You Are Avoiding the Point About Doomers (A response to Sarah Z)

The video that I am responding to is one that just got suggested to me by the YouTube algorithm today out of nowhere. I had never heard of this content creator before, and they definitely aren’t my cup of tea. There is something about their delivery that is so quiet and bland and lacking personality that doesn’t speak to me. I’m glad that she has her audience, and I wish her nothing but success in the future, but it isn’t for me. Not to say that I like loud and spastic things, but her ton of voice is like Ambien to me. That being said, the video that was recommended to me was about the rise of Doomer culture. This is something that I absolutely subscribe to, so naturally I had a lot to think about in terms of this content. But while I did find that she tried to give as much deference to the people who have my mentality, I think she deliberately missed the biggest issue that most Doomers subscribe to.

Before I get into my response, let me put her video on here so you can see it for yourself and not say I am taking things out of context. I like to give people a chance to say their own piece before I response, since I am doing this via text and not with a video of my own because I’m a pleb. Let’s get started. Here is her video on the subject.

I gave her video a thorough watch, and like I said, I do give credit for her making an attempt to see the perspective of where people like me are coming from, but I get this feeling that she is REALLY trying to dodge the biggest issue that is contributing to this.  And I get why, because this topic is so ugly and so prone to argumentation that once you touch it, you buy it.  Just ask Vaush how it goes, or TJ when him and Paul get into arguments on DFF.  It’s an ugly topic with answers that are not easy and nobody wants to really get into it.

From where I’m sitting, the biggest rise in Doomer culture was never a right-wing thing.  In fact, for the longest time, they were happy as clams with their orange-skinned God-Emperor in power.  The real rise in Doomers came from the other side of the political spectrum – the left.  The far left, specifically.  Leftists like myself comprise the vast majority of people who have succumbed to the Doomer mentality.  And when you look at our reasoning, it all becomes much clearer.  In fact, this last election was pretty much a referendum on why this whole train of thought exists. 

Once upon a time, I was really politically active, supporting causes and even did PR work for a big political campaign in the city I am living in.  But I got to see democracy get subverted in front of me, blatantly, and then watched as the people did fuck all about it.  I was ready for civil disobedience in the street, and instead it was a room full of people just shrugging their shoulders with “we’ll try again next year.”  The issue was not being able to kick LGBT people out of an apartment because of their sexual orientation.  This was a LONG-ASS time ago.  I am so old.  It was so clear that there was foul play.  There was proof that the mega-church pastor had bused in people to vote on this.  There were ballot shortages in districts that had more LGBT support.  The vote was clearly tampered with, and nobody would do anything about it!  Where was the outrage?!  Where was the desire to show that we would not let this issue die quietly?!  Nowhere.  It was just defeated people shrugging their shoulders and walking away.

I took what happened that year to heart, because it is a referendum to the entirety of American politics.  The reason a lot of leftists like myself are becoming Doomers is that we realize that the corruption that is not a part of the system, but integral to it owns all of politics in this country, and there is no escaping it.  The DNC is utterly corrupt.  It is so corpo and so desperate to preserve the status quo that there is no possible way to affect real change outside of their leadership all having sudden heart attacks.  You have status-quo “progressives” like AOC, who couldn’t sell out her values to tow the party line fast enough.  Part of me really wants to think that Nancy Pelosi took her and all those like her into a room and said, “look, cunts, if you don’t do what the party wants, we will make your life here living hell.”  I don’t put it past that dinosaur bitch.  But the reality is that AOC and her “Squad” was courted by the lobbyist structure that owns Washington DC and they compromised their values.

I wrote a post about how the “harm reduction” movement was essentially the despair of the American left trying to avoid falling into complete existential dread as they realized that the liberal cause is lost because of how utterly spineless the left is, so now all they can do is just vote for Democrats and pray to whatever deity they worship that things can get worse slowly enough so that by the time it all falls apart, we are too old for it to matter anymore.  So it can be the next generation’s problem.  Just like our parents’ did.  If we can’t change anything by voting, we just keep the same broken game going and then cry into our pillows.  “Harm reduction” is the last desperate gasp of the left before we all resign to the authoritarian conservative nationalism movement that is coming.

That is where my Doomer-ism comes from.  Sarah says in her video that one of the solutions is to not give up trying to do anything and to do whatever one can to make things better.  To give yourself as much hope as you can.  Tell you what – if the left ever decides to sack up and take the fight to the corpos who own this country (don’t bother fighting the government.  They’re pawns.  You could get rid of all of them and the next ones will be bought just as fast), I’ll be right there with molotov in hand.  I literally see no other way to change things outside of that.  The country is too corrupt to vote the problem out.  The parties are too corrupt to allow a grassroots movement to work, unless the progressives who get voted in decide to actually flex their voting power like Joe Manchin.  Won’t happen.  They have no spine.  They fight for nothing.  They don’t want to be hated by the media.  Such weakness.  It’s an inherent part of the left.  We are the side who believes in peace and tolerance.  So much so that we can’t stand our ground for anything at all.

Anyway, Sarah’s video was a neat watch, and I will give that she is trying to fight against the mindset that people like me preach, but I think the biggest contributor in this country is a point that she did NOT want to get into, but one that is important if you want to understand why this movement is so prevalent and why it is going to kill any and all voting in the future, because I have already tuned out, and only vote for local initiatives I agree with or if a local politician is an Independent and doesn’t take party money.  #NoConfidence.

Until next time, a quote,

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the Black Flag, and start slitting throats.” – H.L. Mencken

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Cool Video Game Concept #3

I have been seeing the reviews and early impressions for the game Hood: Outlaws & Legends, and it got me to thinking. The consensus on this seems to be pretty universal – the game is rough, but has potential. It is a novel concept. A multiplayer only game focused almost entirely on stealth. Or at least, that is the idea, but apparently it falls a little flat in execution due to late in any particular mission where there is an effort to steal the treasure and it becomes a more straight-up fight that is essentially capture the flag. But the concept is still intriguing, so it got my pretentious pseudo-intellectual mind working to figure out how it could translate into a game that I would want to play. Because I don’t play games for multiplayer. Not now, not ever. So how could this concept work for a single-player game.

Every few years or so, some studio decides to make yet-another Robin Hood movie. The concept has been beaten to death so thoroughly that there is even a Mel Brooks movie about it, and it is hilarious. But once Mel Brooks is making fun of you for something, then you know your concept has reached its zenith. However, in gaming, I think the story of Robin Hood still has potential. A lot of potential. Still, the concept would have be handled in a novel way. I think that the aforementioned game is partly onto the right idea.

Here is what I am thinking – we need to look at a game that took a formula that isn’t exactly new, but made it unique again. I’m talking, of course, about Ghost of Tsushima. That game has a GLORIOUS visual style, a fantastic use of color, and took the concept of an Assassin’s Creed game in Japan and actually made it unique and engaging. Mostly by making it an homage to old samurai movies. For a game about the character of Robin Hood, I think we should make it an homage to old adventure movies, with a big focus on stealth. Do these things sound contradictory? Perhaps, but stick with me here.

Unlike Ghost of Tsushima, we would need this game to have an atmosphere that isn’t nearly as heavy. Too many games take themselves entirely too seriously. Let’s look at a classic Disney animated film – Robin Hood. This film portrayed the character the way he should be – as a smarmy, quick-witted and quick-minded thief who always has a trick up his sleeve. His Merry Men are shown as just as into the fun and games as he is. Problem was that that game only focused on Robin and his best friend, Little John. But he had a much larger group than that, and I think a game could really make the most of it. They are thieves, men of fortune, and friends to the common people. What’s more, each character has their own unique skill set that could be brought to the game’s experience.

Another reason why I bring up the comparison to Ghost of Tsushima is that the Sherwood Forest setting could be a magical place to set this game, full of color and ambiance. I can imagine all the magnificent places you would get to visit. Old castles and ruins from the Roman days, towns that are full of people going here and there, and the fortress where Prince John rests his head. It is a place just BEGGING for someone to really dive into its history and bring it to life in a video game. Something not enough gaming does is look at historical fiction. Now, I know the concept of Robin Hood is much more fiction than historical, but the world around him isn’t. Middle Ages England is ripe with history that could be explored, if the developers were willing to put in the effort to find out what it is and make it part of the game.

The exact nature of how gameplay would work is something I am a little iffy on. Part of me wants to make the whole thing about Robin Hood as the playable character specifically, which would be the most simple. Have his weapons be a bow and a knife. Stealth is his best weapon. When he is exposed, he is at risk. However, he has a lot of tricks and tools to help him get back into stealth. What’s more, he has tools to help him in his work as a thief. This character isn’t a warrior, and I don’t want him played as such. This is a game where you have to be smart in your approach. However, what if we had a character who is? Like Little John, perhaps? My thinking is that you could change your character on the fly to whoever you need for any given mission. Robin will use stealth and cunning. Little John will use brute force. Will Scarlett would be a swordsman, able to stand in a fight, but not take hits. His style would be inflicting damage, blocking, and using a swift riposte when he has an opening. Alan-a-Dale would use music, song, dance, and wordplay to get past his foes. The options for characters and gameplay in missions is limitless! You’d have Thief style with Robin Hood, Assassin’s Creed with Will, and I can’t think of a good brawler or game that used music and wordplay to get you past obstacles off the top of my head for Little John and Alan, respectively.

Oh, and you would have their hideout! Speaking of old Roman ruins, what a perfect place for the Merry Men to use as their place to hide in the depths of Sherwood Forest. It’s so perfect! It would be a chance to get so many of these characters into a story that is not whimsical, but not so serious that it sours the mood. Even get Maid Marian into the narrative as the woman whom Robin is pursuing his affections for.

Which brings me to how I would want the world design to be. An open world game would be the easiest choice, but I’m so reticent to propose that. Open world games that are vast and expansive but have fuck all going on is SUCH an overused concept. Really, I cannot praise enough how Uncharted 4 used open level design as an alternative. You have big wide areas to explore, then more linear areas for scripted things. Dragon Age: Inquisition did a similar thing, and I think that would be my model for this. You’d have Robin’s hideout among the ruins as your hub area, and you could explore all over Sherwood Forest and other parts of England to go on missions, visit the townsfolk, and for other narrative purposes. Give the devs the ability to really go into some insane detail with the areas you visit. Makes me think of how much style the world of Arkham City had.

Look, I get that I seem to be riffing on a lot of other things, but I think there is a really cool concept that just isn’t being looked at be developers. A game that would have a fun story, fun characters, a setting that is gorgeous and has a ton of narrative potential, in a story that film has done to death but could be done in a more interesting way in gaming. Let me know what you all think of the concept in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“I am not a Merry Man!” – Worf, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Peace out,

Maverick

Ubisoft is Going All-In on Free-to-Play AAA Games

I rarely buy games that are from major studios anymore. More and more, I am seeing their greed become more important than making games that people actually want to play. Square Enix is still so desperate to keep their Avengers live-service game going, even as the player number dwindles down to fuck-all. EA finally decided to abandon Anthem. Activision Blizzard is now a shell of what it once was. I am ONLY getting Mass Effect: Legendary Edition from Bioware because it is hard to fuck up ports of old games, and they have gotten rid of the multiplayer element entirely because Bioware realized that they don’t possess the smarts to be able to make that. I hear they are ditching it with Dragon Age 4 too, but I know that EA is going to try and find some way to fuck it up, so I am not going to care about that game until I see reviews from people I trust.

However, one studio that has REALLY fallen off my list of fucks to give is Ubisoft. This is a studio that got so comfortable with how copy-paste their games are that I genuinely don’t get how people can actually like any of what they make anymore. The Ubisoft sandbox formula is so well known that they actually are more famous for how bland and mediocre their games are than ones that buck the trend. The company doesn’t know how to make games that break away from the formula. So when I heard that they are making a Star Wars game that is an open-world Ubisoft sandbox, I immediately wrote it off as something I will NEVER want to play.

It’s tragic to see this happen to a studio that once made games that I really liked. I still love Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. It’s the best game in the franchise, by a country mile. The ship combat is the best part, but the characters, the world, the whole pirate story is fantastic. If only it didn’t have to be an Assassin’s Creed game, who knows what it could have become. To be fair, I have that thought about another game that I mean to make my own cool idea for in another post. But this franchise got so stale right after that game came out. It was arguably the first franchise that gave Ubisoft the formula for their sandbox that is so stale that they have no way of innovating outside of it anymore. The studio is devoid of creativity. All the games they make have to be like this, no matter what the franchise. The sandbox is stronger than…well, anything else.

But today, Ubisoft has announced that they are going in a new direction with the company. See, they LOVE the live-service model of gaming, because it makes them a shitload of money from microtransactions. The crutch that all major studios lean on because they don’t have the creative energy to make games that would get players excited, or the spine to make a risk with something that may not sell millions of copies. Maybe make a new IP or two that could reinvigorate their studio and get new ideas out there. Or perhaps shake up the sandbox model to the point that they could make a new kind! One that they could then rip off endlessly in their ongoing quest to make mediocre games that sell like gangbusters because streaming gamers want to have a game that is boring and repetitive that they can play for their audience every day. Shorter, more interesting games take away from that.

I don’t even think about buying an Ubisoft game anymore, so now the studio is going to try and get people like me into their shit by not selling it at any price at all? Having it be like a mobile game? Just a giant multiplayer experience with a fuck-ton of microtransactions? Yeah, I’ll pass on that. Leave that shit at the door. I game for story. That’s literally it. The gameplay is a required part of it, and if that sucks, it doesn’t matter how good the story is, but multiplayer Ubisoft sandbox games sound so boring and tiresome that I won’t even pay attention to anything the studio makes anymore. Hey, I know! They can start off this idea with their new Star Wars game! What a great way to show gamers that they are different from EA.

Gaming is becoming this black hole of creative bankruptcy. One that is mired in greed. Everywhere I look, it’s just endless live-service or multiplayer-focused game. Or a studio will find a game that works and keep it going forever as a live service. That’s what Rockstar has done. Because it’s what people want. They can keep GTA online going in perpetuity. Same with Red Dead Redemption online. Make new games? They could do that, but what’s the rush? They can just port GTA V to yet-another console generation and call it good. EA wouldn’t know creativity if it reached up and bit them in the ass. Activision Blizzard can’t sell out fast enough. 2K is now famous for an NBA game with actual slot reels and pachinko machine gambling in their games. Bethesda is so trapped with their outdated in the extreme engine and their desperate attempt to make a live-service game that is still shit to this day that they don’t know how to innovate anymore. Square Enix is basically making a live-service game and trying to cobble together a new Final Fantasy game. Remember when all of these studios used to come out with a ton of games that ranged from bigger projects to smaller ones? Man, I miss those days. Those were good times. Now, it’s make one major live-service game and then only do that, releasing one big project every few years to try and make an impression that you are still a thriving company.

The worst part is that the companies who still have a reputation for quality are falling into the horrible trap of making one big game that fails and then falling apart. CD Projekt Red is a great example. If only they had delayed Cyberpunk 2077 until this year. Released it during the summer, when things are typically quiet. But their greed got the better of them. From Software has their own formula, but because they are willing to be creative within it, they still make games that (while niche) get lots of attention for being very different. The consistency is the punishing difficulty, and even that ranges, depending on which game one is talking about and which boss they are fighting in those games.

Ubisoft, on the other hand, has nothing that they can hold onto. They are just coasting by on the success of previous franchises that they were able to build fan loyalty out of. Fanboys/girls are the absolute worst. These people who, so long as they get a new entry into their favorite franchise, will keep playing it. It is literally the only thing keeping Ubisoft alive. That and the streamers who are looking for something generic to play so they don’t have to think to hard while talking to their audience. I never think to buy a game they make anymore, and I never will. There is nothing they could make that would interest me. I hear they want to make the next Assassin’s Creed game in Japan! I already played that, from a better studio that don’t just follow the Ubisoft sandbox formula so rigidly that I can’t see anything outside of the logo. It’s called Ghost of Tsushima! You should play it. It’s really fun.

A sad end to a studio that, with the amount of money they have, could make all kinds of games. Alas, that would require talent who just doesn’t work for them anymore.

Until next time, a quote,

“A good film can survive a bad score, but a great score cannot survive a bad film.” – Ennio Morricone

Peace out,

Maverick

Shoe0nHead is Extremism Now? (A response to NBC News)

It’s nothing new to see mainstream media attacking online personalities. It’s been going on for YEARS now. Not hard to see why. Mainstream media is an outmoded, antiquated, corpo puppet that doesn’t have any principals other than the ones that make them the most money. They are a mouthpiece for whatever establishment candidate their network has chosen to ally themselves with, all while doing everything in their power to make sure the masses never realize that the system is so rigged that people are actually stupid enough to believe that the parties are different.

Still, it’s always funny to me when I see them go after targets who are so not what they are trying to portray them as, or if they do go after a hard target, find examples of their content that do not even remotely support the position that they want to portray in their hit piece media. Which brings me to NBC News. They did a piece about how social media is dividing Americans like never before. Yeah, because everyone held hands and sung Kumbaya (is that how you spell it?) and loved everyone equally. I’m totally sure.

One of the targets of their hit-piece (linked here), is a YouTube who I would definitely say is a leftist (like me), and is pretty far on the left in her political ideology – Shoe0nHead. The hold up one of her videos as the quintessential example of how extreme the left is. But their choice of video is just baffling. They picked the one where she decides to make sport of Conservapedia. For those who don’t know, Conservapedia is basically conservative Wikipedia, where they have no cloak of fair and balanced bullshit like Fox News (did they finally ditch that whole deal, or are they still pretending?). Instead, it’s all their crazy nonsense in articles that are some of the funniest things you can ever read. Shoe decided to make a video making sport of it, and NBC News holds it up as a sign of how extreme the left is. This video –

It is literally a video where she’s laughing at bat-shit crazy conservative Wikipedia.  That’s what this is.  And this is your proof of how Shoe is left extremism?  The kind that they were talking about how, after four days, the person in their (by their own admission) unscientific study is bombarded with.  The one who joined left wing groups.  Oh, and apparently so is Occupy Democrats.  Because you can’t be critical of the party on NBC News.  No-no.  That doesn’t tow the corpo line.

It’s just baffling to me.  This video?  Really?  If I wanted to make Shoe out to be a crazy extremist left-winger, I can think of three videos right off the top of my head for them to show off.  Her Elizabeth Warren video seems downright perfect for their purposes.  Shoe spends the entirety of it shitting on what a back-stabbing bitch Warren is.  I mean, it doesn’t get much more hard-left than that.  Or her videos talking about her support for Bernie Sanders.  The video making fun of the Fistie Winters who was knocking Bernie Sanders.  ANY of these videos would have made excellent fodder, but instead this is the one they chose.

The news clip goes on and you realize what the goal of this little hit-piece is – to make YouTube and Facebook look bad, and themselves look good.  As I said, mainstream media is dying.  Their antiquated platform and corpo attitude has made independent media look better and better to the younger generation, who absolutely CANNOT stand their corpo rhetoric.  So they are desperately trying to dunk on alternative media, with the goal of getting social media sites to crack down on independent news/content creators so that they can get propped up in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.  It ain’t working, home-slice.  My generation sees through the facade of respectable news that you put up and calls you out for EXACTLY what you are – corpo rats.  Cogs in the media machine that do whatever bidding your masters give to you.  It’s so blatant that it’s almost sad. 

I personally am so glad to see these corpo rats being hung by their financial tails and listening to them squeal.  As the market for this kind of processed, milquetoast, agenda-driven “journalism” is drying up, they will do anything to paint the alternative outlets as nothing but extremist propaganda.  And sure, such things exist.  It would be intellectually-dishonest to say otherwise.  But this idea that all social media does is tear families apart is laughable.  And it is even funnier to think that a video that is about as light-hearted as it gets from Shoe0nHead is a part of that too.  She is so upbeat in her videos.  She isn’t like Alex the loony-toon Jones screaming into a camera all the time. 

These hit-pieces are becoming a dime a dozen as more and more outlets are folding.  Cable news is shitting bricks because of the fact that they lost their cash-cow who got them more views than they had ever had before – Donald Trump.  Despite their Blitzkrieg of TRUMP IS EVIL!!!!!!! stories, the reality is that cable news loved that man and his orange-skinned face.  He was easy bait to get people into their networks.  And mainstream news will NEVER take any responsibility for the hate they prop up.  I’ve been reading Matt Taibbi’s book “Hate, INC.” and it really looks at how the media’s coverage of Trump was designed from root to steam to make hatred a commodity.

Taking responsibility for the things you do wrong is something no part of America will EVER do, least of all the media who is so integral to spreading hate that they have to demonize the media that isn’t their media in order to feel better about themselves.  It’s so tragic, but in no way surprising.  And the fact that they have to have Shoe as the poster child for their insipid nonsense just makes it all the more amusing.

Until next time, a quote,

“There is no truth, sport.  Just good or bad fiction.” – Denny Crane, Boston Legal

Peace out,

Maverick

Where Other People’s Religious Values Piss Me Off

I haven’t talked about religion in a long while. Not a whole lot more to say, really. I’ve heard all the dumb creationist arguments for God, and those aren’t as fun to oppose anymore. You hear the watchmaker argument or the cosmological argument and you instantly recognize versions of it that are identical to every other. It’s just not as interesting. Plus, at 32 years old, I just don’t have the shit-kicker inside me with this stuff that I did in my early 20’s when I was starting out on here. I adopted something of a Keanu Reeves approach to it. If someone tells me that they think that 1 + 1 = 5, then good for them. I’m glad they believe that. It’s wrong, but whatever.

My long-standing value is that you can believe whatever you want, and so long as your values system isn’t hurting anyone else, I don’t care. Feel free to believe whatever you want. Where I take umbrage is when someone else’s values cause direct harm to somebody else. Or when their values add stress or difficulty to their lives that wouldn’t be there if they just kept their pious bullshit to themselves. The example I have used in the past (because it is something so tragically present in this world) is my dear friend, whose father disowned her when he found out she is gay and she was kicked out of her home. Spent her sweet 16 on the couch of a friend, crying into a pillow. At least that story did have some justice. Her mother was very close with her, and couldn’t look past what her father had done in kicking her out, so the two ended up getting a divorce and she went to live with her mother down south. He paid out the ass for child support too, but only for a couple years. Still, some justice.

But now a new version of this concept has come to my attention in a way that has had me frustrated for a decent portion of the day. It comes from my own family. I’ve talked about this before, but my mother is dying of cancer. She went in for a scan recently, and it was miraculous. The markers in her blood are so low that it almost looks like the cancer is not there at all. The tumors still are, don’t go thinking this is a miracle, but they have shrunk in size. It has given her a vastly longer amount of time, but the prognosis is still the same. But with more time, she has elected to stop the chemo for a time. The stuff is basically poison, and while it has a definite purpose, the reality is that it is only delaying the inevitable in her case. She wants to be able to enjoy the summer as much as she can. It is almost certain to be the last one she gets to see. But last Christmas may not have been the last one she gets to see. A family can dream.

There have been plenty of bad days for her, as I’ve heard about from her directly, and as she’s talked about in a FB group that a cousin started for her (it’s a private group for friends and family of her’s), she’s wrestled with the steps of dying. Still, the strength she has shown going through this has been inspiring to me. I cannot begin to imagine how hard that is. I came back after being dead following a head injury, but all of that was stuff I wasn’t cognizant of. I was in a coma before and afterwards. So I have no frame of reference to the levels of tribulations it must be like to be facing down the end of one’s existence. I figure there comes a point, probably when one is in the late 40’s/early 50’s when you start to ponder the fact that there are more days behind you than ahead. It sounds like something that would give one pause. But to have that end date staring you in the face, I cannot begin to imagine what that’s like.

Another thing that comes with facing down the end is the fact that lots of people have questions. My parents are both very quiet about their individual beliefs, and I think a big part of that has to do with the fact that there are CRAZY religious fundamentalists on both sides of the extended family. We’re talking evangelical AF Christians. I can see why neither of my parents would want to get too deep into that, or emulate such behavior. But lots and lots of people around them have very high levels of religious faith.

This comes to a head when a member of the extended family decided to go brass tax and get her take on faith and religion, asking her what she believes. The mum decided to be honest, saying is a spiritual person, but does not see the concept of God as something that what Christians see it as. To the average person (even the vast majority of Christians have been polled and agree that they typically don’t give religion much thought in their day to day), this would be a perfectly acceptable answer. But to this individual, they did not take things that way. Instead, they decided to take things to a very far extreme. What’s more, they couldn’t just keep their way of seeing things to themselves. Instead, what they did was run to the congregation at their church and decide to spread around this idea that she is essentially an atheist. Like me.

I’ve long been the black sheep among large sects of my extended family for my lack of belief in God. But for my mother, who is not an atheist like me, and especially does not appreciate having words put in her mouth anymore than I do, this is more than a little frustrating. What makes it worse is that what this family member is telling the congregation he is associated with and what she said seem to not match up. How do I know this? Well, it seems that a member of the congregation decided to send a letter to my mum, and boy howdy, did they go into how much she needs saving.

Needless to say, the mother is not happy about this. She plays it down, because she wants the family to get along, but I know her. There is also the fact that if the member of the extended family has blabbed this to everyone in earshot in the congregation, how long until this spreads to everyone else she knows? Among her friend group, with so many of them being devout Christians, it will spread like wild fire. Which in turn will mean more conversations that she doesn’t want to have. She doesn’t like getting into religion with people. As I’ve said, she has family who is crazy about it, and she wants to set herself apart. So that is a topic that she keeps a firm hands-off approach. I don’t blame her. It’s like playing with dynamite. Just don’t do it and you’ll be fine. It’s part of why most everyone who meets her likes her.

For my part, this family member is FIRMLY at the top of my shit list. For all the same reason as the mother is not happy. They put words in her mouth. They couldn’t keep their nonsense to themselves, and now they are spreading to everyone things about her that are blatantly untrue, with the purpose of trying to get their congregation to help her come to Jeebus before she dies. And you can bet that this will not end here. Not a chance. Shit like this never does. Given that my mother is spiritual, but not an atheist like me, and I am an actual out-and-out atheist, I can’t imagine what this person says about me. I’m sure that I’m some Satan-wielding sodomite. I did make a joke at Christmas Eve once that I was looking for the right man. Maybe it’s fitting that my current partner has gender fluidity, and sometimes identifies as one or the other. Around holidays some year, she might identify as a guy again, and I can introduce her as my boyfriend. That would be hilarious.

The lesson in all of this – don’t be a fucking dick! Keep your religious bullshit to yourself. Or, as is said by a character in one of the most gorgeous animated Disney films…you know what, I think I’ll close out this post with it.

Until next time, a quote,

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” – Thumper, Bambi

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Resident Evil: Village

I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this game. Having sat here a decent stretch after killing the final boss, getting through it, and seeing the post-credits cutscene, I am stuck with a lot of mixed feelings about this game. On the one hand, this game has a horror atmosphere that is absolutely fantastic. It’s a carnival ride through a bunch of different horror genres. Some hit the mark super well. Some do not. But it has a lot of stuff to sink your teeth into. The narrative leaves me with a bunch of questions at the end, and how things all tie into the overall RE universe is at play. With that in mind, when I do this review, I’m going to get into some spoiler stuff. If you want to avoid that, then here’s my recommendation – this is a game with a TON of fantastic horror elements, through the first half. The second half stumbles a bit as the game loses a bit of its identity, but finishes strong. So yeah, make of that what you will. For those who want to keep reading, I have a lot to talk about.

The plot of this game goes that Ethan Winters is back. After the events in Louisiana, he’s living a pretty mellow life with his wife and newborn daughter, Rose. However, his already-tense home life is destroyed when Chris Redfield busts in, blows his wife away in front of him, and then takes his kid away. Before he can really stop to wonder what it all means, Ethan ends up in a small Romanian village and gets sucked into a horrifying situation that seems to go from bad to worse, but he will push through, to get his daughter back.

As I said, this game is pretty much a horror amusement park, with each attraction being a different kind of horror experience. Some of these are absolutely FANTASTIC! The problem is that this game puts its best foot forward REALLY early. Which leaves the later areas as either really underwhelming, or completely and utterly tedious. Two of the four main areas outside of the village blew my mind and scared the fuck out of me. The second one got me so bad that I was pretty close to sleeping with the lights on. It takes your weapons away and has you solving a series of weird puzzles, all while the atmosphere gets creepier and creepier. Everyone fell in love with Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters (and don’t get me wrong, that stuff is fun) But from where I’m sitting, The best part of this game in terms of horror narrative is the second attraction you explore.

This game is 1st-person again, and even though Ethan is now a better shot and has more experience with guns, he is clearly still out of his depth. Or, at least, it seems that way because of how this dude seems so utterly outside of the narrative. I suppose I can’t put it off any longer.

My biggest issues with this game is that Ethan Winters is so detached from what’s happening in this game. He has the goal of finding his daughter, and he’s dedicated to that, but when you have all these monsters around him, he keeps acting like all of this is new stuff. Like this is all so novel to him. Which makes NO goddamn sense. After what he went through in Louisiana, I would expect he would be more than a little hardened to it. When you see Chris again, clearly he is. All the years of doing what he’s been doing has gotten to him. Hell, if anything, he seems to be more understanding of the situation and driven to deal with it than the character that you play as is. It also doesn’t help that Ethan makes stupid decisions, over and over and over again. Things where you are like – just shoot the bitch! Don’t aim your gun at her! Shoot!

The narrative is FAR more interesting when you are with Chris than when you are with Ethan. Once you get the full story out of him, the narrative goes back to being engaging, because now we can see the stakes at play. Plus, it plays at a lot of intrigue. We have a neat call-back to the very first game, which is cool and all, but totally meaningless. The big thing in this game is seeing what’s happening around Ethan. It’s clear that Chris and the BSAA have had a falling out, and he’s operating very much on his own. It looks like he’s teamed up with Blue Umbrella. The fact that you see him at such odds with BSAA, even seeing them as an enemy is interesting. What does that mean for some of the other case members in this expansive narrative? Where’s Jill? Last I heard, she was still with BSAA. We also see some stuff indicating that BSAA has gone off the deep end. It also appears that Chris is trying to find the mysterious “organization” that is alluded to in many RE games. The one that Wesker and Ada were working for at one point or another. Curious to see where they come into things.

I REALLY wish they had made Ethan a more interesting character. Like, he sees the Umbrella logo one a stone column and it’s like “that looks familiar.” Mother-fucker, are you kidding me? The company behind a near-apocalyptic zombie outbreak? Yeah, they are just some company that you vaguely know of. What?! I get that it’s been over 20 years since the Raccoon City incident, but come on! All the litigation against this company had to have been going for a decade, covered endlessly on news media. It would be the story of two centuries. Especially given how widespread their bioweapons have become.

The problem with the narrative in this game is how detached it all feels from anything meaningful. If the idea was that they just wanted this to be the story of Ethan and his daughter, then why bring Chris into it at all? Why bring the larger plot into it at all? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you are going to allude to larger things, then you have to realize that the audience is going to get curious about those things. We are left with questions, and because of how narrow the scope of 90% of this narrative was, it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Especially with how the post-credits scene goes and the implication of the amount of time that has passed.

Overall, this is a fun game to play, for the amusement park ride aspect. Lady D’s castle and the Doll Woman’s manor are the high points. If only the rest of the game had as interesting of levels. While the character of Heisenberg was fun to get to know, his level was tedious behind all reason. That factory was awful. It is made like a labyrinth, minus any and all of the fun. At least it ended in EASILY the most fun boss fight in this game. One thing I will give – the bosses in this game are all fun, without a single exception. A couple more would have been nice, but it was still a fun ride. And the game is GORGEOUS to look at, no question. But a narrative that felt like it had more stakes or at least made Ethan Winters a more engaging character would have been nice.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Cool Video Game Concept #2

When I tell you the title of “World War Z”, what comes to mind? You probably think of that TERRIBLE movie with Brad Pitt, which shared absolutely NOTHING with the source material it was based on, outside of the title. If you haven’t read the book, by one of my favorite authors (Max Brooks), then you don’t know what you’re missing out on. The book was a fascinating look at how close humanity came to the brink, and the struggles of the people involved along the way. It’s one of my favorite books, and I hate the movie with a bitter, ugly passion.

See, the book was told after the fact, through the eyes of a reporter collecting the stories of those involved. There is no central character, outside of the reporter, and you don’t really get a sense of what they are like because they are a mechanism of the book to get to each narrative the various chapters have to tell. The book goes through the entire outbreak, from where it begins (in China, neat fact. Did this book predict the future?), to when everything starts going to shit, to humanity clinging to survival as things go from bad to worse, to an unlikely hero giving humanity the means to save itself, and finally to the retaking of the planet from the living dead.

One of the narratives in the book is actually one that gets very, very little coverage. See, much like the US during the COVID-19 pandemic, America initially denied that there was a real problem. I’m telling ya, Max Brooks is a prophet. However, to keep things quiet about how bad the infection was and how wide it was spread, the military started a secret initiative. It was an elite force of covert agents who had one task – go into an area where there was an infection and deal with it, as quietly as possible. This initiative was called the Alpha Team. Records of what happened with them are sealed, but the people in the book who do know the story talk about how the Alpha Teams were genuine heroes who did the horrible things that kept America from being completely overrun. At least, before the situation got too big to possibly keep under control.

Because the film that the book was based on took all the potential that the concept had and threw it in the trash, I got to thinking – why not actually expand on this potential with a video game? Think about it – a stealth zombie game. The premise would be a lot like the Hitman games. You and one or two partners would have to infiltrate a community of people, making sure not to draw attention. Then, you make your way into an infected zone and quietly take them out, without drawing attention to yourselves. What’s more, you’d also have to do the dirty work of killing off those who may be infected before they can spread it.

The structure of the game almost writes itself. And opens itself up to a TON of narrative potential. Not to mention mission potential. For starters, you’d have missions where you go into small towns, where the outbreak is almost total, and you’d have to take out the infected, search for survivors, kill civilians who may be infected, and make sure that nobody talks. Put in some RPG conversation mechanics and you have a game where everything you say could mean the difference between letting a witness walk, taking them into custody, or having to ice them. Then you’d have the missions where the infection is in a major city, but it is limited to an apartment building that has been locked down. You’d go in, having to pick locks to get into rooms, kill infected, and deal with the civilian population. Have it be in a place that is REALLY not police-friendly, so dealing with unruly populace becomes just as much of an issue as the living dead. As the story goes on, and the infections get more widespread, you’d have missions where you’re working with the cops directly trying to hold position at a given location until evac arrives, or retake an overrun position and rescue civilians.

This could be a fantastic third-person stealth shooter with RPG mechanics, where the biggest thing is to make sure the situation is contained. Failure could happen if you do not accomplish this goal. Or let the wrong person go. Or get caught doing your duty and causing a panic with the public. A game all about dealing with the undead and the living in the quietest way possible. It could even score you on how efficient you are, along with how many people you save vs how many you kill or fail to save in time or choose to let die as a way to congregate the undead before using flame munitions to light them all up and deal as much damage as possible.

Oh, and missions where you have to sneak into those who have information you can’t afford to get leaked! Like Splinter Cell, where you are sneaking into an apartment building to get a reporter’s scoop and delete the data. If you are able to get in without being seen, you can choose whether or not to kill the reporter. It would cut the line of inquiry with this guy, but could get other people’s attention. Which could be another mechanic the game plays with. Instead of having an outright fail state, maybe have the narrative change, depending on how quiet you keep things.

For replayability, have challenge modes where characters have to complete a level with a limited arsenal or no arsenal at all. Have it so that you don’t have any comrades to watch your back, or that all of an area is infected and you have to wipe the infected out within a time limit. The potential for this idea really is limitless, I think. Have the game be drop-in, drop-out co-op if you choose to have partners. Think about it – a game with large open levels like the new Hitman games, that you and a partner have to stealth through to stealth-kill zombies. That sounds kind of awesome, not gonna lie.

I don’t know if you all are with me on this one, but I think it’s pretty cool, and could be a fantastic outing. Maybe even leading to sequels where the Alpha Teams are left behind after the government evacuates the non-infected behind the natural barriers and now have to try and save as many people as possible in the overrun zones. Have all the missions be in the form of some person being debriefed after the fact, like the tragically-forgotten PS2 shooter Black. Seriously, if you haven’t played that game, you should. It’s amazing. The story is so engrossing, and I love the pre-mission cutscenes.

One thing I didn’t bring up was that another thing about the Alpha Teams was that they were tasked with investigation outbreaks as well. Another great aspect for the game! Taking apart the areas of infection, finding clues, doing analysis, and then taking action based on what you come up with. So we could throw in a little LA Noire action as well, though with much less suspect interrogation, since so much of the people you are dealing with are either regular dead, or undead.

Let me know what you think of this idea down in the Comments. I know that zombies is WAY overdone. Trust me, I know. But no idea with as much staying power as the undead is completely devoid of potential. I think there is a lot of possibility here, with a deft hand. From levels where it’s like invading the Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil, to levels where you have to sneak in and out of infected city areas, while taking out the infected like in Hitman. The sky is the limit. Oh, I know! A level where you have to infiltrate some crazy-ass militia compound that is pretty much overrun and you have to choose what to do with those who are trying to fight the infected. I love it!

Until next time, a quote,

“Those were the Alpha Teams?”
“Yes sir, and they were extremely successful. Even though their battle record is sealed for the next 140 years, I can say that it remains one of the most outstanding moments in the history of America’s elite warriors.” – Travis D’Ambrosia, World War Z

Peace out,

Maverick

Right Back to Hating My Job

When I left Child Support, I thought that I would be getting away from the ugliness of the clique-ish, passive-aggressive bullshit that became so prevalent at my job that absolutely no one was happy there. Yet I was the one bringing the office attitude down by actually saying what literally everyone else was thinking. Still, I got away from there, and for a long time, I thought that things were gonna be smooth sailing. And for a time, it was. Seems the honeymoon period with this new job was over, and now I’m stuck right back into another toxic work environment. Expect this time, instead of having clients screaming at me all day, I have coworkers going behind my back and bitching about the case actions I have taken that they don’t agree with so that my boss will yell at me. You know, rather than coming up to me like an adult and talking about it.

The problem has to be me. I get it, I’m new at the job. Mistakes are going to happen. But is it too much to expect that someone would treat you like an adult and come to you and address it like a goddamn grown-up? That’s not a rhetorical question, audience. Is asking people to actually talk to you when they have a problem asking too much? In this day and age, when everyone hates everyone, is it really asking too much to get at least enough respect to acknowledge that you are a grown man and can be talked to directly instead of having to use a fucking proxy?

As you can tell, I’m in a bad mood. Fiesta Pizza from Papa Murphys helped. A little. More than a little. But now that I am done with the pizza, it’s back to brooding. I couldn’t even go a year into a new job before the ugly side of it finds me. I don’t get what I’m doing wrong here. I am professional to everyone. Sure, I admit that I find case reviewers to be a pain in the ass, but that’s because they go through every case with such a fine-toothed comb that no matter how well I do what I’m doing, it’s not enough! These damn things read like “War and Peace.” And the case this person was bitching about was a case I had already gone through case review on! I did everything they asked, and still it is horribly broken.

I think it’s because I’m with another state job. Jobs for state and federal agencies are a giant morass of bureaucracy where everything is as complicated as is humanly possible. Why? Because if they weren’t, then they wouldn’t need to have the union hire as many people as their budget can get away with. Nope, gotta make everything a minefield of mistakes that lead clients to getting all nice and pissy with you all the time. So close to being totally vested. Less than four months left to go. Starting June 1st, I am applying for jobs outside of my state. You can’t start the job hunt too early, because they won’t hold a job for you that long. Can’t start one too late, because then you have to renew the lease agreement on your apartment for a month or two. Way too expensive to do that.

All I wanted was to work a place with less stress that I could lay low in, build up enough of a rep to get a good reference at before fucking off to the states for greener pastures. I mean that both literally and metaphorically. Booze isn’t my vice. A little green herb is. Has kept my depression from killing me since I was 21 years old. That was so long ago. I’m so old. You have no idea how much that depresses me. Got out of the awful job I was at, getting screamed at by angry parents who hate my guts by virtue of where I work and what that represents, only to have coworkers who don’t respect me because I’m one of the new guys and they feel the need to go behind my back rather than talk to me directly. I hate my job all over again.

Really hoping it doesn’t get as bad as it did last time. Actually, scratch that. It can never get that bad. Over two years being a caseworker for child support, and then another two years being an Office Assistant in their customer service call center. That agency sucked the life out of me. This place is just going to make me really annoyed for another less than four months and then I’m home free. It’s all about keeping my eye on the prize. I keep telling myself that. Think it will ever come true? No idea what I am actually trying to convey with this post. Maybe I should have made this another Mish-Mash of Random Thoughts post? Hindsight is 20/20. I have perfect vision, neat fact. Proud of that, considering my head trauma and the fact that I’ve been dead, twice.

Until next time, a quote,

“See, skinny, socially-privileged white people get to draw this neat little circle. Everyone inside the circle is normal. Everyone outside the circle should be beaten, broken, and reset so they can be brought into the circle. Failing that, they should be institutionalized, or worse – pitied.” – Gregory House, MD

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Retro Review: Resident Evil 4

As I wait with baited breath for the end of this week, when Resident Evil: Village comes out, and since I saw how much this upcoming game borrows tone and setting from what is arguably the best game in the franchise, I thought I would revisit this classic, now that a port of it with a super high framerate is on the PS4 Pro. And I gotta say, it was an interesting experience. I remember this game being a LOT tougher. And I suppose it is difficult, in its way, but I think the difficulty is when you go into this game expecting it to be a typical third-person shooter. Play this game like it is playing with tank controls, and the way to beat it becomes so clear. Let’s talk about the game that ruined the franchise until the last entry, even though it didn’t mean to.

The story goes that after the events in Raccoon City, Leon Kennedy is now part of a special security force working directly under the President of the United States. When his boss’ daughter is kidnapped, Leon is sent to an isolated village in Spain to get her back, whatever the cost. Along the way, he gets caught up in a very ugly story about a brand new biological weapon that could make the nightmare of Raccoon City into something much bigger. It’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” with a little touch of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as Leon fights to save the girl and get her home.

It’s so ironic that everyone talks about how this game ruined the franchise. When you look at what followed it, you realize that Capcom got a very different lesson about what people liked about RE4. They thought they liked third-person shooters, so they needed to go more in that direction. Instead, what people liked was the challenge, the great horror atmosphere, and some of the freakiest monsters in the franchise. I still get the creeps from the Regenerators. Those things are so effed up! But the company decided to make the games more action focused, and the rest is history. I still get a laugh out of how ridiculous it all got in RE6. I mean, Tyrannosaurus Rex zombie? It was beyond absurd.

This game is nothing like those, though. The controls in this game are slow, and require you to be able to adjust quickly. It’s a game about luring enemies into kill-zones, making the most of a good headshot to disorient an enemy and then using a good roundhouse to knock them down. The more you can get in such a blow, the better. Let your knife go to work and save ammo. Another thing – ammo is such a precious resource in this game. You never, ever have enough. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I knew I was going into a bossfight and thought to myself – well fuck. I am so screwed. But you learn to analyze your surroundings and find the ammo and health drops. Use your environment to the right degree. And when your opponent drops their guard, let ’em have it! Put that TMP to use filling them full of holes.

Which is the other thing – boss fights in this game don’t feel like you are up against some insurmountable force, like a Dark Souls game. Here, it is about using the right strategy to get around the boss’ strong points and hitting them where they are vulnerable with everything you’ve got. So many fights are just about finding the right weakness to exploit and running with it, depending on what weapons have ammo in your arsenal.

Since we’re talking about how much the new RE game is taking inspiration from RE4, let’s talk about inventory management. I remember management of inventory being a very different experience, when I remember playing this game last. Maybe it’s because I unlocked the Chicago Typewriter gun, which is automatic and has infinite ammo. But going through my first playthrough on the PS4 game, when I unlocked the biggest inventory case, given how fast I went through ammo and healing items, it felt like I was always running on empty. Still, inventory management feels more like Tetris than anything else. My Tetris skills are strong! My case was always organized AF.

Another thing to mention is that this game has such a beautiful tonal shift, and I love it. It goes from a very dark gothic horror, to some of the most hilarious camp when you get to the castle and meeting this Spanish Napoleon character who is just too ridiculous to hate. It’s adorably absurd. The game trading on campy shlock, without sacrificing the horror aspect is really astounding. It’s something that the series forgot how to do later on, when the horror aspect disappeared and all the games became overly-serious to the point of being a self-parody. This new game seems to remember that a bit of camp can make the frightening moments that much more impactful, because they hit you harder when your guard is down.

If there is one thing that always stuck in my craw about this game, it’s the crossbow enemies. They are such a pain in the ass. With how slow the aiming is in this game, it is a constant game of trying to find a good place just outside of their sight-lines to line up a rifle shot or some other ranged weapon. During parts where crowd control is a real issue, this makes things overly stressful. But I decided to “git gud” and rallied through.

But like any title in this franchise, it’s all about the bosses. And RE4 has great bosses in spades! I think my favorite is Krauser. It’s just so hilarious how the AI did not understand weapons in this game for this fight. When you first start out this fight, you’re having to duck and bob and use cover as he fires at you from range. Then he charges in, knife drawn, and it’s so hectic. But there is such an easy way to cheese this boss, and it’s hilarious. Even in this port, they still haven’t found a way to get around it. All you have to do is draw your knife. If you use a gun, Krauser will dodge around to avoid getting shot. But knife in hand, and the fucker will come right at you! Not seeming to know that the knife can disrupt attack animations. So every time he comes at you like he is hot shit, you can just carve him up like a Christmas turkey. It’s hilarious. Part of me thinks this was a deliberate thing on the part of the devs. With how late in the game your fight with him is, you have powered up your weapons and have a vast arsenal. So it makes sense that you wouldn’t think to go low-tech on him. This was hinted at during the QTE fight with him earlier, when Leon and Krauser are just fighting with knives. Fuck it, I’m calling it, this fight was deliberately designed to be cheesed.

Overall, this is a fun entry into the franchise. I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but it is a solid contender. It’s a shame that what followed from it is some of the worst games in the series. But it makes me even more stoked for Friday, when I get to see the tall vampire lady in her castle for real. It’s nice to revisit the classics. Especially ones that have aged as well as this one. Being able to turn quicker would be the only real improvement I would have wanted. Can’t believe people think that this game abandoned tank controls. It really, really didn’t. Play through it if you don’t believe me. The perspective may have changed, but the tank controls are just as prevalent here as they were in the previous entry. It just doesn’t look that way because of the over-the-shoulder camera.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Modern Hollywood Thinks Women are REALLY Stupid

I’ve made no end of posts talking about my disdain for modern Disney, more specifically, their live-action remakes of classic animated movies. What they are doing is blatantly obvious – pandering to nostalgia culture. It’s a big thing right now, and Disney wants to capitalize on it. Nostalgia is still big money, though I get the feeling that that is slowing down now. If for no other reason than because they don’t make anything new anymore, so all anyone can do is be nostalgic for old stuff and see new stuff that is just a remake of old stuff that will NEVER be nostalgic. You won’t hear people being nostalgic for The Force Awakens in 10 years.

Pandering is something that Hollywood LOVES to do. It’s not hard to do, it takes virtually no effort, absolutely no creativity, and they can give it to whoever for a quick paycheck. Disney has pandering down to a science. They did the Michael Bay calculus. Everyone hates his movies, yet they make a shit-ton of money. So he realized that no matter how bad the Transformers movies were and how much critical lambasting they got, they would make bank of over a billion dollars. This was by pandering to the Asian market, that loves white people and giant robots and explosions. Those movies sold out theaters all over China.

Over the last 5 or so years, there is another form of pandering that Hollywood has been doing, and it isn’t having the returns that Michael Bay got. In fact, the law of diminishing returns hit this kind of pandering so fast that it probably has Hollywood executives scratching their heads. Or maybe it is all more insidious, but I will get to that in a minute. The kind of pandering that I am talking about is “Girl Power!” pandering. It is all over some of the worst movies made in the last 5 or so years. Films that market themselves entirely on how for women they are. Films that market themselves entirely on how awful the men are who don’t like them. And, to a one, films that are financial black holes.

The first time I can really remember this kind of film becoming a thing is with the 2016 Ghostbusters remake. The first trailer came out, and it was immediately lambasted by fans of the original. So Sony, and their “brilliant” marketing teams decided that they could market this movie on how much everyone doesn’t like it. It didn’t work, and the film lost Sony tens of millions of dollars. Around the time it came out, all the media outlets were talking about how this was a women’s movie and how it was super empowering for women and how men will hate it because it is for women. Are you detecting a pattern?

More recently, let’s take a look at Birds of Prey. A DC movie centered entirely around Margot Robbie’s interpretation of the iconic Harley Quinn. The film was loud, spastic, and a really good portrait of what modern social justice thinks an empowered woman should be. What are these qualities? Well, we have self-destructive, narcissistic, violent, unstable, selfish, refusing to take responsibility for any of the things they say or do, and lashing out at a world where men are the enemy. But just like the Ghostbusters remake, this film marketed itself on how it is a movie made for women that men will hate because it is for women. And just like the Ghostbusters remake, it died at the box office almost immediately.

Another one that comes to mind is yet-another film that Kristin Stewart can add to her list of bad movies. I almost feel bad for this girl. Everyone still gives her shit for the Twilight movies, but that was about 10 years ago now. It’s been a long time, and she has matured as an actress. This film was a remake of Charlie’s Angels. This film was a major passion project for a woman who has a MASSIVE chip on her shoulder, Elizabeth Banks. She wrote, produced, directed, and starred in this enormous pile of shit. It’s like if Tommy Wiseau was given a million dollar budget. If you ever listen to how he wanted to end The Room, maybe a budget would have made things more interesting. But yeah, Elizabeth Banks really wanted to make a statement with this film, and if I can say nothing else about this movie, it was a statement. The film marketing itself exclusively on being for women and how awesome it is for women. It died at the box office so fast that, just like with Birds of Prey, there were articles asking why men don’t want to watch it.

Is the pattern becoming clearer? Maybe we should look at another recent movie that would probably have done a hell of a lot better than the movies I have listed, if for no other reason than because it came from Disney – the live-action remake of Mulan. I hate this movie especially, not just because I really like the original film, but because it takes a message from the original that was actually empowering for women and young girls and turns it into the stupidest thing ever. See, the original film had Mulan realizing that she is not as big or as physically imposing as the men around her, but one thing she did have was determination, and the ability to think on her feet. The lesson that if you work at something hard enough, and put the skills you have to work toward achieving your goals, you can get there is a great moral for young girls. It’s a lesson people in general should have.

Meanwhile, what did the remake do? Instead of having a character who is smart, thoughtful, clever, and a little mischievous, they turned her into Rey from the new Star Wars movies. Bland, uninteresting, with no discernible personality outside of being told that she has one. What’s more, they made her a Jedi with superpowers. How else can you describe it? So she is doing ninja-flips and all sorts of other stupid shit. Being clever and thinking on your feet? Nah! Be a superhero! Because that’s totally a thing that people are in the real world! The critics were quick to take this movie to task for how awful it was, but the only reason that this film lost Disney an eff-ton of money is because they tried to market it during quarantine, when everyone is staying at home. If they tried to market this film during a regular time, it would have sold gangbusters.

All over cinema and even television, the pandering to female empowerment is everywhere. I remember everyone talking about how empowered Katniss Everdeen was, from The Hunger Games movies. Another character with absolutely no personality. Something else just occurred to me – these empowered female characters have either absolute zero personality, or excessive personality. That’s fucking weird, man. But look everywhere and you see it. The trailer for the new film Cruella, the next in Disney’s latest live-action prequels to animated movies that try to take famous villains and turn them into anti-heroes a la Harley Quinn. In that, we have the oft-overused quote “I am woman. Hear me roar!” Yeah, because that line isn’t a hopeless cliche by now. Ruby Rose is only famous from her time as Batwoman for her quote “It will be perfect, when it fits a woman.” Everywhere you look, it’s entertainment talking about how awesome women are, and how not awesome men are.

But all of this entertainment has something else in common – it all dies at the box office or with TV ratings. Which says a lot of positive things to me. See, women are not NEARLY as stupid as Hollywood thinks they are. Or at least as stupid as directors of movies that are blatantly trying to pander to them think. Women are fully aware of when they’re being pandered to. And it gets old, really quick. Films that do nothing but kiss your gender’s ass sound fun, until you realize that they are nothing else. There’s nothing else to them other than that. If you make a movie without any other redeeming qualities, people will get bored and move on. Try to find entertainment that actually does the insane thing of entertaining them. I know, crazy, isn’t it?

There may be a more insidious side to this, though. Here’s the thing – Hollywood executives may be creatively bankrupt, but they aren’t stupid. They know damn well how much these movies die. So why is there no push to get away from them? Well, in Disney’s case, it’s because if you put the Disney name on pretty much anything, it’s guaranteed to make money. Because parents are the easiest people on the planet to exploit, along with the Asian market that Disney is trying to quarantine. But all the other films I listed died so hard. Why did they not try and make them better? They have to notice what box office poison these movies are. I think they do, and I think them failing is no accident.

This isn’t as tin-foil hat as you might think. It’s a well-known secret in Hollywood that movies are made to do badly every year by major studios. The reason for this is so that they can show that they lost money in any given year, which in turn will have them paying a smaller tax amount. I think these female empowerment movies are green-lighted partly because saying no would mean a social media meltdown, and partly because the studios are just fine sending these movies out to die for their own corporate ends. It’s brilliant, when you look at it like that. As nefarious as the schemes one comes to expect from the industry.

If my theory is wrong, however, then Hollywood seems to think that women are REALLY stupid, and that pandering to them is as easy as telling them how awesome women are. But as we have talked about, when they go that route, these films die. Which tells me that the very market they are trying to pander sees right through them and isn’t having it. Because women are smarter than even Hollywood gives them credit for. How long can this go on? Who the fuck knows. But so long as a market is there, it will continue.

Until next time, a quote,

“This ain’t gonna be pretty, but don’t you worry. We started this thing together, and that’s how we’re gonna finish it.” – Mushu, Mulan

Peace out,

Maverick