Sunday, October 26, 2014

Great gameplay, but...

So I enjoy playing video games, I find it as harmless as enjoying a frequent TV series or keeping up with a movie franchise. It is more engaging though and I can understand and completely comprehend its obsessive capacity detracting individuals from better things in life, such as more pro-social activities and behaviors. Nevertheless, I have a Nintendo game system and use it once and awhile for different forms of my down-type after school, homework, work, or internships; I really love especially having friends over and playing games together. It's the exact same as playing a board game when that happens, so no worries on what I'm going to say next, okay...
But I first need to establish that I was simply looking one day on a game site to find potential pieces of down-time I may be interested in investing toward. I found one that had recent reviews and gameplay trailers making it look absolutely intriguing - a female leading character filled with saucy attitude and strong action orientated tactics. The demo was free to play and I entreated a few minutes of my time upon it. It's mechanics were incredible, to say the least. Each button had a purpose and those purposes were so much fun. I had to get this game! And yet I had to find out more about it also.
Now this is when the sad part comes up because no sooner did I look up more about this game that I found it was very sexualized beyond its detailed reviews and demo. Yes, the main character wasn't as acceptable a figure as I hoped, and in fact the creators surrounded her with very vulgar male and female counterparts who spewed out consistent profanity (not just the average swears we hear in movies, no, the f-word and the Lord's name in vain).
It shocked me at first, and then I surprised myself for quite awhile this past week - I justified buying the game. Surely it can't be all that bad? I can just skip the inappropriate cut-scenes; and what a sad thing it would be if I had to miss out on such gameplay... WHAT?!
Yeah, I caught myself just in time. I couldn't believe how easily I almost slipped into an addictive behavior toward this type of media. Is this really worth investing hours of time in, and is it worth showing off as something I recommend or broadcast as a part of me?
It was really hard to get out of it not only because of gameplay though; the franchise also included the first chapter of the game, so it was really two games in one. A great deal was there to turn down as well, and all of us love saving money and getting more for our money than we asked for.
However, anyone other than me really can get easily pulled down this same river of materialism and justification of wants and pseudo needs, not only with video games, but also in the movies and shows we suck our eyes onto. I'm glad I somehow jumped away from my absorbing lust for entertainment to see this during the week.
I know there is so much more I need to rethink with my life in and around what I choose to entertain; if it's that easy with this, its been that easy before.
Oh and this is a picture of the game I'm talking about so anyone can know of the warning I give against it. Great gameplay, but... it's not worth justifying a moral compass of who I am and what I enjoy
p.s. I know the picture below shows a very obvious sign of sexuality, but I had only seen the digital demo pic, and that was just a stamped image of the character's face.
(I'm also including an image of the previous game in the series available on other platforms, they are both blatantly labelled M for mature, but promoted toward any adult).

What I look for

If anyone knows anything about me, well at least the more respectful, dignified side of me, is that I love old books. Something about hardcover copies of Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Brothers Grimm, Homer, and so many more make me feel absolutely content in sitting down in a comfy couch, beside a nice lamp, to simply read. Don't get me wrong, I love newer works of literature, but I guess I just feel like something is in the older stuff that makes me feel so cultured when I choose classic over popular, lol.
But somehow it's even easier for me to choose spiritual text to read over anything else. This isn't only scriptures I'm talking about, no, I'm also talking about James E. Talmage's work and even C.S. Lewis's masterpieces - and in saying that, I also have to admit that in any type of story I look for Christ-like figures. I guess their's just something some authors, especially older ones, know over others - Joseph Campbell (the great author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces) said it was archetypes, such as the hero, the caregiver, the rebel, the jester, the sage, and etc. So the Christ-like character is an important one I definitely look for, and I think then that depictions of the Messiah figure are everywhere then, and make a story complete for me.
Heck, I'm not a big Harry Potter fan yet that series has reflections of the Savior in it with Snape, Dumbledore, and Harry. Aslin in the Chronicles of Narnia is an easy one to spot, but even Gandolf, and the Ghost of Christmas Present are simple enough to spot. Now I'm a lover of modern mythology as well and it's different forms or mediums of interpretation, so stories made specifically for cinema, like Star Wars, or comic/graphic novel, like X-Men and Superman, I believe have Christ in them also. Obi-wan Kenobi, Charles Xavier, and Clark Kent are perfect examples of this.
The story and struggle of salvation and search for forgiveness is an important one to me, so I guess I can't help looking for it and loving it when I find it. But if anyone else feels the same let me know, I'd enjoy seeing if others do the same.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

We are truly spoiled

The majority of movies and TV shows we enjoy these days are simply some of the best ever made. Take Lost, Fringe, The Walking Dead, Sherlock, the Avenger and X-Men movies, The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hunger Games Saga, and almost every Disney/Pixar and Christopher Nolan movie, just for an example - these are expensive pieces of work, and yet they don't let down, surprisingly.
It's just so funny then that when a not so good TV series or movie comes out that everyone basically is able to tell the difference. Like when Ryan Reynolds showed his face as the new (and "should have been good because of concept") Green Lantern movie, it wasn't hard for anyone to see how much of a lower quality piece of entertainment with its acting, spectacle, and plot were in comparison to what came before it.
And this is of course the same for with some of the shows I watch on TV, especially those my roommates dabble with just as I'm walking after a long day of school and internships. Shows like Arrow, The Blacklist, Agents of Shield, and yes even Once Upon A Time lack a quality of filming/storytelling I can't always put my finger on. I can't stand the cheap camera angles and low-budget beats of scenes that showcase how pathetic a film education the cinematographer must of had, and how lazy the studio must of been in hiring them to save a few bucks. Like come on, quality always pays off.
I also then can not enjoy some female protagonists thrust into these meandering tales of Chuck Norris action and the cruely unrealistic love stories. Shows don't always need to be about the lovey-dovey-ness of love.
And unfortunately, unless they act as good as Evangeline Lilly, Anna Torv, Lauren Cohan, Scarlet Johannes, or Jennifer Lawrence - and hate me for saying it but Once Upon A Time is so far from having an incredibly unique caliber of actress in their lineup. The majority of actors involved in that project are the washed up folk that can't get anymore movie gigs after their 1999 splurge of teenage junk dream cinema.
So yeah, yikes! I'm spoiled... heck, we're all pretty dang spoiled; there's so much talent out there, whether in writing, acting, or directing/editing film, that I think everyone can truly see what I mean in some of these front running shows. If they don't keep up with the established pace, they'll inevitably be forgotten, thrown away, like the spoiled rotten vegetables on a couch we can become.
Of course this is always just my opinion...  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Genre is the answer!... and the cause

So I'm a huge fan of the Marvel Comic Book movies. I don't just love every single one of them though, no, I just love the good ones - X-Men saga, The Avengers Initiative, and the early beginnings of what they've got planned for The Amazing Spider-Man expansion (Venom and Sinister Six, which is the villain's point-of-view like in The Magnificent Seven).
I also am of course a huge fan of The Dark Knight, it's an amazing interpretation of Batman; and the new connective universe of DC starting with the new Superman, Man of Steel, with it's soon sequels: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League Part I & II. This is all gonna be some ridiculous geek-fest!
I mean, I grew up reading these comics, I'm 28 years old so I was a thriving adolescent before the first blockbuster Marvel in 2000 (i.e. X-Men). All I had as a kid was the first two cool Tim Burton Batman's and the campy sequels from Joel Schumacher, and before that the bizarre and sometimes boring Superman collection of the 70s.
I guess what I'm expressing is how cool this is today, but also how off-putting it might be for others. There's just so much sci-fi/action/adventure/man films out there; there's some good appeal toward women, but those lie in and around stuff like Harry Potter and Hunger Games, or the other stuff outside franchises.
But this franchise stuff can get messy, and plain old obsessive/annoying. Some might ask, "well what about the movies before the franchise or comic book days? That's gotta be better!"
And I suppose they can be, nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that Times Warner, Disney Inc., 20th Century Entertainment, and Universal Studios have all always been after money-making, and the answer to that jingling change in corporate pockets has always been in genre.
Before the comic book phase, there was the 1990 action thrillers, you know the lot: Air Force One, The Fugitive, The Saint, Mission: Impossible, Jurassic Park, etc. This was a good mix, but also a genre - the stuff came from books and old TV series. Also in the 90s were the epic world crisis films: Independence Day, Donte's Peek, Volcano, Deep Impact, and Armageddon. Before this was the 80s major sci-fi and horror renaissance: E.T., Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, IT, and Poltergeist.
Before that was the down-and-dirty, sometimes racy 70s flicks: The French Connection, Rocky, Planet of the Apes, and Dirty Harry. In the 60s it was the beach bumming, party films: Blue Hawaii, Beach Blanket Bingo, and Pink Panther. Before that was the Musical age, oh dear, there were a lot of them, every Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Fred Astair.
It's genre that makes money, and in between these genres are the header-runners I didn't mention like John Wayne's Westerns, Alfred Hitchcock's Thrillers, and George Lucas's Fantasy Sci-fi (Star Wars and Indiana Jones), plus the continuing adaptation of books into film.
This all has been around forever, heck, Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments were the most remade films like Shakespeare and alike, so there can't be any complaints about remakes either. Hollywood and people in general are all similar through time - if something is just amazing and feels so relatable, it's stamped timeless and must continue on whether in remake or further saga.
So stop complaining, it's old news, like hundreds, even thousands of years old news. We always share the same stories and shell out the same entertainment; I've gotten used to it and it feels wonderful to simply enjoy it :-)

The Journal

I think Journal keeping is one of the greatest, yet sadly ignored pieces of media we have today. It's true that there isn't too much talk from people about Journals, other than the famous ones like ancient ancestors, forefathers, pioneers, and scriptures (if that's what you see them as, which I kind of do, except they're more inspired than my own drab on paper).
But seriously, a Journal can be your greatest friend; lots of people use TV shows, movies, and video games, or the frequent phone calls/texts to friends and family to ease their weary minds. A Journal though, is a book where you never need to worry about spelling mistakes, punctuation, form of language or any struggle of grammar or critique. It is simply your thoughts, your feelings, aspirations, and intentions on thin sheets of fabricated wood. I love it!
I don't have to care about what i put down, maybe someday someone will read it, and maybe they'll be shocked. Or maybe they'll read it and say, "Wow, Grandpa Ian (or Uncle Ian, or just Dad) went through the same stuff, and look how happy and whole he came out."
I have no deep intention or invitation for anyone to read what I've settled to put down from my mind into a messianic mess of a book/history. Yet i would be honored to help anyone so I continue to write in my Journal, like the free spirit I am far from being (especially if that refers to a hippy way of life, lol). It just feels so good to be fully honest at least on those pages. Besides, who else is willing to hear the blather of our emotional minds, it takes too long for friends and family sometimes, and a Journal is like a good family dog - always willing to take a walk with you down memory lane.        

Let's talk SPORTS!

Okay, there needs to be a disclaimer before I begin: first of all, I love sports. I absolutely enjoy playing baseball, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee; I also enjoy my fair share of flag, touch, and tackle football, and the occasional game of basketball (well really just the few different games of hoops with family or friends).
However, I don't really watch sports... yes, I know, shocking! How can this be?! A male that doesn't spectate nor care for any team of sports - is something the matter with him?!
On the contrary, I simply grew up in a household where my father worked as a Master-of-control in our local TV station; when he would get home he didn't want to watch sports or other programs, he wanted to spend time with us, his children and wife.
Now let me explain again, I don't truly have a deep care for watching sports, nevertheless, I do really enjoy watching games if I'm with a good group of friends and there's food, lol. One of my dreams is to go to a BYU game and sit and eat in the box seats, maybe meet a few Apostles and be completely absorbed in the atmosphere of the stadium, yet be so wonderfully comfortable in a leather chair - not a dreadfully metal bench.
So, I love sports, but I find it a unique circumstance to go out of my way and watch them, especially these 4 to 5 hour football games, yikes! I grew up in Canada and most hockey games only go a little past 2 hours (the same as most films); so for me to give more time than what I give to my greatest love in life (the cinema), it has to be really, really, really, really special... or it just needs to have lots of great food that I can stand up and away from the TV or stadium view from to go eat and change the pace - am I really that strange of a guy?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The stuff I had as a kid was better - isn't it?

It simply feels like entertainment, and humor especially have changed. I remember when comedians were all trying to be Bill Cosby or Jerry Seinfeld; now everyone, whether telling a joke, making a kids cartoon, or selling something on a commercial draws their ques from Napoleon Dynamite. I mean, what the heck!
Now I'm not saying I don't enjoy Mr. Dynamite, on the contrary, that was one of the first movies I went blind into the theater for (cool thing to do by the way - what it means is you go into the movie never seeing anything on it, trailers, magazine or internet articles or reviews, etc., just going and seeing it). Anyway, yeah, I though the movie was genuinely strange, and funny, but weird and absolutely original. And now everyone from Progressive Insurance to Miracle Whip is trying to make people laugh in this same way. To be honest though, it's getting quite inappropriate; kid shows I enjoyed as a kid, like Ducktales, Arthur, or Pinky and the Brain just seem so much more incredible in style and creativity then let's say, oh I don't know, Uncle Grandpa, Adventure Time, or Sponge-bob (the new stuff not the first two seasons, lol).
Even stuff claiming to be as valuable to kids as some past works, such as Dora the Explorer or The Backyardigans, are annoying, repetitious, and dreadfully crippling to most adult brains not wanting to melt in their cranial cavities while trying to co-view this junk.
However, there is better stuff nowadays than there ever was back in my childhood, and even youth. Take Brian Regan, he's a famous comedian committed to staying clean, with Bill Cosby as his idol. Or Sesame Street as another example - it now is way more concerned with teaching immensely powerful social lessons to children, which I never thought to share myself with my future offspring. Whether about race, harsh and hush-hush diseases, and sexual insecurities (no Bert and Ernie are NOT gay, they're still friends who resemble Jim Henson and Frank Oz as college roommates, like Kermit and Fozzy).
Anyway, if you have any other examples, list them in the comments - I guess I'm saying that what we all grew up with is great stuff, there is obviously good throughout all time, timeless stuff has always existed. But today we have value and profound progression as well. And thank goodness for that... and thank goodness for retro-Saturdays and rerun capabilities    

Oooooh... the music! THE MUSIC!!!

It's a very strange thing for me to listen to music, so much of it I enjoy, and yet so much more I can't stand. But this isn't to say I can't try to enjoy it, I love most genres. It's just that when it's only heavy metal, or only country, or only The Beatles, or only Disco, or Techno, or movie themes, or whatever, I get sick of it - I love variety! Yes, all of that golden sound seeming as one flow of melody and emotion. And sometimes I love going from one feeling to the next; not all sad, not all angry, or happy, but all the good stuff together.
What's even more interesting is that I haven't though this kind of taste has been effected or influenced by the media. Nevertheless, I realized recently after watching a movie with some friends (Rush Hour, which has a great combination of tunes) that it was the mixed audio track linked to each visual moment which resonated such a happy union upon my ears. I therefore being the movie lover and critiquer I am simply enjoys the rest of my life in the same way - a perfectly flowing visual and auditorial slice of peace and joy-filled life that also has the beautiful struggle and anguish made into dynamic sense through triumph.
Indeed, I am a product of the media I love... well there's only one thing to do when such a reality is made clear - show an examples of my favorite stuff I listen to (no matter the combination, just so long as it's not repetitious):
Image result for moby 18Image result for Phil Collins Hits]At Last! (Remastered), Etta JamesImage result for 4 cd catalogue setImage result for ceremonials florence and the machineThe Best of: Crash Test Dummies, Crash Test DummiesJourney: Greatest Hits, JourneyMad Mad World, Tom CochraneAll Their Greatest Hits: Disc One 1991-2001, Barenaked LadiesTime Peace - The Rascals' Greatest Hits, The Rascals