Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Agents of Saboteur

If one were to peruse the local library or online collection of movies and TV shows made available to us through the internet, one might be quick to surmise that some professions - such as saboteur agent, spy, or some similar construction - are vogue, adventurous, and, if nothing else, sexy. Given, however, that we are all agents of sabotage in that we all seemingly know no bounds in which we can stop ourselves from self-sabotage, one must also be quick to surmise that, once again, Hollywood has lied to as about the glamour of said profession.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Depression as a Reality

It is common for a doctor, or therapist, or even respectful peer or family member to state thusly that depression is a falsely constructed reality, that it does not represent accurately the future, or one's potential, or a fair and accurate assessment of life. Given, however, that indeed, all routes end in failure and death, and all accomplishments are meaningless, it is apt to say that depression is rather the most accurate depiction of life, as it understands and accepts the folly of it all.

Monday, December 19, 2016

To Be a Writer

It's been accurately surmised that writing, when compared to other creative endeavors, has the lowest barrier to entry. To wit, one can attempt to write something given such simple luxuries as pencil and paper, or access to a computer, while something such as, say, painting, requires a canvas and paint set, or access to digital software. Because of this, at various given times in one's life, one usually attempts to write something. Given that the definition of being a writer is fluid, and different people have different standards for what makes one a writer, the present author would like to present the most conclusive and objective definition of writing. Also given that almost everyone writes something each and every day, but given that almost everyone achieves failure each and ever day, the current author proposes that nobody is actually a writer, but instead is merely a vessel through which delusions of grandeur flow, oftentimes in the form of the written word.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rogue One

I went to the very first 7pm screening of Rogue One on Thursday night. What follows are my simple, first impression, spoiler-free thoughts.

I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I guess I'll not bury the HOT TAKE LEDE and just say that as a movie, Rogue One is more interesting than TFA. It strays from tradition more, it works emotively more, and it doesn't have plot holes that you can drive a bus through. While it's no 4-6 in that regard (they being pretty darn tight all things considered, for action movies), the few plot holes are more Segway sized than Greyhound sized.

I had hopes for this because of the director. Gareth Edwards has made two feature films, his first film, Monsters, is a shoe-string budget film about two strangers tasked with nearly impossible odds as they traverse alien infested Mexico to get to the US. But instead of playing up the Monsters and delivering some sci-fi fight fest, it presents them merely as a constant threat. Rather, the movie spends most of the screen time dwelling on our two protagonist's journey and their relationship in the toughest of circumstances. It excelled as a character piece, and was a not-so-subtle jab at immigration policies and the philosophical idea of national borders.

Godzilla was his first big-budget film, and while it had a good sense of tragedy and scale, it floundered a bit and didn't give enough time to the central characters, pandered to action set-pieces too much, rushed a lot of plot developments, and fell flat because of it.

Still, as I said, I had hope here because Edwards can really make some good characters - believable characters - as a ragtag group even in the presence of insurmountable odds- and oh my gosh that sounds like Star Wars!

And in Rogue One, he does! This is a more emotive piece. Infact, Edwards shoots for more tragedy and drama than any previous Star Wars movie, and while it's not always a success, it works way more often than it doesn't.

But perhaps most impressively is how hard this had to be. TFA had the impossible task of living up to 4-6 and starting the series off on fresh footing, not the bantha poodoo infested one Jar Jar trampled across the prequels with (as much as I still love them). And you can tell Disney wanted to stick with what worked and mirror 4-6 as much as possible. That was hard enough in terms of living up to renewed expectations.

Rogue One, too, had a really, really difficult challenge itself; how do you insert a work into a 7 movie universe as a prequel to the 4th movie that was made almost 40 years ago, and stay consistent with everything already established as cannon while still eking out a new existence?

I don't know! I wouldn't even know where to begin! Obviously, some people did, because almost every concept introduced here, every battle, every world building universe moment, is consistent with the period from 3 to 4, consistent with 4, and oftentimes a direct counter to that voice in the back of your head that would say "well what about..." Credit to everyone involved making this mostly seamless. I was expecting to come out wondering how the hell this would fit without unintentionally retconning or messing up the internal established rules. It frays the boundaries a bit, but manages to come up really clean, all things considered. There are a few things that aren't 100% seamless with 4-6, but it's so close that credit is due.

The main flaws? A few. A couple scenes teeter on the edge of melodrama. An important character is entirely CGI, for understandable reasons, but I ultimately disagree with the decision. CGI is getting there, and has come a long ways from CGI Neo in Matrix Reloaded, but it still pulls the viewer out a bit and reminds you it's all just a movie. Maybe in another 20 years or so. There are also still a decent amount of callbacks, which some love and others not so much, but other than one sort of veering into dead horse territory, the movie isn't nearly as wed to them as TFA was.

All the characters, except one (who is sadly typecast), otherwise, are pretty darn good, and shine in their own ways. The two leads are great, the droid is great. Even the minor characters have their moments.

It's a fuzzier film. The good guys aren't all good, war is awful, and the Rebel Alliance is shown to be just that; an alliance. The travesty of the Empire and the things they do, like, in 4 where they BLOW UP A PLANET are finally given some appropriate weight. It's a departure film. Literally not even 1 second into the film and you realize you're not in Kansas any more. Maybe Nebraska. Or Iowa. You get the drift.

Ultimately, it all just works. It works as an in-universe insert, up through the very last scenes that are so, so good. It works as a character piece. It works as a war piece (which, ironically, Star WARS never really has). It works emotionally, mostly. It works as tragedy. Most importantly, it works as a Star Wars film - a different one, a darker one, an edgier one, one that Lucas wouldn't have made, all due respect to how dark V was, but still, in its own, an excellent film.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bad Year

It has not been uncommon, if one is to read certain things online, to find someone proclaiming that 2016 was a bad year. That the combination of fatalities experienced, world events, and other miscellaneous developments conspired to create a year that was, in a sense, a dumpster fire. What the greater collective hivemind seems to forget, however, is the fact that all years are bad. Indeed, if each annual existence is merely a continuous experience of the nature of suffering, then one wonders why we even break up said existence into such things as years or months, given the evident reality and consistency of failure and suffering that exists at all seconds of our lives.

Of course, if one were to assume that the gradual arc of history is one that bends towards justice, one might then proclaim that each year is better than the last. Given, however, rapidly rising income inequality and environmental destruction, it seems that said trend is, coincidentally, about to come to a crashing end. Much like, for example, one's sense of hope.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


One would think, given the present author's precarious response to a mistake being that of world ending psychosis, that the present author would strive to eliminate mistakes as a regular, daily occurrence. Given, however, that is not currently the present author's overriding aim, one must conclude that fundamentally, the present author is committing the gravest mistake of allowing all other mistakes to fester.

Monday, December 5, 2016


If one accepts - correctly, the present author might add -  that the pursuit of one's dreams is the largest expenditure of wasted energy one can fulfill, one may be inclined to ask, then, what pursuit is not, entirely, a waste of one's energy. Given, however, that all pursuits, large or small, end in folly; and all lives, large or small, end in death, one might be presupposed to conclude that there is no such expenditure of energy or effort that is not wholly wasted. Of course, given the then relative equality of futility, one may also argue that pursuing one's dream is no worse than spending one's time and effort at assumedly less depressing goals. Given, however, the unique characteristics of continuing to fail in achieving one's dreams, spending energy to achieve and attempt nothing is, if nothing else, psychologically less damaging than spending energy to achieve nothing while attempting everything.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law states, as it were, that if something can go wrong it will go wrong. While a prima facie investigation of life might reveal this Law to be true, it lacks a certain amount of detail that can render its theory rather tame when compared to the reality. For instance, at any given time, there is a veritable multitude of ways in which things can go wrong, often in varying degrees of severity. Given that failure is the epistemological reality of human existence, one might amend Murphy's Law to state that, given a way in which something can go wrong, it will always go wrong in the worst possible way.