Category Archives: Movie Review

Better


My cold finally seems to be getting better. I went yesterday and got some Allegra D, and I can now breath easier. I was feeling well enough to go to the movies. I went to see Star Trek Beyond. I was very impressed with the movie. It was full of suspense and excitement. I knew some of the elements of the movie, but I really didn’t know how things would turn out. It was a really cool movie.

As for Sulu being gay, I thought it was handled subtlety and with a great amount of class.


Science Friction 

It’s been a rollercoaster week for Trekkies everywhere following news that Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu — formerly played by George Takei and portrayed by John Cho in the latest reboot — is discovered to be gay and married in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond.

Cho broke the news to Australia’s Daily Sun, saying, “I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out of it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.”

But Takei, to whom producers were giving a nod by turning his iconic character into a gay man, was surprisingly displeased by the news, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”

Following that, Star Trek writer and actor Simon Pegg, who plays chief engineer Montgomery Scott (known affectionately as “Scotty”), told The Hollywood Reporter that he “must respectfully disagree”:

“I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humor are an inspiration. However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.

“He’s right, it is unfortunate, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?”

Now, openly gay actor Zachary Quinto, who portrays Spock in the reboot films, has let the world know that he’s 100% in favor of the plot choice , telling Pedestrian.TV:

“As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed.

“Any member of the LGBT community that takes issue with the normalized and positive portrayal of members of our community in Hollywood and in mainstream blockbuster cinema… I get it that he has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe.

“My hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people, who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world, and should be.”

Where do you stand on the executive decision to marry off Sulu to a man in the name of representation? Sound off in the comments below.

From: Queerty.com


Sulu Comes Out

Last year, George Takei told Time magazine he’d once asked “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry why the original series, which depicted biracial relationships and tackled other civil rights issues, didn’t include any LGBT characters.

According to Takei, Roddenberry told him, “I’m treading a fine tight wire here. I’m dealing with issues of the time. I’m dealing with the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and I need to be able to make that statement by staying on the air. If I dealt with that issue I wouldn’t be able to deal with any issue because I would be canceled.”

There have been three instances when this almost came into being. First, Commander Riker on The Next Generation had a fling with an androgynous being, but turned out that she felt more female than neutral and was “reeducated.” Then, there was Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine whom shared a kiss with a woman that she’d previously been married to as a man, both in different lifetimes. Then in the non-sanctioned web series Phase II, Kirk’s son or nephew (I can’t remember) was depicted as being in a relationship with another man. When Enterprise came out, it was rumored one of the characters would be gay, but it never materialized.

Now, one of the “Star Trek” universe’s most beloved characters is revealed to be gay in the latest installment of the iconic franchise. John Cho told Australia’s Herald Sun that his character, Hikaru Sulu, will have a same-sex partner, with whom he is raising a daughter, in “Star Trek Beyond,” which hits theaters July 22. This is one of the most exciting things I’ve heard in years.

The 44-year-old actor said that he approved of the way his character’s sexuality will be handled in the film, in that writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin opted not to make it a major plot point. “I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations,” he said.

Lin and Pegg’s decision to depict Sulu as a gay man was a nod to George Takei, who played the role in the original 1960s “Star Trek” television series and in six subsequent films, Cho said. Takei, 79, came out as gay in 2005, and has since gone on to become an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights.

Unfortunately, the Star Trek alum and LGBT activist spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the news on Thursday, July 7, saying it strays from creator Gene Roddenberry’s original vision for Hikaru Sulu. “I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei, 79, told THR. “Unfortunately it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”

Its unfortunate that Takei feels that way. I think it’s a great legacy for Star Trek, the character of Sulu, and Roddenberry’s belief in equality and a better universe.


Date Night

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Yesterday, I watched An Affair to Remember. It is one of my favorite movies. I almost got through the whole thing without crying, but when Cary Grant’s character says, “If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?” I completely lost it. The ending when they got together again has always affected me, but that particular line hasn’t ever affected me that way. The difference is that I have said the same thing over and over for the past five months. I still miss my friend that I lost, and I doubt I will ever get over it, but I am doing better and better each day. I still miss him though.

To make myself feel better, I decided to have a date night with myself. Have you ever done that? I got dressed nicely, made a nice dinner (chicken piccata), and sat down to watch some movies and a glass of wine.  I haven’t had a date night with myself in a long time. Since I am not dating anyone, why not have a date with myself.I got the idea from a book I read years ago called Finding the Boyfriend Within by Brad Gooch. Sometimes, we just need a date, even if it’s only with ourselves.

I also watched Pitch Perfect 2. If you haven’t seen it, don’t.  I loved the first Pitch Perfect. The fact is, my friend had sent it to me when I was at a low point and very depressed to help cheer me up, and it had worked. I had hoped that Pitch Perfect 2 might have the same effect, even though he had told me that it wasn’t as good. The second one was just not as funny as they first and I just didn’t enjoy it very much, though I did watch the whole thing.

Then I watched a movie that I had been wanting to see: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I know that it didn’t get great reviews either but how can you go wrong with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. Both are very good looking and worth watching even if the movie was crap. Luckily, I enjoyed the movie quite a lot. I’ve always enjoyed spy movies.

Of course, it was Sunday night, so that meant that it was time for Game of Thrones. I do love that show. It was a good end to a date night with myself.


The Danish Girl

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Last night, I watched The Danish Girl. What a truly remarkable film! I had not watched it before because I knew the ending would be sad. However, my boss had watched it and when I told her that the sad ending was why I had not seen it, she insisted that the ending really wasn’t sad. I trusted her on this and oddly she was right. It wasn’t sad; it was just a beautiful movie. Now if you don’t know the story of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe and you don’t want to know anything about the film before watching it, then stop reading right here.

Lili Elbe was one of the first recipients of sex reassignment surgery.  She had been born Einar Wegener and was married to fellow artist Gerda Gottlieb. Einar knew all of his life that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body, and the movie follows his transition from a man to a woman. Garda stayed with Lili until the end. You see, Lili died from complications from the four surgeries she had (in the movie it is only two).

There are two things that make this film extraordinary. The first is Eddie Redmayne. He is stunning in his portrayal of Einar/Lili in the film. Redmayne has been criticized by some in the transgender community because Redmayne is a heterosexual male. But Redmayne is a superb actor and any criticism is unfounded because he was superb in the role. The second is the way that Lili and Gerda’s relationship is handled. The movie is a true tribute to the transgender community. Lili Elbe was a great pioneer and many pioneers do not survive their pioneering endeavors. Lili was one of them.

The death is dealt with so sensitively and with such grace that you just see the beauty of the scene over the sadness. I had expected to cry at the end, but when the scene came, I did not cry. I guess I had prepared myself enough that I was ready for the scene, but also you know that Lili is at peace at the end.

If you have not seen this movie, I think you should. If you have seen it, I hope you will tell me in the comments what you thought of it.


Do I Sound Gay?

  
About a year and a half ago, I wrote another post with this same title: Do I Sound Gay? It was about a documentary that had a Kickstarter campaign to get it produced. I’ve wanted to see it since I first read about it. Wednesday night, it came up on my Netflix suggestions so I watched it. David Thorpe made this documentary about his journey to sound more “straight.” He went to a speech therapist, and talked to celebrities and friends about “gay voices.” It was really quite interesting.

I’ve talked about my voice before, and I’ve always been self conscious of it. After watching this documentary, I honestly think that I am less self conscious than I used to be. One of the things that this documentary talks about is what is the so-called “gay voice.” Speech experts said that it is basically made up of five characteristics.

  1. Gay men tend to pronounce their vowels more clearly.
  2. We also send to draw out our vowels longer.
  3. Also, our Ss are longer, often giving us the stereotypical lisp.
  4. We pronounce our Ls longer.
  5. Gay men overarticulating Ps Ts and Ks.

One of the things that many gay men who were considered to have gay voices had speech impediments when they were younger. Some had speech therapy, others like myself did not. Having a lisp or speech impediment caused many gay men to be more precise in their speech. More masculine speech tends to be less articulate. Of course the deepness of someone’s voice also plays a factor in this. Upper class voices are considered more gay, which is a stereotype from the dandies in old movies. Basically, Thorpe came to the realization that sounding educated, cosmopolitan and refines equals the gay voice. 

So, why is the gay voice derided by hetero and homosexual alike? One it is seen as more feminine. Gay men say they want a “man,” if they wanted a woman they’d be straight. Also, those dandies in old movies were either villains or comic relief. They were not characters to be admired. Then you have what Disney did for the gay voice. Disney used the “gay voice” for its male villains. Think of the voices of Captain Hook (Peter Pan), Jafar (Alladin), Prince John (Robin Hood), Professor Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective), and Scar (The Lion King). Each of these characters is portrayed with what we would often consider the exaggerated stereotypical gay voice. No wonder we hate our own voices.

What I found most interesting is that David Thorpe is a fellow southerner, from Columbia, South Carolina. When he went to the speech therapist, one of the things she tried to do is to remove the last vestiges of his southern accent. I think often gay southerners have it worse because we do draw out our words, we do overarticulate, and we are more precise in our language. And if you think of any southern gentleman in a comedic role, he has the gay voice. I do not want to lose my southern accent, and besides, my accent is much more noticeable than my “gay voice” up here in Vermont.

What did I learn from watching “Do I Sound Gay?” I learned to be proud of who I am and how I sound. I fought hard to get to a place in my life where I wasn’t constantly trying to hide my sexuality. Therefore, if people perceive me as having a gay voice, well, so be it. At this point, fuck them if they can’t accept me the way that I am.


“Stay weird. Stay different”

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Last night I watched the Oscars. I usually don’t, and I have to say, they were a bit dull and disappointing. I expected better of Neil Patrick Harris as the host, but he does a much better job with the Tonys. I thought that the most elegant speech of the night was that of Julianne Moore for Best Actress. I think Moore is a classy lady and she showed just how classy the Oscars can be.

However, the best speech of that night was by Graham Moore. Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game,” and he used the win to give a powerful speech about suicide awareness and depression.

“I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here,” he said. “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”

I was that weird and awkward kid when I was sixteen. I even tried to commit suicide, and I thank God each and every day that I was not successful. I may not have the life I’d expected to have, but it’s not over yet. There are many teenagers, especially gay teenagers, who have faced depression and attempted suicide. Sadly, far too many are successful. We have to make this world a better place so that teenagers who face depression and suicidal thoughts can understand that the world is a better place. The phrase “It gets better!” may be a bit cliche these days, but it really is true. It does get better.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to see “The Imitation Game.” If you’re not familiar with the movie, it is about the life and achievements of the late Alan Turing, the British mathematician and cryptanalyst who helped solve the Enigma code during World War II. After the war he was prosecuted for homosexuality in Britain and died by suicide in 1954 at 41 years old. I’ve written about Turing before on this blog, and this movie was a great movie. I honestly thought it deserved much more recognition than it received last night. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you will.


The Normal Heart

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The Normal Heart is a 2014 American drama television film directed by Ryan Murphy and written by Larry Kramer, based on Kramer’s largely autobiographical 1985 play of same name. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Jonathan Groff, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, and Julia Roberts.

I usually find that when a movie has an all-start cast, you can’t expect much from it because all of the actors compete for the spotlight. This movie wasn’t like that. It largely focuses on Mark Ruffalo’s character Ned Weeks, and the cast surrounding him make the movie sublime.

The film depicts the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. Weeks prefers public confrontations to the calmer, more private strategies favored by his associates, friends, and closeted lover Felix Turner (Bomer). Their differences of opinion lead to arguments that threaten to undermine their shared goals.

The play and film are based on true events and real people. After most performances of the 2011 revival of The Normal Heart, Kramer personally passed out a dramaturgical flyer detailing some of the real stories behind the play’s characters. Kramer wrote that the character “Bruce” was based on Paul Popham, the president of the GMHC from 1981 until 1985; “Tommy” was based on Rodger McFarlane, who was executive director of GMHC and a founding member of ACT UP and Broadway Cares; and “Emma’ was modeled after Dr. Linda Laubenstein, who treated some of the first New York cases of what was later known as AIDS. Like “Ned,” Kramer himself helped to found several AIDS-activism groups, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), and indeed experienced personal conflict with his lawyer brother, Arthur.

This is a truly powerful movie and people need to see it. Kramer’s furious inveighing against a government that seemed content to let gay men die by the thousands has plenty of bite left in it nearly 30 years later. In many ways, The Normal Heart has become an entirely necessary historical document, giving full-bodied life and spirit to a piece of recent history that’s all too often forgotten in our progressive, gay marriage-sanctifying present. The horrors of the play’s generation must be remembered, not just because H.I.V.-infection rates among young people are troublingly on the rise in this country, but because these stories crucially remind us how we got where we are now, how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. Murphy gets out of the way of this message, filming from a respectable distance as Kramer’s words flare and burn. But this is also an intimate movie, close and textured, made all the more so by the fine cast.

I hope that lots of people watch this film, as lots of people seemed to watch HBO’s similarly themed masterpiece Angels in America ten years ago. Because it’s a good movie, and because it roars with the fury of many ghosts who didn’t have to be ghosts. If only more people had said something, done something. At least Larry Kramer and others like him did, and The Normal Heart is a fine accounting of that noble history.

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13 Gayest Halloween Movies Ever

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Dark, twisted tales that feed our need for revenge. Sexy scenes with hunky young bucks all desperately yearning to get laid. Gory sights and demented deeds that are so over-the-top they border on camp.

These are the staples of fright flicks, and though society may suspect that gays shy away from horror and violence, the truth is that we love it in films that speak to our unique sensibilities. So in honor of Halloween I compiled a list of our 13 favorites.

So sit back, cuddle closely with your man (or bestest girlfriends) and enjoy the show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
It’s the weird and wonderful as newly engaged couple Brad and Janet encounter a problem when they car halts in the rain. They both look for contact only to find themselves at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter a transvestite. A place to stay is offered, but will Brad and Janet want to remain there? Especially when a large group of Transylvanians dance to the ‘Time Warp’, Dr. Frank-N-Furter builds his own man and a whole host of participation for the audience to enjoy. This movie is high camp horror at its best.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Mortimer Brewster is a newspaperman and author known for his diatribes against marriage. We watch him being married at city hall in the opening scene. Now all that is required is a quick trip home to tell Mortimer’s two maiden aunts. While trying to break the news, he finds out his aunts’ hobby; killing lonely old men and burying them in the cellar. It gets worse.  Who could not love this movie?

Rope (1948)
Inspired by real-life convicted killers (and lovers) Leopold and Loeb, Rope is Alfred Hitchcock’s gayest film ever. It features a gay couple (played by John Dall, and bisexual Farley Granger at his most luminous), a dinner party, witty repartee, and a body hidden in a stylish piece of furniture. Sounds like summers in Fire Island to me.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Cast two gay icons—Bette Davis and Joan Crawford—as crazy / tragic protagonists, then have them abuse one another while performing at level 10, and you’ve got one of the most camptastic movies ever made. The dialogue is deliciously mean, the hatred between these two actresses leaks off the screen, and because the characters’ bitter back-story creates a strong foundation you have a solid film rather than one of those “so-bad-it’s-good” features gays love so much.

Best served in a crowd of drunk gays who can truly appreciate the dark humor.

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
If Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? makes the list, this movie is also a must.  Charlotte Hollis, an aging recluse deluded into a state of dementia by horrible memories and hallucinations, lives in a secluded house where, thirty-seven years before, John Mayhew her married lover, was beheaded and mutilated by an unknown assailant.  Plus, there is always the back story behind why Joan Crawford refused to make this “sequel” and the why Vivian Leigh refused the role (Leigh famously said “I can just about stand to look at Joan Crawford at six in the morning on a southern plantation, but I couldn’t possibly look at Bette Davis.”)  Also, Agnes Moorehead is in this movie, not only was she the mother on Bewitched, but she was also a well-known lesbian.

Carrie (1976)
Along with Baby Jane, Mommie Dearest and Showgirls, Carrie is one of the films with dialogue most quoted by gay men. Gems like “I can see your dirty pillows,” to a screeching “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” and “They’re called breasts, and every woman has them…” have become part of the secret language of gays. And Carrie’s prom night-mare has become pop culture shorthand on TV shows from Ugly Betty to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
New Line Cinema’s second schlep up to Elm Street is bursting at the seams with homoerotic imagery and undertones. It features openly gay actor Mark Patton as Jesse, a teenage boy Freddy Krueger tries to possess in order to leave dreamland and continue his killing spree in the real world.

Even before the film’s writer, David Chaskin, admitted to including the screenplay’s gay subtext in the 2010 documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, Nightmare 2 had been herald as the ultimate homo-horror flick for years by countless fans.

A film about a boy struggling to repress “something” inside of him would have been enough to brand Nightmare 2 as an obvious gay allegory. However, it’s the moments following Jessie’s trek into a gay leather bar—where he discovers his P.E. coach—that rank this film among the gayest of all time. After all, tying up your coach in the locker-room showers and snapping his bare ass with a towel before you kill him from behind will earn you that kind of reputation.

Beetlejuice (1988)
Aside from featuring Alec Baldwin at the height of hotness, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice has enough camp to be welcome at any homo-Halloween haunt. The film’s quirky style has held up amazingly well since it debuted over 23 years ago, and Winona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz is a queer cinema classic. From the interior decorator played by the late openly-gay actor Glenn Shadix to outrageous musical numbers, there isn’t much about this film that isn’t gay.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)
The Queen of Halloween’s first feature film has become a gay camp-classic for all the reasons that made Elvira one of the biggest gay icons of all time. Over-the-top in every way possible, from the costumes and sassy one-liners to the big musical number ending stuffed with hunky shirtless male dancers, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is the Showgirls of Halloween movies.

Check it out.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
This poor film has a bad reputation, and some of it is deserved. The movie is about time-displaced witches who fly on vacuums and sing songs, and the kids who must set things right. But it’s also a delightfully fun bad movie, comes from Disney and director Kenny Ortega (famous for the High School Musical franchise), and stars gay faves Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy (fresh of her stint in Sister Act). No, it’s not brilliant filmmaking, however it works for babysitting, if you’re in the mood for something light, and if you can mix a potion of vodka and… well… anything… to go along with your screening.

The Covenant (2006)
Abercrombie & Fitch goes supernatural in this good warlock vs. bad warlock fantasy/horror flick starring models-turned-actors Steven Straight (10,000 B.C.) and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), as well as a pre-shag Chace Crawford. Between that and this picture, do you need any further explanation on why you should rent it?

Hellbent (2004)
Two gay men on a date are murdered the night before Halloween in West Hollywood, California. Eddie and his friends Joey, Chaz and Tobey are going out the following night to the West Hollywood Halloween festival when they encounter the psycho, who sets his eye on them. The killer stalks them through the festival as Chaz parties, Joey chases his jock crush, Tobey tries dressing in drag, and Eddie pursues Jake, the bad boy he wants to get to know better. Not until the very end do you find out who dies and who survives their night of terror.

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Gone with the Wind

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‘Gone With the Wind’ to celebrate 75th anniversary with theatrical screenings showing the movie as it was originally shown seventy-five years ago. I took my mother to see GWTW, and it was worth every second of the five hours we sat in that theater. Though the movie has a running time of 238 minutes (with overture, intermission, entr’acte, and exit music), the theater where we saw it apparently didn’t know how to run a movie. The intermission should have been 15 minutes, but due to technical difficulties was over 45 minutes. It was still worth it to see my mama enjoy a movie that she has loved since she was a teenager.

TCM is presenting screenings of Gone With the Wind on Sept. 28 and Oct. 1 in movie theaters across the nation. If you are a fan of the movie, it is worth the price of the ticket to see it (even if ticket prices are more than the $10 that was the cost to see the originally premiere in Atlanta with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in the audience).

Because we still give a damn: Long considered among the greatest films ever made, Gone With the Wind starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland celebrates its 75th anniversary this month.

Here are the details from Fathom Events, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and TCM:

Scarlett O’Hara won and then lost Rhett Butler, Atlanta burned and the antebellum South was shown in all its splendor and decimation in one of cinema’s most treasured and most successful films, “Gone With the Wind.” And now, as part of the festivities to mark the 10-time Oscar©-winning film’s 75th anniversary, Fathom Events is joining with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Turner Classic Movies to bring “TCM Presents: Gone With the Wind” back to its original home in select theatres nationwide and presented in its original aspect ratio so audiences can experience it as it was originally shown 75 years ago. The film will be exhibited on Sunday, September 28 and Wednesday, October 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time.

In addition to the classic film, which starred Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Olivia De Havilland as Melanie Hamilton and Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, “TCM Presents: Gone With the Wind” included a specially produced introduction by TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne.

As any fan of classic films or American literature surely knows, “Gone With the Wind” is the Epic Civil War drama about spoiled southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. Starting with her idyllic life on the plantation Tara, it traces her unrequited love for Ashley Wilkes, her tempestuous relationship with roguish Rhett Butler and her struggles as Atlanta burns, her family home is decimated and she vows to never go hungry again. As has been evident from the enduring devotion that fans have for the story – on film, on the pages of Margaret Mitchell’s original novel, on TV and home entertainment formats – frankly, they DO give a damn about Scarlett’s triumphs, travails and ultimate will to survive.