The Sunshine Blogger Award #4

I…have been selected again for a Sunshine Blogger Award; this time courtesy of Extra Life Reviews who has solid opinions and the chops to back them up.  You should check him out!

The Sunshine Blogger Award ChallengeI might have let this one go by the wayside if I wasn’t so intrigued by the questions.  So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Have you ever watched a critically acclaimed show only to feel it didn’t live up to the hype?

I tried watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I just couldn’t get into it. It’s possible I’ll like it upon a second viewing since that’s what occurred with me and Arrested Development.  There’s also The Office (American version), but I attempted that years ago, and I was a different person then.

After truly getting into the medium and observing the many times film critics failed to see eye-to-eye with fans, I’ve come down to the conclusion that the former faction could stand to improve themselves. How do you think they should go about doing that?

I think there’s a schism between what critics and fans look for in a film.  To be honest, I find film criticism to be wildly out of date in terms of what they call out.  Many of them are from the old school and so they’re still viewing films through the lens of ones they saw decades ago and/or critics are being trained to do this.  It’s why I think Robert Ebert, arguably the most acclaimed critic in history, is infamous for saying that video games aren’t art even as that medium does the exact same things film, television, and literature do.

I don’t really have a good answer to this question except to inject not only new blood but new philosophies into film criticism.  Lindsey Ellis is one of my favorite critics/reviewers who did a series (and I think it’s still going on) of fantastic analyses of Michael Bay’s Transformers called The Whole Plate.

What is the most obscure album in your collection?

I’m not really sure what would count as obscure.  I have a lot of video game albums, but those are common nowadays and not that difficult to find.  Maybe…this one?

E Nomine Die Prophezeiung coverGerman band with heavy Latin influences.  Latin and German are my first and second favorite languages to sing in.  This is hands down my favorite song.

What film do you consider “So bad it’s good”?

Van Helsing.  Omfg the over-dramatic acting especially from the female vampires is horribly delightful.  Shout out to Land of the Lostthe one with Will Ferrel, which is quite aware of how awful it is and plays this for laughs.

What do you think the ideal length of a game should be?

That depends a hell of a lot on the game.

Have you ever cleared a game while traveling abroad?

I can’t say I have, but I haven’t traveled abroad that often.  I’ve only been out of the country twice and neither of those times did a bring a handheld with me.

What is your favorite decade in films?

The ’00s.  Constantine, Sweeney Todd, Advent Children, Coraline, 9, Pan’s Labyrinth, Black Swan, V for Vendetta, The Dark Knight.  So many of my favorite movies came out in that time period.

What game do you feel doesn’t get enough credit?

Final Fantasy IV.  Yes I know it has a sequel (and a half), but I feel like it gets left out in fanfiction and fanart.  It’s such a good game with a great/complex story and I wish there as much discussion about it that I find about Final Fantasy VII (though to be honest I do spend an inordinate amount of time researching things for FFVII).

What lesson do you think film fans could learn from gamers?

Visuals aren’t everything, but I’m finding many game devs, like film makers, are relying heavily on stunning visuals to make up for subpar story telling.  It’s like icing with no cake, which, while delicious, leaves much to be desired.  I’m currently watching the Syberia series, and the first one has old school graphics, yet I was absolutely riveted by the story and how the mystery both unfolded and grew.

What I’m going to say next is going to seem counter-intuitive to my first statement, but visuals used in the proper way can greatly enhance an experience.  I will never forget the first time I saw the Emerald Weapon in Final Fantasy VII.  No, I’m not talking about when you fight it; I mean when you see that huge eye in the ice of that cave.  It blinks once or twice and then it’s gone, and you’re not sure if you actually saw what you saw.  It works perfectly for the mien of a game about what’s really true/what actually happened in making the player question whether or not they’re seeing things.  It both terrified and intrigued me.

I think my point is that you can’t rely on visuals to make up for a poor story.  That has to be the backbone of any narrative no matter the media, but visuals can do so much to enhance anything you’re trying to show.

What good work do you feel had a negative impact on its respective medium?

One of the things about good works is they tend to be revolutionary.  The positives to this is they make people think about things in different ways, but the negative is they tend to spawn myriads of  inferior copies , which either miss the message, miss the nuances, and/or blare it so loudly and often people grow tired of it.

With that being said, The Dark Knight started a rash of “gritty reboots” that, I’m sure many of you would agree, was the foundation that eventually branched into Suicide Squad, which attempted to merge the gritty reboot with…levity?  You’ll have to forgive me as my opinion (as it were) is only based on what I’ve read and watched about the movie, so feel free to lambaste me for that.   Common consensus is that it is not a good film and while many other grit-fests were good or adequate (at least in imitation or parody) SS was neither.

I’d love to have a discussion on this, especially with video games.  I almost said one, but I think its benefits to the medium far outweigh any poor mimicry of it.

What bad work do you feel had a positive impact on its respective medium?

Twilight.  While I’ve cooled down my horribly elitist/classist attitude about it, I won’t relent on the idea that it promotes abusive relationships.  Nothing exists in a vacuum, and young girls and women reading something like this and saying “I want a relationship like Edward and Bella!” is terrifying (ramp this up to a thousand when you replace “Edward and Bella” with “Christian and Anastasia” *shudders*).  However,  Stephanie Meyer’s story did (re)open not only the vampire sub-genre (we know Anne Rice was the first person to revitalize that back in the 80s/90s with her Interview), it was a huge boost to paranormal romance in general, though it rankles me to hear “Oh like Twilight!” every time I say that that’s the genre I write (I used to say I wrote dark fantasy, but paranormal romance makes more sense and I’m more likely to be published under that).

These were honestly some of the best questions I’ve ever had to answer.  They were thought provoking, made me do some research, and are wonderful discussion topics.  I’m not going to tag anyone, because I’m a lazy ass who needs to order diner before moving on to some video editing, but I’d really love to hear peoples’ responses to these, and I profusely thank Extra Life for nominating me!  It was a pleasure to answer such well thought out queries 🙂

9 thoughts on “The Sunshine Blogger Award #4

  1. I think you’re the second person who mentioned Arrested Development. I wonder if it’s one of those shows that requires multiple viewings?

    I have criticized both the gaming and music critical circles in the past, but I do get the sense that they’re evolving with the times. Film criticism, on the other hand, comes across as unduly conservative and stagnant; they don’t seem to accept that there is more than one way for a film to be good (or that a film can be competently made and still be terrible).

    I have multiple choices; one is Cure for Pain by Morphine.

    I did hear that Van Helsing manages to be enjoyable despite itself.

    That’s honestly the most accurate answer.

    I’m proud to say I’be cleared at least one game in every country I’ve visited.

    Going back to film critics, I think the 2000s is a better decade than they give it credit for; don’t forget Memento and City of God.

    Final Fantasy IV is a major reason why we have compelling stories in games today; it sold a lot of people on the idea of a game having a more advanced plot than “save the world and defeat the bad guy”.

    Yeah, developers need to learn to be themselves rather than imitate Hollywood. At best, they’re retreading ground already sufficiently covered by films. I know there was a spell in the mid-nineties when filmmakers discovered what CGI was; it resulted in many style-over-substance works – especially in the summer blockbuster seasons.

    The Dark Knight is a good choice. I thought the Joker was an effective villain, but the film’s success seemed to spawn a lot of chaotic evil derivatives; it got old very quickly.

    There is a possibility Twilight led to many people penning good stories in protest. If nothing else, at least it had the decency to drop off the radar screen after it had its moment in the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was very weird. I watched the first episode and did not like it. Then when I realized it was supposed to be a parody I loved it. I haven’t seen Season 4 yet though.

      That’s a perfect way to put film criticism. It is too conservative and definitely stagnant. Not only do they not understand that there’s more than one way for a film to be good, they also don’t seem to grasp that a film doesn’t have to be necessarily “good” to be enjoyable.

      I haven’t actually seen City of God!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The State of the Writer: 9/23/18 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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