Critical Examination: There Doesn’t Need to be a Discussion About Difficulty in Gaming

I recently watched the review of Cuphead by a YouTuber that I find genuinely engaging.  I often have some disagreements with stuff or think some of his perspectives are not the best, but I am not the kind of person who has to agree with everything someone says to like their content.  Contrary to popular opinion, not all of us critics of the regressive left are as bad as the people we criticize.  Some of us actually can deal with disagreement and even have some genuinely lively banter on the subject.  This particular YouTuber and I have actually had very lively debate in the comments section of my own posts where I reference their work.  As a way of helping promote this individual, here is a link to their review of Cuphead, now let’s get to the point.

In the video, he says that there is a genuine discussion that should be had about difficulty in gaming.  This talking point has come about after a frankly hilarious video of a game journalist being oddly incapable of dealing with the tutorial level had this person getting well-deserved ridicule.  There was a guy who is very physically handicapped making a video showing his ability to play the game well.  I’m sorry, but he fucked up, and there’s nothing wrong with making fun of the video that was put out and his butthurt reaction to it.  There is especially nothing wrong with ridiculing video game journalists for standing up for being bad at games when this is their line of work.

The aforementioned YouTuber said difficulty vs accessibility in games is a worthwhile discussion.  I am here to respectfully disagree.  Now let me make something clear – I’m not talking about this when it comes to video games that are virtually unplayable.  If a game has a stupid difficulty spike that makes things unfair, that is something worth calling out.  I’m talking about games that make very clear the fact that they are hard and you should be expecting that.

Best example – Dark Souls, but instead of looking at that (because I never got into the franchise), let’s take a look at a game in the same vein that I happen to love – BloodborneBloodborne is hard.  Really hard.  This game will fuck you up.  Dark Souls is a game where you are encouraged to play defensively and wait for openings to attack.  Bloodborne is nothing like that.  Playing defensively will get you killed.  The reality is that it is a game where you are actively encouraged to take risks.  Did you just take a really bad hit?  Well, if you have the guts and fast timing, you can get back into the fight and regain some of the health if you do it quickly.  You got a limited window, idiot!  So get in there and fight!  That style of gameplay is not accessible to everyone.  Plus, the fact that the game demands that style of play also means that you are going to be putting you fate in the hands of blind luck more than you’d like.

But here’s the thing – the players of this game know this.  They accept this.  It’s an understood risk of playing this game.  Because that’s the kind of game that From Software makes.  It’s in the vein of a franchise that was marketed specifically on it being really, really hard.  The original poster for Dark Souls had the line “Prepare to Die” on it.  Players went in with both eyes wide open.  Uncompromising difficulty.  But here’s the thing – you can learn how to work with that.  You learn the placement of the enemies, and the weaknesses of bosses.  Then you put that knowledge to use and fight your ass off.  A little luck will sometimes be required, but you will learn by trial and error.  Lots, and lots of error.

At what point does a game that is difficult become inaccessible?  When it doesn’t appeal to the casual?  Games that market themselves on difficulty are by their nature going to be niche.  Despite the mainstream success of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, they are games made for a certain type of gamer and they know that.  They aren’t the only ones.  Look at Devil May Cry 3 as another example.  That game’s difficulty is downright punishing at points.  The final fight with Vergil requires nerves of steel and a little bit of genuine luck to overcome.  But players understood this.  No one was saying back in the day that we needed to have an Easy mode.

The big debate seems to be that we need to make games easier so that people who don’t like difficult games can have them.  Why?  Why should a game designer compromise their creative image of a game in order to cater to people who don’t want to invest the time or energy to master the game’s mechanics?  You can become pretty badass at Bloodborne if you just learn the placement of enemies and learn how to telegraph their attacks.  I can take on giants and wolf-men early on just by being able to dodge at then strike while taking time to step back and recover energy.  It’s not that hard.  Guess who I did that – by mastering the game’s mechanics.  While the enemies get more difficult in New Game Plus, now I have the weapons I like best and can make even shorter work of my foes.  Because by now I’ve played the game long enough to have that level of mastery.

Plus, there is no way to make that game easy.  Not really.  The game’s entire mechanics are centered around the difficulty and playing well to be able to overcome that.  Everything is built around that!  Take that away and what are you left with?  A game where you wander around beautiful gothic environments and kill the occasional bad guy.  Where’s the fun there?

I’m not seeing where this idea that games need to be easier in order to cater to more people comes from.  The new Assassin’s Creed game has a kind of spectator mode where there are no enemies or threats and you can just wander around the world and look at stuff.  I mean, sure, the environments are pretty, but why not just make a game that is an open world walking simulator at that point?  I don’t even hate walking simulators on their merits.  My favorite game of 2015 was Life is Strange.  But Assassin’s Creed isn’t that type of game.  It’s the kind of game where you are supposed to be taking out targets and using stealth to infiltrate places.  All of the game’s mechanics are built around that.  Take that away and what’s left?  Nothing important, that’s what.

Here’s the thing – I get that hard games can be frustrating to people.  The uncompromising difficulty of Cuphead with its catchy art style and glorious music (sucks that I don’t have an Xbox One.  Will never get to play it unless I get a decent gaming PC) is something players have to adapt to.  But forgive me if I actually believe that players can do that, instead of having to have their hands held the whole damn time because the devs need to make a mode just so they can get in on the fun.  I can play the easy mode on Persona 5 because I love the story and I am just dying to get ahead on it without grinding for long periods of time.  But then I can crank up the difficulty on Doom and rip and tear with the vast arsenal.  But the thing is that both devs made those choices for those modes to be in it.  Can you imagine Doom with a safe mode?  That sounds boring as fuck.

Will be sending this article to the aforementioned YouTuber.  We’ll see where this goes.  What about all of you?  Thoughts about the difficulty vs accessibility in gaming?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“It is one of man’s curious idiosyncrasies to create difficulties for the pleasure of solving them.” – Joseph de Maistre

Peace out,

Maverick

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How Many Steps Forward Do I Take?

There’s this retarded video making the rounds that is supposed to educate everyone about the nature of privilege and show me that I’m a bad person for having all the privilege with the camera consistently cutting to some black guy who feels dejected for not being as far ahead as everyone else.  Well, I’ve decided to see how many steps I get to take.  I’ll answer each question and we’ll count the steps at the end.  I’ll also be proving a point with this at the same time.  I am a lower-class adult who is living just above the poverty level.  I grew up VERY lower-middle class.  As I said, it’s going to prove a point.

Take two steps forward if your parents are still married

Over 25 years and counting.  Probably closer to 30.  Took my two steps (in my mind).

Take two steps forward if you grew up with a father figure in the home.

Wait, I thought one of the big things is how we don’t need fathers anymore?  I thought that was a big regressive left talking point?  Took my two steps, though.  Thank Groj I’m not actually having to do this in real life.  My tiny-ass apartment isn’t good for it.

Take two steps forward if you had access to private education

The idea that my family was affording that is amusing to me.  I’m a public school boy just like pretty much the rest of you.  Ain’t taking those steps.

Take two steps forward if you had access to a free tutor

Not even in the state university I went to.  No steps taken.

Take two steps forward if you never had to worry about your cell phone being shut off

I’ve been so poor that my phone was shut off.  That’s the thing about having a prepaid cheap as shit phone.  Still standing here.

Take two steps forward if you’ve never had to help your parents with bills.

Finally, moving again.  Yeah, my parents are excellent with the money they have and are able to save well.  They learned how to do poverty right and thanks to both of them working for the school district in my hometown, they both have stable retirement, but it’s understood that because of their financial situation, one of them will be working until they are REALLY old.  Took my two steps, but this question is ignoring the nuance of the situation.

Take two steps forward if it wasn’t for your athletic ability, you didn’t have to pay for college.

My debt was $46,000.  Blow me.  Standing right here.

Take two steps forward if you’ve never had to worry about where your next meal would come from

I’ve starved myself before because of the poverty I’ve been in over the years.  But please, tell me again about all the privilege I have because of the color of my skin.  All fucking ears.

So let’s count the steps.  I took six.  Six steps.  How much do you figure the rich black kid who grew up on the hillside in the city I live in took?  A fuck of a lot more.  This stupid video that’s making the rounds ignores all nuance because it’s easier to show the dejected black guy looking sad and play to one’s pathos than to look at those of us who grew up in a poor community and had to work our fucking asses off to get where we are.  I hate that video, and fuck the people who say it’s so inspiring.  Fuck everyone who wants to tell me about the fact that I have it so much better because I’m white.

Here’s the thing about privilege – if someone could tell me how I could cash this shit in, I would.  I really would.  Without a second thought, I would.  I’d go to the Privilege Bank and get all the perks I could get, today.  My life has been so fucking hard and I am so fucking tired of being poor and having to balance doing repairs on my car with saving a hundred bucks a month.  That’s the position I’m in.  You want to tell me about how I have it so good because of my fucking privilege?  Yeah, you do that, upper-middle class white girl with hair dyed a color not found in nature, of the black kid who is attending an Ivy League school on your parent’s dime.

Go right ahead.  Because my answer is the same – can you direct me to where I can cash in this privilege?  If so, I’ll talk to you later.  I got somewhere I need to be.

Until next time, a quote,

“One ungrateful person does an injury to all needy people.” – Pubilius Syrus

Peace out,

Maverick

My Romantic Movie Night

Just got done watching Garden of Words.  The animation in that film is absolutely stunning.  It is a visual masterpiece.  Thought about doing a review of it, but I figured that I haven’t written anything of substance on this page in a while.  Honestly haven’t had much that inspires me to write about.  I could write about Trump’s latest idiocy, but that’s done by the entire fucking media.  To be fair, he doesn’t make it hard.  How are people saying that America didn’t elect its first female President?  Sure looks that way to me.  We elected an oversized teenage girl into the Presidency.  The glass ceiling has been broken!

But back to the film, it may have been a visual masterpiece, but I kind of hate it.  Hear me out – it all comes down to the ending.  There’s no resolution!  You have this scene where the underage kid reveals to the woman who he has bonded with when he finally figures out who she is that he’s in love with her.  She totally shoots him down.  It’s a harsh scene.  I felt so hard for that kid.  Throwing your heart out and then getting it thrown in your face is hard.  Then the adult woman who he admitted his feelings for realizes that she has feelings for him too and goes after the kid.  It’s a truly fantastic scene when they meet and the kid is all sad and angry and rails on her, only for her to run into his arms.  I love that scene.  It’s some truly amazing payoff and the voice acting is phenomenal.  It’s a testament to the people who made it.

Then she leaves!  The two are apart and that’s it.  Come on!  Now, I get that this would be a little weird, considering the fact that she’s 27 years old and he’s 15.  But better films have made this work.  Why have her leave?  Maybe have the two admitting how they feel but also acknowledging that they can’t be together because of the age gap and have them realizing that they will have to wait a little bit.  That’s an acknowledgement of reality while still having them looking to keep their feelings alive.  It would have been much more fulfilling if the film ended with her finding a life close to the person she loves, and having him giving her the shoes he had been making the whole film to her at the end.  Like a kind of promise.  Wouldn’t that have been more fulfilling?

See, here’s the thing about me – I’m a hardcore closet romantic.  When I watch FLCL, I feel a genuine tinge for the kid when he is falling for an older woman.  It’s funny, American media bitches about how the idea of a younger man dating an older woman is so frowned upon.  Japan certainly doesn’t shy away from an age difference with boys and women.  What’s more, they also make it respectable.  Sure, there is plenty of fan service for busty older women that young horny boys are into, but in both Garden of Words and FLCL, they play it as these women being genuine people with the boys discovering their romantic identity with them.  In both cases, it makes for some great scenes.  But while FLCL played it off that the kid falling for the older girl was a metaphor for him growing up and accepting who he is, Garden of Words played the romantic angle straight.  Which makes it that much more frustrating when the film ends on a sour note for no good fucking reason.

I really am bad about it.  When I watch the scene in Stein’s Gate when Christina and Okarin admit their feelings for each other, I judge that scene harshly as well.  It’s a great scene, but it could have been better.  For starters, the music in there is terrible.  It’s distractingly bad.  The scene would have been better served if there was no music at all.  Would have added to the emotional gravity as well, considering the fact that Okarin was about to let the woman he just admitted that he loves die.  Genuinely would have loved that scene more.  Also, get rid of the narration by Christina.  It added nothing.  Just quiet.  Have the rain be the biggest sound, with a few seconds for the audience to take in the cruel irony of what was happening with these two characters.

Anytime I see romantic scenes in stuff I like, I typically get all butterflies, while secretly seeing ways the scene could be better and really make me all warm and buttery about it.  Am I the only one?  No joke, someone in the comments, tell me if I am fucking crazy here.  So many great romantic scenes in movies are ruined because of bad details.  Used a lot of anime references.  What can I say, they tend to play romance a lot better than sappy love stories in American cinema.  That’s not to say that it isn’t done well in other mediums.  In the French film Blue is the Warmest Color, I feel genuine heartbreak as Adele is first introduced to the truth about her sexuality with a classmate, only for her feelings to be totally crushed when she realizes it was just a one-off thing and not a sign of true attraction.  The tears on her face seemed genuine.

I guess it’s a sign of me getting older.  As the years on my birthday cake grow, and my time having been single grows, I feel more and more of it.  But no one who sees me in person will know that.  My cynicism is well-known to those who speak to me.  Groj knows, I’ve made no secret of it here.  Deep down, though, there is that part of me that secretly longs to have that moment where I meet a girl at a place I regularly go and then strike up a conversation and something grows between us.  A man can dream, right?  Granted, everyone goes to bars to meet people these days.  I go to bookstores and walks around my home.  Not a lot of places for romance.  But hey, it can happen, right?

What about all of you?  What romantic scenes from stuff (I swear, if someone says The Notebook I’m gonna virtually smack you.  That movie is fucking terrible) have made you all warm and buttery inside?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“I love you.  I can’t help it.  Yukino, I think I’ve fallen in love with you.” – Takao Akizuki, The Garden of Words

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: The New Mutants Official Trailer

Twentieth Century Fox has really shown that they are willing to take insane risks with their properties.  First it was with Deadpool, then it was with Logan.  The first was a very light-hearted and violent film that never went too hard-R.  The second was a grisly and very grim film that went insanely hard-R and didn’t shy back from the violence.  I really like that.  This new film has decided to take another strange turn, into an avenue that I honestly never saw a Marvel film taking before now, and I am so desperately hoping it is financially successful, so other films can learn from this example.  Now they are going straight-up horror.  I find this fascinating.  There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get into it.

We begin by seeing shots of a dark establishment.  There are lots of gravestones with code numbers that are very reminiscent of the ones the kids had in Logan.  We have “We Don’t Need No Education” playing in the background.  Is the idea that this place is a school?  An odd choice, but I’ll go with it.  There is a woman grilling a small child, asking if she has ever noticed strange things happening.  Then the question comes up – have you ever heard of mutants?

This leads me into wondering where in the timeline this film takes place.  Part of me figures that it takes place in the same universe and timeline as Logan.  It fits.  After all, how else would you explain the fact that no one seems to know what a mutant is?  Society has forgotten about them.  They’ve been dead for a generation and now we have new mutants coming along.  Lots of cool implications there.

It cuts to the doctor talking to a new kid about the fact that baby rattlesnakes are more dangerous than adults because they can have more deadly bites.  Interesting.  A metaphor for the fact that children are more dangerous than adults?  Neat thought process there.  Get to meet a couple more mutants, including a blonde girl.  The doctor says that these children are dangerous, which leads to one of the kids hearing noises come from a washing machine.  The kid gets closer, until a hand slams onto the door and flames come out.  Okay.  Lots of questions.  Why was that kid in there?  Why are flames coming out?  This is weird.

Then it gets to the montage of stuff, and this is where it got my attention.  The aforementioned doctor is all cut up.  Okay.  One of the mutant kids has blood on her finger and then faces start meshing through the walls.  Interesting.  A kid describes this place as not a hospital, but a haunted house.  That line is kind of dumb, but at least it informs the idea that this place is painted as a place of healing, even though it’s much more likely that it’s some kind of Weapon X type facility.  There’s someone in a weird mask.  Horror movie trope #1,000,000.

We see more and more chaos surrounding these mutants.  What interests me is the idea that if it’s the kids themselves or something outside them.  So maybe this film takes place before any of the mutants from other films are discovered?  Like, these are some of the originals and now we’re seeing the chaos they are able to cause because no one knows how to stop it?  Lots of interesting questions here.

Here’s the thing – a comic book themed horror film is a fantastic idea.  That’s what Ghost Rider should have been.  I genuinely believe this idea could work.  The thing is that this trailer doesn’t tell us much.  Especially if the film wants to go hard-R.  Please tell me it does!  You know what this film needs – a Red Band trailer.  We need to know if it’s going as twisted and dark as its predecessors have.  Please tell me does.  Please let this be a film that takes all the balls 20th Century Fox has gotten with their darker superhero films and runs with it.

But my worry is that because this film doesn’t have the name recognition that Deadpool or Logan did that people will ignore it.  They’re releasing this in April.  What a random time.  I for one mean to see it.  I need to know.  Hopefully all of you do too.  Let’s not let a potentially interesting idea languish on the vine.

Initial Verdict
Intriguing

Peace out,

Maverick

California’s New HIV Bill is Insane!

It’s getting so weird to see the progressive left in this country and it’s march steadily into the mouth of madness.  In the name of tolerance, things are being condoned that I just cannot understand.  According to Cracked and Salon, pedophilia is a-okay.  After all, we gotta be open to other people’s sexuality.  Don’t insult Islam, because that’s a religion of peace!  Yeah, to quote Bill Maher, “there’s a piece of ya there, and a piece of ya there.”  But I guess they assume that all Muslims are brown people.  Yeah, and it’s everyone else whose racist.  But today I have seen something that takes the cake.  Nothing else even comes close.  In the land of liberal madness (it’s so hard sometimes to say that I am on the left.  It really is.  But I still am), there is nothing that remotely comes close.  People say that anti-vaxxers are the worst that America has to offer in medical sabotage, but the California legislature has just introduced a bill that the dipshit governor has actually signed into law.

What bill is that?  Why, it’s one that would no longer make it a felony to knowingly transmit HIV to another person without warning them that you are HIV positive.  Don’t believe me?!  Here’s a link to an article in the LA Times.  See for yourself!  I cannot believe this has actually happened.  It literally escapes me how people can believe this was a smart thing.  Not only that, let’s hear some of the rationales for this!

Modern medicine allows those with HIV to live longer lives and nearly eliminates the possibility of transmission, according to state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), authors of the bill.

You have to be fucking kidding me!  Did I just read that right?  These two retards are making the argument that because there is a lesser chance to transmitting it if you don’t tell someone you’re a carrier, that justifies not telling them?  Okay, tell you what, Scott Weiner and Todd Gloria.  I’m going to point something that looks like a gun at your head without telling you and pull something that looks like a trigger on that.  You have nearly eliminated that I am holding an actual gun.  Are you still comfortable with letting me do that?  What’s what?  “Slippery slope” or “false equivalence” fallacy?  Yeah, let’s ask the people who are suffering from full-blown AIDS because their partner didn’t disclose to them that they were HIV-positive if they agree with that sentiment.

But it gets better!  In addition to no longer having it be a fucking felony to knowingly transmit the disease without telling someone, now you can also donate blood!  Hey, people in California dying of loss of blood, did you hear that?  It’s totally cool if someone who is HIV-positive donates blood without telling anyone.  Groj only knows how many people would be infected.  Getting a blood transfusion would be playing Russian roulette, all because Scott Weiner and Todd Gloria say it’s nearly impossible to give to another person.  What brilliant fucking logic!

Another argument proponents of the bill used is that only HIV is treated this way.  Okay, here’s a crazy thoughts – how about, instead of using this stupid bill to make a fucking point and risking everyone else’s lives, you try to expand the bill to make it that knowingly transmitting any STI is a felony instead?!  I sure as fuck want to know if someone I’m about to sleep with has one.  I’m totally down for that.  That’s not what you did, though, is it?  No, instead you have to play chicken to make a political point with the health of everyone in California.  Maybe one of you two idiots can meet a person who was given HIV or AIDS because someone didn’t tell them they had it before sleeping with them.  Or someone who desperately needed blood and didn’t realize it was infected with HIV.  So now their entire lives are changed forever.  Maybe then you can see what damage you are potentially doing to this country.

Bill Maher once said that reality has a liberal bias.  Okay.  Guess what, Bill, not in this case.  Seems here that reality has a very conservative bias on this issue.  Because the liberal position is – let’s knowingly infect people with fucking AIDS!  Let’s turn getting a blood transfusion into the earlier example I used of pointing something that looks like a gun at your head and pulling what looks to be a trigger and hoping it isn’t actually a gun.  Yeah, HIV is no longer a death sentence outright.  Well, not as quickly.  Modern medicine means that those who are HIV positive will live longer, but the inevitable result is the same.  Eventually the disease will destroy their immune system and they won’t be able to fight off infection.  Then they die.  It’s how all of these stories end.

With that in mind, Bill, I better fucking hear you calling out this law for the batshit insanity that it is.  You better be able to swallow your massive amount of pride and tell the rest of your liberal compatriots that this bill is madness, and now that it has been signed into law the people of California are putting their health and eventually their very lives at risk if they take a bullet like the people in Vegas.

Everyone says that Trump is the biggest danger to society, and he is a retarded monkey who seems real eager to get into a dick-waving contest with North Korea.  But while they are yelling at each other on Twitter, here in the real world we have people passing legislation that has the very real potential to get real people infected with a disease that will change their life for the worse, forever.  Who’s worse?  The idiot who sneers at the idiot leader of another country, or the ones who say that it’s okay to repeal a law that has a very good reason to exist all because it’s much more likely for you to not get the fucking disease.  For all of Trump’s insanity online, to date we haven’t had anyone get killed from it.  This legislation, on the other hand, well, the awful truth is that it’s only a matter of time until we see how horribly this can go.

I have a dear friend in California too, which makes it even worse.  I worry for her, so much.

Until next time, a quote,

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” – H.L. Mencken

Peace out,

Maverick

Shooting in Las Vegas, Let the Political Bickering Begin!

There was a horrific shooting in Las Vegas today, where a 64 year old man opened fire on a crowd at a concert from his 32nd story window.  At least 50 confirmed dead and over 200 wounded at the time of writing this post.  Another horrible tragedy that shouldn’t have happened, but did.  Got to see a video where a guy stayed standing while everyone was ducking for cover, shouting at the shooter to aim for him.  That takes balls of absolute steel.  No idea if that guy was one of the victims, but if so, you did a service to try and save people by having the gunman go after you.

The moment the story broke, I got to see the left and the right immediately lining up to get their political views heard.  From the social justice retards who say that this was a problem of white privilege, and male privilege, and it was a racial crime.  To the right who refuse to call this guy a terrorist even though he most likely is.  I get the feeling a crime like this was motivate by political ideology.  If he killed for political ideals, he’s a terrorist.  If he just felt like opening fire on a crowd, he’s a fucking psychopath who decided to kill and injure a ton of people because he could.

Then we got other right-wing posts deciding to go after the left for some of the violent rhetoric they said about wanting to kill Trump.  I suppose I could go after the likes of Riley E Dennis, if I wanted to get on that bandwagon, but I don’t.  Even though she has her own beliefs about attacking people.  The left wants to use this opportunity to come out and defend Islam.  Because Groj forbid anyone say that Muslim has even committed terrorism before.  Nope, not once *cough*bullshit!*cough*

Christians in America had to make their voices heard and talk about how Gawd would have fixed all this.  I’m sure all the people who are dead right now didn’t have Jeebus at all in their hearts.  Nope, not one.  In a nation that is 80% Christian, I’m sure not one of those people wasn’t a practicing Christian.  Maybe Jim Bakker can come out and say that this shooting was Gawd’s response to men doing each other in the ass.

So what about me?  What is my stance on all this?  What political viewpoint am I going to espouse right now?  Here is what I have done – donate to a GoFundMe account someone set up to help the victims.  Here’s the link, go donate.  That’s something to do. Something more valuable than any of the arguing idiots on Twitter.  What else am I going to do?  Be saddened by this.  Be saddened by the fact that this kind of wanton killing is becoming so commonplace.  Feel so ashamed of the fact that I share a species with a fucking animal who got out on balcony or an open window and opened fire with a fucking automatic weapon at a crowd of people just listening to music.

It’s beyond clear something needs to happen.  With stricter gun laws help.  Not this kind of situation.  I still believe that gun control does need to be tightened, but I am still aware enough of the way things work to realize that even if all the guns were strictly controlled, the crazed lone gunman will still be a threat.  Help America’s failing mental health system.  Maybe that would help some of the problem, but as we have seen with people like Timothy McVeigh, not all of the people who do this sort of shit are outright insane.  For as evil as what McVeigh did, he had very firm and rationalized (not rational, rationalized) reasons for what he did.  This shooter may have as well.  We may never know.

I don’t know what the right thing is to do.  I donated to a fund set up to help victims.  After all the hurricane destruction down in the Florida and Texas I donated to the Red Cross.  It’s as much as I can think to do in this situation.  Because here’s the thing which has blown my fucking mind – as soon as the story broke, the fighting started.  The political bickering began before we even knew how many are dead and injured.  Remember when national tragedies brought people together?  Remember when we would set aside personal differences to try and help those in need when the situation called for it?  Where the fuck has that mentality gone?!  Are we just so eager to hate each other than we’ll use any excuse we can?  Fuck the victims, I have to make my point known!  Yeah, fuck white people!  Fuck gun control!  Fuck calling him a terrorist!  Let’s all just bicker over whatever stupid bullshit while the blood flows in the streets.

Sister-diddler Lena Dunham said that this has to be political, and supposedly-recovering SJW Laci Green agreed.  Yeah, let’s talk about white privilege!  Why the fuck not?!  Instead of deciding to set all that bullshit aside and actually coming together as a community and as a species, we look for any reason to drive the wedges of division further in.  I am so fucking ashamed of my species when I see us all do everything we can to hate each other and not even try and care, while people literally die. The left and the right stand on mountains of bodies in order to scream at each other over who is correct.

Fuck all of us.  We clearly are beyond redemption as a species.  Can Trump and Un just start dropping the nukes so World War III can start and another species can have a fucking shot?  Please?!  But hey, let’s at least be glad of one thing – there was at least one person in all of this who didn’t take a side and choose to be picky.

The shooter.

Until next time, a quote,

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” – H.L. Mencken

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

What a weird year for Marvel films.  Everyone says that they’re getting tired of all the Marvel films, because they’re so predictable and stale.  Part of me thinks that someone at Marvel heard that, and has been eager to change things up.  And wouldn’t you know it, but this year has delivered two very good films that may not have shaken the formula to its core, but at the very least have made things different enough to have people enjoying them more.  Nowhere was that more apparent than with the sequel to one of the funniest films in the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy.  A film that not only had some surprisingly good character development, but a villain who actually caught me off guard.  Sure, the formula is there, but at least this film plays with it, and it actually feels like it is expanding on the lore of these characters, rather than just retreading old ground.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot goes that sometime after the events of the first film, the Guardians of the Galaxy are now for hire heroes that do nice things for pay.  Not a bad racket.  However, after Rocket decides to fuck things up for them because he can’t stop himself, Quill’s father comes back into the picture.  Backstories are explained, and characters’ true motivations are revealed.  A villain who actually has a motivation that isn’t just copy-paste comes up and now another battle is on to save the galaxy.  Like I said, it still has that formula, but it does it oh so well.

I’ve complained to no end how films are now basically just becoming endless CG bugs me, and I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t the case here.  This film is ALL about the CG.  It’s fucking everywhere.  That being said, it was still pretty.  I think the director knew that everyone would be noticing the constant CG so he took a very interesting tactic – use brilliant colors as a way to offset people’s disdain for it.  That’s pretty clever!  The same thing was used to good effect in Doctor Strange, though this film also had color used for comedic effect at times.  Constant, vivid colors was all over this movie, and I’m genuinely glad it was because otherwise I would have been rolling my eyes a lot over how fake so much looked.

Which is one one of my flaws.  It’s pretty clear that while Baby Groot was cute as fuck, he was never in the shot and everyone who pretended to interact with him wasn’t really interacting with him.  That was painfully obvious.  Plus, yeah, some of the sets were so blatantly just people in a room with green-screen absolutely everywhere.  I’m honestly glad I am not one of these people who watches making-of videos of movies, because I bet watching people just being in green rooms acting is both depressing and funny.

The film also brings back it’s truly fantastic soundtrack.  I love the musical choices in these film.  How each track is used also perfect goes with every scene that it goes into.  The opening is the most known and parodied, but there is a ton of places that each track is used well.  This director knows his stuff oh so well.

Speaking of, the comedy in this film is so on point.  It’s kind of nice to see a film where all the heroes are pretty much anti-heroes pretending to not be.  These people are such assholes!  I love it!  Every single character in this film is kind of a douche, but the chemistry between all of them is just fantastic.  My favorite is still Rocket.  This guy is such a dick.  He is the biggest anti-hero of them all, but the way he plays with that just makes him so lovable.  Maybe it’s that inner asshole in me who can’t get enough of it.  Hell, even Drax is funnier in this film.  His complete lack of a filter is just too perfect.  Plus, he said one of the most cathartic lines to me on a personal level.

“When you’re ugly, people love you for who you are. When you’re beautiful, you don’t know who to trust.”

For someone who struggles with body image issues due to balding that isn’t especially pretty, this strikes such a chord to me.  My self-loathing is a constant struggle.

Overall, this isn’t a perfect movie.  Yeah, the formula is still there.  But it still feels like a breath of fresh air.  I’m glad I got to see this on Netflix.  A good Spider-Man film and now a good sequel to a flawed original that takes it to the next level.  With the MCU looking to wrap up now that Infinity War is coming, I genuinely think I’ll be able to look back fondly on it.  Marvel caught lightning in a bottle, which DC is now pathetically trying to imitate.  What a shame.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick