Sorting Woes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embracing Your Ilvermorny House

(Image Credit: Pottermore)
(Image Credit: Pottermore)

Like the rest of the Harry Potter generation, I spent my 11th birthday hoping for a Hogwarts letter that never came. I contented myself with the fact that Hogwarts is in the United Kingdom and I’m not, so maybe I was just too far away for them. But now, J.K. Rowling has ruined my life by releasing Pottermore information on a North American school.

Regardless of how upset I am (hint: very) that I didn’t get to go to a wizarding school for middle and high school, I am determined to embrace Ilvermorny just like eight-year-old me first embraced Hogwarts. But so far, it’s been hard to do that.

Continue reading “Sorting Woes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embracing Your Ilvermorny House”

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4 Reasons ‘BrainDead’ is Summer Must-See TV

BrainDead (Image Credit: CBS)
BrainDead (Image Credit: CBS)

Last summer, UnREAL and Mr. Robot proved that summer TV could be just as good as the real thing, and this summer’s new shows picked up right where those left off. But the number one show you need to be watching right now is CBS’s BrainDead.

Continue reading “4 Reasons ‘BrainDead’ is Summer Must-See TV”

Summer Is Not My Season – And That’s Okay

SFD_111

I lived in California for two years, and the number one thing I complained about was the weather. Always sunny and a constant 80-90 degrees; no one understood why I disliked it so much, and they weren’t afraid to tell me so. The same thing happens whenever I talk about why I don’t like summer.

People are always agog and aghast if I mention I’m not a summer person. They’ll ask things like “do you not like going outside?” or “why do you hate the sun?” First of all, neither of those things is true, and even if they were, so what? Why is it okay to hate winter and the cold but the minute anyone says anything remotely negative about summer, everyone is up in arms?

Well, I’m here to say that I am not a summer person. Summer is not my season. It just isn’t for me. And you know what? That’s okay.

Summer is not the constant rollicking party that movies and television make it out to be. Real summer is hot and sweaty and like most things, sometimes gross. Not everyone can – or wants to – handle that heat for long periods of time, particularly when it’s accompanied by all kinds of humidity. People who like summer will not believe that you don’t want to be hot, but if you can’t handle the heat for whatever reason, you don’t have to endure it.

Summer also means spending more time outside. That’s not always a bad thing, but unlike in other months, it requires paying attention to bugs and as mentioned above, the constant heat. For me, going outside during the summer can be an exhausting experience. I have to decide what to wear, if I need sunscreen or not, and how much water I should drink before leaving. In non-summer seasons, I might need a jacket, but it’s much easier to just leave. Unfortunately, most people will force you to go outside often during the summer and won’t understand if you don’t want to, but stand your ground. You’re not required to go outside.

But summer is also not built for staying inside. If you do avoid the heat and stay inside in the summer, you don’t really have much to do. There’s no good TV, after all, and most activities are held outside. It also costs money and time to travel, something that not all people have. After a summer of doing nothing, even summer people are desperate to go back to school after two months. Wanting summer to end even earlier than that so you don’t get bored is totally okay.

Summer is all about showing skin, and consequently, it’s not a kind time for fat people. As someone who’s overweight, I know that finding the right summer clothes is incredibly hard. If you wear something that shows too much of your body, people might shame you, but if you cover up, it’s going to be too hot. There’s not one way to “win” in this scenario, so you just have to pick what you feel most comfortable in and hope it’s not the wrong choice. If this kind of thing ruins summer for you, I completely get it, and it’s okay.

Whatever your reason for not liking summer, I stand by you. Enjoy your fall, winter or spring weather, even if the people around you don’t understand why you like it. It’s enough that you don’t like the summer. You don’t have to justify your likes and dislikes to anyone else. Like me, summer may just not be your season, and if it isn’t, that’s perfectly 100% okay.

Favorite Show Canceled? Try These New Fall Shows!

THE GOOD PLACE / THIS IS US (Image Credit: NBC)
THE GOOD PLACE / THIS IS US (Image Credit: NBC)

We all know that soul-crushing feeling when a show you love gets canceled. But perhaps 30 Rock’s Dr. Spaceman can steer you in the right direction. So, your TV show ended… now what? Continue reading “Favorite Show Canceled? Try These New Fall Shows!”

Your Official Summer 2016 Movie Preview

SUICIDE SQUAD (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)
SUICIDE SQUAD (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)

Every summer, there are tons and tons of blockbuster movies to see in theaters, and this summer is no different. Need some hints about what to check out? We’ve got you covered! Look below to see what you should make sure to watch this summer. Continue reading “Your Official Summer 2016 Movie Preview”

Signs You Might Be an Anglophile

It’s been two years since I spent a semester abroad in England, and I miss it every day. Like an ever increasing number of Americans (and other nationalities), I am afflicted with Anglophilia. Okay, maybe afflicted isn’t the best word. It’s not like Anglophilia’s a disease or anything, just a perfectly healthy interest in England and English culture. Of course, there are varying degrees of Anglophilia, but it’s much more than liking British accents.

One thing an Anglophile might notice in the previous sentence is my use of the term “British,” which he or she would know encompasses more than solely England, extending to Wales and Scotland as well because they’re part of Great Britain.

An increasingly global culture with a specific interest in England in the past few years because of the London Olympics, the Royal wedding and now the royal baby has led to growing appreciation of English culture and a growing number of Anglophiles.

Think you or someone you know might qualify? Take a look below to see some of the ways you can recognize Anglophilia in yourself and others.

You know how to “properly” spell words.

It’s a fairly well known fact that British and American English differ in several ways, including punctuation and spelling. What makes a person an Anglophile, however, is if they prefer British English words. My fellow Anglophiles may agree with me and use “cancelled” over “canceled,” “theatre” over “theater,” and “pyjamas” over “pajamas.” Just be careful not to go overboard on the alternate spellings. Professors and non-Anglophiles probably won’t be as understanding.

You know Lizzie Bennet, James Bond, and Harry Potter aren’t just movie characters.

Really, you should probably know that even if you aren’t an Anglophile, but it’s true that a common type of Anglophilia stems from a love of English books and authors, including William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. As a former English major, I have this type of Anglophilia in spades, and I love reading English copies of novels to see what words they use that Americans might not. One British word that’s much more common in the US today is “ginger,” which crossed over during the Harry Potter years. Luckily, most Americans seem to use it simply to mean red-headed and don’t grasp its negative connotations.

You don’t understand the social stigma against eating alone.

Union Jack Hat (Image Credit: Edward Simpson)
Union Jack Hat (Image Credit: Edward Simpson)

While in England, I was told multiple times that eating alone was perfectly acceptable, and I often saw people sitting alone in cafés and pubs. In the US, I don’t feel like eating alone is encouraged. An important food staple for Anglophiles? Cadbury chocolate, which is usually only available in the US near Easter. For those who don’t want to wait that long to express their Anglophilia, you could start referring to your takeout as “takeaway.”

You fondly remember the British Invasion (both of them) or maybe just belt out Adele.

Some of my earliest stirrings of Anglophilia came from my love of the Spice Girls and S Club 7, and of course, I love the Beatles. Liking British music is such common practice that it might be weird to think of it as liking English culture. But judging by the number of people I have talked to who don’t know who S Club 7 is, it’s not always as common as you might think (For those who don’t know, S Club 7 was a pop group from the late ‘90s/early ‘00s who also had a TV show on Fox Family before it was renamed ABC Family).

You know there are more channels than BBC.

And I don’t mean there’s BBC One, BBC Three, etc. An Anglophile would also know about ITV and SKY at least. Television has been a very good way to decide if someone is an Anglophile, and shows like Doctor Who,Sherlock and Downton Abbey broke down country barriers by appealing to Americans and Britons alike. For those television-loving Anglophiles among you, I would recommend checking out dramas Luther and The Hour, and comedies Miranda and The IT Crowd for the slices of English life you so crave.

If you identified with any or all of the above, you may be an Anglophile. Congratulations! You should wear your new title with pride. But I also want to caution you. Being an Anglophile is far different from actually being English. Enjoy any trip to England you can get, but don’t put on your best British accent while there. Appreciating the country and the people is good enough.

Originally posted July 24, 2014.

5 Reasons to Check Out ‘DC Super Hero Girls’

(Image Credit: DC Comics)
(Image Credit: DC Comics)

Get your cape on! DC Super Hero Girls comes from DC Comics, of course, as the first ever DC world marketed toward girls, and it’s basically everything we could have ever asked for. The multi-platform franchise, including a web series, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl and many more as they attend classes at Super Hero High.

While DC Super Hero Girls may be aimed at girls 12 and younger, it’s also great for young adult viewers who just want something fun to watch. If you’re a comics fan and you need to see more of your favorite female characters in action, DC Super Hero Girls is just the ticket.

 

Cute as a Bumblebee

In a world filled with dour, male-oriented comic properties, DC Super Hero Girls is a breath of fresh air. The first season of the web series focuses on Wonder Woman and her successes and failures at Super Hero High instead of pushing right into fighting. We get to see how terribly Wonder Woman’s first attempts at a super suit go and how Bumblebee becomes hero of the month.

The franchise’s TV special doubles down on super hero origins as we explore how both Supergirl and Batgirl get their start. This hour shows all the students at the school teaming up multiple times and has Batgirl help Supergirl get started at school while Supergirl helps Batgirl put on the mask.

This camaraderie between super heroes is much welcome, and the DC Super Hero Girls web series will be a special treat for Young Justice or Teen Titans fans.

 

Super Girls

The franchise doesn’t only focus on the main heroes like Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl. Because it’s set at a high school, there are plenty of student heroes to go around, like Hawkgirl and Starfire. But DC Super Hero Girls doesn’t stop there.

Some of the most important characters in DC Super Hero Girls are characters that have typically been portrayed as villains by DC Comics. Girls like Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn now get to spend time in the spotlight as heroes. It’s a different take on the super hero material – and don’t worry, there are still bad guys – but one that’s especially welcome.

If you’re interested in male super heroes too, a few of those pop up here and there as well, including The Flash and Green Lantern.

 

Plant the Seeds

Following in the footsteps of the DC Lego movies and a bunch of animated shows, DC Super Hero Girls is a great way to introduce any kid in your life to the excellence of DC Comics and its female super heroes. After all it’s never too early to get a kid started on the path to nerddom.

But while there’s no denying that DC Super Hero Girls is for kids, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as an adult. The franchise is perfect for kids-at-heart too, especially ones who already love DC Comics.

 

Wonderful Merch

You can’t go to the store these days without seeing media tie-in toys, and DC Super Hero Girls is no different. Although it’s a little sad that these are the first ever action figures marketed toward girls, at least they exist now. You can get an action figure or doll of Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Poison Ivy and Bumblebee. There’s also apparel, role-play toys and even a book!

If you’re less inclined to spend money, you can still check out the DC Super Hero Girls website or the DC Super Hero Girls mobile app. With any luck, even more merchandise will be in our future!

 

Catch Up in a Flash

The DC Super Hero Girls franchise premiered last year, but don’t worry, you can still be a part of it. The web series’s thirteen episodes clock in at about an hour total, so it’s easy to jump right into the series. Catch up on the DC Super Hero Girls official YouTube channel or on the website. I promise it’ll be worth it!

 

If you’ve been waiting for DC Comics to give some much-needed attention to its female super heroes, DC Super Hero Girls is just for you. The franchise is a totally fun look at life at Super Hero High with Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl. And not only that, but it’s teaching little girls that they can be heroes too. As the DC Super Hero Girls theme song says, every girl has power inside them, and they shouldn’t be afraid to fly.

The 2016 Almost-Summer Movie Preview

(Image Credit: Universal)
(Image Credit: Universal)

Now that it’s officially spring, it’s time to start looking forward to all the movies that are coming out. Contrary to popular belief, every month is a great month for movies, and the almost-summer months of April and May are definitely not exceptions. Check out what’s coming out this year below!

April

The Boss – April 8

In order to start your April off right, go see Melissa McCarthy’s newest movie, The Boss. McCarthy stars as a woman convicted of insider trading who is released from jail and ready to resume her high-status place in the business world. But not everyone is willing to forgive and forget, so she decides to start a brownie empire with the help of Kristen Bell and the Girl Scouts. The Boss is sure to be hilarious and a great beginning to the almost-summer movie season.

The Jungle Book – April 15

The first of two upcoming Jungle Book movies, The Jungle Book is the Disney version, a reimagining of the animated classic. The movie will be live-action with CGI animals, and if you have any problems with snakes or tigers, it might be too realistic for you. The Jungle Book features a stellar voice cast, including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken. Fans of Oz the Great and Powerful and Maleficent, this one’s for you.

Criminal – April 15

In a movie that sounds reminiscent of Face/Off and Source Code, Kevin Costner stars as a former death row inmate who gets a CIA operative’s memories implanted in his head. The CIA operative is played by Ryan Reynolds, so we hope he gets plenty of screen time as well, even if he’s dead. But it’s likely we’ll see more of Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones than Reynolds. If you love Gal Gadot in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and can’t wait for the Wonder Woman movie, it looks she’ll have a pretty significant role in Criminal as the operative’s wife.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War – April 22

A spinoff of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, The Huntsman: Winter’s War focuses on Eric, the Huntsman, played in both movies by Chris Hemsworth. The movie tells the story of how Eric came to fight by Snow White’s side, but it also features a new threat in the form of the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt), the Evil Queen’s (Charlize Theron) younger sister. The Ice Queen’s story will bring in elements of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” also the basis for Disney’s Frozen. In addition to Hemsworth and Theron, Sam Claflin will reprise his role as William in The Huntsman: Winter’s War.

 

May

Captain America: Civil War – May 6

It wouldn’t be the beginning of May without a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this year, we’ve got Captain America: Civil War. Set one year after Avengers: Age of Ultron, the movie will see the Avengers split into two factions, one side supporting superhuman regulation, led by Tony Stark/Iron Man, and the other against it, led by Steve Rogers/Captain America. Practically every actor in Hollywood is in this movie, with Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Rudd all returningCaptain America: Civil War will also introduce Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and the latest version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to the MCU.

The Nice Guys – May 20

A mystery comedy, The Nice Guys looks like a buddy-cop film, which makes sense given director Shane Black’s previous work. The titular “nice guys” are a down-on-his-luck private detective (Ryan Gosling) and an enforcer (Russell Crowe). Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the two must team-up to solve the mystery of a missing girl and the death of a porn star. If you liked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Iron Man 3, you should give this one a try.

X-Men: Apocalypse – May 27

The latest X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, made itself buzzworthy by casting younger versions of several members of the X-Men team we already know and love, including Game of Thrones’s Sophie Turner as Jean Grey. A sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past, the movie will be set in the 1980s with Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), finally-bald Professor X (James McAvoy) and the young team going up against Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and new villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Mutants on the good side will include Cyclops, Beast, Havok, Nightcrawler and Jubilee while mutants on the villains’ side will include Storm, Psylocke and Archangel.

Alice Through the Looking Glass – May 27

In this sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland where things are not as she left them. With the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) growing “darker,” Alice travels back in time to save him. Other actors reprising their roles will be Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee and the voice talents of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall as Absolem the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit and Bayard the Bloodhound. Sacha Baron Cohen joins the cast as the part-human, part-clock character Time while Rhys Ifans will play the Mad Hatter’s father.

 

Almost-summer movies  pave the way for summer movie season, and every year, they are some of the most popular ones. Don’t miss out on the April and May movies, especially with all these sequels! You might still be busy with school, but these movies will definitely be worth your time.

5 Live-Action Disney Movies We’re Looking Forward To

(Image Credit: Disney)
(Image Credit: Disney)

When you think Disney, is the first thing that comes to mind animation? Well, you’re not alone, but don’t forget Disney has done some amazing live-action movies over the years. From Mary Poppins and The Love Bug to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Hocus Pocus, live-action Disney movies were just as much a part of my childhood as their animated counterparts. So, I’m excited that Disney has a lot of live-action in the works.

Not only are we getting Pirates of the Caribbean and Maleficent sequels, but Disney is returning to the classics with live versions of Dumbo and Pinocchio also announced. Those all sound good, but they aren’t even the best parts. Read on to find out which five live-action Disney movies we’re looking forward to the most.

The Jungle Book – April 15, 2016

Coming pretty soon to a theater near you, The Jungle Book is a live-action/CGI remake of the animated classic. The trailer was intense, pitting Mowgli against tiger Shere Khan and python Kaa. But it also made sure we saw plenty of good times with Mowgli and his friends, black panther Bagheera and, of course, Baloo the bear. The cast is full of all-stars like Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johannson and Christopher Walken, but the real highlight is the debut of Neel Sethi, who has already won over hearts as Mowgli.

Pete’s Dragon – August 12, 2016

I’m not entirely sure that I saw the original Pete’s Dragon, but after watching the just-released trailer for the live-action remake, you can bet I’m going to see the new one. The movie is a reimagining, and judging by the trailer, the tone has chanegd, which is probably appropriate for the story of an orphan living alone in a forest. Sadly, the movie is no longer a musical, but the dragon looks pretty darn cool.

Beauty and the Beast – March 17, 2017

Even more star-studded than The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast will feature Emma Watson and Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens in the title roles. Then, we’ll all be the guests of Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw – which is just about the coolest dinner party I could ever dream up. Even better, the movie will feature classic songs we all love as well as new material with Alan Menken returning to do the music with Tim Rice, whose work includes Aladdin and The Lion King, joining him.

Mary Poppins Sequel – TBA

People began buzzing about this movie recently when it was announced that Emily Blunt was in talks to play the title role. The sequel is said to be set in London 20 years after the first movie with the now grown-up Banks kids needing help with children of their own. If you’re still kind of leery about a Mary Poppins sequel – and trust me, I understand – maybe the news that Lin Manuel-Miranda of Hamilton fame is in talks to play Mary Poppins’s friend, the lamplighter Jack, similar to the role played by Dick Van Dyke in the original. Manuel-Miranda is supposed to also help develop new songs for the musical sequel.

A Wrinkle in Time – TBA

It’s still early days for the A Wrinkle in Time movie with director Ava DuVernay (Selma) only just announced, but my expectations are already very high. The movie will, of course, be based on the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, a book that I devoured in elementary school. Frozen’s writer and director Jennifer Lee will pen the script, which is not an enviable task, because the book focuses a lot on math and science and has been called unfilmable. But no matter what happens, it has to be better than the 2003 television adaptation.

Whether you want to see all of these movies or just some of them, keep them in mind, because if I know Disney, there’ll be more greatness where that came from. See you in the theater, reliving our childhoods!

5 Reasons ‘Agent Carter’ Season 2 is Even Better than Season 1

(Image Credit: ABC)
(Image Credit: ABC)

Season one of Marvel’s Agent Carter swept onto our TV screens, and much like its title heroine, it delivered a knockout punch. Great acting, action, and activism – what’s not to love? I’m proud to say that Agent Carter continues its good work in season two. Peggy Carter is back on the scene, and we should all be grateful.

The show even – dare I say it? – tops itself, making this season better than its first. Want to know how? Keep reading to find out more!

Up the Ante

Leviathan was bad, sure, but this season, if Agent Carter can’t save the day, the whole world might just blow up. Dealing with atomic bombs and the mysterious zero matter (which has ties to the upcoming Doctor Strange), Peggy has her work cut out for her. To make matters worse, she may have earned Thompson and Sousa’s loyalty, but there are powerful men with ties to the SSR who definitely don’t want Agent Carter to succeed.

Villainous Villainesses

Season one’s Dottie Underwood returns to square off against Peggy, but since she was in New York for most of the season, she hasn’t had a lot to do. Instead, Agent Carter has been focusing its attention on Whitney Frost, a version of the comics character Madame Masque. Frost is a scientific genius who becomes infected with zero matter. The show makes a point to compare her story to Peggy’s, noting it was men that taught Whitney she would have to lie and manipulate in order to get what she wanted.

Dealing with Racism

One of the major criticisms of the first season of Agent Carter was that it painted a very white picture of New York City. Hayley Atwell herself promised fans that the new season would do better, and in its second season, the show has tackled the issue of racism. New character Jason Wilkes is a black scientist, who had to deal with companies not wanting to hire him because of his skin color. Unfortunately, Agent Carter still has yet to introduce a black woman to its cast, but maybe next season?

Peggy’s Story

“Smoke & Mirrors” was an amazing episode that gave us a look into Peggy’s life before she was Agent Carter. If you’re interested in learning how Peggy became a field agent and why she’s determined to succeed whatever lies in her way, this is the episode for you. Anyone that has felt like they have to conform to what society wants them to be will understand exactly why Peggy has done the things she’s done.

Use What Worked

Thankfully, not everything about season two of Agent Carter is different because season one was really good. Jarvis returns to help Peggy out, just like old times, and the show is as slickly paced as ever. Craving those action scenes set to 40s music? Check. Breaking into buildings nearly every episode? Double check. Keeping up the feminist message? Agent Carter has certainly got you covered.

Right now, Agent Carter’s future is up in the air, so if you loved the first season of the show but haven’t caught up on season two, this is your chance. Peggy Carter can make it to her next mission, but she needs our help. And even if you’re not for truth and justice, Agent Carter season two is just really good TV.

Marvel’s Agent Carter continues Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

The Best 5 Moments from The X-Files Miniseries (So Far)

(Image Credit: Fox)
(Image Credit: Fox)

In Season 6 of The X-Files, Mulder tells Scully, “They can’t take away the X-Files, Scully. They tried.” Much the same way, the TV show The X-Files keeps coming back in different forms. After nine years on air, movies in 1998 and 2008, and becoming a cultural phenomenon, Mulder, Scully and The X-Files returned to our TV screens. And I’m happy to report that the show is still as great as ever with our agents searching for the truth and digging up conspiracies. Read on to uncover the miniseries’ best moments so far!

“My name is Fox Mulder.”

The opening of “My Struggle” literally gave me chills. While it was mostly Mulder summing up the series as a whole, this meant The X-Files was actually returning. This was really happening. Plus, all the stills of Mulder and Scully at work proved the show wasn’t going to be all-new but the same X-Files that we know and love, just in a more modern package. The fact that it led almost directly into the show’s original credit sequence didn’t hurt either.

“They’ve reopened the X-Files.”

This moment in “My Struggle” gave me both chills and reasons to cheer. As an X-Files fan, knowing that Mulder and Scully were back on the case was a dream come true, but the Cigarette Smoking Man was the one who delivered the good news. Believed to be dead after the series finale, the villain is back, albeit in worse health than the last time we saw him. It was a great moment for the first episode to end on because I immediately wanted to see more.

“Welcome back, you two.”

In case we thought Skinner had changed in the eight years since we’d last seen him, this scene in “Founder’s Mutation” proved he hadn’t. Not only was he willing to listen to Scully and Mulder’s somewhat outlandish theory, but he also gave them time to get more evidence by hiding their paperwork. A funny and great way to remind us just whose side Skinner is on, this scene showed that Scully and Mulder still aren’t in their quest alone.

“Dr. Scully, I was told that you were the rational one.”

I laughed when Dr. Goldman said this to Scully in “Founder’s Mutation” because it was clearly supposed to be an insult but didn’t work out that way. First of all, Dr. Goldman obviously hasn’t actually watched The X-Files. Yes, Scully is the more rational one, but when all the evidence is saying you’re guilty of using alien DNA in your experiments, Scully’s going to side with that. Plus, she got a lot more open-minded over the years through what she say in the cases. Dr. Goldman’s attempt at side-stepping the question didn’t escape Scully’s notice either, and she and Mulder kept on the scientist’s case.

“Do you ever think about William?”

Hands down the two best scenes in “Founder’s Mutation” were the sequences where both Mulder and Scully thought of what it would be like if they’d gotten a chance to raise William. We got to see the two of them acting as parents with Scully taking William to school and Mulder watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and building rockets with their kid. Of course, as good as the parenting was, I was pretty partial to the scenes when they turned into nightmares. Scully worried William would manifest alien DNA while Mulder saw William get abducted like his sister. The miniseries is supposed to focus on the agents’ regret about giving their son up, and these scenes were a perfect way to introduce that idea.

While there were tons of other great moments in The X-Files miniseries so far, including Scully doing an autopsy again, these five were the ones that encapsulated what I wanted from the revival. I wanted my X-Files back, maybe a little worn and grizzled but still recognizable as the same show. The miniseries has been everything I could have wanted and then some, and there’re still several episodes to go! Let me know what you’ve liked in the comments below. We’ve got to celebrate our show being back on the air while we still can.

The X-Files miniseries continues Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Beginning to Make Toys Right with #WheresRey

(Image Credit: LucasFilm)
(Image Credit: LucasFilm)

When Star Wars fans headed to stores for memorabilia, many of us couldn’t find the character we were looking for. Like Marvel’s Gamora and Black Widow before her, new heroine Rey had been left out of too many toy sets. Most egregious were a set of action figures that featured male leads Finn, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren, along with Chewbacca and a generic pilot and Stormtrooper and the Millennium Falcon playset that featured Finn, Chewbacca and BB-8, even though Rey is the one to fly the ship in The Force Awakens.

But in spite of the growing hashtag campaign #WheresRey, the lack of Rey went largely unnoticed by the general public until recently when a tweet, featuring a letter from an 8-year-old who wanted toy manufacturer Hasbro to know “girls matter,” went viral. The letter was in response to Rey’s absence from the company’s Star Wars Monopoly game, where you can play as Finn, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker (the latter two of whom either don’t or barely appear in the new movie).

Finally, Hasbro was forced to address the issue, but their official statement raised more questions than it answered. They told Entertainment Weekly: “The Star Wars: Monopoly game was released in September, months before the movie’s release, and Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot line that she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance.”

Admittedly, spoilers for The Force Awakens were a BIG DEAL in the days leading up to and directly following the film’s December release, and Disney even claims they planned this lack of Rey toys to avoid spoilers. In an interview, Paul Southern, head of licensing for Lucasfilm, said, “The fact that she was the ultimate heroine of the film was one of the significant plot points we did want to protect.” This makes a kind of sense, except apparently, the fact that Finn is also a hero of the movie wasn’t considered too spoiler-y.

As many fans have pointed out, including Rey in her scavenger outfit (which she wears almost all of the movie) shouldn’t have been considered a spoiler. Rey was a key figure in The Force Awakens’s trailer, and it only made sense that she was an important part of the movie. If this was solely related to the fact that Rey ends up with Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and it awakens the force within her, the lightsaber didn’t have to be included in early-release toys.

Southern admits that the passion for Rey toys – which are selling “exceptionally well” at Target – caught Disney by surprise, saying, “The excitement around her is a lot more than we were expecting it to be.” Admitting there’s a problem is a good first step, and with Disney now releasing more Star Wars toys that feature Rey because The Force Awakens spoilers are less of a problem, it may seem like our worries over the missing Rey were unfounded.

But #WheresRey proved a point that fans have been making for years: we want female characters in our merchandise. If Disney – and by extension, Marvel – can finally see that in profit, the language they speak best, maybe we won’t need any more hashtag campaigns. Although I’ve got a bad feeling about leaving it up to the companies, we have made our voices heard. Disney and Hasbro have commented on this issue, so they have no more excuses.

While we wait to see if anything has been learned, rejoice in the Rey merch (new and old)! I picked out a few things that I need to run out to the store and get ASAP, so take a look at my list or check out Entertainment Weekly’s full rundown to figure out what you want.

Rey’s Speeder – Lego

Released prior to The Force Awakens, this Lego set helps you recreate Rey’s speeder from her time on Jakku. It comes with extra studs for you to shoot – although it’s probably not recommend you do what I would do and shoot them at people – and an adorable Rey Lego figure. Plus, the price isn’t half-bad for a Lego kit.

Bladebuilders: Rey’s Lightsaber – Hasbro

When I was kid (and honestly, also now), the number one thing I wanted was a lightsaber, and this one lights up and makes noises! This toy may just be a dream come true, as long as the price is right.

Itty Bittys: Rey – Hallmark

I already have several of these itty bitty stuffed animals, so I may be a little biased on this one. But take one look at Rey’s super cute face and tell me you don’t want one. Just go ahead and try.

Rey 3.75-inch Action Figure – Hasbro

The new Rey action figure features her in her “Resistance outfit” that she wears at the end of the movie, and it comes with a lightsaber for her to hold. Whether you end up getting this one or the scavenger version released in September, it’s a win for you either way.

Rey and BB-8 Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure – Disney

The latest version of Disney’s Rey action figure has her lightsaber, but it’s extra cool that you get her staff too. Besides, BB-8 comes along too, and how can you not want a tiny, adorable droid?

In all the controversy surrounding #WheresRey, perhaps TIME contributor Darlena Cunha said it best when she wrote:

“Little girls need to see themselves as heroes. Little girls need to see that they can grow up to be powerful and good. Little girls deserve a chance to imagine strength and perseverance in their own gender. They deserve someone to look up to.

Just as important, so do little boys. Little boys need to see that women are strong and fierce, and that women characters are just as magnetic as men characters. And they need confirmation of their inner monologue when they see a movie that shows just that. The merchandise should match that experience.”

Welcome to the world, Rey. Sadly, because of the current lack of diversity in toys, you may be our only hope at changing things around. But with any luck, in the future, you won’t be alone. May the Force be with us all.

5 Reasons You Should Take a Nap

(Image Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds)
(Image Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds)

Napping is a time-honored tradition in kindergarten classrooms. After that, it usually falls by the wayside, but it definitely shouldn’t. Napping can be just as effective for adults as it is for children, and it comes with a ton of benefits including improved memory and mental stamina. With National Napping Day coming up in the next few months, it’s time to start practicing now.

Need some more convincing? Read on for the top five reasons you should take a nap today. You’ll be glad you did!

Mood-Booster

Napping can help improve your mood, especially when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. If you find yourself tired, irritable and upset, it’s time to take a nap. After all, people put kids to bed when they get cranky, so why wouldn’t that work for adults? A nap can give you a more positive outlook on a situation and help you cope better with anxiety, leaving you feeling better about a situation in just a few short minutes.

Nix the Caffeine

A lot of people use coffee, soda or some other source of caffeine to help us get through the day, which isn’t always a great idea. Next time you find yourself reaching for a coffee boost, try a nap instead. Catching a few minutes of sleep can help you power through mid-afternoon grogginess, and it’s even more effective than caffeine. Plus, the alertness from a nap lasts much longer than a temporary caffeine high.

Stress Reduction

There are some days where everything seems to be going wrong, and it’s those days when you need a nap the most. Stress produces hormones that naps can help alleviate, and napping also gives you better emotional control over negative emotions like frustration and impulsivity. When you’ve gotten some sleep, it’s easier to complete draining tasks, not only because you feel better but because the reduced stress from napping makes everything seem more manageable.

Work Smart

Next time you’re staying up late to work on a project, make sure to take some time for a little shut-eye. Though it may seem counterintuitive to drop everything for half an hour or so, when you wake up from a nap, you’ll be able to get more things done. Napping can increase endurance and focus and get you ready to finish a project. Besides, pushing yourself to get the work done doesn’t help. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to make mistakes.

Just Do It

But honestly, the only reason you need to take a nap is the fact that you want to take one. I know that you’ve been taught napping is something only little kids or lazy people do, but don’t listen to that. Napping is sleeping, only for a shorter time, and everyone sleeps. Denying yourself the nap you want is only to going make you more tired and upset. All the great benefits of napping are just a plus!

So, you want to start taking naps? Great idea! You should know that it’s recommended that naps last no longer than an hour, and you need to keep your sleep schedule in mind. Typically, if you take a nap too close to bedtime, it makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Try napping in the early afternoon for about 30 minutes to experience the full benefits of naptime.

Then, once you’ve set up a nap pattern that works for you, you’ll feel better and more productive before you know it. Sweet dreams!

Cast Catch-Up: ‘Home Alone’

(Image Credit: Fox)
(Image Credit: Fox)

Home Alone can be seen everywhere around Christmastime. Luckily, it happens to be one of my family’s favorite holiday movies. The movie came out right before I was born, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve seen it almost every year since then. There’s just something about a little kid beating up two grown men that screams family time. Plus, a major part of Home Alone is the idea that family should be together on the holidays.

Since Home Alone came out 25 years ago, we at The Daily Quirk thought it would be fun to take a look at where the stars of the movie are today. Read on to get your answers!

Macaulay Culkin (Kevin McCallister)

Only ten when the movie premiered, Macaulay Culkin is now grown up. For several years after his star-making performance in Home Alone, he continued acting in some well-known movies, including the Home Alone sequel, My Girl, The Pagemaster and Richie Rich. Due to the latter two movies’ poor showings at the box office, as well as family issues, Culkin stayed away from acting for almost a decade.

When he finally returned to the profession, it was in mature roles in movies like Saved! and Party Monster. Unlike many child stars, he was able to shed his cutesy image and received critical acclaim, but Culkin has only worked sporadically in the years since. Of note, he had a recurring role on NBC’s Kings and did some voice work for Robot Chicken. Most recently, it appears he’s taken to doing cameos, as he appeared as himself on The Jim Gaffigan Show and will show up in the upcoming Zoolander No. 2.

Apart from acting, Culkin wrote a semi-autobiographical novel called Junior, which dealt with his child stardom and his relationship with his father, in 2006. He is also part of a band named The Pizza Underground that mostly parodies songs by The Velvet Underground.

Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern (The Wet Bandits)

After playing Harry, Joe Pesci only stayed an actor for nine more years. During those years, he appeared in the Home Alone sequel and two sequels to Lethal Weapon, but perhaps his most well-known role was as the title character in My Cousin Vinny. In 1999, Pesci announced his retirement from acting in order to get out of the spotlight. Since then he has only appeared in a few movies and might be best known as that angry guy in the Snickers commercial. Most recently, Pesci has been connected to yet another Martin Scorsese movie.

Although Daniel Stern continued acting after Home Alone and its sequel, Marv is still the role he’s best known for. He had roles in City Slickers, Bushwhacked, Whip It and The Next Three Days, as well as a guest spot on Monk. He’s had a full life outside of acting by writing and directing TV shows, movies and plays and working as a sculptor. Stern and his wife also received service awards for volunteerism from President Obama. Most recently, he’s appeared in several TV shows, including Workaholics and Manhattan.

Roberts Blossom (Old Man Marley)

Home Alone was one of Roberts Blossom’s last acting roles before his retirement, but before he quit show business, he appeared in Doc Hollywood and The Quick and the Dead and had guest spots on Northern Exposure and Chicago Hope. After acting, Blossom spent time writing poetry until he passed away in 2011 at the age of 87. If you’re interested in learning more about his life, you should check out the documentary Full Blossom: The Life of Poet/Actor Roberts Blossom.

John Heard and Catherine O’Hara (Kevin’s Parents)

After playing Kevin’s father, Peter, in Home Alone and its sequel, John Heard has done a ton of acting with roles in well-known movies like Gladiator, The Pelican Brief and White Chicks. In 2013, he appeared in one of the greatest films of our time, Sharknado. If possible, Heard’s television career is even more illustrious than his movie career. He has had guest spots on almost every crime show imaginable, including several versions of Law & Order and NCIS: Los Angeles. A recurring role on The Sopranos as Detective Vin Makazian earned Heard an Emmy nomination, but if you want to see him in something more recent, try The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

Like her movie husband, Catherine O’Hara has appeared in a lot of movies and TV shows since Home Alone and its sequel came out. Many of these roles have been kid friendly voiceover work in movies such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Where the Wild Things Are and Frankenweenie. When not doing voiceover, O’Hara often shows up in comedies like Away We Go and A.C.O.D., which is fitting since she started acting as a sketch comedienne. She had a recurring role on Six Feet Under and was nominated for an Emmy for her work in Temple Grandin. Most recently, she guest starred on Modern Family and can be seen in the upcoming second season of the Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek.

Devin Ratray (Buzz McCallister)

Buzz was perhaps the best known of Kevin’s siblings because he was the biggest jerk, especially in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. After playing that role, actor Devin Ratray had sporadic roles throughout the late ‘90s and early ‘00s while he went to film school. But he returned to the acting business in 2009 and has had a slew of roles since then, including guest spots on Supernatural, Elementary and Marvel’s Agent Carter. He also appeared in movies such as Nebraska and R.I.P.D. In 2016, you can catch Ratray in the heist comedy Masterminds.

Since you probably can’t make your family disappear like Kevin’s, make sure you sit down and watch Home Alone with them this holiday season. And if you’re so inclined, you can update them on what all the actors are doing after the movies. That’s the best way to say “Merry Christmas.”

So, what are you waiting for? Find one of the ubiquitous showings of Home Alone and enjoy, ya filthy animals!