Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 13, 2019
Ask not for whom “The Bells” toll
Category: Linkage … Miscellany … TV, Film, & DVDs

For readers interested in discussion of last night's Game of Thrones episode (S08E05, "The Bells), I thought this IGN review was an interesting one -- not necessarily because of the fairly universal criticisms it advances, but because one gets to see the reviewer actively contend with the reviewer's mindset and the utility of reviewing media at all, which is kind of an odd thing (and admittedly a touch frustrating) to see from someone getting paid to do it. I definitely disagree with the conclusions at which the author apparently arrives -- if that's how you feel, why bother attempting to evaluate anything? More to the point, why review media for a larger audience (besides the coveted paycheck)? I do think it invokes a conversation all "critics" need to have with themselves, though, and if you have any interest at all in that -- or in criticisms of the particular episode -- I think it's worth a look.

(Standout cringeworthy sentences: "But I was apparently giving the show too much credit, and ultimately that's on me, not the writers" and "I'd rather just pull a random number out of a hat than try to come up with one that I'll still agree with in a week or a month.")

Also, for a laugh, dig this Vox piece about the 4 winners and 10 losers from the episode. And this Polygon article about how things work in GoT Season 8 isn't the most compellingly written, but the points it makes are solid.

-posted by Wes | 3:34 pm | Comments (0)
Archie fights a mobster because reasons

Okay y'all -- I have a Riverdale clip for you. It's not from the episode I'd currently show to anyone to give them a good understanding of the best and worst of what Season 3 has to offer (that'd be S03E19), but you need to watch it.

Some background: Hiram Lodge (Veronica's pops) is poised to buy the town of Riverdale and install his own government, etc. -- because apparently that's a thing that can happen in the Riverdale universe??? -- and Archie is determined to not let that happen, because Hiram Lodge is pretty doggoned evil. But Archie's just a punk high school kid, so what can he do? Answer: he can roll into the local steam room where Lodge is chilling with his "business" associates and challenge Lodge to a winner-takes-Riverdale boxing match. And of course Lodge can't back down, because refusing a punk kid's laughable challenge to a public fighting exhibition would somehow make him look weak. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 3:19 pm | Comments (0)
May 8, 2019
Snap Snap (Avengers: Endgame spoilers)

Spoiler ban is apparently lifted, so let's talk about Avengers: Endgame! (Obviously, if you care about spoilers and haven't seen it yet, stop reading now.)

So I had a lot of issues with this movie -- but let's start with an arguably kinda minor one toward the end. It's the sort of thing that makes me glad I saw the movie, since it's not an issue I'd thought a whole lot about, and yet the very fact that I'm thinking about it here lowers my opinion of the movie (and the writing/thought processes behind it) as a whole.

Film is a visual medium, right? So we rely on visual cues to convey information that shouldn't otherwise be necessary in order for certain things to happen. In Heroes, for instance, Sylar's signature power was telekinesis, not finger lasers -- so he shouldn't strictly have needed to do anything with his hands in order to activate that power. And yet whenever he sliced into someone's skull he'd point two fingers and, from a distance, trace the line of the incision, because it helped the viewer to follow the action. Intuitively I understood this, and yet I never actively questioned the gesture because it was so effectively done. The best instances of these gestures are often highly imitable; Heroes has been off the air for nearly a decade and I still routinely swipe two fingers to the side when passing through automatic doors. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 1:28 pm | Comments (0)
August 27, 2018
Monday morning musings

I like to think I'm a pretty predictable person -- at least insofar as I'm able to anticipate my own actions (frex, I know how much I appreciate alliteration) -- but even I would not have guessed that I'd be watching anthro pony demonic transformations in multiple languages at 5 o'clock on a Monday morning.

It's also perpetually fascinating to me how *familiar* German sounds to me. Granted, I don't actually understand the language (stock phrases and memorized Doro Pesch lyrics excepted), and we moved back to the US in the summer of '88 -- making it a full 30 years since I lived overseas. Notwithstanding these facts, the language and even German accents still somehow strike me as sounds of home.

-posted by Wes | 5:38 am | Comments (0)
May 30, 2018
Belated thoughts on Roseanne’s Muslim episode

So... Roseanne.

I'd been meaning to post about the Muslim episode that aired on 5/8, since I watched that a few weeks ago -- and I guess this is as good a time as any to comment on it! It was... odd. Like, on the one hand, it presented the Muslim couple in a mostly positive light. Although they were on food stamps (not that there's anything wrong with that, but I imagine many conservative viewers have a different opinion, even though Roseanne's family on the show receives the same assistance), they were friendly and helpful neighbors (despite being woken up by Roseanne and company at 2AM) and loving parents. And they were baseball fans, so hey! VERY AMERICAN!

On the other hand, Roseanne's ignorance in this episode was pronounced, mostly played for laughs, and never truly examined or unequivocally rejected. The episode began with her spying on her neighbors and speculating about their terrorist plots, her every utterance punctuated with a smattering of laughter. Later, when the family's internet service was disconnected (because the Conners couldn't pay the bill), they sat around trying to guess the Muslim neighbors' password: Roseanne cleverly suggested "deathtoamerica123." Cue laugh track! (more...)

-posted by Wes | 6:05 pm | Comments (0)
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