wandrinparakeet: (arthurfrownyface)
[personal profile] wandrinparakeet
But dude, [livejournal.com profile] sho_no_tabi's Inception fic is glorious.  Thanks, Inceptionwips!  You introduce me to the nicest people.

While I'm as partial to cheerful banter and romance (give me His Girl Friday any day of the week, my friends) as the next girl, the thing I fell in love with about Inception ALMOST as much as the pretty men is the action and the heist.  The sense that most of these characters were brilliant, calculating, daring criminals.  Even Saito, despite not being part of the official team, is undoubtedly badass.  (It helps that he's played by Ken Watanabe.)  Heck, even Fischer gets to be badass.

Yes, I admit I would not kick any of these men out of bed (except Leo, really, but even him I wouldn't actually kick out of bed).  But I also want to BE all of them.  And that's because they're so smart.  I drool over smart.

And [livejournal.com profile] sho_no_tabi's fic gives me JUST WHAT I WANT for that.  Arthur being impeccable but human.  Eames being the smartest damn man in the room.  (I also cannot say how much I appreciate that Cobb is not a maudlin ass in these stories.)

They have PLOT.  They have beautiful, subtle character shifts, synced in with what I gleaned from canon.  

And most of all they have both compelling, brutal action (that scene when Arthur's leaps across that fucking 15-foot gap stories above ground in Life During Wartime is just what I needed but didn't know I wanted.)  Action that is charged with emotion, but not wallowing in it.  Action is not easy to write clearly, either, and this is done efficiently and engagingly.  It brings me right back to what hooked me about the film when I saw it the first time with no expectations.  

These stories are not romances, not in the traditional way.  There is very little in the way of smut (what's there is potent and effective, but not the point.)  So look elsewhere if you want straight up porn. 

Go forth and read!

As an aside, there are many bonus nods to the excellent Brick.  And it just makes me want a fedora that much more than I already do.

Date: 2010-12-29 11:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maga-nw.livejournal.com
I'll check the stories out, they sound great :)

Thanks for the rec~

Date: 2010-12-30 03:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
I hope you enjoy them! I always love finding new authors, and I count on recs to help me find more.

Date: 2010-12-29 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sho-no-tabi.livejournal.com
Hi! I got something called a pingbot something or other and, I just have to say, WOW, thank you so very, very much for this. For the rec. and specifically for the observations you made.

I have to admit, as I'm finishing up the last chapter of the latest fic I wrote, I'm not sure where to go next or how to continue. But reading that someone really likes the heist aspect, and the action and such, I feel like I could write more of something like that.

Thank you for getting it. Thank you for the inspiration and for these comments! ^_^

P.S. I can't get enough of fedoras, god. Wear them myself. K Mart has them really cheap. ;)

Date: 2010-12-30 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
Hi right back!

I was just debating whether I should go and say hello over at your journal and let you know in person about this wee review, but I'm glad you found it on your own (should've realized the pingbot would do that...)

I'm glad the feedback is inspiring more potential fic, certainly!

My contribution level to fandom, I think, is most likely to be recs and reviews -- I am a writer myself, and there's always a possibility that I'll get up the nerve to actually write fanfic, but right now this is about what I can do. I'm happy to send whatever readers I can your way.

Sometimes, I really am all about the romantic, almost indulgent fics, but I think sometimes both authors and readers get distracted by 'ships and lose track of the desire for more of the world they're drawing from, you know? In this fandom particularly, I love delving into the world Nolan created, and filling in all the gaps, as you've done with your stories. Still with a healthy dose of the characters I love, of course.

And yes on more action and heists! I'm hopeful that my cheering you on as a reader will spark some idea or germ of an idea for more. I'm patient, though!

On fedoras -- apparently my desire to be Katharine Hepburn has now crossed with my desire to dress as well as Arthur, so the fedoras are quickly becoming something I am seriously considering purchasing. Good to know about Kmart! I will have to check that out...since I don't have Arthur's massive cash flow, more's the pity.

Date: 2010-12-30 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sho-no-tabi.livejournal.com
You said something in your original post that I wanted to comment on but forgot to. When you said that you wanted to be the actual characters, man, I get that, so much. I've always been that same way. Characters make me want to write about them when there's something to them that I admire so much, I sort of want to make it a part of me.

Characters, and indeed people that I find myself ridiculously attracted to, have some quality that I yearn to have myself. When I was a kid, I fell in love with Indiana Jones, and I wanted to be just like him. With Arthur and with Eames, and to a lesser extent, Ariadne, I sort of loved them the best because they were smart, badass, and brave. Daring-like. They got to do all the cool stuff, with no gravity and explosives and jumping out of buildings. Even if it was just in dreams, they still had everything to lose and kept it together anyway.

Anyway! Sorry for going on for so long. It's just that, you put your finger on why I write what I write. That means a lot to me! :D

Oh, a good fedora is probably still hard to find, but I've got a handful of cheap ones that I wear when I go out. ^_^ People should still wear hats. (The one I like the best is, believe it or not, the one Leon Kennedy wears in Resident Evil4's alternate costume where he dresses noir. Dunno if you know games or not. :D )

Speaking of noir and clothes, who wants to put money down on JGL's / RJ's Looper becoming a fandom? :D

Anyway. Thank you! ^_^

Date: 2010-12-31 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
I know exactly what you mean about how the characters we admire are the ones that stick with us. I have a general love of all heist/caper/spy stories, whether frothy fun like Ocean's 11 or the more realistic grit of series like MI-5. I fully acknowledge that if I were ever to be part of such a team, I would totally be the stay at the office researcher type rather than anyone in the field, but I love to THINK I could be a field agent. And be all badass. This is what's currently lurking in the back of my mind making me want to take, for example, fencing classes and martial arts, to see if I actually have the mettle for such skills in real life, but I'll never stop loving the thrill of living such characters and tales vicariously.

As a kid I read the Alanna books by Tamora Pierce, and I think from then on I totally rejected the idea of being any sort of princess (if in fact I had ever cast myself as that role) and settled firmly on wanting to be a knight. Forget all the frippery, and bring on the weapons! I swear, if gym had been all about fencing and hand to hand combat, I would have enjoyed it so much more.

Also, the knowledge that JGL actually physically DID all the stunts in those scenes makes me stupidly happy -- I much prefer (as clearly both Nolan and the actors do) to see real stunts, and these were some of the best. I was describing the scene to a colleague, and she immediately asked me if they were fighting in slow motion. I stopped, a bit puzzled as to why she would assume this, and said no, they were wonderfully real-time. And thus very quickly paced. Then I realized that it is entirely too common in films to extend the drama by having people fight (especially in they're fighting in zero gravity) in slow-mo, and how smart it was in Inception to avoid that visual cliche. It would have cheapened the actual speed and skill required.

Also, just to say, all your references to Brick made me go and watch it again last night, and...it's just so fun. The dialog is brilliant, and the style is so sincere. I'm very much looking forward to Looper. We'll have to see if there's actor chemistry anywhere within it to launch a new fandom. I'm still very amused that the entirety of A/E Inception fandom is built on one darling, snarky banter, and a few glances, so it's not like it takes much to launch a significant fandom. And, you know, suits. But it certainly looks promising.

That reminds me I wanted to go back and rewatch The Brothers Bloom.

And now I'm the one rambling on -- I do apologize!

Date: 2011-01-01 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sho-no-tabi.livejournal.com
To this day I hold on to this fantasy of busting down doors, with a gun and flashlight and yelling "SPECIAL AGENT, DROP YOUR WEAPON." My super hero is Scully. :D

As for martial arts, I can't recommend it enough. I've done it for years, fighting and weapons training, and it's one of the best things I've ever done.

I LOVE the fact that JGL did his own stunts. I have such huge respect for physical prowess. It kills me that he can do all those backflips and aerials and that kind of thing. He kind of amazes me. That's why I think that Ninja!Arthur could be canon. I read some fics where he's only a badass in dreams, but A) I think Arthur was a military guy and B) JGL can do backflips, so yeah. :D

Brick is one of those movies that I have to break out and watch every few months.

And it's funny that you say that about the fandom, because months ago I wrote this silly meta thing on Arthur and Eames and one of the things I wrote was that an entire fandom hinged on the word "Darling." Hehe! That was a very cagey movie on T-Hard's part. (For the record, I love how he's a real life BAMF too. :D )

I love babbling about fandom so it's no problem! ^_^

Date: 2011-01-02 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
Out of curiousity, are there any particular marital arts you'd recommend for a newbie? I've never been too terribly, well, disciplined about activity (in that, I like to walk lots of places, but haven't done any sort of organized athletics since dance a way long time ago...) Any type or level that's a good place to start, in your opinion? I've been kind of considering aikido or karate.

And yeah, the whole busting down doors thing...I have a friend who's an ex-cop, and there's a part of me that really wants to ask him to show me how to shoot someday. More for the skill than any actual intent -- I want to know if I can do it. Same goes for all such things -- archery, knife-throwing, etc. And really, who didn't want to be Scully? And now I've got a thing for Olivia on Fringe too.

I was won over by JGL doing Make 'Em Laugh on SNL. No, he didn't do it perfectly, but he certainly did it with great glee and commitment and more athleticism than I would have expected. As you say, he can do back flips, and with grace. And I thought his was way better than the take on Glee itself. But I digress -- I have a special fondness for Singin' in the Rain and Donald O'Connor's amazing, often unsung talent. Anyone who clearly admires that same talent with such an homage is after my heart.

JGL's clearly someone who enjoys the challenge, and keeps fit (although happily not in a creepy gym bunny way, but more in the I like to do lots of stuff kind of way.) Also, it seems abundantly clear from interviews that Nolan was completely up front about what was expected and JGL jumped on board partly because of what he was being asked to do.

To your point, though, I was incredibly pleased that JGL did his own stunts -- that they all did. I liked hearing that Leo, for example, was a consummate professional and was totally on target during all his stunts and shooting scenes. Anything that can be done in life and in camera totally should be done, IMHO. I'm very old school that way, I suppose.

As for canon, I've always felt that because Arthur was military (do they clarify that in the movie? Or is that just Nolan who's confirmed that? Either way...) he could do much of what he can do in dreams in real life as well. Likewise with Eames in terms of fighting skill. I mean, while manipulating the dream space might extend to accentuating your own talents, I feel like to do what they do they'd have to be able to do most of it in real life as well. To draw on actual experience just for sheer competency within the dream space. They control the dream space enough that it follows some realistic rules, and one would presume the militarized side would still obey the rules of physics. Otherwise you'd have people shooting bullets around corners.

On the other hand, like with Eames -- he can forge being a woman through presentation and voice, but can he really forge being a woman in all ways (like, with all the gender swap stories out there, all the way toward having sex) when he hasn't been a woman in real life? Can he only forge what he knows from experience and from observation? Or does the dreamer just fill in information, or ignore anything that feels wrong or inconsistent? I've wondered this about the dream space too -- how much of it multiple layer acts by the architect and the dreamer? Who adds what in where?

And that always makes me wonder just how rare forgers really are -- Eames is clearly a valued member of the team more as a forger than as a thief or extractor, and so...how many of them are there? Why can't everyone do it? As with the weapons (and the whole dream a little bigger darling moment), is Eames the only one who can just dream up another weapon easily? Or do it without disrupting the dream space as much? Or could anyone do it, but they just don't because it's unwise to mess with the dream once it's going?

Ah, Nolan. Your universe contains so many questions, and so many interesting places to go.

Date: 2011-01-02 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
On the whole Darling thing. First of all, YES, it's really all hinged on that. Plus the flirty bickering, but the darling is what caught everyone's attention. My friend and I left the theater the first time having thoroughly enjoyed the intelligent fun of the movie but then almost immediately fell into the shallow reaction of, "OMG, everyone was so beautiful in this movie!" following quickly by "And I want everyone's clothes!" Then she commented that the bulk of the slash fic out there was Arthur/Eames, and at first I was like, "Hmm, ok." There was a second pause and we both turned to each other and said, "Well, there was that darling. That's all we really need."

Also, once I heard that Tom Hardy had improvised the Darling plus the fact that he was in many ways drawing on Christopher Nolan's personality for his performance, I wondered if Nolan wanders around the set calling people darling. If this were true, it would amuse me no end.

And yes, I completely appreciate that Tom Hardy is a total BAMF too. I finally got to see Stuart: A Life Backwards, and that just cemented that he's also a skilled actor. I think part of the success of both of these two is not only are they playing great characters in this particular film in such a scene-stealing manner, they are both evidently smart and talented in real life. Maybe it's just me, but knowing that actors are smart, articulate, and talented on top of being quite lovely physically just makes them that much more devastating in attractiveness. And of course, that's why even stunningly beautiful people become that much less attractive when they are revealed to be stupid, boorish, or hacks. All that pretty doesn't help if there's nothing going on upstairs.

And I'm shutting up now...I must go sleep!

Date: 2011-01-02 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sho-no-tabi.livejournal.com
AHhhh, so you are totally awesome. :D

Well, I've never done any martial art aside from the Chinese ones. Kung Fu is fluid, flowy, circular and certain styles of it are perfect for different body types. I'm really tall and lanky, so long-arm and mantis and crane work for me. With Kung Fu, it's like there's something for everybody. :D

Oh my gosh, the SNL opening. MTE. He was hoarse and out of breath and acting crazy, and he had so much fun. I think part of JGL's appeal to me is his joy. I am so gutted every time he talks about his brother. I realize I write little else but Arthur h/c, but in real life I think JGL should always smile and be happy and never suffer. :(

/tangent

Donald O'Connor IS amazing. I'm still very much in love with "triple-threat" actors of old. JGl is a modern one. (Cagney will always be my favorite though. ^_^ )

Forging, and the rarity of it, confused me TBH, because quite often in dreams I can take on a different body. And throughout Inception, they all made the point that it's really not the details that count: it's the emotions, and the little things. That being the case, forging a simple archetype would be enough - how is this hard? I've dreamed I was a man before and I've convinced my "projections." But, I accept that in the world of the film, it is a rare ability.

I kind of go with Arthur being ex military, because some official backstory says that dream-sharing was a military thing, in the beginning. If Nolan has ever specifically said anything about Arthur's history, I'd love to read about that. I know TH said he and Nolan talked extensively about Eames. (I get the feeling that Eames might be Nolan's favorite, being something of a Marty-Stu. :D )

Re: Darling. I thought it was so brilliant and cagey, and I halfway think that TH is, or maybe was, pretty informed on internet culture and fandom. I would so badly love to see a reel of outtakes or "making of"s but I haven't loaded the "digital copy" yet. (Why can't they put it all on one damn DVD anymore? >_< Maybe I don't want to look at things on my computer screen. Grr.) I'd love to see the moment when he came up with that. Because he built a fandom.

IA so, so damn hard re: beautiful people acting ugly and losing their appeal. I'm an original belle laide myself: quite ridiculously unattractive, but somehow men still seem to like me. ^_^ T-Hard is just classically beautiful IMO, and no mistake. JGL, OTOH, is more like some cute guy you might see on line at the store and go "Wow, cutie!" for a moment before bagging your groceries and moving on. But but but, then he opens his mouth and talks and laughs and he can speak french, sing, dance, play guitar and create, and he's so full of joy? Yeah, you got me. ^_^

Date: 2011-01-03 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
Kung fu certainly sounds good -- I'll have to do some research about all this! Test it out, see what's what and what my body seems to favor. I'm relatively tall, so I'll have to see.

I agree about JGL being happy -- the dimples! They should always be present. And I just love seeing that he is a creative, ambitious, (and yes, again) smart guy. And that he can dress himself so very well! This movie has made me wish I had business cards I could give out to well-dressed men that just say, "Congratulations! You're wearing a suit that fits!" Why don't more men take the hint? I mean really.

Also, I meant to say before, on your comment about everyone should wear hats -- yes! I agree! My cousin has an antique car, a 1940s cadillac, and it had extra head room entirely for hats. Why am I not in that world?

I can't find the link right now (I've been looking) but I understood that Nolan stated somewhere that both Arthur and Eames had military background. Especially in that dream-sharing started as a military project, and Eames talks about "we" trying inception previously -- I always presumed that was his team in the military.

I did find a long interview with Tom Hardy that seems to say that Eames was definitely old school MI-5, at least, which makes perfect sense given his accent and manner. (If you haven't seen the current series MI-5, btw, I highly recommend it.)

I know what you mean about different bodies and impressions in dreams. I think we've all had dreams where we're convinced we're something else (gender, what have you). I wonder if it's because it's not a natural dream but a constructed space? That it's harder to make it convincing?

Sadly, I think there are no outtakes on this film -- Nolan doesn't seem to go in for those types of extras. And I can kind of see why -- he wants his film to stand alone, I think. But...I would KILL for some outtakes and just hanging around the set type videos. And, as you say, how that line came about.

T-Hard is indeed very beautiful from the get go, and in a more classical way. JGL is someone who I find quite beautiful because he has finely wrought features, a great mouth, and grace. Grace is something that cannot be underestimated! He's kind of a stealth beauty -- someone who, as you say, you'd think, "Cutie!" and then later, upon contemplation, think, "Damn, he has some fine bone structure there. And that mouth. And...hands..." Drool!

And of course there are so many things that make people attractive that have nothing to do with the standards of acceptable physical beauty. Voices (Tom Hardy's is quite delicious, but Alan Rickman still has him beat), laughs, smiles, accents, presence. And of course, personality usually trumps them all. One can aesthetically judge people all you want (and I do) but I fall for people totally outside my ostensible "type."

Date: 2011-01-03 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
FYI, here's the long interview with Tom Hardy during which he talks about he and Nolan's takes on Eames's character. This is also where he talks about using Nolan himself as a source.
http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=67502

You may well have already seen this, but just in case!

Date: 2011-01-04 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sho-no-tabi.livejournal.com
I LOVE this interview. I've only read it in bits and pieces, never the whole thing in one place. Thanks for that!

Okay, I'm gonna show my ignorance and say I've never even heard of MI-5. O_O

IASH re: dressing well. I can be as casual (or more) as the next person, but never dirty or gross. This may be square of me, but I really hate the gangster look, with the stupid low pants and underwear sticking out. I didn't get it when it started and I still don't. I'm not saying everything has to be bespoke (man, fandom really ruined that word for me, hehe,) but to at least not look like a douche.

I also don't think that Eames dressed that badly, on a side note.

Lemme tell you, re: JGL and grace being attractive. Physical prowess is a kink I've had since childhood. The ability to do a backflip can transform someone plain into a crazy sex-ninja to me, lol. That's the other thing about martial arts, too, esp. Kung Fu which puts an emphasis on grace and flexibility: You get to spend hours watching men do these amazing flying kicks, rolls, dives, take-downs.

Glad you mentioned the voices too, and your top two pics are mine, too. Tom Hardy has the best throaty murmur I've ever heard. I'd listen to him recite the alphabet, damn. Actually, that would be hot.

"Stealth beauty" - I like that. :D

Date: 2011-01-05 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wandrinparakeet.livejournal.com
Just to get back to you quickly (and we don't have to keep rambling on my journal, even if I am enjoying the back and forth -- don't feel like you MUST reply!)..

First, MI-5 is an excellent, realistic, and totally badass British spy series. It's called Spooks in the UK, and it's just super-smart and I think likely truer to actual spycraft than any other TV series I've seen. Which means they one, are very clear about how much information is the key is many situations, and two, they are unafraid of killing off characters. It's featured a consistently great cast over the years. See more here:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160904/
Given, from your stories and our discussions here, your love for badassery and intelligence, I think you'd enjoy it a lot! Plus, there are frequently hot, well dressed men.

To borrow your phrase, IASH about the ganster look! Saggy ass pants do nothing for ANYONE! And nothing that huge does ANYTHING to show off the body underneath, and in fact hides nearly everything that might be attractive from view! It's a terrible, terrible look.

And I like the two extremes: bespoke or douche. So true, my friend, so true.

Being presentable and stylish within your own comfort zone is the key, IMHO. You must be comfortable and confident in your own skin and clothing, but it also must look like it hasn't been dragged across the floor or crumpled in a bag.

I also don't think Eames dressed badly! Not as pin neat as Arthur, or Saito, but his style is perfectly valid. Although I didn't care for the pleated pants debacle. His suit at the end was quite gorgeous. And I loved that purple stripey shirt.

On grace -- kung fu is sounding better and better. \o/ That was your secret plan all along, wasn't it? You know who else is unexpectedly graceful? Callum Keith Rennie. In his Due South days, OMFG. Lithe and gorgeous.

BTW, just to say -- I'm so pleased at your rate of writing more fic! YAY!

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