Dream 559: Brexit2K

07.21.2018 § Leave a comment

I’m rewriting some code that no longer works in the wake of Brexit.


Film Micrœview #441: Ant Man and the Wasp

07.16.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Bad.

I got a couple chuckles out of this, but basically an insulting waste of 2 hours of my life.

Film Micrœview #440: Ready Player One

07.16.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Bad.

Of course it’s just generally a shit movie – with horrible acting, sloppy writing, a trite and pointless story, and overwhelming visuals that convey ADHD instead of awe – but I didn’t expect more than that. The only reason I saw this was because I am immersed in the VR community, and I feel like I have to have some awareness of the extremely popular Ready Player One to get by, but it seemed like lowest common denominator young adult fiction and I had no interest in taking the time to read the book, so I figured watching the film and supplementing with a listicle of differences between the two would suffice. But I have to say that the main takeaway of my experience is that Ready Player One is only incidentally about VR; it is instead about gaming: the relationship between gamers and game designers.

Were it truly about VR it would spend a lot more time on how shifts in communication technology had restructured social life. But I was constantly disoriented by incongruities in how characters were able to connect with each other or find each other or share with each other or broadcast to the world, or hide from each other. The characters also did not feel like they were actually from the world they inhabited; reactions would often play out in a way as if they were a member of the contemporary audience thrust into a situation rather than someone totally used to such stuff. This frustrated me as some moments of such aggressive ignorance threw me out of the narrative. The style of the action sequences, the centerpieces of the film, was over-choreographed for the camera perspective in a way which undermined the promise of the world it was there to capture: a world of infinite possibilities, reduced to singular impossibly perfectly epic convergences of sequential stunts.

I might have been sympathetic to it being about video games, but the misapplication of the concept of an Easter Egg annihilated that. Maybe if what the actual game itself was in the first place had been more clear that would have helped. But what I witnessed in this film were more like Secret Exits. There was a definite “you won my game” vibe at the end after dude got all the keys. Clearly someone on the writing team knew what Easter Eggs really were, because the definition is clearly stated and expressed within the last of the three Secret Exit segments – which I guess makes it even more frustrating. Then again I have to assume this is a flaw with the source material, not the film. “Easter Egg” does just have such a lucrative ring to it, though.

I really shouldn’t waste my time critiquing the film in-and-of-itself, but I just can’t help it. I’ll focus on the ending. Nothing about it worked.

First the Bad Guy has a perfect shot at the Hero but doesn’t take it, because his Heart Melts when he vicariously experiences the joy the Hero is experiencing from connecting with the game designer. I’ll compare this with the ending of Ratatouille. In that one the grumpy old food critic’s Heart Melts when he has a bit of a dish which conjures memories of his childhood and his mother’s cooking. It’s a beautiful, tear-jerking moment, because here’s a guy who had lost touch with why he cared about food and was draining the joy from everyone around him too. It’s joyous not only because we know the conflict of the story is over but because we actually care for the guy and are happy that he’s having this breakthrough. Now look at the Bad Guy in RPO. We’re given no indication that this guy gives a single shit about games. The movie even threw away a perfect opportunity to humanize the guy, in one of the memory sequences where it turns out he was an intern with the game studio, but even back then he’s not a wide-eyed hopeful world-builder but trying to fuck up the leader’s priorities towards monetization. So tell me why should I buy this moment where he for the first time seems to care about anything?

Ok then they show him being put in the police car with his badass henchwoman. Their relationship started out a bit rocky but I actually got a bit interested in them like the third scene together when she ripped him a new one and she was definitely wearing the boss pants. So now they’re both going to jail I guess and she just punches him? That’s it? Not a single line of dialog from her? Like, I don’t even understand, did he do something in particular that resulted in her getting caught within this final sequence, like, how is this specifically his fault? This could have been a moment to foil them against each other, maybe her never having cared about anything but doing a good job and succeeding, or maybe a class or gender struggle thing, but… nothing.

Then we have Hero guy pause the ending so he can give the Girl a kiss. This was so out of place. It might have made some sense if stronger parallels had been drawn between Hero and the Game Designer guy, who was on the spectrum and had trouble expressing his romantic feelings. But while Hero was marked as nervous around pretty girls, he was at least capable of attempting to flirt and basically dressing cool, etc. Why would this be a huge breakthrough for him? I mean if anything I was pissed at the film for rewarding him for sticking to his dopey love bullshit when he had nearly fucked up everything this girl had been fighting for and then she saved his ass and instantly became perfectly nice and helpful to him. Moreover, what the hell is up with her worrying about her appearance in real life and then basically just having a smudgy birthmark but otherwise being completely standard Western beauty? What a fucked up missed opportunity to cast more diversely.

Then we have Ogden appear as a character suddenly and apparently everyone’s just supposed to be super happy about him and I just didn’t get why. So forced.

I guess the last nit pick doesn’t connect to the ending really, but what was the deal with I-rock? What was driving him? Could he have been a more interesting foil for Hero or Bad Guy? Could he have been more convincingly lonely or needy? Yes.



Film Micrœview #439: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

07.14.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Shrug.

I learned some stuff, and was particularly stricken by a note Rogers took to himself which was shared, in which he screamed in all caps, questioning his worth and skill. Definitely humanized the guy for me. And while I can’t help but be touched throughout the experience, I felt the documentary itself was a bit rushed and disorganized. I wish there had been more information about his relationship with Clemens re: his public sexuality. This quote I found cleared things up a bit:

“I want you to know, Franc, that if you’re gay, it doesn’t matter to me at all. Whatever you say and do is fine with me, but if you’re going to be on the show, as an important member of the Neighborhood, you can’t be ‘out’ as gay. People must not know … Many of the wrong people will get the worst idea, and we don’t want them thinking and talking about you like that. If those people put up enough fuss, then I couldn’t have you on the program. It’s not an issue for me. I don’t think you’re less of a person. I don’t think you’re immoral.”

Dream 558: Universal Cardinal Grind

07.14.2018 § Leave a comment

You can grind things up even further to approach universal cardinal directions.

This is clearly not an earnest visit – they just want our votes.

Film Micrœview #438: Silent Light

07.07.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

Haunting, through and through. Kind of a cross between a Tarr and a Weerasethakul film. Perfect ending.

Film Micrœview #437: True Stories

07.07.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

Kind of a cross between a Lynch and a Tati film. What a strange, beautiful, troubling, endearing spell it casts.

Never realized Wild Wild Life was a Talking Heads song!


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