Facebook, “Ban Bossy” and Cognitive Dissonance (A Response to Hadley Freeman)

So, if you’re like me and like to keep up-to-date on current events, so you can actually know why the world is going to shit, then you have been seeing the story about the Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg and her mission to “ban bossy.”  A campaign that is about as backwards and filled with cognitive dissonance as is possible.  I haven’t really commented on that, because I didn’t have an angle that I wanted to talk about it with.  However, after reading an article in the print version of The Guardian by a very feminist author, Hadley Freeman, I’ve found the angle I want to attack this with.  Here’s a link to her article, so you can see that I’m not just pulling this out of the ether.  Context matters, though don’t tell that to the Tumblr feminist crowd.

Freeman seems to believe that this whole “ban bossy” campaign is a “good start.”  I guess she has the same cognitive dissonance that the people who thought up this flawed idea have.  For starters, it isn’t bossy that they want to ban.  For real, that means nothing.  Not one tiny thing.  The word they really want to ban, and I know this will damage people’s comfort zone, is “bitch.”  They’re tired of girls being called bitches, but are rephrasing it so they can have a clever ad for their new campaign.  Because, after all, it’s hard to advertise not calling girls and women bitches.  Especially since some actually are.  And before you go off on me, it isn’t guys who go after women the hardest.  For real, in all the “patriarchy” and “rape culture” that these women talk about, the people who go after women the hardest and the most viciously are other women.  Neat little fact, there.

However, there is a lot of cognitive dissonance with this idea.  Sandberg is quoted as saying that girls want less leadership positions than boys by the time they reach middle school.  Uh, who cares?  For real, are we supposed to force girls to want to do something they don’t want to do?  Do you believe that enforcing your ideas on to young girls is the correct way to go about this, rather than letting them find their own preferences?  I mean, if the argument is that modern education is flawed in that regard, I’m with you.  Though, not for the reasons you think.  I’m with you in that we are forcing children to take drugs, constantly think about adulthood and don’t teach empathy and critical thinking in the way we teach tests.  We are stripping away the childhoods of the modern youth, because parents think that their little boy or girl staring out the window and dreaming of better things requires ritalin.  By the way, that’s not without context.  One of the biggest drugs selling right now is ritalin.  Sad, but true.  But I will save the best piece of cognitive dissonance for the end, so you all can understand just how flawed this is.  We have another fish to fry first.

As if to make my point, Freeman’s article kind of drives it home.  She has a point-by-point list of things she wants to have in schools.  I’ll keep to her style and debunk them individually.

  • Make feminism part of the national curriculum

Um, how about no?  For real, how about we don’t force an ideological idea on to children.  Here’s what we should do – teach and encourage children to think for themselves.  Get rid of these stupid fucking tests (or at least stop teaching them) and instead focus on actual discussion about topics.  Get English classes to talk about what they are learning and let the kids actually have a voice.  One of the biggest problems in modern education is that children don’t have a voice, in this country and in others in the First World.  Though I am focusing on here in the States.

Bringing in this ideological discussion will do nothing to help your cause.  It’s no better than if we bring religion into the classroom.  If you want a class in high school for women’s studies or feminism, that’s fine, but make it the children’s choice, instead of foisting it on them.  Isn’t that a better idea than having a teacher get up at the beginning of class and saying,

Alright, students.  Today we’re going to be talking about feminism, because we are requiring you to learn it.

Don’t you see how telling kids that we want them to learn something, instead of letting them find their own preferences, is going to be a turn-off.  Now, there are some things that a kid has to know, like history, mathematics, science and the like.  With math, I have met two children in my entire time growing up who liked it.  You can’t do much about that.  But even with history and science, there is room for discussion and to let kids find their own thing to enjoy.  We shouldn’t have this blank-statement of “you must learn feminism!” for the modern youth.

  • Get impressive kickass women to talk to them.

Yeah, I got no problem with that.  So long as we get impressive guys to do so too.  A balance should exist.  Though, and this is speaking from my experience growing up, I hated people just talking to us, unless what they were talking about something that interested me.  I don’t care if they had so much success and were great leaders, unless they did something that I find impressive.  I guarantee you that other kids think the same way.  So yeah, bring people in to talk, but make sure that they have something neat to say, other than “be a leader!”  I mean to end this showing you why that doesn’t work.

  • Nutrition should be a part of the national curriculum

I don’t even get how that ties in.  And once again, how about no?  How about we teach kids about nutrition in science classes and health classes in middle and high school?  Don’t just foist knowledge on little kids.  Trust me, unless you ritalin the shit out of them, it won’t stick.

  • Ban all magazines and newspapers from the school that talk about diets, celebrity body shapes and sex lives, and Kate Middleton

Back in high school, there was this ban on soda and candy, which made a lot of kids angry.  We like our unhealthy things.  A kid who is at school at 7 in the morning wants their caffeine.  Nothing wrong with that.  However, for me and my friends, this started a new market for us – underground candy and soda.  Since my high school was a closed campus, students couldn’t walk down the road at lunch and get some from Carr’s.  We made a killing.  It started an amusing series of candy and soda wars between the various sellers.  The Girl Scouts were a tough opponent who held their own in the wars.  The band was a bunch of little pussies who couldn’t do anything and we let them know where their place was.  I made a very hefty profit from my business and it made my junior and senior years much more interesting.

The point of this story is – don’t ban things!  It doesn’t work!  Just like banning alcohol and drugs doesn’t work, trying to ban students from getting publications about what is popular won’t work.  While your ban won’t create the same kind of black market that the one in my school did (which I understand they lifted a couple years after I left, due to the candy and soda wars), it is just another sad and pathetic means of mind control that students aren’t so dumb that they will miss.

  • Feed them a healthy diet of feminist films and books

Wow, how very 1984 of you.  In fact, this whole “ban bossy” campaign is very 1984.  They want to teach the children what they want them to know and to make it so they can’t say the words that they don’t like.  Big Brother would be proud.  I’ve already covered my refutation of this on the first of her little points.  We shouldn’t force kids to watch things, we should give them options and let them find preferences for themselves.  If you want to have a class for this sort of things, by all means.  Let them decide for themselves if they want to adopt your ideology or not.  But don’t force it on them and think that you did the right thing.  I guarantee you that more than one dictator throughout history has thought the same thing.

I said earlier that I would point out the biggest level of cognitive dissonance about all this at the end, and I am going to do that now.  The biggest level of cognitive dissonance is – this is a campaign that is done in solidarity of young women and girls, yet it is making it sound like they are so fragile that they can’t handle being called a word.  I mean, really?  Are we really making that argument?  Cause if we are, then you are tacitly admitting that they shouldn’t be holding positions of power.  Reason – because they can’t take criticism.

I guarantee you, man or woman, workers will poke fun at their boss.  It’s what employees do.  There is almost no boss who exists who is tight with their people.  There is a good reason for this – they have to tell them what to do.  When you have to be an authority figure, it’s a guarantee that you aren’t going to be liked by many or any of the people under you.  You will have people talking behind your back and making jokes about you.  Trust me, gender means jack-diddle.  John the asshole or Jane the bitch are just little names that will follow a boss around.  It’s a way that employees deal with workplace stress.  It’s a coping mechanism.  If you don’t like that, fine, but don’t go pretending that you have a high-ground position here.

And to Freeman’s article, I am going to close out this post with a quote that kind of puts what she wants in its place from a character who I would think she would like.

Until next time, a quote,

“My goal is not to wake up at 40 with the bitter realization that I’ve wasted my life at a job I hate because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.”  -Daria Morgendorffer, Daria

Peace out,

Maverick

 

Lucien’s Review: Noah

NoahI  want to preface this review by saying that I would never have gone to see a film like this if I had had to pay for it.  I knew from the trailers what my reaction to this movie would be, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Part of me actually was hoping to be surprised by this film, but nope, it lived down to my expectations and then some.  With the director of this movie being a pretty good director, I was hoping for something better.  Alas, this movie was just as bad as I thought it would be, and then some.  All the critical praise I’m seeing from people I think is from them not wanting to piss off the psycho-fundie crowd, but I do mean to explain why I don’t like this film, so it doesn’t just sound like I’m bitching.  Without further ado, let’s get started.

So, the plot of this film takes a lot of liberties with the biblical story (that was already flawed to begin with, I mean, why are almost all the marsupials in Australia?  But I digress…).  It tells the story of Noah and how he has himself a vision about a flood and decides to build a boat.  They gloss over his age, which is a major plot-hole in the source material (for real, a 600 year old man does not make an ark), and have him coming into conflict with a local tribe who thinks that Noah is building a fortress of some kind.  There is also a sub-plot involving Emma Watson’s (whose talent is wasted in this movie) character and her infertility, which is resolved in one of the weirdest ways I have seen in a long time.

So, what did I like about this movie?  Well, the music was great.  For real, the composer for this film knew what they were doing.  It lent some of the passage-of-time scenes a lot of believability due to just how expertly those scenes were handled.  When I look at the rest of the cinematography in this film, seeing something this good is pretty surprising.  Which is another thing to add – the scenes with the changing seasons are actually really good.  It shows of potential that this film would have had, if it had been in the hands of a director who had more balls than Aronofsky.

Now, on to the negatives.  First, the visuals.  A lot of critics are praising the special effects in this film.  In fact, that seems to be one of the biggest selling points that keeps coming up.  Like they can’t think of anything outside of that.  And I can see why.  For real, it reminded me of all the praise that was heaped on the visuals in “Avatar,” which was another film that sucked.  Ironically, that story was a religious allegory to a story in the Bible.  Neat how that works.  But for me, the visuals were so over-the-top.  It didn’t look good.  I can at least acknowledge that Avatar looked amazing.  For real, it did.  But with this film, the fake water and the fake everything just go tedious after a while.  The set designs were boring, so there wasn’t really anything to look at outside of the water that suddenly just bursts from the ground for no reason, except to move the plot forward.

Then there is the story.  I won’t spoil anything for you (even though there’s nothing of value to spoil), but this film was really weird in its depiction of how God works.  And this is Old Testament God.  Granted, both of them are totally nuts, but I don’t get how this would work even with Old Testament God.  Next, there is the fact that Anthony Hopkins’ (another person whose talent is wasted in this movie) character is a wizard.  For real, they never explain where his magical powers come from.  I mean, I could assume that it’s God, but they never really explain, which makes the fact that he has really random and weird powers just that much more confusing.  But he isn’t even the worst character.  Oh, and the entire plot with the evil bad guy was totally pointless.  For real, it served no purpose and could have been edited out of the film.

The worst character in this film, by far, is the titular one.  Noah is a complete psycho in this movie.  For real, this guy goes off on some crazy and really evil tangents, in association with Emma Watson’s character.  I could just spoil it for you and say what his evil tangent is, but if you really want to, it’s something you have to see to believe.  But yeah, for being a really holy man, I am really skeptical of how good he actually is.  Especially after what he threatens Emma Watson’s character with.  They also tie it in to both gender-bias and God in a really weird and kind of creepy way.  It is kind of off-putting how they justify this tangent and makes God sound even more wacko than he already does, deciding to murder all the men,women, children and babies of the world to  get back at himself (for real, he’s mad at himself for making man, so he kills everyone to get back at himself.  The logic is just…amazing).

This movie also tries to dabble in science.  For real, they have some things that show evolution, but they cut it off at a weird point, leaving one to wonder – are you just not showing this because of the negative press that evolution gets?  If so, why are you having it at all in a story about Noah’s Ark?  If we’re just supposed to accept this flawed premise at face value, why put it in there?  For real, the scene served no purpose and would most likely alienate the bulk of the audience it was supposed to appeal to.  Or at least, the people who would like it more than I do, because it still has all the problems of the biblical story and how insane it is.

I said before that I think the reason that this film is getting a lot of great press is because of the ties to religion and film critics not wanting to piss those people off.  Much the same way as a lot of critics were loathe to say bad things about “Passion of the Christ.”  But take it from me, this film was painful to sit through.  I like Darron Aronofsky as a filmmaker.  I really do.  But this was just garbage, from start to finish.  See at your own risk.

Final Verdict:
3 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Ray Comfort vs. Cosmos – Please Stop

I recently got done reading an article where Ray Comfort decided that he would jump on the creationist bullshit bandwagon of being against the newest incarnation of “Cosmos.”  Yes, the creationists are getting quite the butthurt about this show, and are doing everything they can to fight back against it.  Such as demanding that their insane and completely unsupported by facts “Theory” gets equal airtime as Cosmos (link here), so they can have a “balanced” approach.  Never mind that what Cosmos shows is backed up by mountains of evidence, whereas all the “Theory of Creation” has is a book and claims to science that have been beaten with a stick, over and over again.  But indeed, they are getting their panties in a bunch about this fairly hard.

There was even a recent story about how the creationists were against his statements about comets.  Why?  You’re gonna love this – because they suggest a view that the universe is billions of years old, rather than the few thousand that they believe (link here).  It’s madness.  I mean, they are going after Tyson and his show’s representation of comets, just because it conflicts with their worldview.  Maybe it’s because they have gone after everything else that they are doing this.  They went after the show’s segments about the origin and age of the universe.  They also attacked the episode about evolution.  Now, because they got their big talking points out of the way, they are just going after whatever they can, so we call can understand the butthurt.  What will they go after next?  Maybe the show should say that the sky appears blue, and it has been so for the billions of years that this planet existed.  Would they then get their butthurt going after that?  Probably.

Now, in an effort to stay relevant, Ray Comfort (or Cumfart, as I like to call him) has said on his radio show that the stuff that Cosmos is showing isn’t scientific, but the Book of Genesis is (link here).  Really?  You’re really making that argument.  So, the fact that Gawd spent the bulk of seven days making shit on this one little ball of rock, yet made the rest of the vast universe as an afterthought is scientific?  The existence of an all-powerful being who is powerful enough to make the universe, yet left absolutely zero tangible evidence (outside of your Bronze Age book) of his existence, following the age of accurate record-keeping.  Or how we all are descended from the incestuous fucking of Adam and Eve’s children?  Or how a 900 year old man got all the animals on a boat and then got them all to their perfect geographic areas without a single marsupial ending up in Europe?  That’s scientific to you?  You even go so far as to say the Neil deGrasse Tyson isn’t qualified to give his opinion on science because he isn’t a theologian.  You really believe this.  Though maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.  After all, this is the same guy who said that the banana is proof of God, because it clearly evolved for us to be able to handle.  Fucking genius…

Ray Cumfart, you are so full of shit.  For real, I don’t believe that you believe two words that come out of your mouth.  You are a charlatan who got on this bandwagon, for the express purpose of staying relevant.  I have been convinced, for some time, that you are just as much of an atheist as I am, and your running to join this latest Christian butthurt parade is proof of that.  You don’t believe in God.  You don’t believe in anything, except staying in the spotlight to make money.  You’re like Mitt Romney, except not as boring.

Part of me believes that most of the people in power with respect to religion are just like Cumfart.  I am certain that almost everyone in a position of power at the Vatican is an atheist.  There comes a point where you become so powerful, because of money, that the world of religion just becomes so foolish, because you see it as useful.  That’s the world we live in.

In closing, Ray Cumfart is a charlatan who doesn’t believe in anything.  He is a liar and only wants your money.  If you give it to him, that truly is on you.  I wouldn’t.  What can I say, I’m not big on indulging real-life trolls.

Until next time, a quote,

“Sister Augustine believes in things that aren’t real.”
“I thought that was a job requirement for you people.”  -Gregory House, House M.D.

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: The Delay of Evangelion 3.33 is Bullsh*t!

I know that probably nobody who works at FUNimation will read this, but I just thought that I would do a brief post about something that is pissing me off – the delay of Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo, here in the states.  And before people rag on me for not wanting subtitles, I have loved the dubs for the first two movies, and that’s how I want to see the third.

See, there was this sick English trailer released for the film.  The first one of its kind.  And oh my god, I was pumped!  Made it even better when there was a bit at the end that said that it was coming out on March 31st!  I was about to run and pre-order on Amazon, before I noticed a little thing that said that it was had been delayed.  I looked it up, and according to the site, it has been delayed until August 25th.  Now that is REALLY annoying, but it gets worse – that’s in the UK!  For real, the UK has a confirmed final release date of August 25th.  But here in the States, when you go on Amazon, it’s available for pre-order, but has no release date.  None at all.  A little odd, considering that they have it for pre-order.  Then, I looked on FUNimation’s website.  I needed to know why it was delayed.  The reason has pissed me the fuck off!

It’s a stunt to make money.  For real, that’s it.  See, they are delaying it in the States so that they can keep it in theaters for longer.  Which means, it’s so that they can milk it for more money.  And do you know what that means?!  That means that this film could end up being delayed until the end of the fucking year!  Because they want to make more money!  That is fucking bullshit!  Release the damn thing, already!  It’s done!  For real, it’s already done!  Is your precious bottom line really that important to you?!  I realize that not one damn person from FUNimation will see this, but you know what – I hope they do.  And realize that what they are doing is dumb!  It’s been two years that we’ve been waiting.  Let’s end it now!

That is all.

Until next time, a quote,

“Stupid is as stupid does.”  -Forrest Gump

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Video Game Narrative Evolution

I recently got the first single-player DLC to what I believe to be the best game of last year – The Last of Us.  Entitled, Left Behind, my expectations were this DLC were sky-high.  And let me tell you – it didn’t disappoint.  Without spoiling anything (because if you haven’t played it, I am ordering you to do so now), it has a couple of plot sucker-punches and the bittersweet nature of learning some more about a story we already know is just so The Last of Us Left Behindfulfilling.  Not only that, but because this was smaller, they were able to pack more into the environments and bring the world to life in a better way.  If this is what we can expect from the rest of the single-player DLC to this game, Naughty Dog better believe that they have my business.  Also, if any of them are listening – do NOT make a sequel to this game that involves Joel and Ellie.  For real, you’ve perfectly finished their story.  Leave it alone.

But, as I was playing this DLC and exploring the world that the narrative created, finding all the little collectibles and conversation options, I got to thinking about something – narrative evolution in video games.  There are all kinds of games that have a paper-thin or piss-poor narrative, like pretty much every major blockbuster shooter, platformers that are more about gameplay than plot (like the Mario games, Banjo-Kazooie and many others, all of which are good games, don’t get me wrong) or games that want to be interpretative experiences, like my favorite game of all time, Journey.  And there is nothing wrong with most of those concepts, aside from the blockbusters shooters that think that blowing things up equals a reason to care.  A game should be its own thing.

However, there are those games that rise above what so many games shoot for – being a cinematic experience.  Modeling games off cinema makes sense, in a lot of respects.  People like movies.  People go to the movies.  Cinema is the last major cultural expression to gain the sanctified status as “art.”  A status that the gamer community has been arguing is something games have for a long time.  However, those who have actually studied the evolution of narrative in video games can tell you that shooting to be like cinema is wasted potential.  I don’t begrudge developers from doing that, but trust me, it’s wasted.  Now, this is going to be something of a long post, which I could see doing as a Master’s thesis paper, but I hope you’ll agree with me on this one point, if you read no further – video games shouldn’t shoot to be like movies.  They should shoot to be like books.  And they can.  If you read on, I’ll tell you why.

The early video games had either no plot or a plot that existed just to put the hero into the story.  Mario was in his games to rescue Peach.  That was it.  The original Legend of Zelda games weren’t complicated, either.  To be fair, as much as I love Ocarina of Time, it isn’t Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Timeall that complicated, either.  It is a beautiful story, but it is a simple one.  The plots were simple because they didn’t have a lot of complicated mechanisms to work with.  They had a simple control scheme and simple graphics to work with that couldn’t do the kind of narrative you’ll see in later examples.  It just couldn’t be done.  And a lot of those older games were good games.  For real, as simple as the plot is, I could play Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for days on end.  Hell, I have done that, when I decided to indulge some nostalgia and dust off my old N64.

There is an argument to be made as to when this changed, but in my eyes, the turning point was around the time when Final Fantasy IV was created.  A game that had a world that was very diverse, with each area having a culture all its own.  Characters who had their own problems and internal struggles.  Betrayals and manipulations that made the story interesting.  While the digital effects were retro, it still told a compelling story that got the player invested in the characters and the world it took place in.  The Final Fantasy brand capitalized on this in a big way.  You had games like Final Fantasy VII telling a very bittersweet story about loss, destruction and the frail nature of the world.

As the medium of story-telling evolved, something that evolved with them was how one could expand the mythos of the world that the game existed in.  The first great example I have for a well-explored mythos was in Metroid Prime.  As you went through the world, you could scan pretty much anything.  With most things, you would see a display with some random tidbit, that wasn’t worth much, but interesting.  Then, you would scan something and you would get an entry added to your logbook.  Organized into different categories, the logbook became your way to learn more about the various parties, flora and fauna and other aspects of the world that the game felt you needed to know.  It encouraged curiosity and to learn about this vast expanse that they gave you.  Wouldn’t you know it, it was a huge hit.  And this kind of retaining information about the mythos of a world would remain a central part of gaming culture forever.

Mass EffectThe best usage of this medium is the Mass Effect series.  As the player goes through the world, reading computer screens, interacting with NPCs, getting to specific story points, talking to your crew or playing out certain missions, you would get entries added to one of the most efficient tools in the series – the Codex.  The Codex became synonymous with the series.  It was a tool that would give you additional information about things you had already gotten bits and pieces of in other ways.  It talked about everything.  It told you about the technology of the universe, the various characters, vehicles and life forms worth noting.  The Codex talked about just about everything.  It was a very comprehensive piece of data that the player could look back on at any time and read at their leisure.  It didn’t force them to do it, it was all up to the player.

A sign that the Codex was popular, and a medium that players could use to just read stuff was worthwhile came in Mass Effect 2.  There was a DLC mission called “Lair of the Shadow Broker.”  After completing the main mission, there was a new hub that could be interacted with and little Easter eggs to find.  However, the biggest sell of this DLC was something so small that the players love – the terminal with data about people in that universe.  It told you little details about your crew and the people who are important outside of them.  It could be anything, like a list of what Tali bought online, the improvements that Garrus made to ocular device that he wears or where Zaaed wants to retire, once the Suicide Mission is done.  Players flocked to this, because they wanted to learn about their favorite characters.  What’s more, they didn’t mind that all this was just stuff you read on a terminal.  We were fine with that.  In a truly “cinematic” game, that sort of DLC would have had no place.  The Codex wouldn’t have existed, because they would have assumed the players just didn’t care about the world and wanted to blow shit up.

Telling a story in film, there is a simple rule – show, don’t tell.  With video games, they can do both.  In fact, there are a lot of games that excel at doing both.  The Mass Effect series was most definitely one of them, however it isn’t the one that I believe did it best.  Still, it does pretty damn well.  Part of it is due to the central core of that series – player choice.  Learning bits about characters and the world around them and how they perceived the world happens very much from who you take with you into various places and on various missions.  I wouldn’t have heard the comedic bit that Garrus had about where is a good place to have battles if I hadn’t taken him with me on Mordin’s loyalty quest.  I wouldn’t have had Jack enjoying me letting the dumb little volus charge at the Eclipse leader if I hadn’t taken her on the mission to get Samara on my crew.  And in various places within hubs, like the Citadel and what-have-you, there were places where I could talk with various characters, depending on the game and which ones I took with me.

The Last of UsThat said, the game that I believe did the combination of dialogue and collectible log entries best is The Last of Us.  In this game, there is a very large amount of area that you can explore, amidst what externally-appears to be very linear gameplay.  That is skin-deep.  As you come across different things in different places, there will be a little triangle that appears above it.  That is a place where you can press the triangle button and initiate a brief conversation.  Doing so can either give character insight into things, such as Ellie remarking about the two suicide victims’ bodies in the hotel.  They can give back-story about a character, such as when Ellie remarks about a movie poster and Joel remarks have seen that film, which leads into the final category – narrative development.  You can learn a lot about perspective and the importance of certain things to certain characters based on what they say.  Plus, in many games, it doesn’t have to be that clean cut.  Hell, in The Last of Us, it wasn’t that clean cut.  Sometimes, there was no dialogue option.  Sometimes characters would just talk.  Sometimes it was important, sometimes it seemed trivial, but let us get to know the characters more.  It’s what made Joel and Ellie’s relationship so believable has it developed over the game.

Another great example is Halo 4.  While the gameplay was fairly typical, the thing that sold this game, to me, at least, was the story.  It told a very gripping story about the Master Chief and his decaying AI partner.  As the two would have little dialogues during the missions, as well as well-done cutscenes with dramatic moments, you came to care for both of them.  You saw the Chief and how, underneath it all, he was a lonely man whose closest human connection came from his AI partner.  You saw Cortana battling her own decay as you see her relationship with the Chief grow.  It was a poignant and beautiful narrative that, while cinematic in most respects, had just enough conversation elements to set it apart from a movie.

When you look at these elements and you see how rich and interesting they make the world of a game, the characters and our attachment to it, can you honestly imagine a film ever doing it justice?  For real, would you honestly think that a Mass Effect film could be good?  Sony recently announced that a The Last of Us film is being worked out, and I know that it is going to suck.  For real, there is absolutely zero chance that it will be good.  The reason is because the medium that the game was made it was perfect for telling the kind of story that it told – a story that was (and felt) long, with slow-paced development of a profound relationship that we came to believe in as we got to the end and we saw how far Joel was willing to go to save the person he cared about.  All video game movies have sucked, and to understand why this is, you have to realize something about video games – they can never be made into good films.  The reason for this is simple – film can’t rise to the potential that video games have.

So, what can?  What medium is there that can tell the kind of narrative that video games have?  Television?  Actually, that isn’t the worst.  Both The Walking Dead game (not the shitty one based on the TV show) and show tell comprehensive stories about a world that is complicated and a lot of characters.  TV has the same kind of character development and, thanks to the Internet, can have its own kind of Codex.  However, when thinking about translation of one medium into the other, it doesn’t work.  TV adaptation games have typically been as bad, or worse, than film adaptations.  So, if that isn’t the medium for this, then what is?

World War Z novel coverMy argument – books.  Think of how many books you love have been turned into piece of shit films.  I think back to the most recent book I love being turned into a piece-of-shit movie – World War Z.  A film that only shared the title of the book, I knew from it’s inception that a film like that was doomed on arrival.  See, the book is a story told from the perspective of a journalist who is gathering the stories of the people who survived humanity nearly going extinct thanks to the undead.  You already know how the story ends, with this story filling us in on the various stories and perspectives of the world it was based in.  Can you honestly see a book like that becoming a good movie?  So many perspectives, no central character and a lot of social and political commentary going on.  I didn’t, and I was still disappointed.

However, if that book had been made into a game, just think of what it could have done!  For real, the narrative structure of the novel would have worked much better, because video games are a medium where we accept these kinds of stories.  Hell, most gamers like to hear more than one perspective.  So this novel would have been a huge hit if it were made into a game before it was ever made into a movie.

A friend of mine showed me a trailer for another film adaptation of a book that is going to suck ass – The Giver.  It is a film that is done, in color.  The entire premise of the book was that that world had no color.  This film trailer has color all over the place.  How does that work?  Plus, there was no central villain in the novel.  It was a commentary about the lack of color and emotion that made the story profound.  The film, however, to keep to film standards, has a villain as there is color all over the place.  Pointless and it serves nothing within the narrative.  Now, just think if that story was a game before it ever became a movie.  The potential for that kind of narrative in video games would have made so many more crappy film adaptations more interesting.

The evolution of the video game narrative continues, and I am glad to see that it is getting better.  The latest DLC I played was awesome.  I look forward to more.  Gaming is becoming a medium that can outdo Hollywood and their dried-up rivers of ideas, if only we give it a chance.  What do you say?

Until next time, a quote,

“Because movies, when compared to games, are a much more regimented and controlled experience.  When you’re watching a movie, you’re seeing exactly what the filmmakers want you to see, in exactly the order they want you to see it.  But games are usually categorized as some level of freedom on the part of the player.  And if you give players any freedom, very often the first thing we’ll do is stop cooperating with your story.  We’ll do everything in the wrong order.  We’ll ignore all the things you wanted us to notice, notice all the things you wanted us to ignore and generally lay waste to whatever dramatic structure you wanted us to experience.”  -Mr. B Tongue, TUN: The Shandification of Fallout

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien Maverick’s Blog Updates

Hey everybody.

So, brief little tidbit.  I’ve finally gotten some stuff set up on other sides to share my blog and to use social media to the utmost.  If any of you are interested.  Sorry I’ve been so absent, lately, it’s just been a long semester and we have a lot going on.  I thought I should let you all know that I am going to be doing a lot more posting on here in the months to come, including a piece that I am doing today about the evolution of narrative in one of my favorite mediums.

But, if you’re interested, here are some links to my pages.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LMaverick123
Tumblr: http://lmaverick123.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lmaverick123

I never thought that I would get this far at all when I started this blog.  I thought that I would have five people who read my ramblings and nobody who gave a shit.  Now, I am coming on 400 subscribers just on WordPress, and that means a lot.  I’m not big, but I am thankful to you all the same.  Stay tuned, through, because the best is yet to come.  Let me know in the comments section what you’d like to see here.

Until next time, a quote,

“When have you ever cared about what I think?”  -Ellie, The Last of Us: Left Behind

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC

The Last of Us Left BehindI make it no secret that The Last of Us was my second-favorite game of last year.  It was the best game that came out last year, without a single contender in its class.  For real, no game made the drama and the human connection seem as real as this game did.  When I saw the preview for this DLC, I didn’t know what to think.  I just knew that, if it was done with the same love and respect for good story-telling that the original game was, then I was in for a beautiful work of digital perfection.  And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint!  Oh my god, this DLC is awesome!  Just when I thought that this game and the characters in it couldn’t surprise me anymore, it does!  For being $15, I got every single penny of my money’s worth.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s talk about it.

The story for this DLC follows two chronological settings.  Let me say, up-front – do NOT play this DLC before you finish the game!  For real, don’t!  You have to have context to make this setting work.  The first is right in the middle of the game.  Joel has been run-through with a piece of rebar.  Ellie has desperately gotten him to safety and is looking for a way to patch his wounds.  As she is searching a mall that she takes shelter in, her mind harkens back to when her and her best friend, Riley, were reunited.  Apparently, their departure didn’t end well, and now she is back.  Riley has Ellie follow her to a run-down mall, to give her a gift.  Ellie can feel that there’s something else, and she’s right.

I won’t talk about the controls or any of that.  It’s the exact same as the game.  However, they do give you some little differences that go a long way, such as allowing you to make little decisions about stuff.  What you do and how you do it effects how little interactions play out.  You can’t change the ending, but it does give you some free-reign to interact with the world more.  That’s nice.  There are also some cute little mini-games in the segments in the past.  As before, you can’t change the final outcome, but it lets you test your stealth skills in a serious way.  For real, Riley is one MEAN opponent.  Plus, the weapon you have is unreliable.  I won’t spoil it, but it’s funny.  There are also a couple of environmental puzzles in the present-day (figuratively speaking) setting when she is trying to find medicine for Joel.

This game brings Joel and Ellie back, through Joel is only around long enough to let us all know he’s in pain.  The two main characters in this game are Ellie and Riley.  And my god, their interaction is perfect!  For real, it’s flawless.  The way they interact, it feels like two real friends who are reuniting after a long time apart.  It is clear that they parted on bad terms, and while they share some great moments, how their past comes back into the story is just awesome.  For real, there are some HUGE emotional highlights that this DLC hits, and it does it just at the right moment to make your heart soar or your eyes weep.

Which is another thing to mention about this DLC – it’s bittersweet, in the absolute best way.  This is telling a story that we kind of already know, if you’ve seen the end of the game, but seeing it play out, you get to see where a lot of Ellie’s fear of abandonment comes from.  I cried at the end of this, and so will you, if you have a heart.  Naughty Dog, once again, shows why nobody does it like they do.  Nobody.  I could gush, for hours and hours and hours about this DLC and how perfectly-paced the story is.  It isn’t especially long, but just like the opening with Joel and Sara, it makes you believe that it’s real.  Maybe this just attached to me because of how I feel so much of Ellie’s emotions in respect to a friend that she felt ditched her.  Maybe I’m alone in that, but I don’t think so.  I think that this kind of feeling will resonate with everyone who plays.

Since there isn’t too much to talk about outside of that, let me just wrap this little review up by saying that this is worth every single penny of your money on PSN.  For real, if you have played and loved the original game as much as I do, then go and buy this DLC.  Do so immediately!  I have never seen an add-on to a game be this good.  I’ve seen another that comes close (the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC), but it didn’t hit the emotional levels this did.  I am so glad I played it, and you will be too.

Final Verdict
10 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

The Sunshine Contradiction

Part of me wonders if this is something that is a new thing, or if this is something that was always there, but the Internet has just made us all more aware of it.  You see it all the time.  Some people see it personally.  Other people see it more and more in their own lives.  You can’t get away with it.  You have to comply with it now, because those who don’t end up alone.  Those who don’t become the sad and the lost and the disillusioned.  And the longer they are that way, the more likely they are to stay that way.  It becomes a cycle that you can never escape.  A system that the world imposes, because it doesn’t want to be shocked or shaken.  Has it always been that way?  I suppose I should tell you what this thing is before I ask that.  I call it, “The Sunshine Contradiction.”

The Sunshine Contradiction is based on how people’s attitudes are to positive things.  I was reading this great meme that talked about how, in the world of Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore is depressing as all get-out, yet he has friends who keep asking him to do stuff.  They are constantly trying to get him involved with them, knowing that he can’t change.  They don’t try and change him.  Instead, they accept him for who he is and are still true to him.  He is one of them.  You don’t see that often, in the real world, do you?

Ivan Aivazovsky, The Bay of Naples at Moonlit NightFor real, how many days have each of you been sad, mad or just wanted to talk to someone, only for nobody to be around?  They don’t pick up the phone, they don’t answer the IM or text.  They are nowhere to be found.  You reach out, just wanting someone to tell you it’s alright.  But, the people who you count on are gone.  They will say that you are important to them, and they are probably being honest.  They aren’t there for a reason that is indicative of society.

The world is filled with people who are completely and utterly averse to negative thoughts.  People go out of their way to only be around positive things.  The moment something negative enters their space, they are accustomed to quickly retreating.  It’s the reason that my generation is so political apathetic.  The more you learn about the world and how absolutely fucked everything is, the less you want to care.  I am guilty of this.  I don’t vote because of my apathy.  I just stopped giving a shit, after I saw democracy get subverted in my municipality, and then saw no one fight for it.  I walked away from a meeting where a woman begged our elected officials to do something, only for them to do nothing.  Her pleas weren’t accepted, because they didn’t care.  Like every form of government, they are corrupt and uncaring.

And it isn’t just politics.  Look at the job market long enough, and the wages that the current economy brings, and it makes you want to cry.  My generation is trapped in the reality that we have nothing going for us.  The previous generation is doing their damndest to fuck the entirety of mine as much as they possibly can before they kick the bucket.  It’s like it’s a mission of theirs.  Why they do that is a mystery, to me.  But then, the reason that the wealthy fuck over anybody is a mystery.  Maybe that’s all they know how to do.  I don’t know.

But this generation is now so desperate to feel positive all the time.  Why is this?  This is just me talking, here, but part of me believes that it is because things in life suck so much.  If they can escape it, in any way, even just for a moment, then they are content to live in that moment.  That is the only moment they need.  If they can blind themselves to the harshness outside of their little circle, then the world is better place.  If a friend is hurting, Alex Ruiz, Starry Nightthey help them only as much as they feel they need to, in order to keep the social contract.  I mean, they have other people, right?  They can find help outside of me.  Then, when you are hurting, you see that that isn’t always the case.  Hell, it isn’t even often the case.  You will suffer, trying to find someone, anyone to talk to.  But your friends are keeping you as close as they feel they can without you and your pain taking the buzz away from their positive film that they work so hard to keep.

What is the cost of the endless need for sunshine?  Does the Sunshine Contradiction have a price?  Can it be measured in a way that we care about?  I mean, look around you.  The people who bitch about gun violence don’t realize something – you are many times more likely to kill yourself, not accidentally, than you are to be killed by a gun.  That’s the world we live in.  We binge, we go out of control.  We fuck, we do anything we can in order to keep the illusion that the world is a place that we all want to be.  That it isn’t all going to shit while we sit back and work hard to keep the film.

My favorite band is Nirvana.  Kurt Cobain truly was a prophet.  He saw the world so clearly.  He saw that we are deluded, drugged and kept ignorant.  He also knew that it wasn’t just the corporate overlords.  We self-impose our ignorance.  We treat the thinkers like shit.  The nerds, the smart young people, those who aren’t like the rest.  They are the kids who can’t drink out of the water fountain now.  Who the fuck is standing up for them?  Though we have a culture where everyone is so afraid to call some dumb-fuck kid stupid that we are now giving them a platform to think they’re perfect.  Maybe society has what Ethan Couch’s piece-of-shit lawyer said he has, “affluenza.”  Societal affluenza.  I like it.

The Sunshine Contradiction is, in exact terms, when a person, group of people or a demographic does everything they can to have a positive worldview, while slowly self-destructing because of it.  For real, think about it – that’s what we’re doing.  We have no culture.  We have no great art.  We have no great thinkers.  What philosophers exist in this timeline?  The pundits on the news?  Fuck that.  We work so hard to maintain this facade of happiness that we don’t care that we are slowly rotting on the inside.

Ocean, Sky, StarsAnd it doesn’t get any better for those who don’t accept that.  For those who choose to stare the truth in the face.  They become so disillusioned that they can’t uphold the rosy film that everyone wants.  So, the people abandon them.  They become exiled because the rest of my generation doesn’t want them.  They want those who help their delusion.  They want their little Sancho Panza’s to keep telling them that the windmills are giants.  And they get what they want, because nobody wants to be alone.  And you wonder why suicide rates are so high?  I don’t get that.

There are more and more days where I feel like Dante, telling everyone the secrets of Count Guido da Montefeltro.  People will get mad because they don’t want their secrets told.  If they had know that we weren’t dead, they wouldn’t have told us.  But we’re alive, and we will tell your secret.  We’ll tell it to the world – that your way of being is sick, delusional and is going to lead to our collapse.  Because, by the time you give a shit, it will be too late.  And the rest of the world will be too inundated with bad movies and cat pictures to give to fucks, anyway.

Your sunshine will destroy the world, and you don’t care.  Mind-boggling.

Until next time, a quote,

“One story that really struck me and got me thinking about this was – a few years ago, there was this teenage punk rocker kid who was run down in an IHOP parking lot by a white jock and his girlfriend in Dad’s Cadillac.  And this boy died because he looked different.  And he was run down by a drunk piece of shit who hated him and always picked on him.  And it was a situation where you got six kids who, you know, got their noses pierced and you got 30 jocks who are the popular kids at school.  And they’re picking on them.  They’re calling them fags.  They’re calling them, whatever.  So this thing happens, this guy kills this kid and is clearly guilty.  And his guilt is admitted.  And guess where this all-American athlete is.  He’s in college.  The jury felt the punk rocker deserved to die, because he looked the way he did.  And not only was he killed, but then, in the trial, he was killed again because they criticized his lifestyle…and then the killer was even applauded at Graduation because he was a football star.”  -Marilyn Manson

Peace out,

Maverick

RE: 7 Things That Prove God Is Real

Oh man, I haven’t done one of these in a while.  So, it seems that one of the many butthurt Christian types decided to compile a list of the seven things that they are certain prove God’s existence.  The list is riddled with confirmation bias, a lack of scientific understanding.  I am going to go for this, point by point.  Easy enough, since this person was nice enough to group their points together into a list.  Here is a link to the original piece, now let’s take apart some stupidity.

1. Babies. I watched my wife give birth to our four daughters, and last month I visited my new grandson. I’ve stared at little Hananiah’s cute face and tiny fingers—and the cleft in his chin that resembles mine. How can anyone deny the reality of God when they see a baby? The amount of information encrypted in one cell in the human body is equal to that of 1,000 books. The total amount of information stored in your DNA is 40 times more than that of the largest set of encyclopedias in the world. King David felt this sense of awe when he wrote, “You wove me in my mother’s womb. … I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:13, 14, NASB). Life is truly a miracle!

So, you obviously are from a first-world country.  Is life a miracle for the babies who get obliterated in nations filled with civil war?  Were all the babies of Sodom and Gomorrah miracles?  I mean, God went out of his way to kill them all there.  Or how about the babies that he drowned in the flood during the stories of Noah’s Ark?  Or how about the babies he commanded his army to kill, often after their mothers were taken as slaves, during the sacking of cities like Jericho?  What did those babies do?  In fact, if you look at how much genocide God has personally done, babies don’t seem to interest him in the slightest.

Next, you talk about how much information there is in DNA.  I vaguely remember talking about something like this.  I won’t go too far into this, other than to say that if you think that the genetic information that is in each DNA strand is proof of God, you don’t know the first thing about science.  For real, you’re scientifically illiterate.  Though, what can I expect.  Your first bit of corroborating evidence for your point was the child that you had.  Confirmation bias is all over that one.

2. Thunderstorms. I love to sit on my back porch in Florida and listen to the rumbling of thunder. It reminds me of God’s majesty and power. The apostle Paul said creation was the best evidence of God’s existence. He wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen” (Rom. 1:20). Nature is actually full of quantifiable miracles. Just consider the fact that the earth is the perfect distance from the sun to support life. If we were any farther away from the sun, we would freeze; if we were even slightly closer to it, we would burn up. It’s obvious God created this home for us!

This is just sad.  This person clearly doesn’t know anything about science and is trying to feebly attach meaning to what they perceive.  I mean, “Nature is actually full of quantifiable miracles”?  Seriously?!  And your evidence is thunderstorms?  Here is a link to an article written by people 1000X smarter than you that details how thunderstorms work.  There’s no miracle in it!  For real, for something to be miraculous, it would have to be outside of what is possible.  As you can clearly see, thunderstorms are not miraculous.  Neither are any of the other things that the Bible declared supernatural, such as diseases, mental illness (which they thought was demonic possession), earthquakes and floods.

Then, you make the argument that the world is perfectly made for us.  You have no idea how crazy it is that life exists on this planet, do you?  With all the cosmic forces that could wipe us out at any minute, the idea that life is just so perfect on this world for us, with life being just this tiny little film on the surface of it, is just hubris.  Not to mention – if this planet were truly made for us, then resources wouldn’t be finite.  But they are, and we’re overusing them.  Your argument is dumb.

3. Flowers. There are more than 400,000 species of flowers in the world, and most of them are not edible. Their job is to simply make the world beautiful. Did they just haphazardly evolve over time, or did a loving God create each individual shape and color scheme for our enjoyment? People who choose to deny God don’t spend enough time looking at tulips, snapdragons, orchids, lilies, lotuses or magnolias. This is why it’s really important to stop and smell the roses!

Not much to even say, here.  You clearly are from a part of the world where you have no real troubles and everything is all buttercups and rainbows from God.  You don’t know anything about what an amazing force evolution and natural selection are.  It is more profound, if you think about it, to realize that all this was because of forces in this universe over unimaginable periods of time than to think that a psychotic patriarch did it.

4. The Bible. Paul wrote that “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). The Bible itself is proof of God’s existence because He used 40 unrelated people over a period of 2,000 years to write His unique love letter to us. There is nothing like the Bible because it carries the same consistent message throughout all of its 66 different books. Atheists can laugh at this idea, but those who have read the Scriptures and experienced God through its pages know why it is the best-selling and most-translated book in all of history. (Fact: 100 million copies of the Bible are sold every year. Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion has sold 2 million.)

There is a great rule when it comes to arguing for your religion – never argue for the Bible with the Bible.  It’s a flawed book, riddled with contradictions, such as how there are two completely different creation stories and stories about the creation of people.  Or how the two Gospels that talk about the birth of Jesus have contradicting stories.  Or the fact that God, who is supposed to be all-good has a bad habit of murdering so many people.  Or the idea that he has a plan and knows the outcome of every situation, yet says we have free will.

But the biggest proof that the Bible is bullshit – there is no knowledge outside of what the people of that time period knew.  I like the bit that Eddie Izzard said in a stand-up bit where he said, “if there was a god, then the first words in the Bible should have been ‘it’s round!  Looks flat, but it’s round.'”  A Bronze Age book that has absolutely no factual basis, because the acts of God stopped being around once people started keeping accurate records.  Funny how that is, huh?

5. The global spread of Christianity. Over the centuries, the gospel message has been vilified and ridiculed. Roman rulers threw first-century Christians to the lions, and 20th-century dictators sent believers to prison camps. It is estimated that 70 million Christians have been martyred since the church began—and 40 million of those were in the 20th century. Yet today Christianity has more adherents than any religion, and numbers are growing in many parts of the world. Our faith is spreading because it is the truth—and history shows that when this truth is mocked and scorned, it actually spreads faster!

They fail to mention that the number of religious people is dive-bombing in first-world countries.  Again, doing research or citing a source would have been too hard for this author.  But what about Islam.  It’s growing pretty damn fast in parts of the world, too.  There are over 1 billion people who believe in it.  Although, I suppose I shouldn’t follow this logic train too far.  After all, Islam and Christianity are the same religion.

Science and the Internet are killing religion, because when you post stupid shit like this, people like me, who actually have facts, can come in and show how you are full of shit.  There are not five words of truth in this whole post, and you are saying that it is our side with the weak argument.  I guess that’s true, if all you see is how awesome Jesus is.  Speaking of…

6. Jesus. The most amazing thing about God is not that He exists, but that He loved us so much He was willing to send His Son to earth to save us from ourselves. Jesus was with the Father from the time of creation, and His arrival was predicted numerous times in Old Testament prophecy. Finally He interrupted history and came to live among us. His crucifixion is historical fact, and His resurrection was verified by hundreds of witnesses. The man who perhaps knew Jesus best—the apostle John—saw the risen Christ and touched His nail-pierced hands. He wrote, “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you” (1 John 1:3). Jesus is not an illusive fairy tale. He is the living, breathing, touchable Son of God.

Touchable?  Really?  You’ve touched Jesus?  You’ve actually gone and touched him, in person?  They make pills for whatever you have, you know.  You talk about evidence of his crucifixion and resurrection, but you fail to address the fact that there were DOZENS of stories like his floating around the Mediterranean, some made before the time of Jesus Christ.  We can’t be sure that Jesus was even a real person.  I mean, there were a lot of Gospels that were written, some during his time, that were rejected by a committee from being entered into the Bible that you so avidly flaunt.  I mean, really?  A committee can just up and decide to not add stories written about Jesus.  Did they, perchance, not go with the party line about this guy?  Just sayin’.  Though it is all meaningless, since you can only use the Bible to back up your claims.  You’re not helping yourself, here.

7. My personal friendship with God. Atheists may not be convinced that God exists after listening to a storm, smelling a hibiscus or reading the Bible. When I am asked to defend my faith, I don’t start an intellectual argument. I have to go back to the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 1:12: “I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed.”

Wow, it’s like this person is admitting that they are full of shit.  This was a pointless waste of time and it didn’t prove jack-shit.  Thanks for wasting my time.

Until next time, a quote,

“And I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.  No woman could or would fuck things up like this!”  -George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest ColorBefore we get too far into this, there are a couple things I want to address.  First, yes, this is a coming-of-age story about a girl who happens to be gay, finding her sexual identity.  The fact that I am a guy and enjoy this story is not me being some kind of pervy wanker.  I enjoyed Brokeback Mountain for much of the same reasons as I like this film.  I’m not two-faced about this.  Second, this film has caught some flak for the fact that there is an almost-absurd amount of gratuitous sex in it.  For real, they do not shy away from that aspect.  I am accepting of this for two reasons.  First, it doesn’t feel like it was just shoe-horned in for the purpose of having naked fun.  It does show how passionate the main character’s relationship is.  Second, it’s a French movie, only watchable with subtitles.  The French love their sex!  Who among you doesn’t know that?  But, if you are a pervy wanker and are looking for some hot sex to watch, well, I guess you will get what you will from this movie.  For the rest of the grown-ups, here is my review.

Rather than talk about the aspects of the film, like the last film review I did, Her, I am going to talk about the things that stick out to me, because there are a lot of things that do.  This is a genuinely-profound coming-of-age story.  I know that it hit the right tone with its intended audience because I talked to a girly-mate who has recently accepted that she is gay about what she thought, and she told me that it hit very close to home with her.  For my own viewing, this was an emotionally stirring and bittersweet story about growing up, lifestyle and discovering one’s sexual identity.  And a very well-done story as well.

Before we get into this, the plot follows the life of a young woman named Adele.  She is in high school and seems to have a very empty life, only having solace form her books.  Her life is erratic and self-destructive until she meets a young artist named Emma.  From there, a love that is both beautiful and tragic forms, shaping the next several years of her life in a profound way.

Something I need to talk about is the fact that all the acting roles in this movie are outstanding.  The girl who plays Adele is beautiful and seems to perfectly capture the awkwardness of young love, along with the heart-break of uncertainty and wanting what you can’t have.  I tip my hat to her, and hope that she has more roles in the future that we come across.  Though the girl who plays Emma is also really something.  What can I say, I have a thing for women with blue hair.

Now, those things aside, there were several aspects of this film that caught my attention.  The first was how Adele was trying to figure out who she is, sexually.  Being a romantically-unappealing bisexual myself, finding out who I was wasn’t easy.  When I first realized that I had an attraction to a boy in high school, who was a couple grades ahead of me, it was a profound experience.  I wanted to tell him, but never did.  With all the bullshit of high school and college coming at you, finding out who you are, both romantically and sexually is one of the hardest things to do.  It isn’t any easier for heterosexuals either.  The LGBT community may have a monopoly on the socially-aware growth of their sexuality, but finding out who you are with a straight relationship is no simpler.  This film captured that aspect as well, albeit in a different way.  Adele tries to find her place among normal relationships, but doesn’t, due to her figuring out that she is gay.  This film got it down almost-perfectly, which I have to comment on, since I felt the feels train come in and taking me down the tracks.

Another thing worth mentioning is the coming-of-age aspect.  Anyone who knows me know that I am a story-seeker.  In any medium, if there is a good story, I want to see it.  I happen to love anime (I know, how immature, right?  Wrong!  You’re an idiot), but only when it has a good story.  One series that also has an almost-flawless coming-of-age story is Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, and it’s sister series (that description is intentional), Paradise Kiss.  Both are from the same director, and both are about the same thing – growing up.  In Beck, it tells the story of a middle-and-high school boy who is learning guitar and going after his dream with a band that him and his friends start.  In Paradise Kiss, it tells the story of a young woman who is scouted by a fashion designer and his friends to model for them.  Both of these series have their poignant moments, mostly through great voice acting and perfect animation to set the tone, like how you can smell the dusty basements and the clubs that the band gets in Beck, or feel the fabrics and be able to imagine what it’s like in The Studio in Paradise Kiss.

The thing that both of these series do well is how neither of them are perfectly happy or perfectly sad.  They don’t have some great cathartic ending.  They are very true to life.  In real life, it doesn’t always end well.  In real life, everything doesn’t just work out.  In real life, things change and you go your own way.  I bring this up because my favorite aspect of this movie was that one.  Going through the life-story of Adele was powerful because it wasn’t happy or sad.  It was just, for lack of a better word, life.  You make if it what you will.  You see how she saw it, and it was an emotional experience.

This is one of those few films that really captures what it’s like to be a teenager, facing down the barrel of adulthood.  It isn’t always happy.  It will sometimes make you cry, but that isn’t a bad thing.  It is still beautiful.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick