Top 10 More Things I Hate in Movies

The more I thought about the things in movies that bug me, the more I was able to find an increasing amount.  Even after this, I’ll probably find more, so bear with me on that.  The second in these posts, here’s a link to the first.  There are so many things in movies that are just baffling to me, to the point where I wonder if filmmakers are deliberately stupid.  It’s a genuine thing to wonder, isn’t it?  Let’s waste no time, I got a lot to talk about.

10. Classical music is always associated with evil
You ever notice that all the heroes in big budget action films listen to the most down-home Americana music ever?  The worst of it is country.  How many action movies have heroes listening to country music?  Then you have the villain, almost always a pretentious intellectual, with classical music playing in the background.  Because no civilized, decent person listens to that stuff, right?

9. Good guys associated with down-home culture
This kinda ties into the last one, but there’s another angle to talk about.  You know what I loved?  V For Vendetta.  In that movie, we have a hero who is not only a terrorist, but he is well-spoken, eloquent, quoting Shakespeare, and driven by ideals rather than just because he wants to do the right thing.  You know what I get to see in almost all other movies?  Heroes who are bland, boring, and associated with all the things that you see in Americana.  Because how will people relate to someone if they aren’t a blank slate to wear as a skin?!  The irony is that Marvel made fun of that in how everyone poked fun at what a fuddy-duddy Captain America is.  Quentin Tarantino did too in Inglorious Basterds, where you have the upstanding British officer talking with Aldo about what a lunatic one of his men in his outfit is, and Aldo just brushes that off because he’s an uncivilized basterd in his own right.

8. Films blatantly shoving a political message down your throat
When I say this, I’m talking about modern movies that are not even remotely subtle about the message they are pushing, like a LOT of what Disney has produced in the last few years.  The biggest one that comes to mind is Black Panther.  Part of why I couldn’t stand the film was because of the politics being shoved in my face throughout the entire running time.  I’m just sitting there like “could this film be any less subtle?”  It’s ironic, because when I first got to see the character in Civil War, I liked him because of how he was played not to just be a walking stereotype.  Then he gets his own movie and it couldn’t be any more blatant.  Another film that comes to mind in walking stereotypes is Spider-Man: Homecoming.  MJ’s character was the personification of a Tumblr feminist.  She really was.  It was insufferable every time she opened her mouth.

7. Endless explosions/noise in space
Did you know that space doesn’t have oxygen?  Apparently Hollywood doesn’t know that, because space sure does have a lot of shit blowing up in big, bright ways.  Not even like some flash and then gone because the air that keeps the explosion going is snuffed out.  No, it just goes on and on and on.  Also, did you notice that space is noisy as fuck?  Yeah, I was noticing that too.  Because sound carries SO well in a vacuum, right?  That lack of oxygen doesn’t get in the way of all the sound out in the void.  The film that immediately comes to mind as the worst offender in this regard is Armageddon.  Everything was burning space for forever.  It took me out of the scene, every time.

6. The endless sequels/remakes/reboots
Hollywood is out of ideas.  That’s it, they are.  It’s impossible to argue at this point.  How do I know this?  Did you know there is a fourth Toy Story movie coming out?  I did.  The teaser for it dropped today, and I’m like – where can they possibly go with this?!  The narrative was wrapped up REALLY nicely in the last film.  It brought the arc to a nice, clean stop.  It truly did feel like saying goodbye to friends because of how most people who watched it had been kids when the first movie came out, and now they got to say goodbye to their good friends.  Oh, and did you know that they are rebooting Shrek and Puss in Boots?  Why?!  They aren’t even that old!  They’re rebooting Twilight, for fuck’s sake!  Who asked for this?!  I honestly want to know.  It is abundantly clear that they are so addicted to quick cash and so void of any drive to try something new that they will scrap the bottom of whatever nostalgia barrel they can find.  It’s infuriating

5. Guys with facial hair in the military
How does this one not bother more people?  For a nation that’s as big on “god bless ‘Murica” as this one is, you’d think more people would be bothered by this.  But nope!  Probably because you can’t have a manly man unless he has himself a manly beard.  When I see guys who are supposed to be legit soldiers and they have facial hair while they are serving, it bugs me.  There are rules about these things, people!  Uniform regs exist for a reason.

4. The death of 2D animation
Do you think there is anyone left in this country who knows how to do this?  Probably not, given some of the crap this country puts out.  I mean, did you all watch the trailer for Thundercats Roar?  That had some of the shittiest animation I’ve ever seen.  The death of 2D animated films just depresses me.  I think of some of my favorite films, and how much effort went into making them beautiful with some incredible animation.  There is Don Bluth, the absolute master of intricate environments, and old-school Disney.  Ah, for the days before Disney was pure evil and sucking the bottom of their own barrel for quick cash-grabs. *cough*Aladdin Live-action remake!*cough* It saddens me to realize that this art form has died an unceremonious death.

3. Using CG instead of practical effects
Oh boy.  Let me say before I get into this that I don’t just hate CG on the merits of it.  I get what it is and why it exists.  And for some movies, it does wonders, when it’s used well.  Then there are the films that are smart enough to mix the effects and it looks like it’s actually something real.  Then you have shit like Jurassic World and it’s shit-tastic sequel.  Where the effects are so bad it is OBVIOUS that people are interacting with something that isn’t in the room with them.  Thankfully, you have some directors who are rebelling against this.  I swear, I think a computer murdered Chris Nolan’s family or something, because he will go to EXTREME lengths to not have to use digital effects.  Some of the stories about things he has done will blow your mind.  But can we PLEASE have some directors who will give practical effects a go?  Asking for a friend.

2. Films being set in other countries, with everyone speaking English (usually with shitty accents)
I rewatched Hunt for the Red October recently, and I was invited by a friend to a special screening of Hunter Killer tomorrow, and as I saw both the movie and the trailer for those films (respectively), I couldn’t help but notice – why is everyone speaking English?  It bothered me more in the former of those listed, because it starts with them speaking Russian, and then they just stop.  Why?!  They clearly know what subtitles are, so why do that?  It immediately hurts my suspension of disbelief in a movie when I see character who are supposed to be in a country where English is NOT their primary language speaking perfect English with a shitty accent.  Definitely the worst offender in this regard is Enemy at the Gates.  Good movie.  I like it, but hearing everyone with terrible accents hurt my ears.  Speaking of that movie…

And my top thing that I hate in movies (part deux) is…

1.Being in the cold and not seeing a character’s breath
Am I the only person that this bugs?  One of the reasons that I liked Enemy at the Gates is because you actually believe that it’s cold in Russia.  Seeing everyone’s breath was a great tool for selling me of the film’s setting.  But then you have a vast plethora of movies where people are all in big coats, and you are told how cold it is, but don’t see anyone’s breath.  Are they just unable to film in cold places?!  Is that what’s going on?  If so, then they need to work on that.  Maybe don’t spend the money on big CG effects that probably look like shit anyway and instead focus on proper setting.  Am I asking too much here?  Immediately slashes my suspension of disbelief into thirds when it happens.

What about you?  What things in movies bother you?  If you didn’t see yours on there, check out my first list, it might be there.  Let me know if you have additional ones in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“What do you know?  Haven’t you heard of suspension of disbelief?!” – Ed Wood, Ed Wood

Peace out,

Maverick

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Top 10 Halloween Specials

Once upon a time, I used to do posts for the holidays each year.  However, as time went on, I found I had less and less to say on the matter.  I try to do a yearly Thanksgiving post.  It’s important to remember what one is thankful for in life, after all.  Groj knows, some years it’s hard to know.  However, a person who regularly comments on my site posed a rather interesting thought on my Top 10 Christmas Specials post – what are my top 10 Halloween specials?  I liked the thought, and while it is a little early to the holiday, I figured that I would post this.

As with my Christmas special post, I will say that not all of these movies are specifically about Halloween.  Some of them are either using the imagery or the time of year, but when I think of this holiday, these are the pieces of fiction that immediately come to mind.  Let us begin this mostly-frightful voyage.

10. The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror
Some of you are probably asking – why is this so low on the list?  I’ll tell you – because the fucking show is still going!  The most common refrain is that it is high time for The Simpsons to end.  This is a criticism that is not without merit.  This series has gone on so long that even some of the cast members are dying.  When I saw that they were making a film, I thought that that was where it was going to end.  And given that the movie was funny, it would have been a good place.  However, it still goes.
That being said, while not all of these yearly specials are great, some of the most memorable moments from the franchise come from these episodes.  They are creative, weird, got more violent as the showrunners found they could get away with more stuff, and while the series was good, told some engrossing stories.  One even got James Earl Jones to narrate Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven.  It was pretty great stuff.  Were it that this series had had the good sense to end when it was creatively bankrupt, it would be so much higher on this list.

9. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Carlie Brown
There’s something so charming about the Charlie Brown animated specials.  Each of them is memorable in its own way.  The story of Linus believing in the great pumpkin, while all Charlie Brown gets in his bag for trick or treating is a rock, is charming.  However, the thing which always sticks with me about this special was the story of Snoopy as the Red Baron.  The narrative is fun, and the imagery is good.  These shorts are never the best, but the quirky animation and the cutesy aesthetic sticks with me, even to this day.

8. Monster House
This is a movie which debuted without a lot of fanfare, but it really is an underrated gem of the holiday. Telling the story of a mysterious house that gobbles up whatever enters the yard, it becomes a mystery of two young boys and then later on an unlucky Girl Scout trying to solve the mystery of what evil force has possessed the home and then stopping it.  A CG film, the animation is cute, the characters are fun, the dialogue is great, and the narrative is engaging.  I remember seeing this in theaters with a girl I was into when it came out, and it still sticks with me.  Most of you probably haven’t heard of it, but you should check it out.  It’s a good scary film for kids.

7. Donnie Darko
The only good movie ever to come from this director.  The story of the titular character, his dark visions, and the meaning of it all is set around Halloween.  The story ends on Halloween night.  Donnie Darko is an interesting character.  Depressed, he wants to find out the answers to what’s happening.  The thing that really engages me is the world of his visions, and how it affects all the characters in his life.  This is a very downer movie, but that isn’t a bad thing.  You keep with the narrative all through it, until Donnie gets to the end.  Not a scary film, but a dramatic one.  Unraveling a mystery of greater forces at work in the life of a teenager and how his unraveling brings so much to light around him.  Worth watching, in my opinion.

6. The Crow
The tragic tale of Brandon Lee, whose career in action films was stopped before it could even start.  Something a lot of people don’t seem to acknowledge is that this film is set in the Halloween season.  The climax is leading up to a series of fires that is going to be started on Devil’s Night.  The night before Halloween.  Telling the story of Eric Draven, a fallen rocker who is brought back from the dead to get revenge.  By far one of my favorite superhero movies, this dark film and Lee’s amazing acting brings this story to life like none other.  I love it.  Really sucks that Lee didn’t get to go on from here.  I can only imagine what a bright future he would have had.

5. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
I could make an entire list of my favorite of the animated Garfield specials.  The late Lorenzo Music gave his voice to a character who is so iconic.  There will never be another who can do the voice quite like him.  This tells the tale of Garfield being an asshole and getting Odie to help him get more candy, while planning on taking most of it for himself.  However, after a terrible idea of his causes him to end up at an island on the river, he finds that this night has more than just a little bad luck for him.  It’s cute, it’s fun, and Music is in top form.  What more is there to want?

4. Ginger Snaps
One of my favorite horror movies, this low-budget film tells the tale of two sisters.  The first is Ginger, domineering, mean-spirited, and cold.  The second is Bridgette.  She’s kind-natured, loyal to her sister to whatever end, and infinitely more submissive.  After being attacked by a werewolf, it is the submissive sister who tries to hold things together as his dominant sister is slowly turning into a monster.  This is a very well told story of family, loyalty, and how far you will go to protect the ones you love.  It all hinges on the relationship of the sisters, and I’m glad to say that they do amazingly in their respective roles.  Ginger grows more sassy and sexy, while there is a charm to Bridgette’s kind submissiveness.  The creature designs are cool, the tension is great, and the violence is so hardcore.  And since it all ends on Halloween night, the time is perfect to see it if you haven’t already.

3. Sleepy Hollow
While this film isn’t set on Halloween, the imagery associated with it is all over this movie.  It’s pretty great stuff.  When it came out, a lot of critics didn’t know what to think of it.  The gore effects are silly, the acting is almost-universally over-the-top, but it tells an engrossing who-dun-it narrative where you already know part of it.  As for me, when this movie came out, I was in love.  The same girly-mate I saw Monster House with used to own this movie, and I loved seeing it.  Johnny Depp was in form here.  Ah, for the days before his weirdness in movies was typecast.  It seems like so long ago, doesn’t it?  Telling the tale of a headless horseman who is cutting the heads off everyone, Depp is on a mission to find out why this is happening, and who is responsible.  Neat fact: for whatever reason, Christopher Walken wasn’t credited in the movie as the Horseman.  I will never get why that was the case.  It’s distinctive cinematography, kooky gory violence, and Christina Ricci in her best years.  There isn’t much about this film I don’t like.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Perhaps this is kind of cheating, since I put this on my Christmas Specials list as well, but the beauty of this movie is that it works for both holidays.  Here’s a movie that has kind of gotten lost in its own popularity.  People seem to forget that this is a simple story.  A fairytale about the Pumpkin King becoming disenfranchised with his own holiday and wanting something new.  It’s a very cute story, telling Jack Skellington’s tale.  The visuals are amazing.  The stop-motion animation was the best in its class.  This film has aged so well, and the music was Danny Elfman at his best, especially for Jack’s singing roles.  It got insanely popular because of the nostalgia age we live in thanks to the Internet, but I still love this film for exactly what it is.

And my favorite Halloween special is…

1. Trick ‘r Treat
Another neat fact: the same guy who directed the Christmas horror classic Krampus first directed this, and holy shit!  This guy has a real eye for capturing the spirit of a holiday in his movies.  Kinda makes me hope he does more holiday-themed horror movies.  Or at least does horror with clear inspirations that can show how much due diligence was done to capture it.  This movie is a masterpiece of its genre.  There is no film that I can think of that captures the nature of Halloween better than this movie.  Telling a series of stories, all tied together by a creepy child, each story is unique and twisted in its own way.  If you want a good movie that you can watch with your friends telling an anthology of horror stories that make the most of this holiday setting, you genuinely can’t go wrong.  This director has a gift, and I hope to see more of his works in the future.

What about you?  What are your favorite Halloween specials?  Let me know down below.  Until next time, a quote,

“Halloween’s my kind of a holiday.  It’s not like those other stupid holidays.  I don’t get pine needles in my paws.  There’s no dumb bunnies.  No fireworks.  No relatives.  Just candy!” – Garfield, Garfield’s Halloween Adventure

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Michael Crichton Books

I don’t know how many of you reading this know, but my favorite author is Michael Crichton.  This man had a gift at taking real world concepts and taking them to the next level.  Or finding things that were in the zeitgeist and looking at them from another way.  Then there were his books about medicine, for which he graduated from Harvard.  As well as his books about crime and corporate espionage.  The man even took a stab at historical fiction, and with the exception of the lost manuscript that just got released (I genuinely didn’t like Dragon’s Teeth.  At all.  I thought it was boring as fuck.  Perhaps there’s a reason it was a lost manuscript), he nailed it!  Crichton was a master of the craft, and while I didn’t always agree with everything in his novels (such as in State of Fear, where he makes clear his belief about climate change and what he believes in mankind not being involved in it), I could always read them and be engaged, left with things to ponder.  Here is my list of my 10 favorite.

10. The Terminal Man
It’s so interesting to read this book.  It was written in 1972, and the concepts within it are more terrifying now than they were then.  But Crichton says outright in the beginning that while these concepts are scary, they’re real.  A story about a man who has seizures that cause him to be both violent and stronger, he is brought into a hospital for a new kind of treatment.  It will put wires into his brain to stimulate the parts of his mind during a seizure to stave it off.  However, this man has a twisted psychosis that leads him to escape after the procedure, with a dark plan.  This book is violent, tense, and the concepts within it terrifying.  Mind control is a concept that people talk about today, and mechanisms that could cause it existed then.  Think about that.

9. Rising Sun
A combination book of two things that Crichton does very well – crime novels and corporate espionage.  A story about two detectives who are investigating a murder at a Japanese corporate party.  This book looks at Japanese business, in a way that is not always flattering.  You have two different perspectives on it, so you can see the juxtaposition in approaches to how people treat the Japanese.  It’s also interesting with this stuff and the time period that it was written in, vs how things are now.  The west likes to believe that we get things, but in reality, the countries that aren’t our own are often as alien to us as life on another planet would be.  This is a book of intrigue and culture, and only Crichton could get skate on ice this thin without falling through.

8. A Case of Need
It’s ironic the timing of this.  During a new Supreme Court nomination, where countless people are wondering if Roe v Wade is going to be overturned.  This book also looked at abortion, but during a very different time.  Published in 1968, this book tells the story of a man who is framed for a botched abortion which results in the death of a young woman.  He gets a dear friend to investigate and find out the truth, saving both him and his reputation.  Before abortion was legal, where unsafe abortions killed countless women, this book took a look at the concept with an eye of critical skepticism.  It’s clear that Crichton was on the side of those who wanted legal abortion for women, but he decided to give this book a hard medical approach, along with a decent mystery.  In today’s climate, this book is definitely worth checking out.

7. Airframe
A corporate espionage story through-and-through, this book holds a special place for me because of the subject matter.  Neat fact – I’m afraid of flying.  I hate it.  It ties nicely into my fear of heights.  A fact that many have sniggered at due to how unfathomably tall I am.  Yes, this fact does amuse me to some degree.  Telling the story of an airplane manufacturing company (do they even have these in this country anymore?  I figure all that shit was outsourced years ago) who is tasked with investigating the cause of a horrifying accident, it is a story of corporate greed, corruption, and why people REALLY should be more afraid of being in airplanes.  It’s mired in corporate speak, but Crichton takes you through it.  He loves to have little digressions to talk about whatever subject matter is in his books.  Partly to help you understand, and partly because he clearly wants to show off how much research he did to write them.  This book is among the best in this genre, and if you aren’t afraid of flying, it will help with that.

6. Pirate Latitudes
When I was given this book, 1st Edition, for Christmas one year, I was unsure what to think.  A historical fiction book by Michael Crichton?  I mean, Timeline was great and all, but this just seems a little outlandish.  Then I started to read, and all my doubts evaporated.  Telling the story of a privateer who is given a task to raid an island that has equal parts danger and opportunity, this story is mired in Crichton’s ability to show off his research, and the adventure factor of a great pirate story.  It genuinely shocked me how good this book is.  These characters and their adventure feels so grounded in what could actually happen.  It doesn’t have the rosy view of pirates.  No, these people are gross, immoral people.  But Crichton has a gift at making those you shouldn’t like feel so fun to get to know.  A trip to the high seas you won’t forget.

5. Sphere
This novel is a little bit different.  Instead of Crichton showcasing his research, he wanted to show off his ability to use mood and setting to his advantage.  Telling the story of a man who once made a plan on how to deal with first contact with aliens, he gets a chance to do just that as a craft has been discovered at the bottom of the ocean.  What follows is a supremely suspenseful novel about terror at the bottom of the sea, and a device that has powers that defy all comprehension.  Crichton is able to make the deep ocean seem more threatening than anyone though possible.  Telling a story with tons of The Abyss before that film was a thing, it’s a novel to make your skin crawl.

4. Disclosure
This novel really seemed ahead of its time, looking at where we are now in terms of gender politics.  Combining a VERY touchy subject with his corporate espionage style, this novel tells the story of a man who works for a computer company.  A woman is hired that he used to be involved with.  After she tries to make a move on him and he rejects her, she comes after him with a sexual harassment suit.  From there, he does something that would be ballsy even to this day – files a sexual harassment suit right back, getting a lawyer who is a big-time feminist.  Taking on the concept of gender politics in the time when this was written could EASILY have blown up in his face, but Crichton doesn’t back down from his perspective.  He shows that it is possible for women to abuse their power and sexuality as a man, along with be corrupt and vile.  He doesn’t shy away from the implications.  It’s a daring novel, and I think that it has more relevance now than it did when it came out.

3. The Andromeda Strain
The novel that helped put Crichton on the map.  The first work of his to be adapted to film, and probably the only one done right.  This story was revolutionary for its time, and it has aged exceptionally well.  It takes the perspective that what if alien life that comes to our world isn’t some big monster, but rather something so small that you can’t see it with the naked eye?  A probe crashed back to Earth after having gone to find alien life, and it came back with something in tow.  An alien pathogen that kills the entirety of a small town.  Now, a group of some of the best scientists in the world comes together to try and figure out how to stop it.  This novel is tense.  The process of learning about this infection and what it is will leave you on the edge of your seat.  It’s a mind-bender, to say the least, and I am still shocked by it even to this day, because of how it takes concepts from time gone by and takes the next step in terms of technology.  A first contact story unlike any other.

2. Jurassic Park
Definitely the most famous of Crichton’s books.  A novel that tells the story of an eccentric billionaire who used cloning to create an island full of dinosaurs.  However, there are several things about the novel that separate it from the movie and make it far better.  For starters, this novel builds up the reality of dinosaurs existing in a way that the film doesn’t.  It’s a process of the world getting hints about them, only for a small team of people to be given the full reveal.  Not only that, but it looks at the creatures themselves, and what they would be like.  This isn’t just some monster movie.  It’s a tale about animals from 65 million years ago being brought back to life, thrown in the mix with mankind.  It’s a story where survivors are trying to get everything sorted out, and learn what they are up against.  The parts of the story examining what these animals are are fascinating.  It’s a shame the film didn’t take the time to really dive into that.  But you gotta entertain the dim-witted American audience (I do like the movie, by the way.  However, my point stands).  Not nearly as violent and creature-feature as the film, with some amazing science every step of the way.

And my favorite of Crichton’s books is…

1. Prey
Some of you saw this coming if I have any readers who read my post about my top 10 favorite books.  Not only is this my favorite book by Crichton, it’s my favorite book of all time.  This is him at his best.  Him taking real science and going the next step the way that only Crichton could.  It’s a nightmarish, fascinating, tense story about a corporate that creates nanomachines and how swarms of them get out into the wild.  Now, an out of work father who wrote the code that these machines are governed by has to get back into it, to solve the mystery of what his wife was doing away from home, and to save the family he has worked so hard to cultivate.  This book is a masterpiece, plain and simple.  It has Crichton showing his research like never before.  Though, if you find that stuff self-indulgent, you will hate this book.  There are long sections where he gets into some scientific or philosophical concepts and will carry that on for some time.  It’s pretty great stuff.  These machines, how they are created, and what they become, is a story that will have you spellbound, turning pages like it’s nobody’s business to get to the end.

What are some of your favorites?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“They didn’t know what they were doing.  Sometimes I wonder if that will be humanity’s epitaph.” – Jack Forman, Prey

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Classical Pieces I Want to See in a Fantasia-esque Film

I’ve made no secret that my favorite Disney film is Fantasia.  I saw a video saying that it was part of what they called the animation Dark Ages.  I couldn’t possibly disagree more.  Animation will NEVER be as good as it was then.  The risks they could take, and the level of detail and freedom have never been what they once were.  Not to mention Disney became a company that is pure evil and ruined destroyed 2D animation because it didn’t make enough money for them anymore.  So yeah.

But this movie shaped my love of 2D animation and classical music.  I lament with every fiber of my being how 2D animation died in this country.  It breaks my fucking heart.  The original idea behind Fantasia is that it would be an ever-evolving piece, showcasing all kinds of animation and music, with no two showing being the same.  Walt Disney’s ambition is commendable, but the film itself nearly bankrupted the studio, so the idea of making another one right after that was a little beyond them.  There was a sequel made so many years later, but it failed to capture the magic of the original.

I was at work one day when I heard a piece of music come on.  See, I hijacked the radio there and we play classical music all day.  It probably drives my coworker nuts, but since they said nobody has control over the radio and I was told to play whatever I want, and the oldies station plays the same stuff over and over again, I decided to go with music that would keep my attention and wouldn’t annoy me.  This beautiful piece came on and immediately I knew what to write about – what pieces I would include if the concept behind Fantasia would ever be taken up by another studio and run with.  It’s a small dream, but here we got.  These are the top 10 pieces I want to see in another film that uses the same concept as Fantasia – taking classical music, and putting animation to it.  Letting animators hearts run free and seeing what they come up with.

I will be attaching images with each of these choices to show what comes to my mind, but I am all over letting other creators have free reign to have their own ideas.  I will also have all the pieces linked on their name, so listen to them and tell me what you come up with.  Let’s do this!

10. Cuban Overture
George Gershwin
Gershwin had this interesting thing where he would write music about the places I figure he must have been.  An American in Paris was a close contender to this spot, but Cuban Overture won out because it.  This piece is so energized!  And for my own idea, I wanted to make a bit being about Latin America.  More of one from antiquity, since modern Latin America has problems.  Is it romanticizing the area?  Perhaps.  But I won’t apologize for that.  The truth about the world is ugly.  We all want to make the world a prettier place in our minds.  Instead of this being a flowing narrative, having it be a spectacle of all the things a character we follow coming across sounds even better.  Then it all ends with them taking part in some festivities and closing out the first of what will hopefully be a lot of fun days.  Or maybe be a story of their journey across a period of time and them flying home at the end, thinking about coming back.

9. Moldau
Smetana
Listening to the soft, gentle rhythms of this piece, what comes to mind is a very fantastical place.  This is a world of magic, mystery.  I thought of the piece in Fantasia with the fairies.  In the process of getting a piece of art to go with what I saw my vision, I stumbled across a brilliant moment – a human entering this world!  I know, about as original as a ham sandwich, but the way I see it, nothing is original.  It’s all in the execution.  Just like the last piece, the narrative here is what the person sees.  And I don’t just want it explained at all.  The idea behind this format is no words.  The audience has to come to their own conclusions.  Maybe have some absolutely absurd things, with the character and yourself wondering what to make of it all.  Then, like any good Nutcracker story, it has them going back to the real world, not knowing what to think of it all.

8. Spirit Garden
Toru Takemitsu
Something that doesn’t get enough credit in the very academic music community is some of the stuff that comes out of other countries.  Japan has a history of very interesting music, along with some haunting classical pieces.  This is one of them.  I also figure, since we’re representing Japanese classical music, why not represent their art style?  This piece is dark.  I like that.  The cold tones make me think of an alien realm.  For this, I would want there to be NO central character.  This is all about imagery for the audience.  A strange, bizarre world.  Too much like the last piece?  Perhaps.  One may have to be sacrificed for the other.  Or maybe another idea for this.  But it’s weird, off-putting darkness is too good for me not to want it on this list.

7. Afro-American Symphony
William Grant Still
Something people seem to think about me, because I have railed against forced diversity so much is that I hate diversity on its merits.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In reality, there are some incredibly diverse things that I absolutely love.  And a piece of music about the black community that has a great beat, clearly gets some inspiration from jazz, and seems to perfectly tell the story about a person’s day fits so well.  That’s what I imagine this to be.  Some black kid and the story about their day.  The ups, downs, and messy bits.  So long as it could avoid becoming preachy or having the same forced diversity I rail again, then I am all in.  It’s a little dream.

6. In the Hall of the Mountain King
Grieg
Time to break up the fantastical and get into some of the darker stuff.  This is one of my favorite pieces that goes SO well with creepy visuals.  This piece would be short, but my vision for it is crystal clear.  It begins at the entrance to an old castle.  The camera guides you through the dilapidated halls.  Moonlight shines in, painting shadows everywhere and having you feeling on edge.  I want to creep all the people out!  The dark shadows move with the camera, heading ever inward, toward the central chamber.  The closer you get, the more off-putting it becomes.  Eventually, you can see the shadows moving in.  Lights start turning on.  Strange lights with blue flame.  It has you feeling nervous.  Very, very nervous.  Then, the huge door!  This is it.  The central hall.  Right as the music swells up, it bursts in.  Then, all manner of creatures and persons are in there, with madness and eclectic dancing all about.  At the head of the table, you see a king who looks boistrous, with a mad look in his eye!  He laugh and gets in on the merriment.  Lights and shadows everywhere.  Finally, the camera is backing out fast, and the door slams shut!  Oh yeah…

5. Triumphmarsch und Chor
Guiseppe Verdi
This piece has come to mind specifically because of a girly-mate of mine who is in the Navy, who I don’t get to see nearly enough.  Trying to find artwork to go with this was horrible.  SO much artwork surrounding the military is all about sucking the military’s dick or showing off how badass America is.  And that’s not the military I am picturing.  I want these people to be regal!  I want it to be a march of a military who is in dress uniform that looks like the kind you can hang sword from.  Marching through the streets of a very well-to do city.  Wanna fuck with the sensibilities of America?  I do.  Let’s have there be newspapers where the headlines are all in German, so only those who speak German will know what they’re getting on about.  Have it be that there was a war won.  Don’t worry, this isn’t Nazis.  I’m not an edgelord.  Regal troops running triumphant from a campaign, marching in tune.  If you really wanted to get into the dark stuff, have them thinking about battle.

For this piece, I was thinking about animation which actually goes with the style in the pic I have attached with this.  Bright, colorful, and personable.  Since the piece becomes more cordial later, have there be a couple characters we follow, and their part in all the festivities.  But I want to keep this all about them coming home, with everyone cheering their name.

4. Piano Concerto #2
Rachmaninoff
In addition to wanting to run the gamut of various cultures that have given us classical music, I wanted to run the gamut on emotions as well.  This piece is very, very sad.  It tells a story of loss, pain, and trying to find one’s self.  I like that.  Maybe it’s just my depression that I have had to and will always have to live with that’s taking, but I like it.  But don’t go thinking that I want to have you, the audience, feeling miserable with me.  I want this piece to be about the person and the legacy of feeling loss, mourning, or just the grim reality of life.  With that in mind, here’s what I came up with for the visual element – an old man.  Someone who has had a long life, and seen many things.  Maybe have it be about the love of his life and the life they shared.  Remember how Up had us seeing a couple growing up and then growing old?  Well, I like that concept, and instead of there being a silly Pixar movie attached, I want to run with it all the way.  Have the film showcase this man’s life, his loves, his passion, and then how it all comes to an end.  Maybe have it be a metaphorical and literal journey of him walking a path to where his journey ends.  Oh, and because he is old, let’s give him a cat to take that last journey with.  An old timer that has shared the last 20 years with him on his journey.  It would end with them reaching that destination, and the music and visuals coming to show it all coming to an end.

3. Clair de Lune
Claude Debussy
This is my favorite piece of classical music of all time.  Now, Disney had done a version of this for their original Fantasia film, but it had to be cut.  Why?  I’ll never know.  The original version of it did get released, but I wanted to do my own take.  In the original Fantasia, they opened with a piece that had you thinking about the music first and then going into the visual style.  It opened with the audience being conscious of the orchestra, and then subsequently getting into abstract animation.  I like that idea.  But instead of it being an orchestra, I want it to be someone at a piano.  This would initially involve rotoscoping animation, but over time it would get more fantastical as the piece goes on.  Where would the animation go?  Who can say.  I just know where I want it to start.  Where it finishes is entirely up to the animators who bring it to life.  That’s just my thought.  I love this piece.  Makes me think of my grandmother on my old man’s side.  She loved it too.  I think she would like that too.

2. The Planets Suite
Gustav Holst
Now, here is a piece that could be it’s own film.  In fact, I kind of want it to be.  Have each planet’s section be a different showcase of a different kind of animation and a different vision.  Lots of ideas here.  Tons.  Too many.  But the reason I put this on the list is because there’s one more that I want to showcase on here.  Several years ago, someone decided to write another piece to be added to Holst’s vision.  See, he never wrote one for Earth.  So they called it “Earth, the bringer of life.”  I like it!  Not only does it go with his style of composition, but it rounds it all out nicely.  I want to have it featured as well.  I guess this was more about telling you about this addition than what I want done with it, but I think its worth bringing up.  This Suite has so much potential, and as I said, I genuinely do think it could and should be its own film in this vein, with each part serving to accompany its own ideas.

And the piece that I want most, that started all of this is…

1. Daphnis et Chloe
Maurice Ravel
As I said this is the piece I heard on the radio.  The one that I couldn’t stop thinking about.  It was magic!  I think it still is.  It runs the gamut of tones, emotions, and even has choral elements inside it as well.  I love it.  This piece is one I have grown to love almost overnight.  Should I ever get to hear it in person, my life may be complete right then.  Uncertain.  So, with that in mind, what animation elements do I want here?  I’ll tell you.  I want to go big!  Something sweeping, large, and epic!  In my mind, that means one thing – dragon riders!  With that, we can have a sweeping landscape.  Have it be the story of a person who is looking to join the ranks of the riders.  Or the story of a day in the life of one.  Whatever the case, that’s what I want to see.  The visuals need to be a cut above the rest.  It has to be detailed and sublime.  I want to see a ton of riders.  I want to see their world.  This has to be a place I can damn-near touch!  Yes, that’s what I want.

What about you?  What do you all hear in any of this?  What pieces would you like to see if you could do this?  If I had tens of millions of dollars, I’d bring it to you.  Hand to Groj, I would.

Until next time, a quote,

“Walt Disney once described animation as a voyage of discovery, into the realms of color, sound, and motion.” – Angela Lansbury, Fantasia 2000

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Things I Hate in Movies

My gay girly-mate and I got to talking and there are a ton of things in movies that bug us.  See, I’m the kind of guy who analyzes things.  To death.  Like way past the point where it’s healthy.  It’s why I know that the only reason Mufasa hates the hyenas in The Lion King is because they’re black.  They’re a minority living in the savannah’s projects.  If that isn’t a more obvious metaphor, I don’t know what it.  So my friend and I thought about the things we hate most, and I came up with this handy Top 10 list of them.  Let’s get into it.  Here are the things in movies that grind my gears the most.

10. Everyone in the post-apocalypse easily finding gas for cars
Am I the only person that this bugs?  I need a straight answer about that.  How are people not aware of how absolutely insane this is?  From The Walking Dead to Mad Max, it seems like everyone in the post-apocalyptic world is very easily finding gas for their cars.  Do people just not know that gas has a shelf life?  Depending on how it’s stored, it can be from one to three months for ethanol fuels.  It blows my mind that you have all these movies where it has been years, sometimes tens of years from when gas was pumped, and it’s still good.  What?!

9. Whispering is never whispering
Do the people who make movies just not realize that they are professionals with sound equipment and can easily make whispering show up in a movie without characters talking very loudly and them just bringing down the audio levels to make it sound like whispering?  We can tell the difference!  Or maybe I can, but that’s just me.

8. Ordinary people surviving things that would obviously kill them
When I watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and see the titular character survive falling over ten stories, crashing through a window and then surviving all by landing on his shield, I am able to look past that.  Why?  Because that shield is made of vibranium, a fictional metal that takes impact forces and blasts it outward.  It’s nearly indestructible.  That and he’s a superhero.  It’s a superhero film about superhuman characters.  I am okay with that.  What bugs me is when I see character who are shown to be average people surviving things that would OBVIOUSLY kill them.  Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are a great example of what I’m talking about.  There you have tons of people falling huge distances or smashing through things and having little to no damage on them whatsoever.

7. Guns shooting, but no casings hitting the ground
I finally got around to seeing the first season of Stranger Things because Netflix released it on DVD.  Good stuff.  The kid characters are my favorites, but every arc is interesting.  The last episode where the government troops are with the head of the facility and the demagorgon appears is pretty intense, but as everyone is shooting, I’m noticing something – why are there no casings hitting the ground?  These people have fired a ton of rounds, yet you don’t hear a single casing hitting the floor.  The visual for the guns looks fake too.  This tells me that the entire effect was done in post.  It bugs me when there are supposed to be guns going off, but you don’t see or hear a single casing flying out of it.  Totally takes me out of the scene.

6. Bland superhero villains
I’m looking at you, Marvel.  The MCU films run the gamut in quality, but one thing that FAR too many of them have in common is the lackluster villains.  Some of them are just written badly, but it grinds my gears when you have characters who have the potential to be interesting villains, but aren’t.  There are a few examples of those who aren’t that bad.  I liked every villain in The Winter Soldier, and Baron Zemo in Civil War wasn’t half-bad.  They have been building up Thanos for some time now.  PLEASE don’t let him be some boring, forgettable villain.  This film is supposed to be him fucking up the MCU’s shit to get the Infinity Gems, so let’s have him do some damage!

5. Good guys being dumb
There’s that great line in Spaceballs – Evil will always win, because good is dumb.  Um, yeah.  Good is kinda dumb.  The good guys have this really bad habit of being some of the dumbest people ever.  For whatever reason, we like to have good guys being the stupidest fuckers.  I guess because the idea is to have protagonists of big blockbusters relate to the dumb-shit American public?  Meanwhile, you have these villains who are the intellectuals and are so egotistical.  Why is it that intelligence is not a virtue that we can appreciate?  Oh right, because America will vote for a political candidate because they feel like they can have a beer with them.  This country is so fucking dumb.

4. “Comedy” films that only have people in a room talking
You know what I miss?  Visual comedy.  I miss when directors would try and get laughs from visual elements in films being used to help amuse the audience.  Like when things appear in frame in funny ways.  When things leave the frame in funny ways.  When you can do like Wes Anderson does and use lateral tracking shots to sell ridiculous scenes.  Why is it that every comedy film in this country feels like it’s just people in a room doing improv?  I hate that shit.  I’m looking at you, Paul Feig!  Your movies suck!  You’re the antithesis to comedy!

3. The films being made out of books is almost always a death sentence
Maybe I should have it that films are being made out of books.  Because it seems like every time I see a book that I love being turned into a movie, I instinctively cringe.  I recently was forced to watch the entire catalog of Harry Potter movies, and without a single exception, I hate them.  They fuck up the ending of every single book!  What made the books so good was how you’d have the mystery at the beginning of the story that is gradually solved by the end.  At least the first four.  After that they got kind of dumb.  Well, aside from the sixth.  That one was pretty good.  There is all this build-up, leading to so much tension.  And when it all blows up then it explodes in this huge climax that feels so good and has you glued to the pages.  It’s pretty great stuff.  Meanwhile, the films always fuck that up.  Always.  Without a single exception.  And don’t even get me started on how much books made from Michael Crichton’s books almost always suck.  My favorite author, and his books have been turned into Hollywood shit.

2. How dumbed-down PG and PG-13 ratings have become
Am I the only person who thinks that we might as well get rid of PG at this point?  That rating means Pretty much G now.  None of the films I have seen with that rating for the last 20 years have merited it.  It’s so stupid.  Maybe it’s just me, but I happen to believe that kids these days can handle the harder stuff.  Can you imagine if Don Bluth’s masterpiece The Secret of NIMH had come out today?  That probably would have gotten a PG-13 rating.  And speaking of, here’s a video by a YouTuber I like that lays out the problem with PG-13 much more completely than I can.

And the thing I hate most in movies is…

1. Ordinary people outrunning things that would EASILY catch them
You know what I love?  The velociraptors in Jurassic Park.  Those things are badass with a capital B.  Intense, dangerous, and not evil.  Just animals doing what they do.  And they are so cool.  The kitchen scene where Tim and Lex are hiding from them as they hunt them down has so much tension.  It’s great stuff.  The two get split up and you have Lex being really clever and using a reflection to trick a raptor.  That’s pretty smart.  I like that.  But then Tim decides that he is going to run, on foot, to the freezer and trap a raptor in there.  He is on foot.  Not only that, but he has a limp from when he had 10,000 volts of electricity cook him.  That raptor would have been on him in two seconds ripping him to teeny tiny Timmy pieces!  That scene is so laughably stupid that it blows my mind how ANYONE can take it seriously.  It takes all the tension in that scene and blows it out the airlock.  I hate it.  While I do love that movie, that one particular scene pisses me off so much.  Same with anything where you have normal people outrunning things that would OBVIOUSLY catch up to them in a matter of seconds, if not in a second.

What about you?  What things in movies piss you off?

Until next time, a quote,

“Clever girl.” – Robert Muldoon, Jurassic Park

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Movie Villains

I’ve already done a post about my favorite video game villains, so now I thought that I’d do another top 10 for my favorite movie villains.  I may end up doing my favorite book and TV villains, but that’s a list for another day.  Film has some amazing villains, and it is hard to have a list for just 10.  Feel free to tell me what some of your favorites are in the comments.  Me and my friend Quinn talked about this for hours and I have come up with my list of the villains who stuck out to me the most.  I want to be clear that when I say villains, I mean characters or monsters who meant harm to the protagonist.  So it isn’t just creatures with bad intentions.  Sometimes it’s just a creature doing what it does without any malice at all.  Let’s get started.

10. Sauron
Lord of the Rings
I just love that this villain has so much presence all without having a body at all.  The reason he is so low on this list given the pure evil power he has is because in the film they categorized him as having a giant flaming eye.  In the books he had no form at all.  His evil was absolute.  When I do the book list, he will be much higher.  But this guy is evil with a capital E, and can corrupt the purest souls he finds with the promise of power.  He nearly brought Middle Earth to its knees, hence why he is on the list.

9. Capt. James Hook
Hook
This guy is so iconic!  I’ve loved pretty much every iteration with him.  Even the live action Peter Pan film from the early 2000’s, he was the best part.  Granted, there he was played by Jason Isaacs, who can make evil just roll off the tongue.  But my favorite version by far is the one by Dustin Hoffman.  Hook was a great movie.  The cutesy shit aside, this film had everything right.  The casting was almost pitch-perfect, with Pan’s kids being the only problem.  They were insufferable.  But never has this character had more character than when Hoffman brought him to life.  He was manic, he was diabolical, and he was so damn classy!  Hoffman could make this guy into quite the charmer.  He can smash clocks to pieces, then rally his crew to battle.  This guy was so much fun.  Not all villains have to be super serious.  This guy had it all while being funny as fuck from time to time.

8. Sid
Toy Story
Maybe this is my nostalgia goggles on a little to tight, but when I was a kid, this dude freaked me the fuck out!  Sid is so delightfully evil, but the thing that really makes him stand out among the villains on this list is that he isn’t really that evil.  Something you don’t think about as a kid but do when you get older is that he is honestly just a kid.  He’s a weird-ass kid, but he’s still a kid.  I’m talking to boys for the most part now, but how many of you have horribly mangled or mutilated your toys when you were really little?  It doesn’t mean you’re evil.  It means you’re young.  This character isn’t really malevolent.  He is just an ADHD little shit who has weird hobbies.  But man did that kid freak me out.  At the time I saw the film, I was around Sid’s age, and yeah, I admit to being weird little shit myself.  Scary, funny, but never truly evil

7. Shere Khan
Jungle Book
Disney has such an amazing library of villains to choose from.  I could make an entire list just of my favorite villains from their library.  But one of the ones that truly stood out to me was Shere Khan.  Not just because of the AMAZING voicework.  I mean pitch-perfect.  This dude is such a badass and he knows it.  This dude has absolutely zero fucks to give because he knows that anyone who fucks with him is dead.  And the entire jungle knows that if he is mad, you are fucked.  But the way he can be so damn classy just takes the cake.  He never raises his voice, but you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he means business!  This pussy isn’t fucking around, and that’s what earns him this spot.  Scar wishes he could be this cool.  The scene where he interrogate Kaa is just the best.  He knows that the snake is fucking with him, but he just lets it go on.  So badass.

6. Predator
Predator (franchise)
It was such a hard pick between this and the xenomorph.  I knew I could only pick one.  But to me the Predator is much more fascinating of a villain.  It doesn’t kill people from some sense of malice.  It sees all other life as merely prey.  Does it care that we are sentient?  Nope.  That’s part of the fun.  We’re a lifeform worthy to hunt, and it goes after the biggest badasses it can fine.  A bummer that so many of the films with this creature are either really mediocre or suck.  I admit that Predator 2 is a guilty pleasure.  It hunts with violent precision, and will attack you no matter where you are.  It’s an apex hunter, that hunts the most dangerous game in the galaxy.

5. Mark Hamill’s Joker
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
A lot of people will be mad at me for not picking Heath Ledger’s Joker.  Or even Jack Nicholson’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I think both performances are amazing.  But here’s the thing, as great as both of them are, Mark Hamill always seemed to capture the madness so much better.  With Nicholson, you believed that he is evil.  Hell, he’s been playing that roll for forever.  And Ledger seemed to be trying to make a point.  But Hamill’s voice-acting was able to bring this character to life by having you never really being able to know just how insane he was, or how much he thought things out.  Violent, twisted, funny, and always having you guessing.  This character is iconic, and this film had him doing a great role too.  The scene in the councilman’s office was my favorite.  How he can go from being happy and taunting, to fearful for his safety, to twisted and evil in the span of a few seconds is just great.  There are a lot of great portrayals of the character, but Mark Hamill has always been and will always be my favorite.

4. Hans Landa
Inglorious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino has a real gift when it comes to making villains who aren’t just evil for the sheer joy of it.  He has this real talent for making three-dimensional villains who have a ton of depth.  I like it.  Nowhere is this more exemplified than in Hans Landa.  This guy is so damn charismatic.  He has all the class and charm of a gentleman, but has the twisted sense of darkness and evil of the biggest scenery-chewing Bond villains.  The thing I really love about this guy is that all of how he does is bravado.  Landa is in it for himself.  He’s a twisted, violent monster who can play it off so smoothly to Aldo that even when he is going to fuck him up, he still buys the narrative.  This guy is a twisted monster who can put on a sheep’s clothing seamlessly.  It’s pretty great stuff.

3. Hans Gruber
Die Hard
Another villain who is equal parts evil and classy.  Only Alan Rickman could have done this villain justice.  There is no other.  This guy is just the best.  He’s a cocky, greedy intellectual who is so in love with the sound of his own voice.  Hearing him play off Bruce Willis’ character is just the best.  Especially when they are in the same room together.  But this guy is sure of himself, and even when it all starts falling apart, he is cool and collected.  There’s not too much to say about this guy.  He’s just got the most charm that any villain will likely ever have.  It’s Alan Rickman at his most Rickman.  May he rest in peace.

2. Maleficent
Sleeping Beauty
Classy women who are evil can never, EVER be matched up with Maleficent.  This woman is badass with a capital B.  All it took is someone snubbing her by not inviting her to a party and she spins an elaborate plan to kill the daughter whose birthday she was not invited to.  The poise and elegance that this woman carries herself with is so profound.  Not talking about the live action version!  Fuck that movie.  The 1959 version of this character is what I’m really talking about.  I wouldn’t cross her if my life depended on it, because those who do learn very fast that the price of fucking with her.  When you do get under her skin, and make her mad, this woman will fuck you up!  Or your children.  No evil queen has as much presence as she does.

And my favorite movie villain is…

1. Velociraptor
Jurassic Park
When you talk about the apex predator, in my mind, there is not that can hold a candle to the velociraptor.  Not evil at all, it’s just a hunter.  But what it lacks in malice it makes up for in sheer cunning.  This creature will hunt you down and rip you to pieces.  The scene where the warden is hunted is just perfect.  He never stood a chance.  Before he even got started, he was dead.  These things are what nightmares are made of.  You don’t see them coming.  Their claws and teeth rip you to pieces.  You are still alive when they start eating you.  They feel no fear and you are no match for them.  When you’re out in the woods, alone, that’s what you should really fear coming after you.  Because once the hunt is on, it’s already over.  At least if you are the prey.  I love these things so much.  It kills me how the sequels fucked over the cool factor, but it is what it is.

What are some of your favorite villains?  Let me know below.

Until next time, a quote,

“Clever girl.” – Robert Muldoon, Jurassic Park

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2018

2017 was a pretty so-so year in terms of gaming.  It had a very strong opening, with two games that captured my heart pretty strong – Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn.  Both games were masterful works.  While the second has some flaws that hold it back from true greatness, the former is a milestone in its genre for other games in the JRPG vein to measure themselves up to.  It is amazing.  We also had a prequel to my favorite game of 2015, and while I have been very skeptical, Life is Strange: Before the Storm has been a fascinating take on a video game soap opera.  This genre may have some potential, so long as the writing is good and the characters are interesting.

But now we come to the upcoming year.  Next year promises some amazing things.  And the really nice thing is that almost everything I am stoked for next year isn’t a sequel.  There is a remake and a reboot, but the rest is brand new IPs.  That’s really nice.  Let’s get into this.

10. BioMutant
This game has me both intrigued and apprehensive.  See, the premise looks engaging.  A game set in a fantasy world where it mixes furry creatures, RPG elements, mech combat, gunplay, sword combat, and potential other abilities.  This concept intrigues.  I saw this gameplay demo that admittedly has me a little apprehensive.  The combat in this game looks like there is the risk that it could get really repetitive, but maybe that was just because it sticks you in what is meant to be the intro level.  From the devs behind Just Cause, I see the potential for greatness and that has me paying attention.  We’ll see what it becomes.

9. Left Alive
Speaking of mech combat, let’s talk about this game.  Set in a near future Eastern Europe, the concept behind this game has me interested, to say the least.  A game that combines stealth-action gameplay reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 5 and mech combat, this idea has a lot of potential.  I say potential because there isn’t a whole lot known about this game thus far.  It was just announced and is coming out next year.  No gameplay breakdowns, nothing.  Just an idea, some brief gameplay bits, and a cool opening hinting at a war in Eastern Europe that has gone out of control.  We shall see what this inevitably becomes.

8. Sky
It kills me that a game made by my favorite Indie gaming company is so low on this list.  It really does.  But so much of what I’m hearing about it is conflicting me so much.  For starters, the release said that this game was only coming out for iPad and Apple TV, two things I don’t have an never will own.  Then I saw some stories in the news about how it is coming to other platforms but is a timed-exclusive to that one.  Okay.  So when will it come to others.  Then I’m hearing that this game may have some kind of DRM thing going on.  Everything the creator says is about the social interaction.  Okay.  Lastly, they are marketing this game as “free-to-start.”  Um, what?  Didn’t Nintendo try this and have it blow up in their face?  There are a lot of reasons to feel apprehensive, and I most definitely am, but it still looks so cool!  The visuals, the sound design, it’s all on point in such a fantastic way.  I want to like it, and I will see what it is and give it a chance, but damn am I apprehensive here.

7. Kingdom Hearts III
Another game that it just depresses me how low it is on this list.  But Square Enix definitely had that coming.  This game is so late to the fucking party.  It’s not even funny how late this game is.  This game is over 10 years late.  That’s how long it has been since we’ve had an entry in this franchise.  Maybe, if it had come in sooner, Leonard Nimoy would have been able to reprise his role as Xehanort.  But no!  They had to fuck around on a bunch of add-on games and things like II.8 (a game that kind of pissed me off, since it wasn’t even a complete game), we are just now getting to see trailers for it.  Still in Japanese.  That being said, I am excited.  We see that there are Pixar worlds, which has had me giddy for a while.  I am still worried they will put Marvel and Star Wars worlds in there (please don’t!  For the love of Groj, please don’t!), but seeing our characters in a world based on Toy Story puts a warm feeling in my heart.  Plus, the combat looks so much better.  And we get mechs!  Lots of reasons to be excited.  Now we just need an English trailer and an official release date.

6. God of War
This is a game that I want to get really insanely hyped about, but there are some things holding me back.  For starters, as cool as it is to have Kratos killing Norse mythology, how did he get there?  Last we saw of him was a blood smear trailing off Mt Olympus after he had effectively destroyed the world.  How does this work?  Next up is the kid.  It’s clearly not his by blood.  So what’s the deal?  Kratos seems really eager to fuck up Norse mythology as well.  Why?  This game has a lot of unanswered questions, and I just hope that it doesn’t cop out with them in some bullshit way that has me sitting there going, “really?”  That being said, the visuals look amazing, and the gameplay looks fun as well.  They are marketing the game as all being done in one continuous shot, which is a bold claim.  I am also admittedly a little bummed about the change in voice actor for Kratos.  But we’ll see what it is and judge it then.

5. Ghost of Tsushima
The first game I bought for my PS4 was inFAMOUS: Second Son.  The game was fun.  The subplots were a little boring, save for the tagging.  That was legit fun.  But the game was a fun open world experience with gorgeous visuals and fun characters.  Now Sucker Punch studios is back at it, with a game set in feudal Japan about a nameless samurai who is after revenge from a Mongol who destroyed his village.  Set in an actual historical setting, this game looks really interesting.  I am still looking to see what the gameplay is like, but it’s clear there is a lot of passion here.  We’ll see what it becomes.

4. Vampyr
Ever since Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, something I have noticed is that there hasn’t been a good vampire game in a long time.  But then I heard tell of an open world game where you play as a vampire and have to make moral decisions.  The concept intrigued me, but once I saw the actual gameplay, I was hooked.  Victorian London, playing as a creature of the night who has to use his talents as a vampire to help stop an epidemic of monsters in the city.  This has so much going for it.  The combat of the game looks to be the biggest short-coming of what I have seen so far, but I am reserving judgement until I get my hands on it.  Let’s hope this is an actually engaging game about London.  Last time we got a really boring game in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, or as I told my ex the other day Grand Theft Carriage with Batman’s grapple gun.  This game has creepy powers, moral decisions, and a beautiful aesthetic.  What more could a guy ask for?

3. Shadow of the Colossus
From Software has decided to take a crack at remaking one of the greatest games of all time.  Another one of these games where I am very excited, but there are these doubts nipping away at me.  What doubts, you ask?  I see over and over about how this game looks 1000X better than the original, and that surely does seem to be true.  But there is something I am desperately hoping this remake does – fixes some of the gameplay issues of the original.  The original game has not aged well in respect to gameplay.  The HD remake had some serious flaws that showed the game’s age in a big way.  I am genuinely hoping that we can have some of those remedied.  That being said, this looks amazing, and the kid inside me who played and loved the original all those years ago is super excited right now.

2. Marvel’s Spider-Man
The first thing I notice about this game is how the gameplay looks so fun.  Having clearly taken a lot of cues from the Arkham games, this game is still going out of its way to be all its own.  For starters, we have a new villain!  I’ve never seen Mr Negative in a video game before.  There are bits showing other villains making the cut.  I am hoping we get to see some of the villains that we don’t see in other media.  Ones like Jack O’ Lantern, or Beetle, or Kraven the Hunter.  So much potential, and it’s clear that the creators of this game have so much passion for it.  Not tying in to any films or other properties associated with Marvel films, this game is all its own, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

And the most anticipated game of 2018 is…

1. Detroit: Become Human
This is it.  We finally are getting to see David Cage’s latest project.  This game has recently come under fire for a trailer where you see a girl potentially getting beaten by her father.  Apparently the moral busy-bodies are mad that a game is showing something that happens in real life.  More idiots who want to ignore all the very good evidence that video games do not cause real-life violence.  But hey, what do I know?  Oh, that’s right – that this game looks amazing!  Tank controls, sure, but so much solving of puzzles, making decisions, living with the consequences, and shaping a narrative of a world where robots exist and are treated as slaves, with multiple characters to experience the story through.  I am so stoked for this, and I don’t have to wait much longer.

What about you?  What games are you stoked for?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“We were friends once, before I was reset.  Maybe we can be friends again.” – Kara, Detroit: Become Human

Peace out,

Maverick