My friend Mellie linked this interesting TED Talk that discusses the downfall of guys and how the media might play a role in the whole thing. It’s amazing how convinced this man could make me of his stance in less than five minutes. Sure, I do take quite the stance against our current multimedia culture, but when someone else says something my knee-jerk reaction is to defend it. Not this time. He’s pretty spot on. Read the rest of this entry
I’m not late to the party in sharing the Sith girl clip that was popularized weeks ago. It was only recently that the reality of the young girl’s turn to the Dark Side really became clear to me. Over the course of six movies, a holiday special, 2 animated series covering the same span of time, and four-hundred (and counting) video games…the series has absolutely failed to present the Dark Side as deplorable and vile.
First, watch the video. The girl does what most adult fans would do. Maybe she’s ahead of the game as far as kids are concerned?
Super is the kind of film that critics of comic book movies say they want to see but dismiss when they are actually made. James Gunn created an almost entirely realistic look at what it would take to make someone decide to become a masked vigilante and the horrific results of those choices. Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson) is basically Bipolar, and his wife’s (Liv Tyler) leaving him for drug lord Jacques (Kevin Bacon) is the first in a series of psychotic breaks that drive the film toward its resolution. Individuals comment that Bruce Wayne must have been driven insane by the loss of his parents at the hand of Joe Chill, and that’s why there is a Batman in Gotham City. Super is basically a take on that theory. Read the rest of this entry
[Author’s Note: If you’re just curious about what I thought of the movie, skip down to where you see the asterisks. Otherwise, this is a very lengthy post. I’ve noticed that no one tends to read the entries about anime (except for the dozens of people who keep coming here for Tekkaman Blade pics), so I went crazy with it. If you want to read a 2300-word post, knock yourself out. I promise you none of it will be on the exam, though.]
It is difficult to find good, creative, original science fiction. Sure, some people might have that one friend who does nothing but read science fiction anthologies and keep up with all of the latest material on the web, but the rest of us have few sources and even less time. What the popular multimedia world is most often known for are the scifi retreads – either of old works or old ideas. “It’s the delivery that matters!” we say to ourselves. While true, it also opens ourselves up to eating the same cereal so long as the marshmallows are offered in new shapes and/or colors. For example, I loved four and a half seasons of Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica despite the fact that it was a retread of the original BSG that invoked the darker and edgier trope and borrowed heavily from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?/Blade Runner and a little from the rest of the Philip K. Dick library. I recognized the sources clearly but still moved forward. That may very well be the reason why I was able to move forward with it.
There are no more original ideas. It’s all be done before. The movie trailers on TV look like items from either a few years to a few decades ago. It seems like movies are being made just so the studios have a steady flow of product coming out. No one holds off for the great ideas. No one devotes time to meticulously perfect a creation. Having something out there is generally regarded as being much better than having something great.
I’ve always been an anime fan. The general anime fan likes to cite creativity as a reason why s/he prefers Japanese output over American. I’m not that fan. I’m not an otaku, as I’ve said before. I watch what I watch. While the ideas over there are decidedly different in origin, they area also quite plagued by hackneyed ideas. Watch enough Japanese content and you find that it becomes increasingly more difficult to find original ideas. (Even in writing this introduction to a review about The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya I’ve realized that it is not entirely original because it could be considered a lighter and fluffier version of Akira. I’m still moving forward with this idea of original content, though.) No matter where you look, people borrow from ideas that they find interesting. Read the rest of this entry
The link below leads to a video of Donald Glover performing stand-up, specifically his discussion of the “Donald for Spider-Man” campaign in which he starred but did not fully participate. I appreciate his response to someone’s saying that maybe Michael Cera should then play Shaft. My response: Why not?
Few shows effectively walk the line between affectionate parody and cruel ridicule of subcultural subjects. Some topics are pointedly ignored because acknowledgment grants some sort of power. Fortunately for Community, there is no topic in the multimedia world that is worth ignoring. What amazes me is the creativity displayed by the writers to make each topic work. In the first season they managed to make a post-apocalyptic action episode work. In the current season, they have already pulled off parodies of both zombie and space shuttle launch films. Bear in mind that this show takes place at a community college and the parodies are appropriately grounded in some level of reality.
Which brings us to the recent Advanced Dungeons and Dragons episode. In order to instill a classmate with self-respect after realizing he was exhibiting the warning signs of a severe depression, the study group convince him to play a game, his favorite game, with them. What would normally happen on television series in such a circumstance would be the transportation of the cast into the magical world they were imagining. Instead, it kept true to the nature of the game. Every person described what they were doing or attempting to do, and to make it even more funny a narrator (speaking in the tone typical of fantasy films) spoke over them – to describe the characters as they described their actions. This simultaneously pointed out just how ridiculous playing role-playing games can appear to outsiders but reinforced to those with experience in these games the majesty of these curiously indescribable worlds.
This does not come without some criticism. The previous week’s episode featured an anti-drug play in which Pierce paid Annie off in order to get a larger role, but this had the poor effect of making his role, that of drugs, the most appealing to their audience. Pierce already played antagonist, and in the AD&D episode he played antagonist again. It does not sit well as a viewer because it seems like there is no break for the cast in dealing with him, which begs the continual question of why he is always part of their study group. I guess that is the ongoing joke, but his continually disappointing behavior sometimes stops being funny and becomes something worth avoiding. (Bear me no mind, though. I also think this of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. One-note characters both me. When depth is only given once every seven episodes, it does not work for me.)
I admit to being shameless about this show. It is one of the few shows that I can say has consistently been one of my favorites airing on television. It does not fail to make me laugh.
GameStop’s business practices generally cannot be defended. Accounts of employee mistreatment are reported on the web almost weekly, and video game companies loathe the fact that used games net absolutely no profit for them. Up until now, their television commercials have been pretty boring, as well. Like I said, up until now…
The commercial may not say anything about their business, but it does effectively promote the idea of three and an association with two. (The symbolism is easy to follow, but I will explain it anyway: The three games deal stands out because the three arms were unexpected, and we remember the idea that it is for the price of two games because we only expected two arms.) Very clever, quite hilarious, and the shock value makes it memorable. What also made it work for me, and I may very well be alone in this, is that I expected the dad to give the kid a game and walk away with two for himself but got this commercial instead.
One item I have frequently commented on but never fully explained over the course of this now two year old blog is how I am able to view video games as a problem solving trainers/simulators. It is admittedly a broad concept because the idea is that the mind is being trained to try different concepts in abstract worlds. There is no actual 1:1 real-world application for the problems solved in video games (for the most part), but my hope is that people are accidentally training their minds to perceive things differently. In essence, video games have the potential of expanding and redefining our approaches to concepts and problems in reality. Read the rest of this entry
There was a bit of hubbub recently regarding Katy Perry and her musical skit on Sesame Street‘s being pulled before it could air. The reason cited appears to be a complaint about her exposure – her cleavage was showing on a children’s show. While I am not a fan of Perry’s and prefer not to draw more attention to all of it, it is only fair to show the video. Read the rest of this entry