Sunshine on my shoulders

Hello? *taps mic* Is this thing on?

Yep, that’s pretty much where I’m at right now. I…I don’t know where the summer went, but I’m glad it’s over, because my personal schedule really went to shit there in August. Not that I’m complaining (too much) — I enjoy summertime fun and obligations as much as anyone — but I can only stand so much wild scheduling and going here, there, and everywhere. And, okay, so it wasn’t all bad, because I did get in some good time with Fallout 3, but frankly, I’m happy to have something of a regular routine again.

While that rambly bit probably didn’t explain a damn thing, it truly matters not, because I have a couple blog awards to address! In and among all my hectic nonsense, I was graciously bestowed with not one, but two Sunshine Blogger awards from Red Metal of Extra Life and beardedgamer82. THANK YOU (yes, I’m yelling, because I imagine they are both quite far away from my present locale) to both these wonderful writers, each of whom is definitely worth your time to follow. With such blogging awards comes questions, two sets each, so I best get to answering!


Questions from Red Metal of Extra Life

  1. Have you ever watched a critically acclaimed show only to feel it didn’t live up to the hype?
    Oh, so many, presuming we’re talking about TV shows, that is. But that’s partially because I just haven’t been much into TV lately, save for a small handful shows. I guess my biggest “meh” reaction goes to House of Cards. My attempt to watch it took place after it had become a critical darling but before the Kevin Spacey mess, and I didn’t even finish the whole season. Uninteresting and unsavory.
  2. After truly getting into the medium and observing the many times film critics failed to see eye-to-eye with fans, I’ve come down to the conclusion that the former faction could stand to improve themselves. How do you think they should go about doing that?
    By invoking flexibility in thought. Way back in ancient times (aka my college years), I took a course on theatre criticism, and one of my biggest takeaways was that it’s far too easy for critics to become victims of their own ideologies. They learn sets of rules that they then attempt to apply across the (film, theatre, TV, literature, etc.) board, perhaps over the course of decades. Real-life entertainment fan bases are extremely fluid, as is the film movement, what with folks these days wanting to breath new life into old tropes. And yet critics continue to want to judge all films equal, when they simply aren’t. In other words, be flexible and lighten up!
  3. What is the most obscure album in your collection?
    It would probably be what’s listed in my iTunes library as “Rhymesayers 2005 label sampler.” It’s a limited edition CD that was included with Atmosphere’s 2005 hit album You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having. While you can certainly find all the individual songs on it, the CD itself was only ever released with select version of that album.
  4. What film do you consider “So bad it’s good”?
    Mallrats. My god is it ever a fucking awful film, and I like a lot of Kevin Smith’s output. In terms of his own Askewniverse movies, Mallrats is wholesale awful, but thinking about it makes me laugh…in all the ways right and wrong. So many of its jokes are terrible and gross, and it’s story line is nearly nil, and everything about it makes me want to throttled Ben Affleck so hard…but then again…that’s kind of the point. It doesn’t work, and it shouldn’t…but it also kinda does.
  5. What do you think the ideal length of a game should be?
    20-30 hours, if we’re just talking main story. Mileage can vary quite a bit depending on the genre, side missions, DLC, etc., but I find I’m usually satisfied with a good average of 25 hours of story within a game.
  6. Have you ever cleared a game while traveling abroad?
    I have never traveled abroad, so nope.
  7. What is your favorite decade in films?
    The 1980s. And that’s pretty much resting on the backs of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Beetlejuice, all of Jim Henson’s films.
  8. What game do you feel doesn’t get enough credit?
    Since I’m in the process of replaying it now, I’ll say Sleeping Dogs. Man, it is a damn fine game. It’s got some combat flaws, and it kinda got labeled as a GTA clone, but its story and environment are super compelling. The protagonist’s suffocating situation as an undercover cop in gangland is mimicked perfectly by Hong Kong’s brilliantly claustrophobic atmosphere.
  9. What lesson do you think film fans could learn from gamers?
    Huh. The only way I can frame this in order to come up with an answer is by imagining a conversation between the gamer that I am today and the film fan that I was in high school. What strikes me most is that during that when I was really into movies is that I saw them as haute, while video games were gauche, kinda lame, for kids. Even though I played games then, I didn’t take them as seriously as I do now. So I guess the lesson there is that video games are as valuable as movies. The mechanics are participating in each are different, but viewers/players are still partaking in some form of storytelling. To a degree, games are still seen as “less” than movies, and I think it’s up to the cinephiles to help change that way of thinking.
  10. What good work do you feel had a negative impact on its respective medium?
    This might sound weird, but…Netflix? Maybe I’m taking the question too literally, or too personally, and I’m pretty new to Netflix generally, but the Netflix that I signed up for six years ago was a much different and much more enjoyable space. It used to be good! It used to be fun! Over the course of the past several years, it’s turned from something of a wonderful archive of both the popular and obscure to an bloated and uninteresting content vehicle. I’ve already said that I’m not much in TV, and Netflix has a lot to do with that. It’s just kinda sucked the life and joy out of streaming. That said, I do like that Netflix has provided a space for televised creativity, and that it remains something of an library for the visually lost and found.
  11. What bad work do you feel had a positive impact on its respective medium?
    Cannibal: The Musical. I’m a pretty big fan of movie musicals, and by the light of a sun that’s as bright as a baked potato, Cannibal: The Musical is one of my favorites. However, as a film, it’s really not good. It quite literally feels like something a group of friends decided to act out after a drunken Friday night, shot on some ancient, pre-iPhone technology. (Its creators–now of South Park fame–will be the first to tell you that.) Its script feels like someone shredded a dictionary, its pacing is terrible, and its acting is bad to the point of provoking wrongful tears of laughter. And yet, it has a boisterous spirit that lends perfectly to the school of independent film-making. It happily skewers movies and musicals, and in it lays the seeds of South Park, itself. It’s also quite brilliant as a musical, and I doubt that much of today’s more adult fare in that realm (think Avenue Q) would exist without the path of fake blood and man-on-horse love paved by Cannibal: The Musical. Spadoinkle!

Questions from beardedgamer82 Gaming Blog

  1. What is your goal for your blog? Do you feel you have met it yet?
    Things have been a bit malleable here over the years, but my primary goal has always been to tell stories. I’ve come to view this space as a portion of my own legacy, though my comfort level with placing my own history online has waxed and waned. Video games originally provided a good medium for that, but I’ve been slowly expanding, and I hope to continue to do so. So yeah, I think I’ve met my original goal, but striving to maintain that goal is, and will be, and ongoing process.
  2. If you were given a free all expenses paid trip, where would you go?
    Japan. My lucky-duck husband has visited twice, and I love living vicariously through his stories and pictures. We plan to go together someday, when the time is right.
  3. Last book you have read?
    The Last Command by Timothy Zahn. Re-reading his well-known Thrawn series, which continues the Star Wars story after Return of the Jedi, was something I started after seeing The Force Awakens. I finally just finished the last book in the trilogy, and it’s still a favorite. Zahn did a really nice job capturing the main elements of the Star Wars universe and wrapping them into a story that made sense.
  4. Your favorite console of choice. PlayStation, Xbox , or Nintendo?
    My choice really varies depending on what I want to play. Right now, the winner is the PlayStation.
  5. Do you think Nintendo will ever just make games and skip producing consoles?
    I doubt it. If nothing else, Nintendo is a company that’s quite grounded in its own history, for better or worse, and part of that history in absolutely entrenched in console production. Their games have always gone hand-in-hand with their consoles, and I can’t imagine that will ever change.
  6. With the success of the Switch do you think there is a market for a Xbox or PlayStation handheld?
    Not really. Phones are essentially the new handhelds. Both Microsoft and Sony are already in the mobile games space, so there seems little reason for either to put resources into creating and building new handheld devices.
  7. What’s the hardest thing about blogging to you?
    Practicing reciprocity. Writing and posting is easy, what’s difficult is being part of the community here. And that’s not because of the community, it’s because I don’t have time! And I hate that. It sucks because there are so many good writers to follow and read, but life’s demands demand, y’know? I know that lots of other folks here are in the same boat, and we’re all trying to do our best. That does count for something.
  8. What is one movie you can watch over and over again?
    O, Brother Where Art Thou? Just a good, enjoyable, and well-acted tale, and it hits all the right notes. Literally. It’s soundtrack is stellar.
  9. Are you a cat or dog person?
    Either is well-worth snuggling, but when faced with either a kitty or a puppy, the kitty wins.
  10. You just dived back into Pokémon Red/Blue. Who is your starting Pokémon?
    Charmander. His baby dragon form is too cute to pass up, and his fortitude as an adult makes for a great teammate.

No further nominations from me this time, as I’m afraid I have to get back to work re-jiggering my schedule for the fall. Thank you again to both Red Metal and beardedgamer82, and happy blogging to you all!

2 Comments

  1. Remember back when Kevin Spacey wasn’t a kiss of death for a project? Weren’t those weird times?

    Ah, good, I’m glad that me coming down to the conclusion that film criticism is too rigid and prone to confirmation bias wasn’t a case of me reading too much into things. In all honesty, I feel they’ve only gotten worse with time. There’s a real lack of fun in their assessments, and that makes them far less personable than their music and video game counterparts.

    I have quite a few choices, including Fontanelle by Babes in Toyland. I consider The Fullbright Company not including their music an epic failure on their part.

    I heard Mallrats is indeed enjoyably stupid.

    That’s a good general answer. I feel it depends on the game, though.

    Oh, that’s too bad; I think you should give it a try – it’s quite an eye-opening experience. I’ve actually cleared a game in every country I’ve visited.

    I find it interesting how critics consider the eighties the worst decade in film because a lot of the people whom I asked this question chose the eighties as their favorite one. If nothing else, it was a much more solid decade for sci-fi than the 2010s has shaped up to be.

    I have heard various things about Sleeping Dogs. A lot of people think it’s an underrated gem.

    I can agree; cinephiles are a paradoxical bunch in that they are surprisingly closed-minded about the medium they love. They seem to think good is an objective truth.

    I actually don’t watch much TV either, but I do like Netflix as a platform – or at least because it has Stranger Things on it.

    If that film led to South Park, it would certainly be a positive impact. I have to admit I couldn’t think of an answer when I asked that question I was wondering if somebody else could.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I ever make it to Japan, I promise that I will do my best to complete a game while I’m there! 😀

      I legit recommend Cannibal: The Musical to everyone, *especially* if you can find the DVD version that contains the creators drunken commentary.

      Liked by 1 person

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