Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
August 29, 2019
Crowdfunding Unicron
Category: Toys

So it totally makes sense to me that individuals or even independent studios (like the Four Horsemen) would rely upon crowdfunding in order to realize their wares, but now even the major companies are crowdfunding certain products. And honestly? I'm not sure how I feel about that. In a way it makes sense, but I feel like Hasbro should have the resources to bring a product to market, and if they're not confident that said product will hit their minimum profit threshold then they just shouldn't make that product.

As it is, it creates this weird dynamic among fans and collectors where -- because the toy in question, Hasbro's massive and ambitious G1 Unicron, only gets made if 8000 people plunk down close to $600 to make it happen -- you've got some collectors actively criticizing and sniping and subtly digging at others for not helping to get Unicron made. You also have people who are in no way paying $600 for a goddamned toy -- and who don't particularly need or want a toy over two feet tall -- and so resent all parties for attempting to goad them into such a ridiculous purchase. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 10:49 pm | Comments (0)
Not-so Scary Stories

Earlier this week I saw Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Admittedly I did not actually expect it to be scary (and it wasn't), but I also did not expect it to be as lame as it was. Irritating characters, dialogue that was 90% needless exposition, and "scares" detached from any context that might have made them more compelling does not make for good viewing.

I'm also highly disappointed in some of the choices that were made for this film -- namely the decision not to make it an anthology. I might be a little biased here -- I love horror anthology flicks -- but part of that bias probably owes to the ease of making a relatively effective horror anthology. (Of the 4-5 stories in any anthology film, only one of them needs to be memorable for the movie to be worth watching, and all but the crappiest flicks can usually pull that off.) Here, however, we had a film expressly based on a collection of scary stories, and for some reason they made it about a group of annoying teens and a ghost that kills by writing stories in its Death Note. It was kinda like a weak horror remake of "Ghostwriter", only nowhere near as enjoyable as actual Ghostwriter (to say nothing of a proper horror remake of Ghostwriter, which now I think I need to see). (more...)

-posted by Wes | 12:08 pm | Comments (0)
July 30, 2019
Grammatical Justice

So admittedly I find grammatical errors in television speech irksome, but only slightly so -- after all, it's not as if we never err in our speech, and generally speaking we don't pause to revise and correct ourselves unless others are having trouble understanding us. (Heck, unless the error made is a particularly egregious or careless one, I'm not even that annoyed when I encounter those mistakes in writing.) But what does bother me quite a bit is when pedantic characters on TV go out of their way to correct the speech of others and are *wrong* when they do so. Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock did this on several occasions; it never failed to make me cringe.

from Young Justice S03E19: "Elder Wisdom"

The latest example: Eduardo Dorado Sr. on Young Justice. In "Elder Wisdom" (S03E19; also that episode title compounds my irritation), after commenting on the difficulties that families of meta-humans endure, Eduardo Dorado Jr. remarks, "Someone needs to show them families can survive and stay together. If not you and me, then who?" His father, after a moment of reflection, responds, "Whom." It's meant to be a warm moment that signals his father's acceptance -- and indeed it likely was for most viewers. Alas, for me, the erroneous correction undermined it.

To be fair, there is a grammatical error in Jr.'s speech, but it's not "who" -- it's "me." He says, "Someone needs to show them families can survive and stay together." Inferred: We -- You and I -- need to show them. If we -- you and I -- don't show them, then who will? And while I can understand a teen (or adult) getting "me" wrong there, a pedant should really be on point when correcting others' pronouns. A writer writing a pedant correcting others' pronouns should be especially on point.

For shame, Eduardo Dorado Sr.

-posted by Wes | 5:34 am | Comments (0)
June 27, 2019
NECA Toys: Some (dis)Assembly Required.
Category: Toys

Don't get me wrong -- NECA makes gorgeous action figures. They're pumping out spectacular-looking releases from properties near and dear to my heart: TMNT, Terminator, Alien/Predator, and Godzilla among them. Heck, I often pick up NECA's pieces even when I'm not familiar with a property. The toys just look that damned good, and I love adding new NECA figures to my collection.

But I really don't understand how anyone but fairly competent customizers (or collectors who never open their figures) can be satisfied with NECA products, since it seems like 8/10 figures require significant attention to fix some problem. Like, even beyond the typical heating of joints required to get a given NECA release moving. (Which, btw, is a thing I can't ever recall having to do with a Playmates TMNT figure. Just saying.) For example, the 1962 Godzilla I recently bought had one of his hip balls glued stuck -- even though it was clearly intended as a point of articulation -- and so I spent a good deal of time prying apart that joint and sanding away the excess glue within and lubricating the joint to ensure smooth motion and then reassembling the figure, all to get it to move how it should have moved right out of the box. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 8:33 pm | Comments (0)
June 21, 2019
Brief thoughts on the Kashuv controversy
Category: Current Events … Linkage … Serious

So I'd linked the Vox article and included the accompanying text in a couple of places on social media, but I wanted to make sure I had a record of it here in my own space as well. (While I don't expect I have any regular readers these days who'd be inclined to weigh in, feel free to comment if you come across this whenever and have thoughts!) So here's the link to the Vox piece, and here's a Huffington Post article containing screencaps of the comments that have landed him in hot water. My post intended to initiate discussion and/or opinion sharing is below:

I'm curious to hear folks' thoughts on the Kyle Kashuv controversy. (I've included the Vox link because it gives a fairly comprehensive overview of the situation and includes abundant links to further information and assessments, not because of the particular viewpoint expressed here -- though I am in agreement with the author's sentiments about identity politics.)

For my part, I don't have a strong opinion about Harvard's decision -- I wouldn't have been outraged had Kashuv retained his admission, nor am I pleased that his admission was rescinded. Still, I acknowledge the difficult position in which the university was placed and I can imagine why rejecting Kashuv ultimately seemed like the better option. (Among other things -- and barring some demonstrated growth and insight that I haven't gleaned from reading several months of the kid's Twitter feed -- I don't know how favorably his peers would have responded to him on campus. I imagine at best he would have been a decidedly polarizing figure, and I'm not sure a student like that is a positive addition to a campus community.)

In any case, I'm sure Kashuv will be fine in the long run, and I hope that his stated contention to do better wasn't contingent upon the Harvard situation's resolving in his favor.

-posted by Wes | 6:04 am | Comments (0)
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