Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

November 29, 2013

Let's discuss Family Guy (THE FINALE).

I guess I should probably mention that I’m the Mookie King.

My class and I were on a field trip to a three-day camp adventure so that hopefully us kids would gain a better understanding and appreciation of nature (you can probably guess how well that went).  On the first night, the kids in my group -- about thirty strong, if I remember right -- gathered outside with one of the camp counselors to play a game of “Mookie”.  The rules are simple: one person gets pulled out of a line of competitors, and has to stand his ground amidst his rivals and their attempts to make him laugh by saying “Mookie” as hilariously as they can.  If the single person doesn’t laugh, he moves down the line.  If he does, he goes into the line and loses his chance at winning the game -- at becoming the glorious, undisputed “Mookie King.”

I was somewhere near the start of the line -- second, maybe third -- but I played the game well.  I covered my face with a hat (in retrospect, building up anticipation) and then let it rip.  So I took the hotspot, and had a chance at winning the whole thing…assuming, of course, that I could clear some twenty-eight additional attempts, including the camp counselor.  As it turns out, it was a lot easier than I expected.  Nobody could get me to laugh.  Nobody.  The camp counselor -- who I rightly assumed would be my greatest challenge by virtue of commanding the game for years -- got a slight smile out of me, but that was it.  I probably freaked him out a little.  “How could there be a kid who didn’t laugh?” he must have thought.  “He must be a very sad child.”

No, I don’t think that’s the case.  Maybe it was just a signal -- early proof that I had needlessly-high standards.  I don’t think I’m funny, that much I’m sure of no matter how many people disagree.  But by the same token, I’m not usually the laugh-out-loud type, or even the laugh-at-all type.  I LOVE How I Met Your Mother, but even on its best days it’s barely gotten a chuckle out of me.  It’s not that I don’t think it’s funny; it’s just that whatever mechanisms there are that make people want to laugh (or even smile), I might be lacking.  It probably has something to do with me getting into my dad’s beer can when I was three, but whatever.  I’m sure that didn’t have too serious of an effect on me.

Now, you might be wondering what this little story has to do with Family Guy.  And the answer to that is…it doesn’t have anything to do with Family Guy.  I just thought I’d offer something that’s only tangentially related to the post at the beginning, because A) I do that a lot, in case you haven’t noticed, B) maybe it’s an insight to the madness of King (but not really King) Voltech, and C) it’s about to get worse.

It always gets worse.

November 26, 2013

Girly Guys and Manly Girls

Fair warning: this is probably going to be the stupidest post you’ve ever read.  Or if not the stupidest, then the one that’ll draw discussion away from the topic and put me under (or on) fire.  Or if not that, then at least make you wonder what in the name of Paul Bunyan’s button-down flannel shirt I was thinking.  So to temper whatever rage and disdain may come this way, let me start by bringing up Kamen Rider.

I’ve been checking out bits and the pieces of it recently -- OOO, Fourze, and especially, if those words mean anything to you -- and what I’ve seen of the decades-long franchise has been supremely rewarding, and supremely entertaining.  What should ostensibly be a slew of big dumb kids’ shows have shown a level of depth that no one would expect, and married flawlessly to a spirit of fun and excitement.  To use a food analogy, there’s something to lick for a quick sugar rush, but there’s a legitimate buffet to sink one’s teeth into.  Although that’s probably not too good for the stomach, but whatever.  Totally worth it.

But the other day, a funny thing happened.  Well, not funny ha ha.  More like funny because of a twist of fate.  Of the non-destiny-altering sort.

November 22, 2013

Let's discuss Family Guy (Part 3).

All right.  Now let’s talk about The Simpsons for a bit.

Like I said before -- maybe against my better judgment -- I’m one of those terrible creatures that still think The Simpsons is still funny.  It’s not the funniest show ever, mind you, and not always on-point; I’ll go ahead and mirror the sentiment that the show in recent seasons is at its worst when it goes on at length about modern technology (because those things and their usage tend to make fun of themselves).  But for what it’s worth, when it’s on I’ll gladly watch it. 

Still, there’s one thing that I want to bring up.  I think The Simpsons is still funny, but sometimes I don’t feel like people are thinking about the show’s quality in the right way.  I don’t think people should be asking if it’s still funny; they should be asking if it still has heart.  I’m not implying that its crew is phoning it in -- especially in comparison to certain other shows -- but I wonder if they’re putting the effort in the right places.  Getting in those jokes is simple enough, and expected of the crew, but if the Nostalgia Critic’s Top 11 list taught me anything, it’s that The Simpsons can and has handled more than just gags, slapstick, and the occasional bit of social commentary. 

Ah, if only Family Guy could learn such valuable lessons…

November 20, 2013

Thor: The Dark World: Bring the Hammer Down

You know what I think?  The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s greatest strength is just how captivating it is. 

The idea of a shared universe/canon might have been absurd at one point, but by and large it’s worked.  It’s worked for individual movies, and it’s worked for the movies as part of a single unit.  I’m not saying that every movie is a flawless masterpiece, but the strength of each one is that they have the potential to surpass the “turn your brain off popcorn movie” stigma and offer up something meaningful under the guise of a suited hero punching dudes really hard.  The movies force you to move at their pace -- and that’s not entirely a bad thing.  It’s a sign that a viewer (or me, at least) is getting invested.

That said, I can’t help but think back to the first Thor movie.  As you can guess, I saw it back before I started the blog and started thinking more critically than ever before -- so naturally, I ended up calling it a good movie when asked, and went so far as to put it in the third slot of an informal “top 5 Marvel movies: list” once upon a time.  Thinking back, I wonder if I went too easy on the movie, especially in the wake of complaints before, during, and after screenings.  Did I miss something?  Did I get too swept up in the Norse-on-Norse action?  Hard to say, but if I had to guess based on evidence -- based on The Dark World hovering around the 66% mark on Rotten Tomatoes -- people aren’t quite as forgiving as I am.  But I had to see the movie for myself to judge for myself.  To give the movie a fair shake.

What did I think?  Well, let’s just say you know you’re in good hands when you can reference a power metal song in the blog title.

WARNING: SPOILERS IMMINENT.  If you have any interest in seeing the movie raw and without being swayed by others’ opinions beforehand, then you should…hey, you know what I just realized?  Thor did like five Mighty Smashes in this movie.  That’s pretty cool.  I think he got an OTG off of one of them, but he dropped the combo.  Good thing he had X-Factor.

November 18, 2013

November 15, 2013

Let's discuss Family Guy (Part 2).

You know what?  I’m glad I’ve got something like I Hraet You.

I’m not going to pretend like it’s the greatest thing out there -- because it isn’t -- but I do enjoy it.  I enjoy writing it, and I’ve found that I enjoy reading earlier chapters a lot more than I expect I would.  I’d certainly rather read one of those than, say, some of the prototype stories I’ve scribbled in notebooks.  (Note to self: make sure those notebooks have been burned and scattered into the four winds.)  Whatever the case -- or quality -- the story may be far from done, but even now I think I can see some of my ideas and opinions taking form.  It’s proof of what I think a good story can, could, or even should offer.  Well, maybe not the whole wombat thing.

I’m not so cocky to declare that everything I do is right, and everything that I do should be done by others.  I have my style and opinions, and others have theirs.  All I ask is that, if I’m doomed to languish in obscurity forever (or at least for a little while longer), then others who are holding all the creative power should put up a smart effort.  They should respect and wisely use the power they hold.  They should show their audiences, the lowly peasants that scrabble at their heels, that they deserve trust and admiration.  They should put their all into everything they release, IN SPITE of the wealth and fame they’ve gathered.

They should.  But that’s all in theory.  In practice, we have a show like Family Guy.    

November 13, 2013

Of Batman and “Predator Games”

(Alternate post title: Bored with Power 2: Electric Boogaloo)

I would just like to say one thing upfront: it is almost hilarious that this post covers the same topic I talked at length about almost a year ago on the dot.  I say “almost”, of course, because the fact that I feel like I HAVE to dredge up this topic again means that by and large I don’t feel like the games industry has learned a single damn thing.  Ergo, it’s less “almost hilarious” and more “completely depressing”.

So.  Not too long ago I did a little post on Batman: Arkham Origins (which I posted on a Monday because I didn’t want the stigma of a Family Guy post taking the top slot and corrupting my blog for too long).  I went in with a bit of cautious “optimism” thanks to the reviews and consensus being less than positive, but I figured it was at least worth a shot to see if the game could win me over.  It didn’t.  I couldn’t bring myself to play past the first hour or so, and with my brother saying that it just goes downhill from there I decided early that even if there WAS a good story in there, it wasn’t worth it.
As always, I want to stress that if you like the game, then that’s great.  I envy you.  But I couldn’t even begin to enjoy it, and I feel like I can’t rest until I explain why.

Short answer?  It’s the gameplay.  Long answer?  Well...hold on to your butts.

November 11, 2013

Of Batman and Prequels

Once upon a time, I hoped that when Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy came to an end, we could all shut the hell up about Batman for a while.  Not forever.  Just long enough to give the guy a rest.  Long enough for the public conscious to focus on someone else.  Something else, either canonically or stylistically.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case, seeing as how the question of “How do we make a good Superman movie?” has been answered with “Add Batman to it.”  Riveting. 

I’ve wondered before if the presence of the Dark Knight Trilogy has had a negative impact on games (or media in general), but that’s all guesswork, and I don’t want to dive into that discussion anytime soon.  That said, the release of Batman: Arkham Origins has gotten me thinking about the character and his mythos in general, and how he’s portrayed in whatever he may appear in.  By now I’d hope you know what I prefer, but I want to make it clear that I don’t hate Batman.  I just hate it when he -- or any character -- isn’t used well.  And indeed, I was under the impression that this so-called prequel game would give me a fresh perspective on the caped crusader, in a way that only a prequel can.

Then again, that only raises its own set of problems.