No More Mrs. Frozone: Black Women Characters in Pixar’s ‘Soul’

Black adult women aren’t often depicted in animation. Most of the Black female characters are kids or teens or little-seen moms. Some notable central characters include: Storm. Trudy Proud and Big Mama. Donna Tubbs. Uhm, the Muses? There aren’t very many. It’s the Mrs. Frozone problem, off-screen and never developed. (Pixar could stand to improve upon that problem in particular.)

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Disney’s Latest Film Shows the ‘Soul’ of New York

For an animated slice-of-Black-New-York-life, Disney’s new Pixar film Soul joins Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse in showing new parts of New York not typically glamorized by Hollywood.  Despite being one of the most famous cities in the world, there are dozens of neighborhoods and experiences viewers never see on the silver screen. New York City isn’t just the glitz and glamor of midtown, the brunch bunch of Brooklyn, or the gentrified hives in Harlem. 

The new movie takes us to an ordinary Queens middle school, where Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a down-on-his-luck band teacher. On his way to a gig in the Village that could finally make his music career, he falls down a manhole and dies. After he escapes the Great Beyond, he hides out in the Great Before, where pre-souls find their “spark” before being sent to Earth to be born. His mission? Help the dispassionate, uninterested-in-humanity pre-soul Number 22 find her spark, then use it to get back to Earth in time for his gig. 

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‘Soul’ Producers Address the Blue Elephant in the Room

Pixar’s Soul takes a musical journey into the meaning of life — literally. In the film, Joe Gardner seems to be the prototype for “if you can’t do, teach.” But he very much wants to do. However, just when he’s about to get his first jazz gig, he dies. *insert Price is Right trombone.*

The first 35 minutes of the jazzy New York-set movie that I saw were great. Joe (Jamie Foxx), upon his death, is sent to the Great Before. There he meets apathetic New Soul 22 (Tina Fey), who finds it in her own best interest to help Joe return to his life on Earth. Sensing the direction of the rest of the movie, I imagine it will be as heartfelt as every other Pixar classic. It’s new Christmas Day home release feels like a really good choice to celebrate life, the purpose of art in our lives, and exploring how we connect with ourselves and others. 

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William Jackson Harper is Taking ‘The Good Place’ With Him

At some point within the Jeremy Bearimy, I eventually lost count of how many people I told about The Good Place after the first season aired. I caught it over the hiatus before season two and couldn’t stop telling people about it. That season one twist and (subsequent) cliffhanger were my bread and butter. Just three years later, one of the best shows on TV is coming to a speedy end (reveling in brevity like Deirdre and Margaret but with fewer years and far more episodes). 

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Washington Heights Dances Center Stage in the Trailer for ‘In the Heights’

Lights up on Washington Heights. No matter how many times you’ve listened to the In the Heights Original Broadway Cast Recording, whether once or 96,000 times, it gets stuck in your head. And after you watch the trailer for the big-screen adaptation, you’ll be singing it from now ’til its release next summer and beyond.

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The Fate of Black Women in ‘Joker’

Be warned, this is a spoiler-heavy article.

When I saw Joker at the Toronto International Film Festival, the main question I wanted answered was: Do the Black people die in this movie? Spoiler alert: they don’t. At least not on screen. Clearly, the director, Todd Phillips, knew what it would look like if they were to die by the Joker’s hand (even if he doesn’t seem to quite know how to do a press tour). But that doesn’t mean all is well for positive representation in the widely divisive movie. 

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NOC Review: ‘Hustlers’ is No Scam

To put it in TV terms, director Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers is perfect for viewers who liked the crafty chaos of Walter White and the motherly desperation of Good Girls. The sexy crime dramedy stars Constance Wu (Dorothy/Destiny) and Jennifer Lopez (Ramona) as New York strippers who, in the wake of the 2008 recession, must find a new way to make ends meet when dancing isn’t enough.

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NOC Review: Rian Johnson Slays with ‘Knives Out’

On the morning after his 85th birthday party, acclaimed mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead in his study, a cut carotid and blood splashed everywhere. His family, a classic Christiean cast of characters, are all waiting to find out the contents of his will. It’s with this well-known whodunit premise that Rian Johnson’s uproariously hilarious Knives Out begins.

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NOC Blasts Off to the ‘Galaxy’s Edge’ During Star Wars Celebration

Soon you’ll be able to visit a galaxy far, far away real, real close to home. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Disneyland opens May 31, 2019, then Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Disney World opens August 29, 2019. Disney and Lucasfilm previewed their newest theme park attraction at Star Wars Celebration and here’s what we learned. 

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Mickey: The True Original Exhibition is a Colorful Playground for Disnerds

Have you ever found yourself doodling Mickey ears on pieces of paper? Or find yourself looking for Mouse ears in places outside of a Disney theme park? Then you’re a #TrueOriginal Mickey fan and the Mickey: True Original Exhibition in New York City is for you. The exhibit is also for those who aren’t hip to the power of the Mouse. The exhibit walks visitors through the history of Mickey Mouse — from Steamboat Willie to the latest Mickey x Vans collection (I want those Fantasia hi-tops so badly!) — and his influence on art and popular culture.

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#EduHam: ‘Hamilton’ Puts History in the Hands of the Future

”This is for ones like us, that had big hopes and dreams but didn’t make it.” — Lea Ibragimova, Shanae Bennett, and Valentina Vidal Ortega from Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies

There’s nothing like seeing Hamilton the Musical with a crowd of high school juniors. They laugh at the sex jokes, they get squirmy about death, and they echo the chorus of “ohhhh” at every diss in the show. Having seen Hamilton three times now (yes, I’m bragging a little — you would too), it was absolutely the best audience to see the show with. But it wasn’t the centerpiece of the day.

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13 Thoughts I Had After the ‘Doctor Who’ SDCC Panel

I didn’t know two years ago I’d be itching for new Doctor Who content. I’d quit the show after season 7 and many people’s impressions of 8 left me wanting, so I dropped it from my very full TV schedule. It always going to be one of my favorite shows, even if I took a break every now and then, but with the announcement of Pearl Mackie as Bill and her glorious fro, I jumped back into the TARDIS and haven’t left since.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: We Still Want Vixen

It’s been a month since Arrow’s last episode, but I’m still thinking about Vixen. How she needs her own show. How I want to know more about her character outside of a 30-minute web series. How awesome Megalyn EK was in bringing the character from voice acting to live-acting. But a few thoughts about the episode before I gush some more.

We knew we were heading here. Besides the fact that the Flarrow crossover showed Felicity getting upset about the Baby Mama Drama, Oliver lying to his fiance about something this big, when he had a choice was definitely going to lead to Felicity wanting no parts of it. It was an episode with an inevitable conclusion and I basically played Name the Trope as we watched.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: Demolition Team

On this week’s Arrow, Oliver gets justification for his lies and it still starts to blow up in his face: there’s a debate, an engagement party, and lots of buildings blow up. The episode is full of Darhk’s demolition team, but I actually use it to refer to all the people in this episode co-signing Oliver’s lies, which will clearly hurt him with Felicity, but also with William and who knows how it will play out with Samantha and Darhk’s larger plans. They’re laying down the explosives. It’s all gonna blow soon.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: Naive Notions

Nearly everyone in this episode suffers from naive notions that they really should be over by now. Oliver naively believes that Malcolm would surrender his power. Felicity naively believes (though thankfully only for a moment) that her returned father has changed. Nyssa believes that Oliver would kill Malcolm for her, after all she knows Malcolm has done to Oliver personally. Malcolm believes that power is more important than Thea. Even Flashback Chick thinks that giving her jailer the stone will make him set her free. Silly rabbits, Trix are for kids.

But I’m gonna focus this quickie review on the two women driving the forces of the A and B story. Nyssa and Thea.

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NOC Recaps The Flash: From Whole Speed Force to 2%

ConStar here standing in for Christelle, but neither of us are running fast enough…! WHO STOLE OUR SPEED?

I realize I’m getting my milk/speed force analogies mixed up for the 2% pun, but let me live. I only just learned that whole milk is only 3.5% milk anyway.

Episode 2×12 of The Flash, “Fast Lane,” features two characters slowing down: Barry and Wally. Both of their speed problems converge upon Iris, is this a sign of things to come for poor Iris West? There’s a monster of the week, but it’s not all that interesting, so we’ll be zipping by mentions of it.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: A.W.O.L. Stands for Amanda Waller

From Felicity’s back and forth with pain meds to the Diggle’s being featured up front, Episode 4.11, “A.W.O.L.” gave its secondary leads lots of screen time. It was one of the season’s strongest episodes on that front, because fans always want more of Diggle and Felicity, and less of Oliver (and the darn island). We did, however, see how the DC Cinematic Universe could be ruining things for their TV properties. Let’s dive in real quick.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: Descent into Anarky

We’ve returned from Arrow hiatus to something very familiar. Remember how the cliffhanger had a lead of the show potentially dying in the 9th episode of the season and then they survived in episode 10? And episode 10 deals with the characters figuring out if they can cope without the not-dead character? Felicity’s absence is shorter lived than Oliver’s, but the stakes still feel as false as they did when Oliver “died.” 

I love how the show didn’t even pretend Felicity was dead (unlike every promo until this week). Well, they had that grave shot, but marked it very clearly as 4 months from now. Why would this bullet have killed her four months from now with a fresh grave? Anyway, I hope that’s the last midseason finale with a fake death, because I’m over it. On to episode 4×10, “Blood Debts.”

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