I never read comic books or graphic novels when I was younger, and in retrospect I feel like I missed out on something. I’m not really sure why I never did; perhaps I hung out with the wrong crowd for that sort of thing. I was too busy reading books for English class, and in my spare time I was reading The Belgariad and other fantasy genre novels. More than anything, though, I think it was one aspect of being a self-hating nerd, where I scoffed at people who read manga and things like that. (Actually, that’s still true.)
The main reason I bring this up now is because it’s being thrown back in my face. In particular, now that Hollywood has run out of ideas, they’ve turned to adaptations of graphic novels as a way to generate cash, and I feel lame because I don’t have a personal connection with what they’re releasing. I only read Watchmen after the film came out. I know Wanted was a piece of crap, but I’m still vaguely interested in reading the book. Scott Pilgrim actually started coming out when I was in college, but I’d like to think that I would have read it. It’s too late now, though; reading it would make me a poseur.
And yet, at the same time, I sort of want to start reading some. Maybe I’ll start with Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.
August 29th, 2010 - Posted in books
I recently created a Pandora station around Nine Inch Nails. I wasn’t really sure what songs I expected to hear, but here are the first four songs I got today that weren’t NIN:
- Marilyn Manson – Resident Evil (main theme)
- Bush – Glycerine
- Orgy – Blue Monday
- Marilyn Manson – The Dope Show
Wow, really? That’s lame. When was the last time anyone even played that Orgy song… I may have to delete this station if it keeps turning this stuff up.
August 26th, 2010 - Posted in music
Are you against Park51, the new Muslim community center in lower Manhattan? And do you watch a lot of Fox News? Then this post is for you.
Al-Waleed bin Talal is a Saudi prince. He’s also the second largest shareholder of News Corp, the guys behind Fox News. And guess what? He has donated more than $300,000 towards the community center.
Yes, that’s right. Those guys you’ve been watching who are complaining about the community center are also being funded by someone who is giving money to that community center. If that’s not hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.
Look, I know you like your Fox News. But I think you have to admit that there’s something really wrong here. And I think you have to make a choice: ignore the hypocrisy and keep tuning into Fox News, knowing that you’re silently accepting it; or you can stop watching and go find a news organization that doesn’t talk out of both sides of their mouth. The choice is yours.
8/24 Update: I think Jon Stewart said it best:
If we want to cut off funding to the terror mosque, we must, together as a nation, stop watching Fox.
August 22nd, 2010 - Posted in politics
I’ve just completed Machinarium, an indie Flash-based puzzle/strategy game, and it was absolutely excellent. I grew up playing puzzle games like this, but even this one was a bit of a challenge. Some of the puzzles in there were just really, really difficult. In one part, you play Connect Five against a computer who’s exceedingly good. And there’s a sliding block puzzle towards the end that would give any Professor Layton players a run for their money.
But beyond the puzzles, the game is gorgeous. It has this sort of hand-drawn steampunk feel with a main character that’s both sad and adorable. In the game, there are these bully robots that have more or less terrorized all the other NPCs in the game, and they demonstrate this with these crude little animations that are heartbreaking. The soundtrack, which you can also get, is also wonderful. Overall it’s dark and melancholy, but can be uplifting in some parts. It’s not unlike the soundtrack to Braid, only it’s a bit more cohesive.
It’s truly an excellent game, and well worth your money. I picked it up for $5 during their piracy sale the other week (I didn’t steal it in the first place, thank you very much) but it’s worth the $20. Plus you get the soundtrack, so all the better. Go play it.
There are a few reviews out that are referring to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as a cult film. Did I not get the memo when we started allowing a film to be referred to as ‘cult’ during its opening weekend?
I guess there’s a few different types of cult films. Some are utter garbage, and others have a small but loyal following. Either way, I thought the main thing that tied them all together was that critics hated them. Very few critics actually liked Wet Hot American Summer when it came out, but it’s considered to be cult because some people are really into it. Rocky Horror is the same thing; you can read anywhere online about how people dress up for the film and go to midnight screenings and sing along. By comparison, Avatar will never be considered cult because everyone and their grandma loved that movie.
So how can you say Scott Pilgrim is a cult classic? The film opened two days ago – and it’s received exceedingly good reviews. Cult status takes years to develop, not minutes. Just because the books are purported to have a cult following (are there graphic novels that aren’t considered cult?) does not mean that the film inherits that. The movie seems to be doing well thus far, and I have a feeling people are going to go see it. So… stop calling the film ‘cult’ – it’s too soon. At least wait a few years down the road and then re-evaluate its status.
August 14th, 2010 - Posted in movies