Black Mirror Review & Ranking All of Bandersnatch’s Endings

Bandersnatch

Netflix’s Black Mirror unleashed its much anticipated choose-your-own-adventure episode “Bandersnatch”, where it allows the viewer to make decisions throughout the film, which alters the ending. After watching the episode, I must say, it’s mind blowing. It’s not the best installment of Black Mirror,  but it is a one of a kind experience. My mind is still processing the endings, but I do want to break down and rank all the endings I found. If I’m a bit off or wrong about certain aspects, please forgive me as I spent three hours watching through a lot of the possibilities. Here’s my ranking and needless to say: SPOILER ALERT

8) Too safe for good reviews: If you were too scared to see Stefan go completely insane, then you probably clicked on options such as “spill tea on computer” or “take pills” which both result in poor reviews of “Bandersnatch” with an unhappy Stefan watching his game fail. I grouped these all together because ultimately, you decided to play it safe, rather than go down a twisted path.

6) Stefan works for the company: To me, this isn’t even a real ending as Will Poulter’s character, Colin, lets you know right away that you made the wrong move already. This is literally 15 minutes into the episode, so there’s no way you’re content and decide to leave it at that. So is it really an ending? Wrong choice mate.

6) Stefan falls to his death on acid: This ending means you followed Colin back to his apartment for a drug-induced night. While they’re on drugs, they go out to the terrace where Colin says one of them is going to jump. What. And you have to choose who. WHAT? This is one of the first really intense choices you have to make, and I chose wrong as I chose Stefan, thinking he’d have a Birdman moment and start flying. Anyway, you’ll want to go back and choose Colin after making this fatal mistake. Just remember to stay away from drugs kids.

5) Stefan’s father drags Stefan out of his therapist’s office: This is one of the first set in stone endings as Stefan and his father fight his therapist. Stefan learns that Netflix is watching over him and controlling his every move. The fight is actually pretty badass and crazy, but to me, it ends so abruptly and we don’t get to know how the game turns out. Weird, but at least it’s a final ending.

4) Stefan buries his father, goes on killing spree: This was the first ending that I got that didn’t give me the option to go back. I closed my eyes as I clicked “Kill Dad” and watched as the “White Bear” symbol determined pretty much the rest of the ending. He kills his father, Colin’s wife shows up to his door, but then the dog discovers his father’s body. Apparently though, there is a path where Colin comes to his door and you get the option to killing him too. I didn’t get that, but Stefan is sent to jail before finishing the game and he gets poor reviews.

3) Stefan goes back in time to join his mother on the train: This ending was really interesting and it definitely has potential. Stefan gets to the safe and picks the option “TOY” and out pops the white rabbit he was looking for right before his mom’s death. It’s surprising as he travels back in time to that moment so he can board the train with her. Stefan dies in present time because of this decision and the episode ends. I’m surprised this ending led to tying in his mother’s death because it was the only one that did. However, everything about the video game proves to be irrelevant after the episode ends, so it leaves me missing some sort of conclusion to the game Stefan was working on so intently.

2) Dr Hayne’s office is revealed to be a movie set: This is such a cool ending. Instead of the therapist brawl that ensues, you can choose to climb out the window, and it leads to a way more of a meta ending. At this point, Stefan is aware of Netflix making his decisions so he asks his father to take him to Dr Haynes. When Stefan goes to climb out the window, someone says cut, and it becomes clear that the entire episode is being filmed as a director tells “Mike” that he’s doing the wrong action. I know it ‘s supposed to be a bit light-hearted but it’s pretty satisfying and funny because it shows how emotionally stunted the actor was as he got too into his character “Stefan.” If there was more to this ending that involved the video game, maybe it’d feel more satisfying. As a whole, it’s not the best ending, but I found the most joy and watching this ending.

1) Stefan chops up his father, gets in the right mindset and gets rave reviews: I love the Netflix ending. It’s so interesting, but it’s another storyline that sort of ended. This is the darkest of the endings, as you choose to chop up his own father’s body. It started to dawn on me that the uglier more gruesome choices led to more interesting paths, so Stefan kills his father, chops up the body and has plenty of time to finish the video game. This is the only ending where Stefan gets rave reviews, but his moment is short lived as he’s arrested shortly after. Colin’s daughter Pearl takes over the game years later, and we think the episode is over, but when there’s a glitch in the game, we have to choose to destroy the computer or spill the tea, and either way, it ends the episode. What makes this ending the true ending to me is the fact that Stefan concludes that he needed to make people think they had a choice, when in reality, he chose the ending. And in reality, we as viewers think we have a choice, but we’re often pushed to complete certain actions like killing his father and refusing to work with the company. It’s mind-boggling and I loved it.

  • My favorite moment from the whole episode was Will Poulter’s monologue about Pac-Man making you think you have all these choices and free will in life, when in reality you simply don’t. Everything he said about alternate timelines was exactly what happens, making his character more self-aware than anyone else’s. When he said “wrong choice” he’s talking more so to the audience. When he said “you’re down the hole” he’s telling the audience you’re deep into the path you’ve selected. His character was definitely a scene stealer for me. Loved the acting. Also it breaks my heart that people were bullying the actor on social media after the episode aired, so much so, that he quit Twitter. People are so cruel.
  • The acting in general was all very good. Apparently every path was filmed separately meaning they had to film similar scenes multiple times. I guess I get why because it made every moment to moment choice feel very seamless, but that sounds incredibly difficult production wise.
  • Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. While the plot suffers because of all the choices you have to make, I’ve never had the joy of choosing what happens in an episode, and it was exhilarating to have unfold. All of the endings sort of leave you lacking in other subplots and points, but I feel like they did the best with what they were working with.
  • There’s also a PAC ending, where Stefan finds out his father and mother are working for the government, but it actually leads back to Stefan having to choose to kill his father, so to me, it wasn’t exactly needed.
  • My ranking is purely based on my own opinions, and if you disagreed, that’s totally fine. To me, it was important to have certain moments like what the heck happens with the video game which happens to be the title, so if it didn’t include that, I was just more inclined to rank it lower.
  • I want to know other people’s thoughts. What’s your favorite ending?
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The Incredible Jessica James Review & Talking Diversity in Rom Coms

Image result for the incredible jessica james

I’ve been binging romantic comedies all summer, and while I’ve been enjoying them more now than ever, I find myself seeing the same female leads. I remember watching The Spectacular Now and completely identifying with Shailene Woodley’s character. That was back in 2015 when I watched that movie. She played the shy Amy who slowly came out of her shell through the eyes of her love interest, which reminds me a lot of Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved. And while I adore these female leads, I find myself not relating to them anymore, mostly because I’ve grown out of that phase of not truly knowing myself yet. Now bring in this little gem of a movie starring a black female who knows she’s dope but for whatever reason doesn’t have her life figured out quite yet. Jessica Williams shines as she plays a total bad ass whose insecurities are shown through actions and body language rather than talking about it. Not only is this the perfect display of showing rather than telling, but it really does emulate what twenty somethings are going through.

Everyone is all about talking about what they’re passionate about, but at the same time, everyone is struggling to pursue that same passion. James works at a nonprofit and wants to pursue play writing, but the movie itself is more or less about her trying to get over a breakup. She meets Boon played by Chris O Dowd who is totally opposite from her but also getting over a breakup so they begin a weird relationship, including a pact to follow each other’s ex. It’s a story we’re all familiar with, but it’s a more modern take. Chris O Dowd brings the same charm he had in Bridesmaids and it really works because he feels much more like a real human being instead of a Prince Charming. He makes mistakes and doesn’t make some sort of grand gesture for them. Instead, the two leads talk through their shit like normal adults would, and it’s refreshing to watch. In addition to the romantic elements, there’s a great side storyline that shows James interacting with one of her students. It’s simple but a great display of why Jessica James pushes some of her students so much to pursue their dreams.

Overall, I really loved how realistic this movie felt, and I love seeing more interracial couples come to screen lately. Growing up, a lot of my friends assumed I liked people with skin like mine, and it really upset me when I was younger but I couldn’t quite pinpoint why so I kept my mouth shut. I remember my friends in 5th grade asking me if I liked the only other colored person in my class and I couldn’t express back then why it was so wrong of them to say that. However, when I saw the backlash with To All the Boys I’ve Loved with some people saying they should of casted an Asian male lead to play Lana Condor’s love interest, I resonated so much with the actress’s response.

“You are being racist unknowingly and continuing to put us in a box that we don’t need to be in. It’s really unfair. People should be able to love who they want to love. It’s offensive to me — you’re continuing to promote tribalism. So I can’t be with who I want to be with? These are probably the same people who have an issue with the LGBT community. It’s the same thing — you telling me who I can love is unfair,” Condor said.

Anyway, I went off on a bit of a tangent, but my point is that I love that we’re seeing more diversity because growing up all the love stories seemed to happen to people that didn’t look anything like me, so I hope young women and men are inspired in a way that I wasn’t able to be when I was growing up.

How I Became a Social Media Editor

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During my undergraduate studies, I wanted to make sure I made the most of it with all the opportunities at my university. When I was a senior, I had done everything in my journalism department, so I figured I seek out the English department and see what publications I could possibly contribute to. When I heard of a publication called ZPlatt, I thought I’d check it out. It was a literary journal, and nobody really showed interest in taking on social media so I figured I’d take a wack at it. I had to take off my journalism hat and put on my public relations hat, so here’s how I did it and here’s some advice on navigating a job revolving around social media.

  1. Know the publication and then vamp it up: The publication we were making was formerly named after a slave owner. It was discovered by members of the English department, so I looked up the book that held this information and started forming a new voice for our publication. We decided to do away with ZPlatt and hold a contest to see who could come up with a new name. It was insane that we found it out when we did, but it was a great opportunity to create a platform. Make sure you know the publication you’re working for. Actually read it, and then figure out how you’re going to use the same voice to convey a new theme for whatever issue you’re working on. Bring fresh ideas will instantly make you more valuable than sticking with what was done previously.
  2. Use apps to your advantage: One word. Canva. Canva is the perfect app to use if you’re looking to make Instagram posts, posters, Facebook posts, or even invitations. You can create templates on your phone easily and the best part is that there are so many stylish templates that are absolutely free. I created all my promotional posts through Canva and even used it to redesign the website a little by inserting saved templates into WordPress. If you’re involved with marketing or PR, you’re going to want to check this app out. Additionally, our website was run by WordPress and when I was updating the website, I had a lot of editors and staff writers that wanted me to edit certain details of their posts. Downloading the app saved me a lot of time because I didn’t always have my computer at hand. Make sure all your apps are accessible.
  3. Network & use whatever connections you have: When we were putting the publication together, I used a lot of my personal connections to my advantage. One of my good friends took professional photos, and one thing I disliked about the old website was how all the bio pictures had different sizes and varied in lighting. Seeing an edited photo and a selfie next to each other is not professional looking. So I booked a photographer for my class. He brought proper lighting, and it seemed a little silly to some people, but it made the website that much more professional, and that wouldn’t have been possible without asking for a little favor from my friend.  Additionally, I knew a ton of people in my journalism department, so I asked an editor from the newspaper to write an article about how we were rebranding our publication. Just getting that little bit more of press definitely helped. These were all little favors I asked for, but it had a great payoff. Use connections if you have them, and if you don’t, then start networking. My adviser told me after we finished that she was so impressed by my professionalism even though in my head, it seemed like common sense.
  4. Be serious and don’t let time get away from you: Social media is something that can be done at anytime, which is exactly why it can get away from you. You can always say “I’ll do it later.” One thing I made sure of every week was that I set aside time to map out what I wanted to post for the week. I made sure there was a mix of FB posts with quotes and promotions and then there were staff photos and bio pics thrown in as well. Keep up with Instagram and Facebook. Tweet everyday. If there’s not much to say or do, check out what’s going on in the news. Find a quote relevant to your publication. Is it a national holiday? National waffle day? Maybe you can make a poll on Instagram story. Just be active and create a feed worth following because everything is at your disposal.
  5. Make it fun! Did I work for Glamour magazine? Nope. It wasn’t my dream, but I went into it with the enthusiasm as if it were, and it helped keep me motivated. Our publication was a lot of fun. We made videos. We brainstormed ideas. We planned our launch party. Being able to work for a job that you enjoy is awesome! Even though it was a student publication, the product came out beautifully, and now I can say I was a part of it, but more importantly, it’s something to put on my resume. I have experience now, and it’s all a learning experience I won’t forget.

Hope you like this post. I don’t usually post stuff like this, but I hope you like it!

 

Ranking All Season 4 Episodes of Black Mirror

I’ve been meaning to review Black Mirror because I binged all six episodes of Season 4 weeks ago, but I really did enjoy this batch of the series. With all episodes featuring female leads, this season brought up tons of relevant topics, such as abusing male authority, helicopter parenting and dating in today’s society. Here’s my ranking of all episodes of this season.

6. Metalhead: Metalhead doesn’t have any major issues for me. It’s a pretty straightforward episode, but for me it doesn’t feel like a Black Mirror episode. The kind of edge on your seat feel is there, as a mechanical dog leaves a group of people on the run. I really like the main character Bella making smart decisions all around, but it sort of dragged for me from her time up in the tree to the mechanical dog trying to figure out where she is in the house. This is probably the episode I have the least to say, but it was by no means a horrible 48 minutes of Black Mirror. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

5. Arkangel: Arkangel is a pretty standard episode of Black Mirror that reminded me a lot of The Entire History of You. It revolves around a device that allows a worried mother to keep tabs and monitor what her child can and can’t see.

The only problem is that the first iteration of this technology being used was much better in Season 1. Arkangel is a pretty good episode though. I think it brings up a lot of ideas about parenting, which is why I liked it better than Metalhead. It definitely made me think about helicopter parenting and how far is too far when it comes to keeping tabs on your child’s life. I thought it built up pretty well, and the ending is pretty unsettling and probably a parent’s worst nightmare in hindsight. My biggest issue is the actress that played the older Sarah. She’s 21 in real life, but she could not pull off a 15 year old. It was so distracting for me. I couldn’t quite get over it.

4. Crocodile: Crocodile is an episode that had me screaming “No, no no,” because I knew where it was leading. This episode has two separate stories that intertwine, and the episode takes a while to get to that point, but once it does, you just can’t believe where the main character goes in order to protect herself. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t give away too much about the plot, but it does have this cool kind of technology that works in both good ways and bad ways. I’d love to know if people were surprised with the most disturbing part of the episode, which I obviously don’t have to say if people have seen the episode.

3. Black Museum: Black Museum brings three stories together similar to White Christmas, as a young woman stumbles upon a museum that has all these different artifacts from previous episodes. It’s actually really cool to see how many references are made in the museum.  I was in love with the actress that played Nish. She was so fabulous throughout the episode and gave off such charisma at the end.

The twist moment was really really good. I loved the timing of it all. The first story was so interesting to see how someone deals with pain and pleasure. The second lost a little steam for me, and the third sort of brings all the different stories together. OK, so this would be higher, but honestly, I thought the ending was a little too much for me with everything wrapping up a little too neatly in a bow.

USS Callister 2
USS Callister

2. USS Callister: This episode is one of my favorites from the entire franchise. I love Cristin Milioti as an actress and think she is very underrated. She really shined as the tech savvy leader throughout the episode. The episode follows Robert Daly Jesse Plemons a gifted programmer and co-founder of a popular online game who is bitter over the lack of recognition of his position from his coworkers, so he takes out his frustrations by simulating a Star Trek inspired adventure within the game, using his co-workers’ DNA to create digital clones of them.

The episode itself is fun and fills up it’s running time of an hour and 16 minutes, but the underlying tones about men in the workplace makes the episode even stronger. The misogynistic Daly is played well by Plemons because at first, we do feel genuinely bad for him, but he abused his authority, and this is probably one of the more relevant themes of the season thanks to his performance. I like that technology is seen a bit differently here too than most Black Mirror episodes. In most episodes, we see the overexposure of technology playing against the characters by being too connected, but in this case, the technology has a way of isolating people from the real world.

1. Hang the DJ: Hang the DJ is my favorite episode of the series. That might change due to recency bias, but I just adored this episode with its clever spin on dating apps. The episode follows Amy and Frank, two of many people in a system, that is instructed by a digital companion, Coach, into romantic relationships with others. The device tells them exactly how much time is given to each pairing as they check their expiration dates to see how long they have together. And of course, Frank and Amy are the couple we’re rooting for.

The actors had such good chemistry together. You can’t help but want them to find their way back to each other. And the episode is all sorts of relatable for single people trying to navigate the world of dating. Amy says a very bittersweet line as she wonders if people just get tired of searching for their soulmate for such a long time that they sort of settle for someone and just remain content. This episode melted my heart and can definitely make a person think, especially if you’ve ever had a relationship where you keep coming back to each other. The episode had a twist, and it was brilliant and totally satisfying. The episode is simple, but it works so well here.