|Posted by from1to10moviereviews on July 23, 2012 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
It’s no mystery that drugs and video games seem to gel so nicely. The sentence “We got so ___________” (fill the blank with drunk, smashed, ripped, high, baked, torched, lit, spun, loaded, or Keith) oftentimes ends with something like “that we played Super Smash Bros. for six hours.” The vivid atmospheres and gameplay of video games take us away to new worlds and distract from the oftentimes lackluster daily routine. Drugs, well, seem to do the exact same thing, except you buy one from a shady, un-showered stranger with earlobe plugs and a crap beard, and the other from a drug dealer.
So it’s common for drugs and video games to feel almost interchangeable. And the most infamous drugs can each be perfectly defined by its video game counterpart. It’s a stretch, so maybe you should take a five minute break and then read below…
(Keep in mind that this list mostly concerns mainstream games, so games like Ikaruga or Katamari Darmacy do not make the list. Sorry.)
Main Effects: loss of balance, judgment, and coherence. Bar fights. Singing Karaoke.
Ah booze. A magic liquid that transforms the meek into the willing and vice versa. Fight with your girlfriend? Dull party? Fly in the house? There’s not much alcohol can’t seemingly solve. At least until you wake up the next morning. Whether it’s the stumbling, the slurring, or the godlike confidence, it’s no wonder that booze is and will always be the most celebrated and most catastrophic vice.
The Game: Halo
Most shooting games would be a good fit, but Halo beats the rest because all the players on screen are fucking obliterated. Seriously, watch your friends play. When a player dies, their body flops on the ground faster than a failed sobriety test. When they pilot ships, the damn thing weaves left to right uncontrollably. You can almost hear the character saying, “Ok….wait I got it…nonono wait wait now I got it---ah shit there I go. Where do I park WHERE DO I PARK?”
Honorable Mentions = James Bond Nightfire, CoD, Super Smash Bros, Counter Strike, Killzone
Main Effects: mix of giddiness and paranoia. Giggling, introspection, and cravings
It’s weed man. If you went through college without smoking it, you should actually be pretty proud of yourself, since I’m fairly sure the percentage is somewhere between 94 and 110 percent. Very little will make you laugh harder, get paranoid faster, and eat whatever was congealing in that tray at 7-11.
The Game: Portal
This one was tough to decide, but in the end this is a list not about what game you would play under the influence of such a drug, but it’s the game that embodies the drug itself. No game rollerblades the tightrope between whimsy and terror quite like Portal. The whole game follows the same rhythm as getting high. You start out a little confused, then you start to get used to the experience, then you’re giddy as hell as you navigate through the bright environments, and slowly the experience takes a turn to the dark side, and you find yourself struggling to stay alive against a mad supercomputer that lures you onward with the promise of…..wait for it….cake!
If that didn’t sound like a Thursday night in college, then, well, then you didn’t go to my school I guess.
Honorable Mentions: Half-Life 2, System Shock 2,
Main Effects: increased heart rate and adrenaline. Decrease of present currency.
Coke, snow, blow, the devil’s dandruff, whatever you want to call it, is an interesting drug because it takes all the lowbrow degradations that people would see in those who smoke pot or dress Goth, and applies it to the upper class. Take crack, multiple by five, and move it from an alley to a cruise liner or Connecticut and you got cocaine. And is it ironic that the main vice of rich white people turns them into Speedy Gonzalez?
The Game: Ratchet and Clank.
For this one you have to focus less on style, less on substance, and more on pure havoc. Ratchet and Clank, particularly Deadlocked, is like watching Banjo-Kazooie lose his fucking mind, blasting everyone and everything in sight with deliriously modified weapons to fight enough enemies to start whole nations. It’s when you fire giant grenades that squirt lava at the mechanical spider in the coliseum that you realize they should have just named it Ratchet and Crank and be done with it.
Honorable Mentions = Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, Need for Speed, Motorstorm
Main Effects: mild to heavy hallucinations and mood shifts. Understanding David Lynch films.
“I’m freaking out, man.” These four words could be attributed to other drugs, but nothing quite has the status of complete otherworldly displacement like LSD. The worst music can sound tolerable, and the best can give you orgasms. The most important things to you are not your possessions or even your friends, but it’s the status of your ever-shifting environment. And this same environment can turn on you. You may be thrown into beautiful gardens of the Garden of Eden and with one shift in mood or location you may be hugging the toilet of your ex-girlfriend’s bathroom. Kind of like going to Chipotle.
The Game: Super Mario Bros.
Like alcohol, many games were close, but Mario is all about the environment. And it’s so unabashedly absurd and colorful that it sweeps the rug from other, more serious and modern games. I mean, the turtles have wings for god sake.
Honorable Mentions: Bioshock, F.E.A.R, Silent Hill, Final Fantasy,
Main Effects: sense of euphoria following by debilitating crash. Skinny arms.
Hate to leave on a depressing note, but you have to acknowledge the “less fun to talk about” drugs as well. Whether you snort, smoke, or shoot it, heroin will probably make you higher than you ever will, and then make you wish you were dead. There isn’t much about heroin that hasn’t already been said, so just go watch Requiem for a Dream again. Wait, you haven’t seen it? What the fu—
The Game: World of Warcraft
If there is one main attribute of heroin, it’s the willingness of its users to forgo their possessions, friends, life and livelihood just to get more of it. While there are perfectly normal WoW users, the game seems to encourage addiction. The only way to really have fun in the game is by putting in heavy amounts of time to get good at it. And like heroin, some users lose their interest in things like socializing (outside of their room), or showering. Also, each subsequent hit of heroin can feel less potent, kind of like how players wait longer and longer in the WoW graveyard. This is not to say your roommate needs an intervention, so please don’t invite all your friends to show up at your place give him one. You’ll probably all end up getting drunk and playing Halo anyway.
Honorable Mentions = Sims, Starcraft, Minecraft
|Posted by from1to10moviereviews on July 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
The problem with American drivers, as well as our problems with drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, illegal immigration, and low test scores could probably be solved, or at least better understood, through a tale by Aesop.
Aesop told a fable long ago about two beings, the Sun and the Wind. Both were bragging about their respective powers and so they decided to put it to a contest: whomever got the man walking nearby to take his coat off would win. So the arrogant Wind starts first and fiercely blows at the man. But the harder he tries, the more tightly the man wraps his coat around him. After unleashing torrents of energy, the Wind gives up.
So the Sun glides up and shines its rays onto the ground. The man gradually feels the sweat on his forehead and eventually takes off his coat.
The moral: persuasion is more powerful than force.
Aesop was right, and it is a bit frightening how prophetic those words have been. Even in a country as technologically advanced as ours, we still try to solve critical problems with half-brained ideas. The concept of throwing a ton of money and energy toward a goal and hoping it will go away it oftentimes not enough. You need to step back and think. You need to realize that many of our problems are deep rooted and complex, and cannot be solved only with money and fervor, but require intelligence and time.
There are some absolutely insane drivers in Europe, but that is because the traffic system seems to encourage going 80 mph through red lights and maybe chatting with a pedestrian on the way. American systems of transportation are strict in general, yet we still have an alarming amount of deaths from car accidents. Why?
Because we are not talk how to drive. It varies throughout the country, so I'll speak on behalf of Maryland and maybe even the East Coast when I say that we are taught by our friends and family, but not by the government. And this is caused not by a lack of Driver's Education, but on the contrary, an excess of terrible processes that lead to the big, pointless exam.
First you need your permit, which gives you the legal right to drive with someone of age with you. It also can be accumulated by pretty much walking into the door. You take a short quiz on a computer which asks questions about One-Way signs and bike signals, and then you have it.
Then, you need In-Car lessons, which consist of four lessons with an instructor. This is the most useful of the process since you are actually driving a vehicle.
Then you take 10 classes of Driver's Ed, which consists of the most outdated teaching methods and tools. I have heard stories of Driver's Ed similar to mine in that I basically paid money to learn nothing, but there a few things I witnessed which takes the cake.
1. Music videos from the late 80's about driving safety, including one metal song about intersections and one rap about the "no-zones" (aka blind spots) of a truck.
2. A video depicting a cartoon driver going too fast around a cliff, cutting through the guardrail which was apparently made of cheese, and falling into the ocean, after which an ALIEN MOTHERSHIP flies above him and beams him aboard.
3. Every classmate, including myself, openly cheating on the daily quizzes while standing in line to hand them in.
I'm sure every Driver's Ed experience is different in some way, but ask anyone if they learned anything from it, and I'd be surprised to hear a positive response. Personally, all I learned was how to shuffle a deck of cards.
Finally, you have the big exam. Unfortunately, while some useful things are tested (turning the car on, 3-point turns) other aspects could have been replaced (parallel parking). I do not know if California still has the big exam involve driving on an actual road and not a closed-off course, but it is something that should be implemented nationwide. You are testing driving through driving. It could be as simple as ten minutes driving, some parking and merging, and it's done. No pointless quizzes and classes. Just a simple and logical test of your knowledge.
I think that the DMV is also subtly aiding in Americans, at least teens, being bad drivers. You can make TV specials all you want blaming it on hormones but that's something we cannot change. Acknowledge it, sure, but then move on. What you have are teens going obstacle to obstacle trying to get their license. You have half the video games and movies involving high speed chases. And when you put them the most plodding, dreary location ever (waiting in the DMV), it doesn't set the correct vibe. Obtaining a license should be something to look forward to, but not something you want to get out of the way so bad that you'd consider stabbing heels with pens just to cut in line. Similar to the SATS, the process is so painful, so long, that getting the license becomes not so much "Yay I can drive!" but more "Finally that's fucking over!" The first example is a sense of accomplishment, even humbling. The second is a rapid fire release, a liberation. Try to guess which scenario would yield more teens blasting out of the DMV like a runaway train.
You need to consider that people, especially teens, don't always want instant gratification. They enjoy working at something and then reaping the rewards. But if you make the process too long, unpleasant, outdated, useless, and depressing then teens are more likely to rebel against it. And then it will become yet another thing that adds to teen stress, and another thing that teens will do just to get it out of the way. And it shows in their driving, as it shows in most of ours.
|Posted by from1to10moviereviews on July 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
Soccer is without a doubt the "world sport." Americans like myself may not care much about it, but no one can deny the absolute pandemonium that erupts during soccer games around the globe. There is more passion coming out of the stands than any sport, and it's no longer that full length movies are devoted to soccer fan warfare (ex. Green Street Hooligans).
My problem with soccer is what happens on the field itself. I do not know when it became popular to lightly bump into someone and then wildly throw oneself in the opposite direction, but it needs to stop. Now. Some people actually defend this, saying that it's "part of the game," which is like saying steroids are part of baseball, or released shitty rap singles is part of the NBA. It's a crock. Faking injuries like this, or flopping, reminds me of children playing outside and pretending to get shot in an invisible battle. But these are paid athletes who have the adoration of millions of fans. There is absolutely no excuse for a player to be dribbling along, have no one touch him, and then plummet to the ground, clutching his knee with a pained face so dramatic it would make a Spanish soap opera star blush.
After watching the debacle that was last year's World Cup, I compiled a short list of the flops I witnessed.
1. The Basic = player is speeding along, brushes against another, and then falls to the ground.
2. The Invisible Stick = player is approaching the goal, and once in the area where a penalty shot can be awarded, his legs crisscross and he awkwardly tumbles to the ground, as if tripped by an invisible stick since no one is near him.
3. The Buckshot = when two or more players are running together, like the Flying V of the Mighty Ducks, except they all throw themselves forwards and skid across the grass in one synchronized play.
4. The Plummet = a player is standing still, gets tapped by another player or ball, and buckles to the ground.
5. The Duel = two players of opposite teams bump into each other, and both fall backwards, trying to outdo each other in the agony on their faces while the ref tries to decide who to penalize.
6. The Seizure = a player uses any of the above flop techniques, yet completely loses their shit and starts cartwheeling across the field.
I'm sure there are more. What's funny is that despite the high amount of xenophobia in America, some cultural fads from other nations always carry over to the states. Like Pokemon and British bands. To go back in time, I would have guessed that out of America's top sports, Baseball would have been first to fall to flopping. But no, it was the NBA. Go on Youtube and look up "NBA flops" and you'd be amazed what you will see. Basketball is the epitome of athletes who think they're better than they actually are, yet it is also where you'll see the most pathetic flopping in America. It isn't even a high-contact sport. You dribble, shoot, layup and dunk. There aren't balls flying at 90 mph or Fat Albert Haynesworth blocking the sun. You're shooting hoops. And worse, the refs are accepting these as real penalties. What's going on?
This is why I watch the NFL. The worst they do is....well....shoot people.
|Posted by from1to10moviereviews on July 11, 2012 at 6:40 AM||comments (104)|
There are movie characters we love, and ones we love to hate. Many movies depend on this reaction to characters, otherwise films like Star Wars, Die Hard, Gladiator, and Land Before Time LXXVIII wouldn’t work. Yet time and time again we are subjected to characters who fit in neither category: ones who are seemingly there only to annoy us and zap the life out of a perfectly good film. These people are like the weird hairs you find on your Buffalo Wings.
6. Dr. Madolyn Madden in The Departed
- Writing female characters in a crime film is tough. With all the guns, explosions, war paint and Swarzenagger, women often get lost in the midst, usually succumbing to play a minor romantic interest. Yet there are times where the writer and director say “nay,” and attempt to portray a woman as an actual character: one who isn’t just in the way but is actually likeable, intelligent, and even cool.
- The Departed was not one of those films
- Sporting a badass cast of Leonardo DeCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Warlberg, and Matt “Thanks Team America Now Everyone Says My Name Like A Retard” Damon, The Departed was a perfect crime film, except for the girl.
- Meet Dr. Madolyn Madden, possibly the worst therapist in movie history, and this is coming from someone who saw 50/50. Upon meeting both Damon and DeCaprio, she immediately becomes close to them and proceeds to act as warning sign to anyone who wants to take a medical professional. When she meets the obviously damaged and sleepless DeCaprio, she throws a hissy fit the moment he requests medication and ejects him from her office.
- Then there’s this scene afterwards.
“Here’s a prescription for ___”
“Is it enough to kill myself?”
Yep. You may say, “but she was joking!” except that therapists should never joke about suicide. Especially to a guy working undercover dealing with trauma. The situation only worsens when DeCaprio visits her unexpectantly at her home, clearly vulnerable (she notices this outloud), so she does what any good former therapist would do. She fucks him and later tells him they can’t be friends.
So how does the shrink treat Damon? Alright, I suppose, it’s not like she starting eating a banana when discussing how he couldn’t get it up or anything. Right?
5. Walter Sobchak in Big Lebowski
- I’m going to get some heat for this one, since the movie is such a cult classic and the character does have a fair amount of good lines. He can even get you a toe. But you have to acknowledge that this man is a fucking idiot and a bit of a prick.
- Every plan, every situation he is involved in gets completely fucked up. When The Dude has to drop off ransom money, Walter’s participation results in a flat tire, no ransom delivery, a few dozen stray bullets. He also beats the bejesus out of a random sports car, treats Donnie like absolute shit throughout (even rambles about Vietnam during his euology), and pulls out a gun for a minor infraction at a bowling alley.
- This would all be ok, even comical, if it weren’t for the fact that Walter acts like abratty child. When being yelled at, he simply repeats “calmer than you are” and seems to always need the last word. He’s like two kids saying “nuh huh, ya huh” over and over except to himself. Both Donnie and The Dude have absolutely no motivation to hang with this guy other than the fact he’s on their bowling team. But once your car is stolen and torched, you might want to pick up a different sport, dude.
4. Julie Powell in Julie and Julia
- This film is comprised of two stories: the life of Julia Child learning how to cook in France and eventually becoming the cooking icon we all know today, and the bitchy, whiny New Yorker named Julie Powell who spends a year cooking all of Child’s recipes and ignoring absolutely everything else in her life.
- What makes Julie so frustrating is that the film clearly wants you to root for her while she attempts all these recipes….but you can’t. While Julia Child stayed loving to her husband and kept a friendly demeanor throughout her struggles in the movie, Powell turns into an irritating, irrational, sourpuss, practically shoving her husband away, skipping work, and whining anytime something doesn’t go her way. You know those kids in line at toy stores? The ones stamping their feet and throwing fits? That’s Powell for about an hour.
- What makes this suck for us viewers is the movie is like a tug of war contest: where one side is being pulled by beautiful, sunlit women holding cupcakes, and the other by pimpled DMV reps waving expired cauliflower. Every time the film goes back to Julie, it’s like the film wants you to leave the room. In fact, her scenes last precisely long as making a good sandwich and a cocktail, so maybe they do.
3. Virginia “Pepper” Potts in Iron Man 2
- Again, this is not to say women do not belong in action movies. Hell, look at Princess Leia, Sarah Conner, and Ripley. But if you’re going to go down the Girl-Just-There-To-Be-A-Love-Interest path, please don’t give her a lot of screen time.
- Yet here we have Pepper, played by Gweneth Paltrow, spending scene after scene doing abso-fucking-lutely nothing. When Tony Stark needs her to simply chuck the Iron Man suitcase to him, she just sits and screams. When he ignores he pleas to stop getting drunk in the Iron Man suit, she just stands and waits to see what will happen. The only time she does anything is when she shooes away the seedy manufacturer Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell, and takes control of security at an event. However, that’s only after she herself was shooed away by him. And just as she is about to leave with a poopyface and update her Twitter with a bowl of Chunky Monkey like the flat, stereotypical character she is, Black Widow steps forward and shoves his face into the desk, and suddenly Pepper jumps in, as if taking credit.
- Don’t forget about the scene when she sees a drone that’s obviously about to self-destruct on the ground, red light flashing, a timer beeping faster by the second, and she just stares at it. For twenty fucking seconds. You know how long twenty seconds is? Go ahead. Count.
- It doesn’t help that Paltrow is horrendously miscast. Every line she delivers sounds like a cheerleader giving a Salutatorian speech at a high school graduation. It’s like she doesn’t know how to enunciate without sounding like she’s rehearsing. Sam Rockwell is also beyond obnoxious in the film, but the award goes to Paltrow for the simple irony that she won an Oscar for reciting Shakespeare, yet can’t say “I gotta go get some air,” with any conviction.
2. Interpreter Timothy E. Upham in Saving Private Ryan
- Fuck this guy
1. All the Aliens in Jabba’s Palace/Endor in Return of the Jedi
- Return of the Jedi, upon second viewing, seems to mark the point where Lucas began stepping into his goofy, weird-voices-equals-comedy phase he hasn’t left yet. This is when he tried to cram in as much random creatures and silly dialogue as he could, most likely to make the film appeal to children. The problem with Lucas, as we all know, is that he doesn’t realize that you don’t need to talk down to kids in order to entertain them. Watch Pixar, classic Disney, and 90’s sitcoms if you want proof.
- So in a movie about defiance, personal torment, and friendship in the time of war, we are paraded into a looooooong scene at Jabba’s Palace, where quirky, annoying, and unimportant aliens are all given screen time. Whether it’s pig guards who log shockingly like tanned Chief Wiggums or green dancer who gets eaten, you begin to feel like you something is going quit right. However, the worst is that one, insufferable little alien with the big ears. The one who jumps all over the place and makes a noise I’ll try to recreate via text.
- Imagine a donkey that sucked up helium and drank only liquefied cocaine and that about covers everything that comes out of that creature’s mouth. My question is, did Lucas think it was funny? What tone was he going for here? The thing doesn’t even have a name. It meant nothing to the scene or the story. So why Lucas? Why do we have to hear it?
- The Ewoks, although outrageously fuzzy, receive an absurd amount of screen time. They aren’t so much annoying as simply pointless, and having to watch them jump all over storm troopers is really jarring when you just cut from the Emperor electrocuting the shit out of Luke. You watch their antics like you watch a kid’s play. Yeah it’s cute and all, but you’d rather get some laundry done. And if it were on TV, you’d consider changing the channel. Lucas should have just saved them for another movie. Maybe just compiled everything he couldn’t fit into the trilogy into a TV movie. Maybe around Christmas. Oops.