was surprised to find that my attention was held for the whole film and I had become emotionally invested in it by the end.

You can watch Pt.1, 2, and 3 on YouTube, thanks to RobinofSactown.

Here are some observations I made while watching: