Archive for August, 2015

Media Update 8/27/2015

August 27, 2015


Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

When I first saw Wet Hot American Summer, I enjoyed it but I mostly forgot it. At age 17, I didn’t fully appreciate the humor of the movie. I was in the climax of my teenage angst also known as Senior Year. This caused me to focus in on one storyline which was the storyline of the social outcasts and geeks saving the world while the popular kids had no idea. I recently rewatched the movie and realized that it’s filled to the brim with a lot of absurd humor that really struck a nerve with me. The movie was also better as I am way more familiar with the entire cast than I was in 2001. Almost all of them went on to achieve fame and success, some of them are now extremely famous. In 2001 all of them were about 10 years too old to portray teenagers. Now, in 2015 they are 24 years too old to play teenagers. Everybody’s wigs look even more ridiculous and the 1981 time period feels even more dated but that’s the joke. One of the things I noticed is that everybody is more skilled at comedy as everybody has more experience. They added in new characters who actually fit pretty seamlessly with major new plot points which have me intrigued. I’m only two episodes in but I love it already.

 


Vexed

So I’ve watched the first series of this show because Netflix and my mother suggested it. Also, I hadn’t watched much British television in a while since there’s been no Sherlock or Doctor Who episodes for a while. I like British television. It’s got different pacing and most of the cast is usually full of good actors I’ve never seen before. I hadn’t heard of Vexed but I thought I’d give it a try. I don’t know what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting the show to be so irreverent and quirky. The show (at least the first series) follows two London police detectives who never once enter a police station and instead work out of a nearby pub. The lead detective is Jack Thompson who is slovenly, lazy and incompetent but ends up being pretty funny. His partner is Kate Bishop who is by-the-book but very naive and actually a bit ditzy. The two clash constantly but end up solving really easy crimes despite their incompetence. The humor reminds me a little of Psych and Ace Ventura. The leads are supported by an eccentric supporting cast who are a little subtler in their weirdness but not by much. The show rolled by pretty pleasantly and I would suggest checking it out, even if it’s only on in the background

 


Gallowwalkers

I couldn’t complete this one. This is the movie that Wesley Snipes was making when he got arrested and charged with tax evasion and had to make a deal so he could continue to film this in Namibia. He stars as a cowboy in God knows where who is cursed to have all the people he kills come back from the grave to seek revenge. It kind of has the feel of Mad Max meets from Dusk till Dawn and then inject cough syrup into the mixture. It’s weird, it’s slow and there’s very little dialogue to explain what the hell is going on. What little dialogue there is, you could drive a truck through the epic Shatnerian pauses. Snipes is apparently a one man zombie apocalypse source but he’s supposed to be a good guy. Also, there’s bad guys who killed his significant other so he wants revenge even if — Wait. My brain just broke. Diamond Dallas Page is supposedly in the movie but I either missed him or I didn’t make it to his part. A guy with his kind of charisma is wasted on something like this. At an hour and 13 minutes it’s too long.
Links of the Week:
Pokemon Unchained – Wow. Pokemon mixed with Django Unchained
From the Margins – A twitter feed of short stories of sexism in journalism and music
Cracked- After Hours – Worst Childhood Lessons
Sonic Dreams Collection

 

Updates:
– I finished Bones Season 9. Very well done, killer cliffhanger
– I’m still chugging along on Halloween
– I also didn’t finish Avengers Grimm which was bad
– I didn’t finish Underworld: Evolution either. It was mediocre
– I really need to get back out to the theaters. I’m slacking.

Wolf of Words

August 26, 2015

After 7 years and over 200 posts, I felt it was time to give this thing a proper title.  So I’m calling it the Wolf of Words which I googled and surprisingly didn’t seem to be taken.  The symbol of the wolf is very important to me as my mother taught her kids to howl at the moon just as her Ohio relatives taught her.  I also feel more invigorated in the night time rather than the daytime and especially not the morning.  I have repaired the archives a little bit and will continue to do proper maintenance.  Otherwise, the blog isn’t really changing it’s just re-branded a little bit.  Thanks to anyone who reads this or will read this in the future.  I know I don’t get many hits but I am grateful for every single person who even glimpses this blog.  Thank you.

The Mystery Part 5

August 25, 2015

The Mystery

Scott kept pressure on the wound and didn’t raise his hands. The two cops were staring him down, guns drawn but he would not let this man die. Maybe it wasn’t a decision he would have made with a cool head but this was an emergency. It looked like the bullet had missed the heart and hopefully the damage would be minimal. He stripped a piece of his costume off and used it to continue to apply pressure. He had studied enough of medicine at the library to know that.

He realized that the police were still yelling at him but he had been too hyperfocused on what he was doing. The yelling sounded like it was underwater a mile away. He looked up. “Call an ambulence.” He said and when that didn’t work he yelled it. The cops stopped yelling, a little stunned before one of them spoke into their radio.

“What happened?” The female one asked. She was in plain clothes but a badge hang openly on her belt.

“Some psycho shot him. I think they missed the heart and the bleeding’s not so heavy. I think he can make it.”

“Was it Tricia Selhorst?” She asked, pointing down at Trixshot. As a convicted felon, her identity was well known.

“No. The guy hit her with some sort of stungun. She seems to be breathing fine but she might wake up soon.”

“I’m Detective Azaria. The ambulence is on the way, if we can save Officer Fuentes we will.” The officer said. “This is Officer Parker. He is going to frisk you. If you move I will be obliged to shoot you. Are we clear?”

“Very clear.” Scott said. He could see Officer Fuentes breathing below him and he was relieved. Maybe this would all work out after all. Things had never been this bad before. His own strange healing abilities had allowed him to absorb punishment while he disarmed and incapacitated thugs. There had never been bystanders before. The cops had always been one step behind. Now everything had come tumbling down in one instant.

Officer Parker was checking Trixshot’s vitals. Satisfied, he gently rolled her into a sitting position. He handcuffed her wrists behind her back and leaned her against the brick wall of the alleyway. When she woke up she would find it a lot harder to get to her feet and flee. He tossed her quiver and bow to the detective’s feet. He moved to frisk Scott and Scott stayed absolutely still so the officer could do his job.

“No gun.” Officer Parker said with a grunt.

Azaria breathed easy a little. “Good. Officer Parker, you take over putting pressure on that wound. The Mystery was never here and can’t be here when the ambulence arrives.” She said, holstering her weapon.

Scott looked up sharply at her. “What?! Are you serious?” Scott nearly yelled before realizing that would be a bad choice. Parker looked equally surprised but kept his mouth shut, something he seemed an expert at so far.

“We respect you on the force. I respect you. You being here complicates this and makes you the focus while we try to figure this out. I’m going out on a limb because my gut says you’re telling the truth. If I’m wrong, I’ll take you down myself. You got that?” She stared hard at him. He wouldn’t have gone against those iron eyes for all the world.

“Yes, Detective Azaria.” Scott said and moved so that Officer Parker could take over with holding the wound together. He stood up and made sure his staff was clipped to his belt and started to head toward the motorcycle.

Detective Azaria coughed behind him, causing him to turn. “One more thing, Mystery.” She said. “I imagine you won’t be keeping your nose out of this one. I would ask but I have a feeling that even if you wanted to, you won’t. I have a request.”

“Yes, Detective?”

“Keep me in the loop. Find me or call me at the station if you get any leads. If they ask who you are, say you’re my cousin Louis.” She said, the ambulence was getting very close now.

“Of course, Detective.” He said and he ran for his motorcycle. He didn’t know if he deserved this reprieve but he trusted the police. He started the ride back home, thinking hard. Azaria seemed like an honest person and he would trust her until she proved otherwise. He feared for Oficer Fuentes and he hoped Officer Parker would stay quiet. He felt too many emotions and he knew exactly where he had to go to deal with things.

Media Update 8/20/2015

August 20, 2015


Rick and Morty (Season 2)

I cannot recommend this show enough. On its surface, it looks like a silly animated sci-fi adventure. It is that, as it was created by Dan Harmon (creator of Community) and Justin Roiland (Voice actor extraordinaire). However, the show is really surprising for a lot of reasons. First, the show is incredibly smart. Like Community, the show is very aware of genre and itself and constantly goes in directions I wasn’t expecting. Second, the show is actually really dark. On numerous occasions the show has gotten me laughing and then shown me something heartbreaking or horrifying and I can’t stop laughing due to momentum. It’s not just stunts meant to shock you. Everything on the show is calculated to tell you more about the characters or the world they live in. The second season builds on what the first season achieved and makes it even better. The sci-fi concepts are often tried and true but the new spins their given make the show fresh, funny and smart as hell.

 


Bones (Season 9)

I caught Bones when it first came out because I was a pretty big fan of reruns of Angel and Buffy and David Boreanaz was supposed to be the star. What I got was a pretty smart procedural show that focuses on forensics in a way I hadn’t really seen before. I know the science doesn’t always match up with real world science but I’m always willing to accept that for the sake of good stories. Bones gave me good stories but it did so by giving me good characters. Booth and Bones (the leads of the show) are very different but complimentary characters. It’s fun to watch them interact with each other and with other characters. The supporting cast has always been excellent and has only become more excellent as it grew. I stopped watching the show at some point, probably because I was distracted by some other show. This week I decided to reconnect and randomly started at Season 9. It was really good. If anything, the show has gotten better as Bones, who is hyper-rational, has become a little less robotic and more human as the show has progressed. I adore the supporting characters, especially the token artist character Angela who has somehow learned to live and work with scientist types. I’m looking forward to watching more episodes but I may try to find where I dropped off and continue from there instead. Or not. I’m not a stickler for continuity.

 


Supernatural: The Animation

I wasn’t expecting to stumble on this show this week. I’ve only seen the above trailer and the first episode but I think I can comment a little on it. I’m a fan of Supernatural because it really pays off for fans who stick with it. Also, the characters and actors are top notch and could sell even the weakest scripts. Thankfully, the writing is pretty good and has kept me entertained when I decide to catch up on the show in bursts. The CW show is an hour long supernatural drama where two brothers combat the forces of evil. The anime is a half hour anime adaptation done by a Japanese studio. Each episode is a condensed version of an episode from the original series. The first episode adapts “Skin” into an episode called “Alter-Ego” and it’s actually pretty good. They alter the original plot but you still hit the basic plot points that the original hit. It’s pretty good but so far it just lacks the gravity of the original. The American version uses Jared Paladecki’s voice but Jensen Ackles was busy so it sounds a little like Sam is talking to some other brother we never knew about. Still, it’s worth a look for Supernatural fans to see a slightly different take on the original show.

 

Awesome Links of the Week:
Rick and Summer Beat Down (from Rick and Morty)
Castiel Meets the Ghosfacers
I Burgie Burgie Commercial
Rick and Morty Meet the Simpsons

 

Updates:
– I finished Season 4 of Bob’s Burgers and it’s so good but I have to wait for Season 5.
– I finished Season 2 of Agents of Shield and I can’t wait for Season 3! (But I have to)
– I wish I had a DVR but I must rely heavily on Netflix and Youtube.
– I’ve started work on reviewing things for Halloween 2015. I love Halloween!

Redcross Part 3

August 19, 2015

Redcross

The back room was cold thanks to the giant block of ice in the corner. Sarah chose to focus on that block of ice as she entered the room. She gathered her skirts, so sure that she didn’t want any part of the fabric to touch the floor. She didn’t want to take this room with her when she left but knew that any moment she would be looking at a body and she would carry that with her forever. This is what it meant to be a sheriff. You dealt with the nastiness in the shadows so that nobody else had to see. A sheriff carried the burden and did the tough things so that other people could be happy. With that thought, she turned to look over at Warren.

“So, show me what you have to show me.” She said with a sigh. She felt her fingers graze the handle of her gun as if that would help.

“Brave woman.” Warren said softly as he pulled the sheet from the body.

The first thing that Sarah noticed was that there was no blood. Not a drop of the blood she had seen at the scene could be seen. Warren must have spent quite a bit time wiping down the body. All the wounds were clearly visible and she found her eyes drifting over each one, catalogueing them. It helped to focus closely on the details instead of the whole.

“He died quickly. There wasn’t much suffering, I would think.” Warren said softly, nearly a whisper. This was like his holy place, where the important work was done.

“Is that your professional opinion, Warren?”

“Yes, in fact. Have you spotted why I think so?”

“This isn’t a children’s game, Warren. I don’t want to be here longer than I need to. I don’t like dead things.” Sarah said with more than a little anger in her voice.

“I apologize. Your father and I had a different dynamic. He was used to seeing dead things by the time he got here. He sheltered you from that. It shows he really cared.”

“Yes. Among other things. If I’m going to honor his memory and protect this town, I need to be half the man he was.”

“I’m sure you’re doing just fine. Let me point out the solution so you spot it easier next time. I mean, Heaven forbid there is a next time, of course.” Warren said as he slowly flipped the body onto its stomach. The pressure caused one or two of the victims to ooze a little more blood and Sarah nearly wretched as she backed away.

“No fair! The solution wasn’t visible!” She said in a hiss. If she focused on anger maybe she would not succumb to disgust. She groaned and gained her bearings. “No, wait, just show me what you have to show me.”

Warren didn’t respond. He waited for her to get close again and pointed to one wound in the very center of the man’s back. The rest of the wounds were deep furrows made in the flesh which were definitely in line with wild predators slashing and biting at the body. The wound that Warren was pointing at was a perfect straight line maybe two inches long. It was so out of place you would have to be blind to miss it. Of course, it was only visible because all the blood had been wiped away.

“That’s a stab wound. Why is there a stab wound in my animal attack victim?”

“What do you think?”

“I would guess that somebody stabbed him before or during the animal attack. Since there’s no reason to do it after. During sounds problematic so I would guess before.”

“That’s my theory. The other wounds covered up the exit wound so it was something long and sharp.”

“Like a sword? Who has a sword out here?” Sarah asked. This was getting weirder and weirder. She didn’t remember her dad ever having this much trouble. Of course, Warren had said he had regularly tested her father with this sort of thing. Maybe that was a conversation for another time.

“Honestly, beyond a calvalry sabre I wouldn’t know. Even those would be rare.”

“Warren, I have a suggestion for you that you’re not going to like. In fact, you can consider it an order from the Sheriff.”

“Oh?”

“Please consult with Doc Schaefer on this. We lucked out with the sword wound, I’d rather not miss anything else.”

“Are you sure?” Warren said with a grimace. The feud between Doctor Marion Schaefer and Warren Chilton was legendary and neither of them were ever seen in the same place for long. Warren was not the most liked person in town due to his career choice so most people sided with the Doc. It was probably more than a sore point.

“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t sure. I promise I won’t make it a habit. I trust you and your skills.”

“Alright, Sarah… I will do it for you. Where will you be going in the meantime?”

“Back to the scene. Now that I know more, I might be able to find something else.”

“A fair assumption. We will speak when you get back.”

“I’m sure we will, Warren. Good luck.”

“To you as well.”

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: RIP

August 17, 2015

WILPW

So when Dusty Rhodes died I was reading his autobiography and I wanted to pay tribute to the guy. While I was agonizing on how to do that, Roddy Piper died and I realized I was overthinking things and I should just pay tribute to both of them. Both of them died young and left a huge mark on the business. Sports entertainment owes both of them a lot of gratitude.

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

I think I’ve said before that I was never really a WCW fan because the WWF got its talons into me first. So because of this I never really watched Dusty Rhodes when I was growing up. I was too young to have seen heyday but I heard all about him all the time. Dusty Rhodes brought a truckload of charisma to the business. He wasn’t the best looking performer and he didn’t have a lot of athletic prowess. He was a talker and sometimes a brawler and ended up being a legend on pure heart. I’ve since seen a lot of footage of him and it seems he was never a ring technician but he was dynamite on the mic. Dusty Rhodes embodied the American dream as he was a chubby guy with a significant lisp who became more than a star. He became a legend.

Unlike a lot of aging wrestlers, Dusty knew when to hang up his boots and took a backseat as an on-air authority figure in TNA and later in NXT. He proved himself to be a pretty good judge of talent as he was booker during the rise of many great talents we still respect today. He is also the father of two great performers. Dustin Runnels (aka Goldust) just seems to get faster and stronger as he gets older like some weird pro-wrestling Benjamin Button. His younger son Cody Rhodes has already been discussed at length on this blog.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Unfortunately, Piper was another guy I never got to follow really well. The only match I can remember seeing him in as a kid was the Backlot Brawl with Goldust. I have a hell of a lot of respect for Piper because of how well he marketed himself. He was a heel’s heel because he unleashed his big mouth and temper on anybody foolish enough to get close to him. He stood toe to toe with Hulk Hogan without the impressive physique. He and Hogan (and others) headlined the first Wrestlemania and he fought Mr. T in a boxing match at Wrestlemania 2. He helped to invent the concept of a wrestler having a regular interview segment when he starred in the regular Piper’s Pit segment.

Piper also had a career as an actor. While I can’t say too many good things about his acting career, I can say he was a much better actor than Hogan ever was. He had killer charisma and even when he was a jerk you wanted to hang out with him. He shined the most in They Live, a sci-fi action movie that pitted Piper and Keith David against a secret alien conspiracy. Looking at his IMDB page, he was extremely prolific even if I’ve never heard of most of them. In fact, he’s appearing in seven movies that have yet to be released. Everybody posted clips of They Live to honor Roddy’s passing so I’m sure you’ve seen that. I’ll instead post a trailer of what may have been Piper’s weirdest film role and also the last Piper’s Pit from my homestate.

Media Update 8/13/2015

August 13, 2015


Lavalantula

Gotta love a good bad movie. In this one, spiders basically made of lava are unleashed on LA after a volcano erupts after an earthquake. The movie stars Steve Gutenberg of all people as an actor who used to be a superhero in movies. This is probably a role they would have given to Adam West years ago but Steve pulled it off pretty well. The spiders were actually pretty creepy and the effects, although cheesy, definitely lent themselves to the creepy and scary end of the spectrum. The script was laughably awful as one might expect from a SyFy movie. The movie also reunites Gutenberg with Michael Winslow and Marion Ramsey. All three were in the Police Academy movies as Mahoney, Jones and Hooks respectively. They also throw in Ralph Garman which was awesome.

 


Sharknado 3

What a long strange trip it’s been. I was definitely a fan of the first Sharknado but the second one kicked its butt in terms of cheese. I was wondering what the third one would be like. Would it live up to all the self aware hype that had begun to surround the franchise? Yes. I believe it did. There were plenty of badass moments for Finn Shepard to shoot or saw sharks and plenty of celebrities you get to see eaten. The movie had a couple of sins though. The first major sin was that it included killer sharks and Ann Coulter and Coulter wasn’t torn apart. Also, Tara Reid was in the movie yet again. Once again her character did nothing and said nothing of importance and could have been replaced with a cardboard cut out. Oh well. The movie is still awesomely bad and worth a watch but watch the whole trilogy.

 


Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries

Finally something a little more serious. I really have fallen into watching almost nothing but Youtube and Netflix lately and I’m always cruising Netflix for new stuff to watch. I spotted this one and saw that it was period detective show. I love period detective stuff. I’m a huge Phillip Marlow fan and I love Agent Carter and Agatha Christie. Miss Fisher is a 1920’s flapper who solves crimes in Australia. She served in World War I (though I’m not sure what capacity yet) and is determined not to suffer anymore losses. She’s a brassy, tough woman with a tendency toward being funny and sneaky as well. The show really caught me by surprise with how brilliant it is. I’ve only watched four episodes but I’m definitely hooked.

 

Links of the Week:
Cookies! – Ninja Sex Party
Sonic Dreams Collection (Not Safe for… anywhere)
Everything Wrong with Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2 as well

 

Updates:
– I finished Season 2 of Agents of Shield. Wow. This show got even better.
– I finished Season 1 of Vampire Diaries. It’s really, really good actually.
– I will watch Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp with my mom, was waiting on her to watch the original movie now we’re good to go

Shield of the Ishim Pt 3

August 8, 2015

Ishim Shield

Maya woke up suddenly and started to cough, her ribs and back ached horribly but she couldn’t stop. As the coughing slowed, she started to look around and realized she had no idea where she was. There was a plush but worn couch below her and a musty basement that was definitely not below the collapsed floor she had just left. She also realized that her mask was off, her hair was undone and her right arm was in a sling. She spotted her mask and realized her boots were off too when her bare feet hit the carpet. Her vision blurred and she lost balance as she tried to stand up to retrieve her mask. She fell back onto the sofa with pain that had her left hand reaching for her ribs. She heard footsteps and creaking from the stairs and she poured power into her runes of defense.

“Stay back! I can deal with you without my gear!” Maya cried out, raising her hand like a shield in front of her. The runes on her rings and bracelets lit up enough to shine through her shirt sleeve. The strain was painful, it felt like sharp knives everywhere and she heard herself groaning against her will.

A young woman walked down the stairs with her hands up, fingers splayed to show she meant no harm. She had long red hair and matching red-tinted round sunglasses. She had a little Mona Lisa smile on her lips. “I come in peace. Sit down before you hurt yourself. Seraphim, already.” She said with a laugh.

She had said the latest Ishim code word so Maya relaxed and slumped onto the couch. “Who are you? What’s going on?”

“My name is Ivy. I’m Kerry’s older sister. Here, take some tea.” She held out a steaming cup to Maya. Maya watched it for a moment before taking the cup. She sniffed it cautiously and then took a slow sip.

“Who’s Kerry?”

“She’s my little sister, usually goes by China Gray. It’s kind of a dumb name but what are you going to do?”

“Wait, China? What happened to her!? Is she alright?”

Ivy’s smile faded a little. “You both took a bad fall. When the floor collapsed, you landed on the dragon which cushioned your fall a bit. You dislocated your shoulder, cracked your wrist and broke several ribs. Not to mention all the bad bruises. You’ll be ok though, Grand Maeve looked you over while you were out. Kerry had worse luck.”

“Is she going to be alright?” Maya asked, sitting up again.

There were footsteps on the stairs and a petite girl walked into view. She had a gray cast on one arm and several bad bruises and bandages all over. She even had a pearl white patch over one eye. There was a familiar gray jacket carefully draped over her shoulders.

“Stop leaving her in suspense, dear sister. We don’t really have the time, do we?” The girl said, she had a reserved smile but a twinkle in her eye.

“China? You’re my age? Wait, are you OK?” Maya stood and found herself carefully hugging China and then carefully touching her cast.

“We were very lucky. My sister caught the Grand Maeve just before she left to meet up with the council. She healed us the best she could and then left.” China stepped back and put some distance between herself and Maya. It was a practiced and professional gesture and Maya was barely offended.

“The Grand Maeve? Wow. But that can’t be a coincidence, right? ‘The Ishim Will Die’, right? Do you think something big is happening?” She ran a hand through her hair, trying to collect herself. She was still trying to impress this girl who was the same age. She put on her best serious face even though she was still feeling a little dizzy.

“I would think that’s right. Regardless of what we think, we have been summoned to the council to discuss the matter as material witnesses.” China said with more than a hint of pride in her voice even if she successfully kept it off of her face.

“How are we getting there?” Maya asked. Looking around for the rest of her gear but finding none of it close at hand. She was anxious to tell everything to the council and get back to normal, boring monster hunting.

Ivy stepped back into the room and held up three slips of card stock that were heavily scribed with magical runes and symbols. She had a big smile on her face. “We’re taking the Spirit Train. Three tickets courtesy of the council. Fancy, huh? Come on, let’s pack your bags so we can get going. You can rest some more on the way.”

Media Update 8/6/2015

August 6, 2015


Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

I remember walking out of the Senator Theater after seeing Mission: Impossible in 1996 with my family. My mother didn’t understand the plot but I was sure that I understood every twist and turn and it turned out I was pretty much on point. I never really watched the show but I felt at the time that M:I was a great movie with plenty of action and suspense. I still feel that way about most of the franchise. Ghost Protocol renewed my interest by including Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg and injected a little more comedy in with the drama, not much but enough to lighten it up a bit. I felt they did even better with Rogue Nation. From beginning to end I loved the fast pace and mystery. They got the band back together from Rogue Nation and added Ving Rhames back in from the original trilogy. Say what you will about Tom Cruise but I think he plays a really good action star and he does a lot of his own stunts. The movie pretty much hit all of the right notes and there was never a moment where I wasn’t invested. I definitely recommend it. I’ll probably be seeing it a second time.


Trainwreck

Speaking of the Senator Theater, my Dad and I drove off to watch Trainwreck at what is the best movie theater in Baltimore. My Dad insisted that we go see Trainwreck based on articles he had read about the movie about the writer/star Amy Schumer. I was a bit surprised at this because my Dad has never really expressed interest in romantic comedies before. From the trailers, that was what I thought Trainwreck was. I thought it was a Netflix watch at best but Dad pushed for it so I relented. Afterall, he had often relented when I pushed for comic book movies. I completely underestimated the movie. Whoever made the trailer I saw should be fired. The movie is not just a romantic comedy. It’s also a great movie about a person (Amy) who is forced to come to terms with who she is and who she wants to be. It’s a story about personal growth and expanding your boundaries and also about what love is. I highly reccomend everyone check it out. The only caveat I have is that there is a lot of pretty dirty language in it so be prepared. (Also John Cena is in it!)

Awesome Links of my Week:
Neil Gaiman Storytime
NSP and Steel Panther live on stage (NSFW)
Starbomb – Luigi’s Ballad (NSFW)
Deadpool Trailer (NSFW – I’m sensing a theme)

Updates:
– Bob’s Burgers just gets better in the third season
– Bojack Horseman’s second season was so painfully good
– I think I gave up on Chuck, it’s just not for me
– My plan was to watch Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp next week
– I caught up on Supernatural up to the end of the 9th season. It’s great

Top 11 Video Games

August 1, 2015

This list illustrates my preference for games driven by both story and fairly simple game design which are very enjoyable to play. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like games like Super Mario World, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ratchet and Clank and Katamari Damacy and any number of other games. However, I do have a serious bias toward console games as a controller is so much easier to handle and I never had a serious PC to run games. So take that into account.  This is a follow up to a discussion on why I like video games at all inspired by the Game Grumps.


11 Deadpool (X-Box 360)

Ok, this one is cheating a little bit. There is source material outside of the game in the form of a long-running comic book character from all the way back in the nineties. However, I contend that you can play this game and enjoy it without ever reading a comic book. The gameplay is mostly hack and slash but the story and voice work makes the game really surreal and fun. Deadpool is a character who is very meta and tends to nuke the fourth wall from orbit. The game ends up feeling like something from the Marx brothers mixed with a parody of video games in general. Coupled with that, the character spouts a million funny one-liners. The gameplay is fun enough but the comedy kept me going.

10 Red Dead Redemption (X-Box 360)

I’m a big fan of westerns. My personal favorites are The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Two Mules for Sister Sarah and the True Grit remake. Every bit of this game feels like walking through a really good western movie and that’s exactly how it’s designed. However, you also get a lot of the feel of the scenes they cut out from the movies. Sure, you participate in gunfights, pitched battles and you even get to engage in bounty hunting. However, you also fight and skin animals and ride your horse across empty plains. The game is really beautiful and I find it so easy to get sucked right into the world. The game has a morality system so you can play the game differently every time.

9 Final Fantasy IX (Playstation)

I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game that I absoulutely hated and most of them I’ve at least enjoyed. However, if we’re going for enjoyable gameplay and story, I’m actually going with number nine. The game is a very long Japanese RPG that uses a lot of cool fantasy archetypes but, at the time, shook things up a bit. The female protagonist isn’t just a damsel in distress, the male protagonist is a thief and some of the heroes just don’t get along with each other at all. There’s a lot of story about what it means to be a hero and doing what’s right. There’s also a pretty heavy message about questioning reality and what makes a person a person. It gets fairly philosophical and heavy at some points but it’s a really beautiful game.

8 Psychonauts (X-Box 360)

This game absolutely blew me away when I first played it. I have fond memories of summer camp. The idea of kids attending psychic summer camp amused me. Above all the game is really funny but below that humorous exterior is a really creepy, offbeat story. There are a ton of really neat characters including a whole host of fully developed extras. The concept behind the game is that you enter people’s mindscapes to sort out their psychological issues. Very rarely do you actually fight anybody or anything in the real world. So a lot of the time it feels like there’s a sunny world where very evil things are happening just out of sight. As mentioned before in this blog, I love the juxtaposition of happy and scary so this was right up my alley.

7 South Park: The Stick of Truth (X-Box 360)

I don’t really think you need to have watched South Park to enjoy this game. However, it makes it infinitely more fun if you’ve seen most of the series. If you’re not ready for a ride that is super obscene and incredibly inappropriate then just skip this one. Just skip it. However, if you have a good sense of humor and you were ever a fan of the show then I suggest you pick this one up. The gameplay is simple and based on a lot of turn-based RPGs. There’s a lot of character customization that further immerse you in what feels like playing in a three-part South Park episode. Because of decisions, side quests and easter eggs I’ve played this one over and over and enjoyed it every time. It’s not very long but a very fun (and raunchy) ride.

6 Brutal Legend (X-Box 360)

I must have mentioned that I love heavy metal music. In fact, I love a lot of different genres of metal. I even love BabyMetal but that’s another thing entirely. The fact of the matter is that DoubleFine (the makers of Psychonauts) teamed up with Tenacious D and they made a video game celebrating the Metal. The game is full to the gills with heavy metal music, album cover imagery and even has the voice talents of Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Ozzy Ozbourne, Lita Ford, Rob Halford and Lemmy Kilmister. The game is funny most of the time but actually hits some deep felt moments. The game is full of epic atmosphere and, as the great story unfolds, the gameplay evolves. You also get to cast spells with a guitar which is something I had often imagined in my high school and college days.

5 Dark Cloud 2 (Playstation 2)

I bought Dark Cloud 2 on a whim, mostly because I enjoyed Dark Cloud which I bought heavily discounted. I was expecting more of the same and boy was I in for a surprise. The basic gameplay is the same but with heavily updated graphics. However, the story received a huge boost as in Dark Cloud 2, the stakes feel 200% higher and it includes time travel. More than that, the time travel actually makes some sense. In the game, you play as young inventor Max and also as Monica, warrior princess from the future. Your job is to rebuild the present in order to make sure that the future happens as it should (so it can help you in the present). There’s magic, sci-fi and plenty of fun characters to interact with. The game play is simple but not really ground breaking but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun as hell.

4 Borderlands 2 (X-Box 360)

I never really liked first person shooters as I was growing up. Most of them were on the computer and I never had a good system to play them on. I also was forbidden from playing first person shooters by my mother. I really don’t blame her. The media had drummed up a lot scary stuff and being a parent is really hard. I was never really good at them anyway. For some reason, the Borderlands series instantly clicked with me. I tried Borderlands 2 because I found out it was written by Anthony Burch of Hey Ash Whacha Playin’. It’s clear through playing the game that Anthony understands a lot about comedy when it comes to video games. The game is surprising at times, beautiful to look at, funny and above all the characters feel pretty real. Everytime I play it I find some new detail I never noticed before. It’s a non-stop adventure that is endearing and just challenging enough to keep you from pulling your hair out.

3 Kingdom Hearts (Playstation 2)

Disney animated movies are great and they have been adapted so many times into video games but I can’t think of a single one that was worth playing. They all felt too half-assed and most of the ones I played were way too hard. I’m looking at you Lion King and Alladin. They also had to adhere to a set script because that’s what was expected of them. Kingdom Hearts combines fun Disney storytelling with some creative parts from the Final Fantasy series. It actually forms a new animal that’s equal parts new and equal parts nostalgic. The gameplay is fun and it’s really great to run around with Goofy and Donald to save the Disneyverse. It’s very hard to describe how good this game (and its sequel) is without giving too much away. This was the first game I can remember having a very real emotional release when I finished it. After this game, and its sequel, I teared up and felt so good and bad at the same time.

2 Portal 2 (X-Box 360)

I never played the original Portal but I was definitely well aware of all of the memes. I’ve since played the game and it’s a cute little game using the Source engine. I actually played the sequel first and I absolutely loved it. From the first five minutes I knew that the game would be exactly up my alley. The game immediately immerses you in a complete environment with amazing detail and really fun gameplay. As the game progresses, you’re introduced to extremely rounded characters who only become more interesting as you go. It’s not just the constant voiceovers that unfold a really cool story but also the environment your character is walking through. My only gripe is that I wanted for their to be more game, more story to follow. There’s so much quotable dialogue and moments that actually packed an emotional punch. If they ever make a Portal 3 (doubtful) I will be in line to buy a copy.

1 Arkham Origins (X-Box 360)

I love Batman. It’s been a pretty key fixture in my pop culture life since I was 7 years old. I’ve greedily gobbled up every piece of Batman whatever whenever I have a chance. My problem was that games based on comic books mostly sucked. When I played Arkham Asylum, for the first time I felt like I was Batman. I didn’t just beat up criminals, I did detective work, I climbed and swung and faced down the rogues gallery. When I played the sequel, Arkham City, I felt even more like I had been dropped in a comic book. When Origins dropped I was expecting good things but it exceeded expectations. Just like all of the Arkham series games, the characters have gravity and the storyline is told in such a way that you don’t have to be familiar with the Batman mythos to understand. However, it’s also a Batman fanboy’s dream as it an adaptation that strikes new ground while also scratching so many nostalgic issues. If you take anything away from this post, play all three of these games. Eventually, I will play the final game in the series, Arkham Knight.


susanne matthews

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