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So You Want To Watch The “Ring” Movies (Part One, 1995-2000)

I watch a lot of movies. On average, about 400 a year. That makes it very easy to just say, okay, I’ll watch all 20 movies in this franchise. I am, of course, aware of two things. One, most people are simply not like this. And two, I have a tactical advantage over those people which they can benefit from.

Whether you go in chronological or release order — maybe you do Machete Order, you do you — everyone knows about the various ways in which to watch Star Wars. We all understand that if you really wanna keep up with the MCU you should probably just watch it all, but if you just wanna watch what you need for the next movie, you’re probably good with three movies and three Disney+ shows, all of which have their own prerequisites and– Okay, yeah, cripes, that’s a mess. But most movie franchises are not that complicated.

Which brings me to the Ring movies. At 26 movies — including Ju-On, which I don’t even get into here yet, and the various international versions, but not even counting the short films or the weird Chinese crossovers, unofficial sequels, Bunshinsaba… — I can imagine “most people” who might want to watch these will want to know what chaff to cut.

This is part one, covering the six Ring films released in the 1995-2000 period. Ju-On also starts in 2000, but I think this is a clean enough block to write up on its own. Part two, when I get there.

Here are the six films I’ll be covering below the fold:

  • The 1995 Ring TV movie, also known by its home video title Ring: Kanzenban (or, Ring: The Complete Edition.)
  • The 1998 Ring film, its original sequel Spiral (or, Rasen,) its replacement sequel Ring 2, and the prequel film Ring 0: Birthday.
  • The 1999 South Korean film The Ring Virus.

Continue reading “So You Want To Watch The “Ring” Movies (Part One, 1995-2000)”

“Rogers: The Musical”: I have some questions

I was recently reminded that the Disney park in California actually put on a 45-minute version of the Rogers: The Musical scenes from Hawkeye, so I watched first the first performance, and then the last performance of it. Turns out that if it happens in a Disney park you can probably find a high-quality recording of it on YouTube.

I like Rogers: The Musical as the goofy thing it is, which is a supposedly in-universe Hamilton-ising of Steve Rogers’ story. It starts off fairly faithful to the movies, and then as it goes on gets, as seen in Hawkeye, increasingly inaccurately silly. (It’s pretty clear the whole thing is engineered around the song we saw in Hawkeye.) And then it starts raising questions it doesn’t have answers to. Because where Alexander Hamilton is long dead, just another dead guy in history, Steve Rogers and his coworkers are… not.

A short note on chronology

Both versions I’ve watched present what you’re about to see, in the grand tradition of place-based theme park chronology, as the world premiere of Rogers: The Musical, which means, in theory, you’re watching the exact 19 December 2024 premiere performance Clint attends in Hawkeye.1Hawkeye 1×01: “Never Meet Your Heroes” (2021)

Let’s just get into it: What exactly is this based on?

Steven Grant Rogers was enough of a public figure and then, with the SSR, surrounded by enough historically notable people, that the WW2 section of the story is easy enough to source from what we can easily imagine are several history books and biographies that broadly speaking agree with each other. This is what he was like as a youth, how he came to join Abraham Erskine’s Project Rebirth, how he saved the Howling Commandoes. Rogers was a living legend before he went into the ice, and it’s easy to imagine something akin to the Chernow Hamilton coming out between 2011, when Fury pulls him back out,2Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and 2016, when Rogers, together with his co-conspirators Wanda Maximoff, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson go into hiding after falling out of favour with the United States government.3Captain America: Civil War (2016)

It’s the rest of the story that’s harder to justify a source for. Sure, the SHIELD leak and its presumably extremely public dissemination through journalism and government hearings4Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) covers the Battle of New York,5The Avengers (2012) and a lot of other stuff that’s skipped over in the Save the City montage, which is presumably how the musical knows about Steve’s list, though I think that’s weirdly personally specific, and about Fury being there when he woke up. Fury is a known figure in the world by 2024, but his notorious shadowyness will be why they don’t have much to work with for his actual personality and go for “sassy” instead. There’s probably another book out there in the world that you can get this from.

But then it gets really messy. Obviously Ant-Man was not at the Battle of New York. But Fury also rambles off, in 2011, years before most of these people join or even get their powers, but okay, whatever, a whole Avengers roster. Let’s go through them one by one.

  • “A Panther in Wakanda.” Sure, T’Challa’s association with the Avengers is presumably just a known fact.
  • “A Sokovian named Wanda.” As far as the public is concerned, the way she dealt with Crossbones’ attack in Lagos is the reason for the Sokovia Accords6Captain America: Civil War (2016) and after that she breaks out of the Raft and becomes an international fugitive. Footage probably exists of her fighting alongside the Avengers at Novi Grad and at the Battle of Earth. I’ll accept it, but it’s a little weird.
  • “A Star who is a planet’s son.” There’s genuinely no way Peter Quill is a known entity on Earth or that anyone knows he’s Ego’s son. The same is true for the rest of the Guardians — at most I’m willing to accept people know about “the tree and the raccoon who were there at the Battle of Earth.”
  • I can’t quite make out the line, “An AI who ran his own” something, but Vision. About as believable as Wanda, sure.
  • Spider-Man. Sure, the world’s knowledge of Peter Parker was erased ~10 days before this,7Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) but we know about Spider-Man.
  • “A lawyer who can’t really see.” Matt’s identity is not public knowledge as far as I know.
  • “A raccoon and a talking tree.” Like I said.
  • War Machine. Doctor Strange. Sure, these are probably public enough figures.

This all works just fine in our universe, but not really in theirs. To the Alex Daily of Earth-199999, these would be ridiculous allegations or revelations. People who know Matt make jokes, right, but there’s not that many blind lawyers associated with the Avengers8Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), and people make jokes about Matt, sure, but we just don’t know some of this stuff. I can’t possibly justify a source for biographical details about Star-Lord.

The Save the City montage then rambles through a bunch of the big fights. These are all public knowledge. But is Steve’s use of the Time Stone to go back first to Peggy and then to make sure he does that a thing the public knows about? Nobody’s even really there to witness this conversation. Jim Barnes and Sam Wilson are aware of the broad facts of it, but why would they ever go on the record about this anywhere? As far as the Alex Daily of Earth-199999 would be concerned, Captain America simply hasn’t been seen since shortly after the Battle of Earth. Not that weird, he’s still legally an international fugitive.

Some of these details are on the level of, everyone involved must’ve been keeping detailed journals, but when would those even have been released? It’s December of 2024, it hasn’t even been that long since the Battle of Earth.


The idea of a Hamilton-analogous Rogers: The Musical is fun. These are public figures in this fictional world, they’d have certain cultural positions. But Steve Rogers was an international fugitive like ten months before this moment. If that position has changed, we don’t know about it. It’s weird to make a pretty hagiographic musical about this dude at this moment in time, right? It’s weird.

So here’s the only reasonable conclusion I can come to. From statues of mass murderer Confederates to a recent President currently out on bail, America has always had an element of, let’s call it, a willingness or even a desire to admire or worship the worst of itself. On Earth-19999, in December of 2024, based on Rogers: The Musical‘s relationship to the reality of Earth-199999, I posit to you that Steve Rogers might be who that admiration is currently predominantly aimed at. There might be Rogers Republicans, a CapAnon movement. HYDRA-emblazoned “SHIELD Lives Matter” stickers on pick-up trucks.

Which means the reason Clint is the only Avenger attending opening night is he’s the Republican Avenger. Oof, yikes. Couldn’t be me, Clint. Fix your heart, man.

  • 1
    Hawkeye 1×01: “Never Meet Your Heroes” (2021)
  • 2
    Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • 3
    Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • 4
    Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • 5
    The Avengers (2012)
  • 6
    Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • 7
    Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
  • 8
    Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Analysis: “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)

Also posted as a review on Letterboxd, derived from a thread on Mastodon.

Never got around to the sequel, thought I’d go for a refresher on this one first.

Their respective games’ fellow characters are bigoted towards Ralph and Vanellope in essentially the same ways — total social exclusion through rigid enforcement of arbitrary rules designed to exclude them — but for different reasons.

Where Ralph’s exclusion is because he’s “the bad guy” who wants to be let into “good guy” spaces, approaching almost a faux “trans predator” thing, this idea that no matter what, in the ideas of Gene and the others he’s always gonna be pretending,

Vanellope is excluded because she has a disability, her “glitch,” when confronted she calls it “pixlexia,” the other racers’ mockery resembles common mockery of physical and learning disabilities, her peers make no effort to try to understand.

Felix, in this read, is the well-meaning cis liberal, the guy who on paper is totally fine with Ralph, but can’t bring himself to prioritise Ralph’s well-being over his own status because doing so would endanger his “hero privilege,” a limitation he only overcomes by figuring out a way to make himself the lead character of part of the story.

Unfortunately in the end Ralph and Vanellope’s conflicts are overcome not because Gene and the other penthousers learn to accept and love Ralph for who he is instead of who he was written to be, but because he “earns his medal” by saving the day, literally just trans exceptionalism, and not because reasonable accommodations are made to help Vanellope thrive but because her glitch is essentially brought under control, her disability “medicated,” the thing that made her unique transformed into something nobody finds too uncomfortable.

I realise 2012 is a different country, but there is simply no goddamn way anybody like me — trans, autistic — was involved in the production of this fucking movie.

We will never be able to look to Disney and truly see ourselves, it’s just never gonna happen.

Anyway, fun video game movie. Cute aesthetic, the fictional games fit right in with the real-world ones. Kinda proves these things can work as a movie in a way nobody has quite managed to do since. I say, actively not looking at the Mario movie.

What “Rashomon” is about

Lightly edited from Letterboxd.

My understanding of 1950’s Rashomon had always been that it’s about four witnesses of the same event sharing their contradictory good-faith accounts of it to a court. “That’s not how I remember it,” as one Homer J Simpson once famously put it. A tale of how human memory is subjective, and can not be objective.

But that’s not what 1950’s Rashomon is about at all: It’s about four witnesses of the same event choosing, one way or another, to actively lie about what they saw.

Tajōmaru the bandit lies to big himself up, regardless of whether he did it or not. He wants to be Tajōmaru the bandit, who killed a samurai in honourable combat. But it’s only in his own testimony that he’s ever presented as a person who’s even remotely capable of that.

The samurai’s wife lies because the most plausible account (the woodcutter’s) is, frankly, fucking pathetic. She comes off very poorly in it, and her husband dies a pathetic, pitiful death. A samurai’s honour is a thing that matters, dangit, is the thinking here — perhaps she feels she herself is to blame for what, and this is her way of reconciling those facts. (If the woodcutter’s account isn’t true, she may still simply be finding her own way to deal with the event.)

The medium lies because she’s a medium. It’s what they do. (Alternatively, the spirit of the samurai lies to preserve his own honour and let off his wife.)

Finally, even the woodcutter employs some creative editing to not get in trouble for stealing the valuable dagger — but his account, in which the wife spurs the samurai and the bandit on to fight each other and the samurai dies a pathetic, pitiful death, is by far the most plausible, and his motive to lie is only for not testifying. He has six kids to get back to — seven, now — and in the grand picture of things, that matters more than who stole the dagger.

Though there is some overlap, the accounts contradict so significantly that they can’t be reconciled. They simply can not be good-faith flawed accounts of the same event — the priest at the end isn’t losing his faith over the events described, but because each account is designed primarily to benefit the person recounting it, because this is a movie about what could make people who should objectively know the truth choose to lie about it.

Or at least, that’s how I’ll remember it.

Terrific picture. I regret to inform you all I’m going to be correcting people about it for the rest of my life.

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