Archive for the ‘Arts/Music/Film’ Category

The Descendants: Good, but Great?

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

The Descendants is getting rave reviews.  Critics claim George Clooney is at his best and will definitely be Oscar-nominated.  I am sure he will and the movie may even be as well.  So it is with high expectations of a real-life type of drama with a touch of comedy (done by the same team as Sideways) that I went to see The Descendants.

George Clooney plays a father who finds himself the sole guardian of his two daughters after his wife has an accident and is in a coma.  He is clueless as to how to deal with his two girls, one 10 and one 17, that he does not know all that well.  They must come together though as Matt King decides whether or not to sell his family’s ancestral lands and learns that his wife had been having an affair.

Do not get me wrong, I like a real-life type of poignant movies as much as the next person but somehow I felt detached from these characters.  I think the problem comes down to George Clooney.  If an actor like Matt Damon had been the lead it might have been different.  Clooney is a little cold in his acting, which works as a politician in The Ides of March but not as a father whose life is unraveling.

Clooney’s eyes look untouched as he goes through the motions but does not seem to register the emotions.  The close-ups of his face show this especially and it is a bit disappointing.  It seems that the movie may have been overhyped by the critics.  It is a good movie, but a great one?  I am not so sure.  The girls are very good, though.  Shailene Woodley shows her acting chops and accomplishes what I wish Clooney could have. We can actually see the pain in her eyes.

An Insidious Menace Haunts Martha Marcy May Marlene

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of the most intriguing films this fall.  It is hard to place into a genre, but psychological thriller is probably the most fitting.  A piercing, standout performance by Elizabeth Olsen drives this film.  Olsen, who definitely will become a big star, plays a lost young woman running away from a terrifying cult.  The pain in Olsen’s eyes cut to the bone.  Martha’s demons surface as we question whether she may just be paranoid.  Turns out, she isn’t.  The most chilling aspect of the film is that it is not all in her head (unlike Natalie Portman’s role as Nina in Black Swan last year).  Preying on those who have nowhere else to turn, the cult (led by a frightening John Hawkes, who gives Martha her other names as well) takes young women in and slowly fools them into trusting this new “family.”  Martha tells her sister, who she has not spoken to in two years, that her boyfriend lied to her (and in a way this is true) instead of telling her where she has really been.  The character herself is complex and interesting as she is able to be taken in by the lies of this abusive group of people but also has the strength to finally leave.  The cult is even more terrifying than imaginable as they not only take advantage of people but also are killers.  One could see why Martha is so haunted and scared out of her mind.  The small things of everyday life prove most powerful to show how Martha has lost every sense of common civilities, like jumping in a lake naked.  There are no societal boundaries any more for her as on the farm everything is shared.  This is also why she has so many different names.  Her real name has been changed by the cult leader, stripping her of her own identity.  Everything in this movie escalates, from Martha’s fear to the flashbacks of the cult itself.  Slowly but surely building, you are on the edge of your seat as you wait for what will happen next.  Unfortunately, many that are innocent become victims.  Martha’s sister and she have a Rachel Getting Married type of relationship.  There is a lot of pain there and probably also some blame as Martha was left alone after her sister went to college.  They do not know how to communicate with one another.  Martha’s sister and brother-in-law cannot even fathom what she has been through.  They know something is wrong but would never be able to guess all that has happened to her.  She is more alone than ever and lives in a world all her own with a future that seems less and less certain of even existing.  Her sister on the other hand is very normal, just starting out with a husband and trying to have a baby.  Their worlds do not go hand in hand.  The ending is ambiguous but we know that it is not good, and her sister and brother-in-law do not even see what is coming.  Martha Marcy May Marlene is intense and haunting and something very different and new.  Like Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone last year, Elizabeth Olsen has made a name for herself with this first role.  She definitely should be nominated for an Oscar.  It is nice to see so many interesting roles for women this year.  There is a lot of variety for the actresses, from Martha Marcy May Marlene to The Iron Lady (Meryl Streep) to The Help to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to The Debt (Jessica Chastain) to Young Adult (Charlize Theron).

J. Edgar the Movie

Friday, November 18th, 2011

J. Edgar is not perfect.  The movie and the man that the movie is about are both not perfect in fact.  However, J. Edgar the movie is as complex and intense as the man himself.  Clint Eastwood directs in a documentary-style that proves a little long and at time drags.  The narrative is a little confusing at times as like a history lesson we are taken through J. Edgar Hoover’s journey (or his own vision of his journey) through flashbacks from WWII to the Civil Rights Movement.  He arguably made the FBI what it is today, creating the fingerprint system, organizing/cataloguing the Congressional Library, and inventing the creation of a damning confidential file.  In fact, J. Edgar used this file as leverage on many presidents, including Kennedy (and J. Edgar also thought he could stop Martin Luther King Jr. as well).  His work consumes him and is everything to him but at the end we can wonder what does he have to show?  Much of J. Edgar’s self-consciousness stems from his mother (proving that we can indeed blame our parents for everything) played by Judi Dench.  Leonardo DiCaprio is brilliant as J. Edgar, to the point that we forget he is acting.  It also made me realize that DiCaprio chooses difficult roles and is an underrated actor who has actually only played one likable character, Jack in Titanic.  Armie Hammer is simply wonderful, working as the most grounded and sympathetic character.  Hammer plays Clyde, J. Edgar’s right-hand man in the FBI and also J. Edgar’s secret love.  In a time when J. Edgar cannot admit to the world or even his own mother (she tells him she would rather have a dead son) that he is gay, he cannot come to terms himself with his true feelings for Clyde.  Much of their relationship is a guessing game to viewers as the only time the men confront each other is when tension and frustration have reached a climax (lots of glass thrown).  There is love there and a simple gesture like holding hands or when a much older J. Edgar kisses Clyde on the forehead and tells him he needs him shows this.  Speaking of looking older, the makeup is not done well unfortunately.  If everyone looks like that when they are in their sixties or seventies then we do not have a lot to look forward to.  I am sure that DiCaprio and Hammer (who I underestimated even though he was good in The Social Network and made us want there to be two of him) will get Oscar nominations.  I do not think the movie is strong enough to get nominated as a whole.  There are a lot of strong performances but not very many strong movies.  One last note of frustration: it is a shame that the artsy, indie films are never released wide.  It is hard to track them down to see and inevitably they are always the ones nominated.  Give us a chance; I think that more people are interested in films that actually give us something to think about.  Although I could be wrong as it is not the imperfect J. Edgar that was number one this past weekend but Immortals.


Struggle City, Population: You

Friday, October 28th, 2011

It’s midterm season on the Farm (then again, when is it not midterm season around here?). I’ve noticed that people are dragging lately, looking more than a little bit pale and sleep deprived. The awkward silence in my history section this week would have been maddening, but I was too exhausted to realize it. Long story short, we’re all on struggle. Whether you boarded the struggle bus a week ago with no end in sight or you haven’t even started your midterms yet, you should take a break this weekend to take part in the great events around campus. Hopefully you’ll regain some of your sanity in the process…

From noon to 1pm tomorrow, White Plaza officially becomes Black Plaza. The Black Community Services Center is co-hosting this annual event. Swing by to get your free Popeyes and t-shirt!

If you haven’t decided what Disney character to ruin forever this Halloween, the Sustainable Fashion Collective and Union Underground are hosting a costume making workshop from 2:15 to 3:30pm on Friday in the Old Union basement. If you’re creative enough, you might just take the grand prize at the Mausoleum 2011 costume contest. Catch the bus from Escondido or Tresidder starting at 9:45PM to get to the annual spooktacular party (see what I did there?).

Film fans will be pleased with a couple of events taking place this Friday. To launch the “7 Days of Cin” student film festival, Stanford Film Society is hosting a screening of Sundance acclaimed movie Like Crazy in Cubberly at 5pm. Secondly, documentarian Michael Moore, known for Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Capitalism: A Love Story, amongst many others, is speaking tomorrow at the business school’s CEMEX Auditorium at 8pm. If there are any tickets left, you’ll find them at noon in White Plaza. (more…)

The Ides of March: Politics, Corruption, and Betrayal

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

        The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney, is not the betrayal in the way you would think.  From the trailers, it seems as though Ryan Gosling’s character, Stephen Meyers, is the Brutus to George Clooney’s charismatic, upstanding Democratic politician, Governor Mike Morris.  It is the opposite, in fact.  Interestingly, the title of the film is quite deceptive.  It is Stephen who is the young, naïve, idealistic Junior Campaign Manager in the campaign for a Democratic candidate that seems like he will be able to change things.  (The movie’s release date was actually postponed until now because its original release date was during the 2008 election and they did not want any likeness to be drawn to Barack Obama.  The only likeness here though, fortunately, is that both candidates are charismatic.)  Things start to unravel quickly.  Gosling unearths a big secret about Governor Morris (I do not want to give away everything but it involves the talented Evan Rachel Wood’s character, Molly Stearns) and needs to use it as leverage when he is manipulated by the opposing Democratic candidate’s Campaign Manager, Tom Duffy, played by Paul Giamatti.  A phenomenal cast brings the Ides of March, which is really not a new or unknown story, to another level.  Hopefully some of the actors will get nominated, perhaps Paul Giamatti or Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Gosling needs to get nominated for one of his roles this year (either from Drive or this film).  Giamatti and Hoffman are great as the disillusioned old-timers and Marisa Tomei finally has a worthwhile part as a hard-hitting journalist who will go to any ends to get a scandalous story.  Gosling, once again proving himself as a fantastic, committed actor, undergoes the most startling, sad transformation as by the end Stephen too is jaded from all the corruption he has seen with his own eyes.


The candidate that he had once believed so firmly in has made him lose all faith and the final scene (in comparison to the beginning scene) is haunting as it ends with a close-up shot of Gosling’s eyes (and they look like they have seen it all).  We see everything written in his eyes with just one look.  Clooney is perfect as the politician, smooth and charming and his poker face works well here.  His direction is quite good as he plays it straightforward with nice close-up shots of all the actors.  The climactic, intense scene between Stephen and Morris is one of the best scenes in the movie (besides the confrontation between Tom Duffy and Stephen).  The simmering anger turns boiling as they play a game of cat and mouse, a who knows what.  The betrayal here is Caesar’s, the older, more knowing people manipulating and sending the young out for slaughter.  This is different than what is expected from the previews, and leaves some parts ambiguous and up to the viewer (*spoiler alert*: for example, what really happens to Molly and will Stephen ever reveal the Morris’s secret).  For the latter, the answer is probably no.  Tom Duffy has the harshest lines, including when he tells Stephen to “Get out now,” while he still can and also when he tells Stephen that the Democrats need to learn to get down in the dirt with the Elephants.  With what goes on in this movie and all the meetings in dark alleyways in cars with blacked-out windows, it seems that his wish is sadly not too far off.




Play Ball!: Moneyball Movie Review

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

You do not have to be a fan of baseball in order to enjoy Moneyball (although it probably helps because by the end it runs a little long).  Brad Pitt is in his element and gives a great performance as the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s general manager, Billy Beane.  (Brad Pitt may get nominated.)  He wants to turn around their luck so he starts working by the theoretical approach of baseball using just numbers (which is controversial).  Eventually the team’s luck does start to turn around but it may still not be enough as the players are not that strong.  The saddest part to me, personally, was the end.  I guess it can be taken different ways, as in some things are more important than money (in this case it is Billy’s daughter).  It seemed, though, as if Billy is afraid of success as he turns down a huge offer from the Red Sox, right before they won the World Series.  After all, he has a disappointing past with baseball himself (he did not succeed as a professional baseball player and gave up a full scholarship to Stanford; Stanford seems to be used a lot recently in films).  Jonah Hill also gives a fine performance as the eager young college graduate, Peter, who works with Billy.  The movie is good overall.  The only problem is that it is not too different from inspirational sports movies we have seen already.  It is more subtle than Friday Night Lights but it is also not an interesting biographical take like The Social Network.  Aaron Sorkin co-wrote Moneyball.  Sorkin is a brilliant screenwriter with quick moving, smart dialogue (the likes of The West Wing and The Social Network).  Moneyball’s dialogue is not bad but not as snappy as it could have been.  The movie may have benefitted from being edited down a bit.  I think I had high expectations as it had gotten such amazing reviews and I came out a little underwhelmed.

Just Drive

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Drive had me with its opening scene.  A man with cold eyes looks in his rearview mirror waiting to drive two robbers away from the scene of a crime.  They run into trouble as the police chase them and the driver jumps out into a parking garage and disappears into the crowd.  Ryan Gosling gives an incredibly strong performance (his star seems to be rising as he gives consistently powerful, poignant performances: see Half Nelson and Lars and the Real Girl).  In Drive, Gosling transforms himself into a man who is a stunt car driver by day and a crook by night (he drives the getaway car for criminals).  His nameless, almost anonymous character, is a sociopath with no aversion to violence.  He is an antihero, yet you still root for him as he fights for the only things he has probably ever loved, a young woman and her son.  In this movie the lines are blurred, as they always are in real life, between what is right and wrong and who is good and who is not.  I am starting my countdown and beginning my list of predictions for Oscar nominations beginning with 50/50 and Drive.  Hopefully, there will be a nod for cinematography (great art direction here) as well as for Ryan Gosling.  Albert Brooks will also get a Supporting Actor nod I predict as he is blood-chillingly good as the suave gangster (almost as scary as Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds).  The music is also wonderful and memorable, a welcome blend of indie and electro-rock.  In fact, the soundtrack is on the Top 10 list on iTunes.  Watch out particularly for the haunting “Nightfall” by Kavinsky and Lovefoxxx (Kavinsky – Nightcall (feat. Lovefoxxx), “A Real Hero” by College featuring Electric Youth, and Cliff Martinez’s “Hammer.”


Contagion: A Cold Disappointment

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

There was great hype surrounding Contagion with it stellar cast, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, and Jennifer Ehle.  Unfortunately, the trailer for the movie proved to be much better than the movie itself.  The trailer also proved to be misleading as Contagion felt more like a documentary than a suspense movie.

The film is about the worldwide spread of a disease that is like the bird flu.  Maybe the science was close enough to the truth and something like that could actually happen in real life but Contagion still seemed long and a waste for its talented actors.  The biggest problem may be that we do not care about any of the people in the film.  We are not allowed to get close to them as the movie jumps from one incomplete story to the next.  It could have benefitted from a Steven Spielberg-esque hero.  Matt Damon comes close, but close enough.  Gwyneth Paltrow has no role and Marion Cotillard and Kate Winslet are sadly wasted as well.

The only memorable thing about the movie is a factoid that we touch our faces 3,000 times a day, which is the most frightening part in the movie itself.  Overall, Contagion comes off cold and sanitized.



50/50 Movie Review: 100% See-Worthy

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Too rarely do recent movies exhibit a certain humanness or sensitivity.  50/50 has both.  Focusing on the relationships and event the mundane occurrences in everyday life rather than delving into all the medical complications like a documentary, 50/50 walks a fine line between being light and funny and still captures the ultimate sadness and gravity of its subject matter, cancer.  We see the main character, Adam, go through diagnosis, chemotherapy, counseling, and a life or death procedure.  We root for this young man not only because he has cancer, but maybe also because we realize how fragile the difference is between being here one day and gone the next.  When he says, “I haven’t even been to Canada or told a girl I love her,” I laughed and cried.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is phenomenal (in my opinion, Oscar-worthy) as he portrays this 27-year old man with cancer and all of his ups and downs, denial, anger, fear and strength.  In Adam’s breakdown in a car, Gordon-Levitt captures all of these feelings with one line, “I’m tired of being sick.”  What grounds the movie is not everything miraculously changes because he has cancer.  His girlfriend cheats on him, his father still has Alzheimer’s, he lives in the same place before and after.  The experience adds to and perhaps shapes a part of his character, but it does change his character.  50/50 does such a fine job capturing the realness of the downs of something so dire as cancer as it also relays the humor and silliness of the everyday ups (talking to girls, getting a new dog, finding a new friendship).  The not so everyday and the everyday live in the same realm after all.  Anna Kendrick, as the nervous new therapist, Seth Rogen, as the soft long-time friend, and Angelica Huston, as the ever-worrying mom, also add great performances to an all-around good movie.


Where have all the good films gone?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Where have all the good movies gone?  The Netflix queue should not be a cause of anxiety and fear after all.  The former lament is probably usually taken pretty lightly, however, with films, like literature, we can see places we may never see, learn about things we are not familiar with, and meet people we would have otherwise never known or considered.  I have been watching a lot of old movies (I have been addicted actually) lately.  Thank goodness for TCM (Turner Classic Movies) because otherwise it is really hard to find classic films.  Blockbuster is bankrupt and Netflix does not have the greatest selection.  There is everything from the piercing Jezebel, to the hilarious Arsenic and Old Lace, to the terrifying Psycho and the frightening in a much different way The Ox-Bow Incident, to the heartbreaking The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, to the thoughtful Wild Strawberries.  What do we have on this side of the coin?  The only movies recently that may even be considered for awards are Woody Allen’s redemptive, whimsical Midnight in Paris, the quiet, humanistic Win Win (with Paul Giamatti), and the fantastic finish of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (a long shot for the Oscars perhaps but one never knows-why hello Lord of the Rings finale).  On a quick side note, it is frustrating also how small indie films only go to select theaters or big cities, as if the general public would not appreciate a smart, poignant film over another blase hit-you-over-the-head action film.  I am personally tired of the gross-out horror films, campy superhero comic book movies, and the worn-out, forgettable rom coms.  With most films now basically not even earning a 50% on the quick movie review go-to site, Rotten Tomatoes, it is not even worth the trek to the movie theater.  Many movies that we may see in previews do not make it to the big screen and instead just go straight to DVD anyway.  The problem is, though, that going to the movies is an escape.  With everything going on in the world, just taking a break to go to the movies is underrated.  Plus, unless you are one of the rare people in the world that has a home theater, everyday annoyances and distractions make DVD watching at home a bore.  Another problem is that I guess you could say that a good movie nowadays is as rare as a good character role for an actress.  By “good” I mean seldom is there an independent, strong, or even conniving role for women.  There were more of those in the 30s, 40s, and even 50s almost unbelievably!  We are supposedly close to equality between men and women but many of the actresses today are stuck  playing either the girlfriend or the mother.  I digress.  Maybe it is the economy (even affecting those millionaire producers-gasp!) but hopefully films will once again become well-made, thought-inducing, and satisfying.

2011 Summer Blockbusters

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

With all of the summer blockbusters, or lack thereof, out it can be hard to navigate and decide which ones are worth the ten dollars (sometimes even more with 3D, and they all seem to be in 3D).  There is nothing worse than coming out of the movie theater disappointed, with a headache, or even worse, frustrated due to the lack of fluidity and feasibility in the plot.  Leave that last feeling at the door and just enjoy yourself when seeing Cowboys and Aliens and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  First up, Cowboys and Aliens is a fun, albeit strange, ride.  There is some good fun with the Clint Eastwood-esque gun-wrangling, bar-clobbering cowboys but throw in a bunch of random, funny-looking aliens and you have got an interesting blockbuster (I was going to say “movie” but decided against it).  All in all, Harrison Ford is at his best again and Daniel Craig is not too shabby to look at.  There are plenty of seat-jumping parts as well.  The best part possibly?  When the cowboys are about to have a throw down and all of a sudden in fly the alien ships!  Next up, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  When I saw the previews for this film at the start of the summer I said to myself with a snort, “I am not seeing that.”  My bias stemmed from flashbacks to the cheesy Mark Wahlberg remake and I had only heard of the original with Charlton Heston.  I thought, “Eh, what the hay,” and took a chance.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I found myself actually rooting for the apes sometimes (I am sorry, but they do not turn to violence until pushed and *spoiler alert*: humans actually bring the virus that wipes out mankind and leads to ape rule on themselves).  Caesar, leader of the apes, is more sympathetic than many of the people in the film.  There are even some obvious questions brought to light about how far invention should go and how finding compassion and kindness for those who are different than us can be difficult at times.  Standouts in the film?  James Franco does a solid job in a role that generally seems to fit him-vulnerable protagonist.  Tom Felton also does a wickedly good job as a spoiled, mean son of an animal shelter’s owner.  One last thing, the CGI effects really are amazing.

Pottermore: The Perfect Antidote To Your Post-Deathly-Hallows Blues

Friday, June 24th, 2011

For all those who are preparing for a mourning period after the credits roll on July 15th, while frantically re-reading and re-watching Harry Potters 1-6, fear not! The Potter franchise isn’t done yet (and now I’m having a hard time imagining a time when it ever will be done). Last week’s Internet freak-out over JK Rowling’s new, but simple, webpage was proof that the woman hasn’t finished with Harry yet.

Rowling’s anticipation-building marketing skills aside, this mysterious Pottermore website apparently promised to give Potter fans something. . .well, more. The big announcement, however, was not unveiled until yesterday morning when Joanne herself posted a video on the site and held a London press conference to give all the gory details.


The Stanford Arts Review – A New Publication Discussing the Arts on Campus

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Stanford has musicians. Stanford has artists. Stanford has fashion designers. Stanford has writers. We create. But Stanford has not had (many) people who review these creations. Until now.

I recently got an email promoting a new institution devoted to the arts on campus, the Stanford Arts Review. It is an online publication currently staffed entirely by undergraduates and it looks like it is aiming to be the hub for conversation about the arts.

This arts review site is very new with archives only going back to April. It covers all kinds of arts activities: dance, fashion, film, literature, music, theater, and visual arts adorn its navigation bar. And the posts/pieces/stories/whatever-you-want-to-call-thems do not just cover on-campus student work and visiting performers, they also discuss creative culture outside the bubble, from exhibits in San Francisco to movies.

But why should we care about a site that talks about the arts? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to simply go to the concerts, the exhibits, or read the stories?

Well, I doubt anyone is an expert in film, fashion, music, visual art, literature, dance, and theater all at the same time. Nor does anyone have time to to see and experience all the arts on campus. This kind of publication can give you more background in areas of the arts you might not pay attention to, and it can show you what is going on in those areas you do care about. And for those students who aim to pursue an artistic career, getting feedback from other students is important.

Plus, it is awesome that they seem to be able to pull a discussion of all the different types of arts into one place. It highlights the breadth and depth of artistic culture we have on campus.

Anyways, go type into your navigation bar and poke around the website. Put it in your bookmarks bar and visit it regularly to keep up with artistic goings-on. You are going to procrastinate anyways, why not make it cultured procrastination that links you more deeply into your local arts community?

Student Arts Festival!

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Got no Saturday evening plans? You may want to check out the Stanford Student Works Festival, which will showcase the creativity of Stanford students in a variety of fields. The event will take place tomorrow in Dinkelspiel Auditorium at 6pm, with an artists’ reception to follow at 7:30pm.

Why Condi on 30 Rock will be Amazing

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

For those of you who don’t follow the latest political/entertainment news, Stanford’s very own Dr. Condoleezza Rice will be making an appearance on the Emmy-winning NBC comedy tonight. And it will be awesome.

Why do I think that?

First of all, 30 Rock has already established Condi (the character, not the real person) as the former “neocon inamorata” of network executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin) in the season 1 episode “The Break-Up.” This version of Condi only made an appearance in news footage of her greeting Russia’s Vladimir Putin that was supplemented by additional “footage” of Putin grabbing her ass, leading Jack to suspect that she was cheating on him with the Chuck Norris of Russia. However, she was continuously referred to while Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) struggled with her own relationship problems, serving as a foil of sorts to Liz Lemon’s plotline. Eventually the story arc led to Jack jumping on a corporate jet to make a surprise visit to Kandahar to see her, which leads to their break-up because apparently, she was into roleplay of the Abu Ghraib variety, and he would have none of it. Which is kind of awkward, so I’m not sure if they’ll revisit that territory. But it’s a hysterically absurd version of Condi as the potentially crazy and politically influential ex-girlfriend (I repeat, this is an alternate version of Dr. Rice), and I’m sure she’ll be more than just a throwaway gag.