Wow, it’s been nine months since I first did one of these! It’s not attached to a group tag or anything, it’s just something I came up with to combine some of my favorite forms of media. We start with a book, then add a corresponding movie or YouTube video, finish off with a song and you’ve got a trio of goodness.
The thing about most superhero origin stories is that some mentor figure typically appears on the scene to guide the bumbling youngster in the use of their power. Yeah, these kids don’t have that. Zeroes follows six superpowered teens in their quest to explore their abilities without getting arrested. What makes it unique is that their powers are potent yet subtle; most of them deal with how they interact with other people. Scam opens his mouth and the words to get what he wants just spill out. Flicker can see through other people’s eyes. Glorious Leader can focus a crowd’s attention on himself in a supernatural exhibition of charisma. They aren’t heroes, and they know it, which makes their world believable. Plus, they all still have families and home lives, which adds a level of conflict and consequences that a lot of superhero stories lack.
Watch: X-Men First Class
First Class isn’t my favorite X-Men movie (hello, X2 and Days of Future Past) but it’s still quite enjoyable and matches the vibe of Zeroes very closely. This isn’t the era of an established school with competent teachers who have a lock on their power ready to help guide the next generation. These are the early days, the trial days, the throw it to the wall and see what sticks days. Charles and Erik and only just harnessing their own potential, let alone keeping their younger students from blowing up the building.
Listen: Superhero by Tim McMorris
“I just want to be a superhero.” I first heard this song in a Sneaky Zebra cosplay video, and fell in love with it. Call it the theme song for all of us mundanes/muggles/plain ol’ people who wish we could don a cape and go soaring through the sky.
On the off chance you haven’t read this, you need to get on that stat. A classic of classics about family, prejudice, gender roles and the eye-opening transformation of growing up, TKaM is written with simple-enough language to be accessible to nearly anyone, and has a very high re-readability factor.
Watch: How to Kill a Mockingbird
By YouTube standards, this video is ooooooold a.k.a 2010. But if you’ve read TKaM, I guarantee that it will make you laugh. It starts as a hilariously terrible book report, including visualizing Dill as an actual pickle, until about 1:35 in, which is “when things start getting hazy” and the story completely derails. The quote below is actually from the most mild part of the madcap battle that ensues. Yes, a battle.
“You’ll be like ‘yeah right’ until the pirate jumps on his burning, flying shark.”
If it starts to be too much for you, watching the whole video isn’t strictly necessary – a few minutes will give you a good enough picture. With a crazy factor of 1000, it’s a glorious lampooning of classic literature.
Listen: Bird Set Free by Sia
“I sing for love, I sing for me; I shout it out like a bird set free.” There are lots of songs about finding your voice amid turmoil, but this one has the bonus element of matching the bird theme so BOOM NAILED IT. While Scout is only just beginning to learn about the important of speaking up for others by the end of TKaM, Atticus embodies it fully and is an excellent example for her.
Read: Airhead by Meg Cabot
What happens when you stick the brain of an unwilling nerdy girl who’s always been in the background into the body of a supermodel? Shenanigans! This trilogy is perfect for those of who consider America’s Next Top Model or Project Runway a guilty pleasure, and the underlying brain transplant scheme adds enough of a subtle sci-fi flair to keep it from turning vapid.
Watch: After the Ball
This is a total fluff movie, but darn it if I haven’t watched it three or four times on Netflix. In a Cinderella/Twelfth Night modern-day mashup, Kate disguises herself to work at her family’s clothing company without attracting the attention of her steely stepmother and brainless twin stepsisters. The twins are thoroughly entertaining, and of course there’s a cute coworker guy who likes Kate as a girl but doesn’t know about her double life. Watch for some brainless laughs and a dose of fashion house drama.
Listen: Swagger by Plush
“Walk the walk, move your hips; you can talk without your lips.” It’s a pretty generic strut your stuff girl power dance song, but Swagger was featured in one of my favorite Dance Moms episodes evaaaah and plays to aloof attitude of the fashion industry. It’s also got a strong bass line, which I have determined to be a theme in songs I like.
Go forth and Read, Watch, Listen! Do you have a song or movie you identify with a particular book? Let me know in the comments!