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Sunday
May202018

The Problems of Call of Duty

The reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launched the other day. And after watching it, reading a little about it, especially the lack of a single player campaign, I have to say Call of Duty has some problems and it's probably going to sound like an old man yelling at a cloud again.

The first issue is the lack of a campaign, or the lack of a story when there is one. The high point of the Call of Duty franchise was undoubtably Modern Warfare. It was such a fan favorite, it got remastered for Playstation 4 and XBox One. Part of this had to have been the great campaign mode. It also had a solid multiplayer mode and was set in a mostly realistic world. After this, we dove into the future of warfare with privatized militaries led by Kevin Spacey (a move I'm sure everyone regrets.) And then into space, fight Jon Snow, who turns out knew a lot. But the campaigns were short and not worth it. They focused on celebrity casting rather than telling a good story.

The second issue, is the need to constantly be moving into the future tech of warfare. I get it to a certain point, in order to sell more games, you have to make something worth buying. Which means you need a new product that's not just the same thing, you need new advancements to attract more people to buy them. But there's a percentage of people out there - like myself that prefer a straight up shooter. We don't need fancy tech, barricades out of nothing, exo skeletons that let you do a double jump like a 90s platformer. Look at the success of Call of Duty: WWII. It was great and there were no extras, just straight shooting.

The third issue, is nothing about the nature of the game itself, but the community. I'm kind of sick of multiplayer games because of the other players. The trash talking filled with swearing and racial slurs, mostly uttered by children. And yes, a lot of these kids beat me, and that's fine. I'm not old, but I'm old enough that I don't have the time to spend hours playing online, honing my skills, the way that anyone still in school has time to do. I'm just sick of playing and hearing kids ask there mom for 5 more minutes and then they'll start their homework.

Maybe I am aging out of multiplayer games in favor of more solo experiences like Far Cry 5 and Assassin's Creed Origins and the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. I doubt I'll ever age out of games completely, but at some point, I'll stop multiplayer completely. How do I know? I watched the Black Ops 4 trailer and felt zero excitement.

Sunday
May132018

Happy Mudder's Day!

It's Mother's Day. The day in which we all go on social media to tell everyone else how great our mom is and why she's different than any other mom. Oh, and share pictures at a two minimum. One has to be you as a child with your mom and her crazy dated hair and the second a more recent one, usually at a big event like a graduation, wedding, etc.

I don't know why we do this. Mother's Day is supposed to be a day to honor your mom and do something for her. Take a minute out of your hectic schedule to say, "Hey, mom. Thanks for bringing me into this crazy world. I know how I turned out. I tried. You did your best." Not necessarily tell everyone else how great your mom is.

 

Nine times out of ten, the person seeing your post prefers their mom to your mom. I'm glad you love your mom, but she's not my mom. Your mom didn't care for me when I was sick. Your mom didn't tell me to do my homework. Your mom didn't wipe my ass. (Probably should have put that one first.)

All mothers are great. Your mothers are all great cause they are important to you. My favorite mother is mine cause I'm biased. But I think there's one mother we can all agree is better than ours...

Next year, let's do something different. Tell your mom how great and wonderful she is. Make sure she knows how you feel. It doesn't matter if everyone else knows cause they'll disagree.

Friday
May112018

I'm Done Going to The Movies

I don't go to the movies that much anymore anyway. It's usually to see the latest Marvel movie. I think the only non-Marvel movie I've seen in the movie theater in the last 5 years was Spectre. After last night, I may be done all together.

I went to a local theater last night because it's important to support local businessess, right? Also, it was closer to my house and the tickets were $1.75 cheaper. I'm going to regret saving that $1.75 per ticket very quickly. There's a reason you don't buy store brand Cheez-Its -- they're simply not as good.

Well, after waiting a couple weeks until the schedule of my wife and mematched up and spending that time quickly scrolling past anything Infinity War related to avoid spoilers, I was ready to see this movie which I had been so looking forward to seeing. (This entry will talk very little about the movie. That'll be another entry after a second viewing.)

The biggest issue were the chairs. We didn't even have old, cheap movie theater chairs. No the chairs in this theater were cheap office rolling chairs. Why? I don't know. It's a good question. I've emailed the theater for comment.

The chairs were perhaps the most uncomfortable movie theater chairs and possibly the most uncomfortable chairs of any kind I've ever sat in. Although my mind does flash to old wooden school chairs from Sunday school.

I spent much of the movie uncomfortable or trying to find a way to be comfortable. I couldn't lean back, I couldn't slouch down much. I couldn't relax and just escape into the world of Infinity War. Something I sorely needed.

There was that and then the general rudeness of people in the theater. Too much talking. Too much noise. A child that could not be controlled and spent the opening of the movie exclaiming the names of each character as they appeared on the screen. The mom was smart enough to keep them in the back, but the sound system was somewhat lacking, so I could still clearly hear the kid and the other people in the theater. I also could hear the other kid snoring towards the end of the movie in the heavy dramatic silences. Thanks, kid.

The final nail in the coffin were the college kids sitting behind us that as soon as the screen faded to black, did not feel like sitting in silence and absorbing what they just saw. Instead they began to discuss the movie at full volume, sharing in detail what they the thought, the rumors about Avengers 4, what the one guy read in the comics. And then they became so bored waiting for the post-credit scene, they began making fun of the names that were scrolling past. I'm pretty sure if I turned around and ask them their names, I could have made fun of them too. People have weird names sometimes. And there's bound to be a bunch when the movie you just watched took thousands of people to put together when you include special effects people from around the world.

What upset me the most about this whole experience is that all these factors ruined the movie for me. I couldn't get into the movie. I was distracted. When I got to the end, I didn't feel a tinge of emotion for what I had just seen. And it's for one of two reasons and I'm not entirely sure which it is. It's either that I couldn't get emotionally involved in the movie due to distractions, or it was a result of the filmmaking.

This country, this world, has some issues right now, and why wouldn't it when people can't even get simple movie theater etiquette right. There are talking heads that complain that people aren't going to the movie theaters much anymore nad part of the reason is that they just don't have a good experience there. Also, the price is ridiculous. Will I go to the movies again? Probably. My initial sentiment is a bit of an overreaction and I realize that. This experience did teach me two important things. First, if I'm going to a movie I care about seeing, I should go opening weekend, deal with the crowds, but they'll be crowds of people that actually care about the theater experience. The second thing is that from now on, for everything, I always buy Cheez-Its and never Cheese Crackers.

Sunday
Jan282018

Worst Movies I Saw in 2017

Posting this a bit later than I had planned, but still relevant with the Razzies around the corner.

The Mummy (2017) - It's been said Tom Cruise forced his way to having too much influence on the movie. The fault really lies with whoever got Tom Cruise involved in the movie. He was far from the right actor for the film.

CHiPs (2017)/Why Him (2016) - Paired together because I hated them for the same reason. They just weren't funny. Perhaps I've outgrown finding genitals in the face amusing. Maybe it was never funny.

The Circle (2017) - I was with it up until the end when there's a reveal that we don't see and no resolution.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) - A little long. The middle wasn't bad, but it lost me at the beginning with the giant war elephants, and at the end when no one could understand the concept of a table.

Fist Fight (2017) - It's not goo when the only time I laugh at a comedy is during the credits when they show an outake of a horse pooping on the floor.

Once Upon A Time In Venice (2017) - Another mis-cast film. Could have been a fun, off-beat, Coen-esque movie. If it didn't star Bruce Willis.

Alien: Covenant (2017) - Please stop making Alien movies, Mr. Scott. And stop trying to create this mythology. If anyone wants to see a new Alien movie, watch Life.

Hitman's Bodyguard (2017) - Seemed like a great concept with great casting. Somewhere along the line, it fell apart.

Ballet 422 (2014) - Through an unfortunate accident, I watched this awful documentary. 

Sleepless (2017) - Just a blah movie.

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) - Couldn't even tell you the plot if I tried. It's also way too long and takes too long to get started. There's also very little time spent on Bumblebee fighting Nazis, whish is a huge oversight.

XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017) - Could have been called Furious 9: Diesel Rides Solo. Wouldn't have made it any better though.

Nocturnal Animals (2016) - I have no idea what this movie was about. Maybe we should stop letting designers direct movies. Jake Gyllenhaal was good though and I normally don't care for him.

Urg. It was a rough year.

Sunday
Jan072018

Best Movies I Saw in 2017

I had intended to do an entry about my goals for 2018, but there's a few I don't really feel like sharing. What do I feel like sharing? Well, after I got off track towards the end of 2017, I want to put more of an effort into creative endeavors in 2018. That includes writing and writing includes this blog.

For the first entry, I'll run down some of the best movies I watched in 2017. This doesn't mean they came out in 2017. It just means I discovered them in 2017, or finally watched them last year. There's a lot of movies that also came out last year, that I haven't watched. Or, frankly, I have no desire to watch, no matter how good people have told me they are.

In no particular order:

Welcome to Leith (2015) - An interesting documentary about how white supremicists tried to take over a rural town. I watched it before the events of Charlottesville. Another viewing would probably be even more terrifying.

Arrival (2016) - I was mediocre the first time I watched Interstellar. The second time, I hated it. It spends too much time explaining everything to you. Arrival doesn't do that. It's a sci-fi movie with great concepts that you have to pay attention to and if you do, they reward you.

Hell or High Water (2016) - Taylor Sheridan is going to be a filmmaker to track from now on. All the films he's written have been great and Wind River was beautifully directed, but Hell or High Water is my favorite.

The Magnificent Seven (1960) - This was a bit of CinemaShame for me that I actually watched twice in a couple days. The end is a bit confusing, but the opening of this film is one of the best I've ever seen.

Get Out (2017) - I don't usually watch Horror movies, but after several people told me about it, I watched it and wow. It's not what the Horror genre has become, but what it was. You're unsettled and by the end, what you thought was going on, wasn't. Upon further rewatches you'll see scenes from a different angle and I love that. Also, the fact that this was Jordan Peele who was mainly known for comedy, well, that's something special.

The Founder (2016) - My wife put it best, they do a great job of making you feel bad for Ray Kroc at the beginning and when you get to the end, you hate his guts. That alone is a challenge, but it's a monumental challenge when the actor is Michael Keaton.

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004) - Over a decade late. Watched this for The Documentary Show and while I had zero interest in Metallica, it was extremely well done and very interesting. It became more about social interactions and team work and therapy.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) - I've gone back and forth on whether this is better than the first one. The title sequence is amazing. There's a lot of stuff I absolutely love about this movie. It's fun and enjoyable but also carries a lot of emotion and packs a punch.

Colossal (2016) - What I loved most about this movie, was the originality. Literally, you have not seen a movie like this. Some elements you've seen but not together like this. There's a character development that I did not see coming. And a finale that I realized only at the same moment the main character did.

Kong: Skull Island (2017) - You know what, it's just a fun movie. I watched it thinking it was Apocalypse Now with a giant monkey. Turns out that's what they were going for. It also opens the door for more, but still gives me closure, which very few franchise movies do these days.

Batman & Bill (2017) - Another documentary I watched for the podcast. For comic book fans, creators, and people that just like a good story. It's the story of how one man tried to make sure Bill Finger got the credit he deserved for his contributions to Batman - which were a lot.

The Big Sick (2017) - I like romantic comedies as much as the next guy...okay, more than the next guy, but only by a little bit. I like them when they're good and this one is great. How many Sandra Bullock ones did we have to endure from the mid-90s to 2009? Too many. I put The Big Sick right next to When Harry Met Sally... A romantic comedy that is funny, but is also real and honest. (Spoiler Alert: It's based on a true story and everything works out in the end because they wrote the movie together.)

Baby Driver (2017) - The soundtrack really makes this movie, but it's more than that. In a world where Fast and Furious is up to number eight - nine if you could XXX: Return of Xander Cage - a movie with actual car chases is refreshing. Plus Edgar Wright is a fantastic filmmaker. It's just another one of those great, enjoyable movies.

Logan Lucky (2017) - It's different, but not really. It's basically Ocean's 11 in West Virginia. But what it does, it does great. Another movie that I just like watching and could watch many times. It also gets me very excited for a world where Daniel Craig is no longer James Bond and does a broader spectrum of movies. I also like the way that this film was made and cut out the studios, but that's not as important.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) - It's the best of the Thor movies and I wish we had gotten to this point sooner. It's fun and it's funny. But it also has a heart at time. It raises pretty big stakes and frankly, I was bit surprised with how they got out of it. In retrospect, it has me hopeful that Marvel is ready to put a big guy made out of rocks on screen and not have it look awful.

Honorable Mentions: Wind River, The Accountant, Doctor Strange, Patriots Day, Hacksaw Ridge, Hidden Figures, Yoga Hosers, Logan, Car Dogs, Miss Sloane, Going in Style, Wakefield.

And that's it. There were other movies I watched that I enjoyed this year, but these were the best. Or at the very least, the ones I enjoyed the most.

Maybe in another couple days, I'll post a list of the worst movies I saw in 2017. It's a bigger list, but I'll try to pare it down.

Spoiler Alert: