February 2020 in Summary: System Shocked!

Also known as the one in which Red Metal’s computer finally goes kaput, causing the last review of the month to be delayed. Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I had been considering getting a new one for a long time, but I hesitated until this development forced my hand (which isn’t the first time something like this happened, to be honest).

Films watched in February 2020:

In theaters:

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019)

At home:

  • Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)
  • A Taxi Driver (Jang Hoon, 2017)
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)
  • Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967)
  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Paul Schader, 1985)

“February is such an amazing time for films!” said no one – ever.

Anyway, you’d think the success of Parasite would inspire wider releases of international films. You’d be wrong. Again, the gaming industry, for all its faults, has no trouble acknowledging efforts from abroad. Why can’t film distributors be that progressive? I had to look several times to see if Portrait of a Lady on Fire was playing, and when I did, I took that opportunity. It’s definitely a slow-paced arthouse film, but I did find it interesting. In a lot of ways, it’s the film The Favourite tried, but ultimately failed to be, so if you didn’t like the latter, I think you’ll find this one a better watch.

But, of course, seeing as how it was February, most of my film-watching experiences ended up being at home. I started off by seeing Marriage Story to give myself complete Oscar coverage. I considered it one of the weaker nominees, but in this year, “weaker nominees” translates to “still good – just not as good as the other entries”. Amanda Hurych of The Below Average Blog considered it a film that only needs to be seen once, and I get the feeling I would’ve agreed with that even if I gave it an extra point or two.

After Parasite won, I was inspired to see A Taxi Driver (not to be confused with the Scorsese film). It’s difficult to fathom these days given how much the country has improved, but back in the 1970s and 1980s, South Korea was a dictatorship just as bad as North Korea. How the government treated protesters and their abject rejection of communism brings to mind the famous “He who fights monsters” quote of Friedrich Nietzsche’s. The reason I chose to mention this is because A Taxi Driver is an excellent drama based on a true story of an ordinary man who accepts a high-paying job only to become a hero fighting for his country’s future. South Korea has really stepped up their game as of late when it comes to films, so this effort deserves your attention as well.

Next, I ended up seeing The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Despite John Ford being a prolific filmmaker, I must admit this is only the first film of his I’ve seen. For that matter, it’s the only John Wayne film I’ve seen thus far as well. Regardless, it is an undeniable classic that really shows how much you can play with your audience’s expectations when you feed them a key piece of information.

The following day, I saw Bonnie and Clyde. I had mentioned it numerous times over the years (usually when making a case that today’s film critics are gutless lightweights), so I felt it would be remiss for me to continue to assume it’s a masterpiece when I didn’t really know for myself. In the end, I felt it to be merely good. It is a fascinating real-life story, and the film was remarkably transgressive for its time. On the other hand, I kind of think of Bonnie and Clyde as the film equivalent of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in that it was a good work that had a negative impact on the medium. No, my assessment has nothing to do with the violence. Instead, I propose there’s a very good chance we have this film to blame for Hollywood’s present-day tendencies to bury any inconvenient details that messes with their often-romanticized narratives in the name of providing entertainment (or a message in other cases).

The following week was when my computer died, so with nothing else to do, I decided to watch Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. I would’ve assumed that if, as Paul Schrader said, audiences were better back in the 1970s, then enough of them would’ve been around to have his back when he released Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters in 1985. But nope, those so-called better audiences completely dropped the ball back then too. It made $500,000 on a five-million-dollar budget. Totally doesn’t make Schrader’s assessment come across as sour grapes or anything.

Unlike First Reformed, it actually was a shame Mishima didn’t do so well because it was so much more ambitious and creative, it’s hard to believe the same person directed both films. At first, I thought maybe Mr. Schrader was one of those types who makes for a better screenwriter than a director, but this too was inaccurate; he was just very, very hit-or-miss – even back in his heyday. This is not your average biopic; the author’s work bleeds into his life, and in the end it serves as a cautionary tale as to what happens when you’re not careful with your idealism.

Films reviewed, but not watched in February 2020:

Parasite (Bong Joon-ho, 2019)

Winner winner chicken dinner! When reading certain op-eds, you’d think that Green Book winning “Best Picture” last year was an insult to the art of filmmaking. Therefore, you would think Parasite winning this year would have them over the moon.

“Think” being the operative word.

Modern-day critics have a treasure trove of problems, and while I have to admit I’ve flipped-flopped as to what their biggest issue is in the past, I would have to propose it’s their inability to drum up enthusiasm for good art. Paul Schrader could’ve been correct in his assessment that there is a greater number of talented filmmakers working today than back in the 1970s, but you would never know it because, for whatever reason, modern-day critics just can’t sell people on what they love – a severe passion deficit, as it were.

Don’t get me wrong; Green Book was assuredly a mediocre film, but mediocre films winning is nothing new – Around the World in 80 Days somehow managed to beat Giant at the 1957 ceremony and How Green Was My Valley, though not bad by any means, infamously triumphed over the far more ambitious Citizen Kane back in 1942. I’m sure I could dig up many more examples if you gave me enough time. Sometimes, a good work doesn’t click until you either see it again or let it settle in the back of your mind. There’s nothing wrong with that; hindsight is 20/20, after all.

However, Parasite is not one of those cases. It stunned everyone, and I mean everyone, when it became a sleeper hit. My own audience was A) a packed house and B) completely engaged, so it wasn’t like Hereditary in how only half the many people who saw it liked it. Seriously, I hadn’t seen an audience that lively since Avengers: Endgame – and this was for an arthouse satirical film. This is why I think the success of Parasite rendered the various op-eds penned by angry critics (or comments made by their devoted fans) about how audiences have no taste completely and utterly worthless; it turns out, audiences like good films too. Who’da thought? I can only wonder how said critics reconcile this development (assuming they don’t just flat-out ignore the facts).

Games reviewed in February 2020:

Dark Souls

Hey, I actually remembered to be a game critic this month! I wanted to get this decade off on the right foot when it came to this medium, so I decided that the first grade I awarded a game in the 2020s should be a 10/10. Not only that, but the first game review I wrote this decade ended up being over 10,000 words long. With that being said, I have to admit it may be the last time you see me award a 10/10 for a while. It is a grade I use very sparingly, with Dark Souls only being the seventh game to get it. Discounting me rewriting an older review, if you do see me award the grade any time after this point, it means one of two things. It either means I haven’t played/finished it yet, or I’m only deciding sometime after this post that the game in question is worthy of the grade. Regardless, I felt it would be for the best for me to reveal all the 10/10s so I wouldn’t leave you in suspense.

In an era when games were following the Hollywood formula, Dark Souls charged onto the scene and gave the medium a much-needed shot in the arm. I think it really says something that, despite not quite having the same level of commercial success, it had a profound influence on both the mainstream and indies. One of my readers, rendermonkee, also pointed out that its impact on the medium was greater than that of anything Naughty Dog made in the past decade, and I’d be inclined to agree. While Uncharted 2 is hailed by critics and fans alike as one of the all-time greats, it didn’t really seem to inspire people to follow in its footsteps despite its two-year head start (alternatively, they did, but they weren’t as successful). When Dark Souls came out, however, it seemed as though everyone wanted to imitate it. I think that’s how you can pinpoint a work with staying power – when it’s the artists who end up appreciating it the most. In that regard, it could be to video games what the Velvet Underground was to rock music.

Still, Dark Souls is interesting in that, while it is rightly considered one of the best games ever made, I can’t help but feel that critics and journalists resent it. Many of them allege that because Dark Souls encouraged developers to make their games more difficult, it encouraged a subset of gamers to gatekeep, thus causing a divide between them and those less versed in the medium. I can’t deny there is a ring of truth to that, but if you’re going to hold any work accountable for its annoying fanbase, why bother liking anything? If I did that, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy any critically acclaimed film that came out within the past few years. A mark of a maturity is to acknowledge that bad people can enjoy what you enjoy. It also goes back to my assessment of Joker in that critics talk a big game when it comes to demanding challenging fare, but back down once artists begin directly challenging their sensibilities. Granted, I still say game critics aren’t as bad as film critics, but they could stand to improve themselves – or step up their game, if you will.

Mega Man 3

Well, this review is an interesting milestone in that Capcom can claim to be the only company besides Nintendo to have received a passing grade from me across four different decades’ worth of games. Granted, Mega Man 3 isn’t the best game in the series, but this is, surprisingly, the first 1990s Capcom game to get a passing grade.

Have you ever seen a film that had a litany of flaws that were easy to overlook, yet once someone pointed them out, you couldn’t unsee them? I think Mega Man 3 offers that exact kind of experience – especially when you learn of the story of its creation. Granted, it ends up in a better spot than most because “half-finished Mega Man game with a lot of great ideas” still translates to a passing grade in my book, though the possibility exists that I could change my mind somewhere down the line.

Interestingly, I actually used to think it was a better game than Mega Man 2 back when I played it for the first time. That was before the 2010s gave us several bloated titles that took forever to complete, so I was under the impression that “more = better”. Like the original Mega Man, I think I can attribute my change in opinion of Mega Man 3 to the one-two punch of Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 – both of which managed to deliver experiences with far more polish. Mega Man 3 does remain one of the better games in the series, but it’s a bit of a shame because it could’ve been so much more.

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

(Yes, I am counting this as a February review. Normally, I wouldn’t, but I call force majeure on this one.)

For those keeping score at home, this is my seventh review to exceed 10,000 words! For that matter, I think this is the first European game to have received a passing grade. The day would come sooner or later; Europe has really kicked things into high gear between stuff like this, The Witcher, and Divinity.

I can envision those who enjoyed the Wonder Boy series back in the day didn’t even know this game existed until word-of-mouth spread to their neck of the woods. As mentioned before, much like Dark Souls, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom simply wasn’t the kind of experience critics praised in the 2010s, though it was more a victim of apathy rather than antipathy. In some respects, that’s actually worse though, because at least when journalists blow their stack over a quality work they don’t like, it has a good chance of getting attention. It’s when journalists fail to give a well-made passion project the spotlight that the creative arts truly suffer. In this case, any mainstream release not made by Nintendo that offered an experience with a heavy emphasis on gameplay was doomed to get anything other than a slight nod here and there.

The Wonder Boy series wasn’t as consistently good as the given Nintendo franchise of your choice, but it showcased a lot of ambition that, even today, can be appreciated. What other series can you name that, at different points in its existence, gave us platformers, shoot ‘em ups, action RPGs, and Metroidvanias? Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is very much the kind of game I think Westone would have made if they kept the series going a little bit longer. Fortunately, unlike most cases of an underappreciated artist fading away into obscurity, this story did have a happy ending when Ryuichi Nishizawa, the creator of the series, teamed up with Fabien Demeulenaere and Game Atelier to make this game. It may have to settle for being an underrated gem, but it has a lot to offer those willing to give it a chance.

Featured articles:

Deep reads #2.3: The power of love (Disgaea 1) – You gotta love a series that owns its wackiness. AK does just that when continuing his run of articles about Disgaea. Now, I must set aside the time to play it myself…

Demon’s Souls Review – I have to admit when I tried Demon’s Souls, it didn’t really grab me. I do kind of get the sense from various sources, including Scott’s review of it, that it was the blueprint upon which Dark Souls was built.

Dragon Inn – Some time back, I ended up seeing King Hu’s Dragon Inn. It was a good film – especially for its time and reading ManInBlack’s review of it really highlighted everything I liked about it.

Ospreyshire Origins: Of Laurels, Weapons, and Bird Icons – You know, for a group who likes to consider themselves progressive, Hollywood and the Western creators whose works they like to adapt for the silver screen sure does like to rip off international efforts and not give them credit. It is indeed possible that Hunger Games wasn’t a carbon copy of Battle Royale, but Suzanne Collins doesn’t help her case by refusing to acknowledge the similarities. Ospreyshire’s take on the situation is equal parts informative and funny.

I’M ALIVE – After several months away, Neppy of Nep’s Gaming Paradise has returned. Welcome back!

State of the Blog: Where have I been? – Angie of Backlog Crusader has also been away for some time. In her case, she has been posting her artwork on Instagram. They are definitely worth checking out.

War & Hate Through the Eyes of a Child – Jojo Rabbit was one of the few comedy-dramas I’ve seen to have blended the two concepts skillfully. It’s a shame more critics didn’t like it because it definitely deserved its “Best Picture” nomination. bookbeachbunny goes into what makes it such a standout effort.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Love Stories – For one of her Top Ten lists, Sarah picks her favorite love stories. And before you ask, yes, they’re all better than Twilight, which is a conclusion obvious to anyone who doesn’t suffer from hybristophilia.

The Cars – The Cars’ debut album is one of those records that managed to spawn a radio hit with half of its tracks. Matt’s take on the album sums up what makes it one of the best debut albums of all time.

The Ashes Everglowing – Impressions on the Cindered Shadows DLC from Fire Emblem Three HousesFire Emblem: Three Houses seems to have succeeded in bringing even more people into the Fire Emblem franchise, which is something I can get behind. Reading The3rdPlayer’s take on the game really makes me want to get into it.

One Year Anniversary! – Getting to even one year of blogging is quite the accomplishment – one the Gaming Omnivore has just reached. Here’s hoping many more good articles follow!

Kingdom Hearts III & Final Fantasy XV: My Disappointment in These Long-Developed GamesKingdom Hearts III is an inaccurate title and Final Fantasy XV seemed to come and go without leaving much of an impact at all. Square is far from the juggernaut they were in the 1990s, though not in as bad of a way as they were at the beginning of the 2010s. Still, reading Ryan Cheddi’s take made for a somewhat bittersweet read, knowing they can be better than this.

Ni No Kuni IINi no Kuni is one of those games I checked out briefly, only for it to not quite click (kind of like Demon’s Souls, to be honest). I’ve heard good things about both it and its sequel, so I really should look into them in the future. A review of the latter provided by hobbitsofhyrule made for a great read.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II—Daft FPS Thing With Guns – In this article, Mr. Wapojif reviews a mindless Call of Duty game, which is to say a Call of Duty game. It’s a good article, though I’m a little disappointed he didn’t call it Blops II like a normal person.

Still to come:

After writing two 10,000-word reviews in February, I’m going to take it a bit easier and, for the first few weeks, review games I know won’t take me too long to parse. This time, I will review Tacoma and Mega Man 4. Hopefully, I’ll finally get around to rounding out the Pokémon series by reviewing Sun and Moon (I haven’t played Sword and Shield yet). Otherwise, I’m going to be playing this month by ear.

Links to my articles:

Film reviews:

Game reviews:

Other posts:

34 thoughts on “February 2020 in Summary: System Shocked!

  1. Well someone had a pretty good month it seems! I haven’t seen Parasite. I heard it was horror and I’m worried it will gross me out too much.

    And I was never good enough to play Dark Souls- so no comment from me there, LOL.

    But two 10K word reviews huh? That’s Impressive. I struggle to come up with 1,000 words most days I think. It’s easier to write a review for a book I hate then one I love and I haven’t quite figured out why. I think I’m better at knowing what doesn’t work for me than what does. Which is probably why I’m so crappy at picking books I’ll love. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    • In spite of my computer dying, yes, it was a good month. And I recommend seeing Parasite if you haven’t already. It does sound like a horror film, but I assure you that it is not.

      That’s too bad; I hope you give it another shot somewhere down the line. I yield that there is a wall you must break down, but if you can do so, you will be treated to one of the best gaming experiences of the 2010s.

      And to be slightly fair, I did start on the Dark Souls review back in December, so I did get a head start in that regard. Then again, I ended up typing 5,500 words in one day trying to get my Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom review done, so maybe it balances out? You know, I used to have that problem because, for the longest time, my longest game review was indeed negative. Now, it’s hard to believe that was ever true because every single review to have exceeded 10,000 words was positive (and five of them ended up being a 9/10 or higher). I just find it easier to talk at length about things I like rather than things I dislike. I found my Ride to Hell: Retribution review to be more difficult to write than some of my longer, positive reviews despite it only being 5,000 words long. Granted, I am kind of annoyed that my longest film review (The Last Jedi), is indeed negative, but I had been gathering my thoughts on that one for quite some time. I think we all have to go through a trial-and-error process to find out what we like; sometimes, that highly acclaimed work just won’t click no matter how hard you try, and that’s not a bad thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just don’t have the time to invest in gaming anymore that I used to. I’m a single mom- so most of my time is spent on my kid. I used to be able to game all night, over night, 24 hour marathons… it was bad. But I’ve also never been a competitive gamer or a very good gamer in general. I usually play on normal, get frustrated with difficult levels, etc. It wasn’t until the advent of trophies that it ever occurred to me to play on harder difficulties and most of the time I still don’t bother.

        But I know a lot of gamers love it and I have a lot of respect for them. I think if I had had some clue while playing Dark Souls that I was even on the right path I could have kept at it, but for the three hours I tried I felt like I was doing it all wrong. I’m glad others enjoyed it though!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the mention! Disgaea 1 might not be as filled out with features as the later games, but it still might be my favorite in the series.

    I’d like to see that Mishima film. I find him really interesting. Just from what I’ve read and heard of Mishima, it seems like he felt he had a lot to prove. And even though his politics were so different from mine, I can understand obsessively following an ideal that you so strongly believe in, though it’s too bad that it ended for him the way it did.

    The US market’s continued dismissal of foreign films is really frustrating. I think because video games were such an international thing (at least from the American perspective, with the NES reviving the market after the crash in the early 80s) that it’s natural for the game industry to be much more international today, whereas Hollywood had dominance over film for a long time. But I’m not a game or film historian or anything; that’s just my guess. I still need to see Parasite too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting that you’d find the first to be the best game in the series because it rarely seems to be true in an RPG series that runs for more than four installments, I find. Still looking forward to giving it a spin eventually.

      I think we could add Mishima to that ever-growing list of films today’s critics would hate. The idea of following someone with viewpoints so opposite one’s own would be a tricky proposition with current sensibilities. I myself found it to be a great watch because it shows that extreme dogmatism can addle even the most brilliant minds. Had he not bought into such things, his legacy would’ve been much better. As it stands, he’s kind of the Japanese Roman Polanski in that his most infamous act overshadows everything he did (although, in the end, he really didn’t harm anyone other than himself and his followers).

      And yeah, the US film market really needs to get their act together because Parasite proved people can absolutely enjoy international films. If nothing else, I’m hoping that Parasite’s victory serves as a wake-up call for American filmmakers, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the past three “Best Director” winners hailed from abroad. These guys are miles ahead of what Hollywood has been doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true about RPG series. Disgaea’s mechanics and features do increase and improve as the series goes on, so I wouldn’t say D1 is the best in every aspect. I still like its characters the most, and it does hold that nostalgic appeal for me that the others don’t so much. I guess that’s no way to measure quality though.

        That’s an interesting comparison I hadn’t thought of. While Roman Polanski is still hated by a lot of people (which naturally he’s fully brought on himself, even moreso because he escaped justice for his act) I think Mishima gets much more respect, even from politically opposed people. Another reason for that may be because it was not a crime of the sort Polanski commited (or Weinstein, Cosby, or fill in the blank) but was an open political act. Still crazy, of course.

        It would be great if Hollywood took some ideas from good foreign films as well. And not just to create bad remakes that miss what made the original good.

        Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I think you could’ve called those posts “ORIGINAL CONCEPT DO NOT STEAL” because that would be dead-on accurate. It’s a shame Hollywood’s not as progressive as they like to think they are, huh?

      Liked by 1 person

      • No problem. Hahaha! That certainly applies to half of my album and my Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis trilogy really proves your point in that regard (and the topic involved thievery much worse than THG) when it comes to Hollywood. That’s certainly right.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the mention! I think it’s interesting when comparing Hollywood to the video games industry, how much more relevance video games have now and in contrast how much of Hollywood has struggled to evolve or adapt. I was thinking how in the 90s and early 2000s nearly any successful movie or tv show even could be made into a game…whether or not the game was successful being a different matter. Now it seems like a much more common question is “which video games would make a good movie”. The sentiment Sony seems insistent on capitalizing with how many issues the Uncharted movie has already gone through…

    Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! And I stand firm that the 2010s is the decade in which films officially lost any sort of claim to the artistic high ground. They had been struggling to hold onto it in the 2000s, but I would say other mediums such as anime/manga, television, and video games ended up wrestling for it some time around 2015 or so. Hollywood used to lead these progressive charges, but now they often find themselves catching up to what video games have done. And Sony’s continued delaying of the Uncharted film is just plain bizarre given that at least two moderately acclaimed adaptions came and went within that time it has spent in development purgatory. It doesn’t really help that Naughty Dog has historically been followers rather than leaders; even when HBO decided to give us an adaption of The Last of Us, it only seemed to be after The Witcher proved it could work.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, there’s never a good time for your computer to go down. Kudos to you for keeping the content going while that happened.

    Normally, I don’t pay much attention to film awards, but it was actually kind of exciting watching Parasite get it this year. I know nothing about the film beyond what you’ve written here, but it’s kind of reassuring that the so-called experts do still get it right sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope, there’s only varying degrees of bad, and while this wasn’t the worst timing it could have been, it certainly wasn’t great either. Just like my BioShock 2 review, I was lucky to have recovered it because the hard drive was corrupted and I stupidly didn’t make a backup copy (I was only 2,000 words in by that point, but still). It wasn’t as dramatic as nearly losing it to a fire, but it was still not good.

      And I never would have called Parasite’s victory. I thought they would go the safe route and give it to 1917, but I have to admit I was getting a similar vibe from the ceremony as I did when The Shape of Water won – that something unexpected would occur. And yes, this was a film so good that even the current critical circle couldn’t screw it up. Hope my endorsement pushes you in the direction of seeing it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am not a normal person. Mwahahahahaa!

    I got an Xbox One S this week, having failed to realise how cheap they are over the years. So I’m hoping to get into a few more big AAA titles I’ve missed over the years. First games I played? Knight Lore and Jetpac on Rare Replay. The most retro titles imaginable. Good fun, though.

    Oh, and yes on Green Pink. I kind of feel Parasite won this year to make up for that. Like the Academy handed it the Oscar even if they thought it was the best film or not. The Oscars are weird. BUT! It did bring a lot more attention to Parasite, all of a sudden you can watch it everywhere. Rather than at limited screenings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, like DOES call to like, as they say.

      I remember doing something similar with Donkey Kong 64; once I found out the original Donkey Kong was embedded in it, I ended up playing that game, forgetting about the base game for awhile. For that matter, the first game I played on my PlayStation 4 was the original Uncharted. Guess it’s kind of like how some people end up eating familiar foods abroad instead of sampling the local cuisine.

      And Green Pink was a lame film that, while undeserving of its victory, was the perfect choice to represent an equally lame year in films (seriously, video games were running circles around films that year). And the more attention this film gives to Parasite, the better, I say. Mr. Bong and his team made something truly amazing. Seriously, you should’ve seen my theater; it was a packed house and they were fully engaged. It was something remarkable.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a really good question about critics and why they can’t sell things it’s one I’ve thought a lot about recently in terms of film and books. Films especially is fascinating. And I think when I hear a lot about critics it’s mostly from film bloggers and other people who already have an interest in what they say.

    When you think about the “general” audience that goes to films and pays attention to this stuff far less than us it’s even more of a remove from critical influence.

    And for me I put more belief behind fellow bloggers reviews than I do “critics” when I read them at all. (The critics not bloggers I obviously love reading movie blogs!) Anyway I don’t want to ramble about it too much it’s just a fascinating area of cinema and in a way film criticism these days. Thanks or the link!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, whenever film critics talk about what they like, it tends to be in terms of what the film is or what it does when they should be focusing on making a case as to why their audience should experience it themselves. A critic needs to be a good persuasive writer, and I seldom feel motivated to watch their sacred cows when they praise them.

      And I think a major cause of this disconnect is that critics consistently fail to see things from their audience’s perspective. Audiences don’t have the time or money to see all the films critics see, so of course, they’re not always going to see eye-to-eye. It’s especially bad whenever the trailer wildly misrepresents the film because a lot of people not in the know go see films solely based off of them, not realizing until after the fact that they’ve been had.

      And I find this circle we’ve cultivated has been a great substitute for professional critical reviews because we still manage to experience a lot of quality content while not having to put up with the extreme elitism and pretentiousness that grows unabated amongst modern film critics. Having recommendations that feel as though they come from actual humans and not automatons conforming to trends counts for a lot.


  7. Dang, you’ve had a nice month! Thanks for the mention, and glad to have these monthly reviews so I can try to go back and catch up on anything I missed when I get the chance. 🙂

    Also, you’ve got me really excited to go back and try Dark Souls again. Boy am I terrible at that game… but you giving it the endorsement you did is a major plus in its column on my backlog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In spite of my computer dying, it was a fine month. And you’re welcome! I really need to play Three Houses. I liked what little I experienced, but the slower pacing threw me off. I will try again at some point.

      If you do get back into Dark Souls, I hope you manage to break through that wall. If you can, I guarantee your hard work will pay off big time.


  8. Sorry to hear about the computer woes, but glad you’re back on line.

    Am pleased you were able to see The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and I liked what you said about key pieces of information.

    I’m impressed you wrote TWO 10,000-word reviews. That is quite an accomplishment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was bound to happen sooner or later, but thankfully, I was able to get the hard drive to work for just long enough for me to extract all the important information off of it.

      The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was a great film, alright. It seemed oddly predictive of the deconstructive New Hollywood zeitgeist in how the story panned out.

      And thanks! To be fair, at least part of my Dark Souls review was written in December before I switched gears and reviewed the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but I did write the entirety of my Monster Boy review in February; I ended up uploading within hours of setting up my new computer for the first time, in fact.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think there are many things the game industry could teach the film industry, though I think one of the reasons games created abroad not only succeed but excel is because they’re more likely to be localized. That and I think gamers are more likely to not mind subtitles (I prefer there) whereas I’ve heard people say they’d never watch a movie with it and not for a disability reason. I try not to let my snob flag fly with that, but it irritates me because there are so many excellent films you miss out on. I do still need to see Parasite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I once read an article that suggested a lot of contemporary directors are indeed looking to games for inspiration. I haven’t discounted the possibility that a video game being localized is what allows it to have international success, though I think my point stands; gamers having a higher tolerance for high concepts in general, which allows them to accept a very wide array of content from various cultures. And I highly recommend Parasite; it is easily the best film of 2019.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think also with video games there are more ways to experience them. Like some gamers play just for entertainment without delving into any higher interpretations, and there are games that allow that. But even in the same game you could have that entertainment factor but then have some incredibly deep concepts that the mentalists among us can tease out whereas films are seen as “higher” entertainment regardless of the genre so they’re more likely to be looked down about if they’re not sophisticated enough, which is frankly ridiculous. There’s also the monetary factor involved. It’s much more expensive to produce a movie than a game, so there’s more at stake. Even though I’m one of those “gather ALL the meaning” people, I have no issue with people experience a work however they want (so long as they don’t mock me for the same),

        Liked by 1 person

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