Patriotic war movies depress me, unless they’re done satirically. People missed the point with “Starship Troopers.”
Most modern war movies try not to be overly patriotic but tend to do so in subtle ways. American war movies always tend to celebrate the soldiers who fought and that they believed they were on a noble mission, even if they’re not explicitly celebrating the war.
Which is what makes “Saving Private Ryan” an unusual American war movie, probably because it’s the first modern one. It’s about how war makes brutes out of normal people, and how a group of them want to do something decent for a change.
Almost all the war movies, both American and international, which followed SPR tend to say “war is hell, but these soldiers are awesome!” Which is just a difficult message, really. Their militarism is honestly depressing.
You can see how scenes which are meant to convey horror become almost fetishized. The original Call of Duty games are based entirely off of movie depictions of war, and that tells you a lot about how the priority is to make war look awesome, not anything more authentic. So there are clear inspirations from SPR, from Band of Brothers, from Enemy at the Gates, basically rendering you into these movie scenes.
It’s not just companies which do this either. If you look at modding communities, people are constantly trying to digitally recreate what they’ve seen in movies, so really companies are just catering to a market that’s already there.
So that Omaha beach landing scene in SPR is one of the most overdone opening levels in any WW2 game. It’s a testament to how enduringly memorable that scene was in our cultural memory, but it’s depressing that the way it’s mostly remembered is in entirely the wrong direction.
I recently introduced a friend to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and she loves it, as she should. As she’s become a real fan, I’ve been able to also watch her appreciation go through these three stages, as I also did.
When you first discover movies and TV and all the other media which give you a form of escapism through a story, you just get caught up in it and enjoy it for what it is. You have a difficult time discerning actors from characters, tend to be ignorant of the deeper aspects behind it and of the process of creating it, but you love it because the story feels real to you and you take it as seriously as you ever will.
This is, by the way, exactly what happened to me with MMOs. In City of Heroes, my first MMO, I was so involved I did all kinds of silly things I don’t do anymore.
As your love for this delves deeper, you get interested in what else goes on. You become interested in the actors and their work, in the writers and their work, in the choices made by directors. In games you become aware of technical aspects or min maxing, or features. You’re not simply immersed in a world anymore, because you’re uncovering the working process behind it.
It’s a kind of loss of innocence, and a kind of cynicism develops as you better understand that these things are very much created. And that sometimes the things you love were just marketed to you, or that the people who created it were only motivated by making money, or that the actors aren’t actually like the characters they portrayed. It’s the realization that it’s not real.
The third stage is more like achieving an informed opinion. It comes from realizing that not all the things made to make money are bad, and that there really are quality products out there, made with love and dedication. The knowledge of the creation process helps you appreciate the actually good projects and products, and better understand what the creators actually want to communicate to you through their creations.
Sometimes I don’t want to spoil the things my friends enjoy. When someone tells me “Oh man, Tokyo Drift was a beautiful movie” I feel bad saying “Actually no, it’s mostly garbage.” I feel like a judgmental bastard destroying people’s dreams.
But I think, overall, it’s worth it. There’s no need to be a dick about it, and there’s no need to be hipster about things, and we all do need to understand that some people just like different things… but this is sort of what education is for. It’s to free you from limited understanding of the world. It may hurt a little at first, but the knowledge you gain helps you protect yourself against being taken advantage of in your ignorance.
It’s like realizing that the world isn’t run by gods and having your worldview shattered… but the reality of physics and science and all these ways we try to understand the world is, in its own way, beautiful.
One of the common complaints about movies based on books is in being disloyal to the books.
People say “But they left out this chapter of the book!” or “They added this scene which wasn’t in the book!” People also say “This character isn’t accurately portrayed by this actor and that’s wrong on many levels!”
I feel like this is interesting, because it shows a clear ignorance of the filmmaking process, which is in its own way interesting because, like I’ve discussed before, hiding the process protects a magical perspective for us. Not knowing how something works and being content with being dazzled is, in a way, our pursuit of magic.
Sometimes things need to change to make a book into a movie, because they’re entirely different mediums. A film is highly visual, and can communicate things without having to tell you about them, and transcribing that visual non-verbal message from a verbose medium like a book is not particularly easy, and not necessarily a compelling message in film. In other words, sometimes what works in a book doesn’t work on film.
Some books are created as adaptations or supplementary material to films. It’s a common statement that if the Star Wars prequels didn’t make sense to you, you should read the books “where it’s better explained.” This just sounds to me like a bad excuse for sub-par filmmaking.
Similarly, video games can be art in the way they can emotionally affect us, but they too operate on a different level from film or books. The trend, from what I can tell, is to try and make video games more and more like slightly interactive movies, which can be compelling but lose the capacity of video games to involve the player personally in what is happening.
It depends on the game, of course. But it’s easy to say that you don’t have to make a movie like a video game (which is what the Resident Evil movies do), and you don’t have to make a video game like a movie (like the more recent Call of Duty games).
And it’s okay that they’re different. You can criticize them for unnecessary changes and the like, but the way some stories are told just depend on the medium in which they are told. Creators who respect that tend to create the better content.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted that some of his most famous media adventures with wildlife have been carefully staged but has said they were worthwhile because they drew the public’s attention to important conservation projects.
His macho appearances with everything from tigers to whales have been a staple of Russian state TV for years, cementing his image as a man of action but drawing mockery from critics who have likened them to Soviet-style propaganda.
Although Putin’s spokesman has previously revealed that at least one of the stunts was a set-up, Putin until now has appeared to play along with the exercises, allowing state media to present them as they seem rather than how they really are.
But in a rare meeting with a Kremlin critic after his latest wildlife stunt - taking to the skies in a light aircraft with a group of cranes last week - Putin admitted he had often taken part in media exercises which were carefully staged.
Sometimes, he said the stunts had been over the top.
Fox News once again provides the most insightful picture of the political and intellectual climate in America today.
On the one hand, we don’t know what we’re talking about. But, on the other hand, we’re also happy to lie about the things we don’t know in order to score political points.
He just LOVES buying movies. It’s actually rather irritating, because although he does enjoy watching them, I think he likes buying them even more.
In a way it was a bad thing living in Indonesia for so long. It got him used to buying pirated cheap movies. When we first got there, we had a lot of VHS tapes, and he would rent laserdiscs and then copy them onto VHSes.
Then VCDs came out, and you could legally buy them for a reasonable price, and we stocked up a lot on those.
And then DVDs came out, and you could also buy those pirated before long… but that was after they had already moved to Switzerland, and our access to pirated goods was pretty limited.
So every time my dad went back to Asia, he could never resist stocking up. It made sense, sort of. But what I was learning in the US and while in college here in Switzerland is that you can stream or torrent or download… for free, and with much more convenience.
Because seriously, our DVDs, VCDs and VHSes take up so very much room. So. Freaking. Much. It’s nice and convenient to instead carry your collection in a portable hard drive, or even not at all. While I lived in the States I fell in love with Netflix, which made it so much easier.
My dad is a bit of a video/audiophile though. He likes to have the new cool big TV, with a surround sound system. He had been talking about getting a bluray player for years. I was trying to hint to him that while it’s nice, it will fall out of date pretty soon. I also want to hint to him that a 3D TV isn’t a great investment. Honestly, film quality isn’t actually better.
The future is digital media, but he just keeps buying this stuff. After having bought a BluRay he justifies buying movies on it. Repeating movies we already own, by the way, but given our vast collection of movies he can’t possibly have watched even half of, I can understand him missing a few.
But the thing is that when he goes movie shopping (in Asia in particular) he just… buys movies. He doesn’t look into whether it’s good or not. There are so many movies which just scream crap to me, or that everyone knew was crap, but he bought anyway, and quite possibly never watched.
He tells me that he can get bluray movies for as cheap as 8 francs, which is pretty good for here… but it’s still 8 unnecessary francs, especially if it’s a crap movie that we might even already have. I mean, he bought Matrix Revolutions. And Twilight. And those sequels to Disney movies which went straight to video.
We also have this mindblowing collection of Chinese kung fu epics, and Korean dramas, and Vietnamese whatever…
He just likes movies. I like movies too, but I like to think I’m a discerning person. He just… buys stuff, crap or not.
|—||Mark Zuckerberg (via rubeo)|
This isn’t really an intellectual criticism.
When I was a kid, she was the woman who seemed to be in all the war zones. She was close to the ground in the Gulf War, and particularly in the Yugoslav wars. She was pretty cool at the time because it seemed like every time there was a conflict or a revolution, there she was.
The thing is that now she’s so… celebritized. CNN does this to every one of its journalists who get popular. In all of her ads, they try to portray her as this tough minded and uncompromising interviewer, and it’s so… American-Journalism. It always seems like interviewers on American channels, when faced with important interviews, try to “win the interview” as if it were a debate. It ultimately detracts from objective journalism, because all it does is provide entertainment for viewers.
It’s why I don’t like Anderson Cooper much either. Anytime he pops up on CNN International, that American style of journalism also suddenly reappears. It dramatizes news to make it more interesting, rather than informs you.
Watching her show now… you get the feeling that everyone who watches it, does so knowing that she left CNN, and now they begged to get her back with a competitive pay packet, and now they’re flaunting it. I actually enjoyed her interview with the former Pakistani ambassador, more for his stance on US-Pakistan relations than her questions. She was accepting of his position, but still sounded inappropriately aggressive, despite that he had reasonable and responsible things to say.
Let’s just say I like my news straightforward and without frills. But I understand I am probably in a minority, because most people aren’t interested unless people are dying or something.
To launch the high quality TV channel TNT in Belgium we placed a big red push button on an average Flemish square of an average Flemish town. A sign with the text “Push to add drama” invited people to use the button. And then we waited… Discover here what happened or visit http://www.tnt-tv.be for more info.
TNT. We know drama.
Frankly, the TV show has more sex than the books do. The books have a lot, too.
Bloody violence too… well I’d wonder about that. Some things aren’t in the book, like Drogo ripping that guy’s tongue out of his neck, but there are other bloody things which aren’t in the show.
For example, there’s a lovely monologue by Littlefinger which is in the show but not, so far, in the books. It actually tells me more about his motives than anything in the books, and I love it. But it’s against the background of him training his whores how to better fake enjoying themselves by pleasuring each other (ie. lesbian sex) which was kind of unnecessary. I think it was partially put in to give the show-only character of Roz some screen time and also just to throw more sex into it.
I just watched the first episode of the new season, and it does have me excited for the next. And I like that they put the scene in of the gold cloaks hunting for Robert’s bastards, but did it really need to show now-elevated Roz training whores?
I dunno. I don’t mind showing sex and sexuality in film and in story when it serves a purpose, even if it’s only to establish the setting, but sometimes it’s just gratuitous.
What I do think works for it, is that when you’re showing gratuitous sex scenes, nudity is no longer a big deal. Genitalia is everywhere, orgasms everywhere, so just seeing a boob is really no big deal anymore.
Some have accused GRRM of just being a horny and bloodthirsty old man, and while I think that’s silly, sometimes I wonder… Writing sex into novels must be the most odd things to write in the world, at least to my imagination. When you’re writing it between characters to portray their intimacy, it serves a purpose, but there’s a lot of just… there’s just so much of it, and written so casually, but with some detail. It’s confusing what its purpose is.
Remember when the President of Poland died in a plane crash with half of his government? And this left Poland in a parliamentary crisis because the president was actually one of the people holding it together?
Yeah, I think Whitney Houston is getting more media attention.
The default place, no matter the news network in America, is pretty much that.
When people feel the need to criticize American actions in the media, it’s usually with a political motive: eg. Fox criticizing Obama for anything he does in foreign policy.
And like I said about Israel and its bluster against Iran, it’s really much the same. Throw enough bluster, people will start thumping their chests.
They really enjoy making their journalists into celebrities. Considering that news is now entertainment in the US, that’s not too surprising.
For example, there’s one which goes “Amanpour.” And that’s it.
Many CNN ads consist of their various journalists and newscasters finishing each others’ sentences. I know they want to sound epic or something, but I think it’s hilarious.
There’s a lot of that “I’m a daring journalist” stuff, too.