Monday, December 31, 2018

What's Next On My List? (Games) Assassin's Creed: Black Flag

All year long I have wanted to play this game, and I loved it soooooo damn much that I decided to finish it with 100%, I mean... both Brotherhood and Revelations had this effect on me, and I terribly hated ACIII because there was no way to lower my wanted level and I couldn't do any of the side missions and it was just plain frustrating... and I love these games, honestly, even if I have to replay a mission a hundred times, I don't mind, the madness of not being successful at first try fuels my wish to play more and more and more. Is that just me? I don't know. Anyway, I played this game for days, getting every assassin contract, every single chest box and post-its and animus fragments BUT then I decided to hurry up and finish it before the year ends so I could review it as the last thing for this year, so here we go:

The story: Our main character is Edward Kenway, a nobody who becomes one of the most notorious pirates of the Caribbean, by realizing that his actions caused the direct danger on the life of the assassins. As just six years of his life pass, he realizes that all he has worked for isn't good for anything if there is nobody left alive to be there with him when he finally gets it. In the end, he helps the assassins according to their creed in order to walk away with a sense of dignity and self-respect.
Game play: This was a very weird experience, because I was not into steering my ship in the beginning... I needed to be a couple of hours in to let myself enjoy it, while with the other games I was on board right away. I actually preferred being on land at first, but as I equipped my ship with more and more things, and I was fishing and actually defeating other ships it just got so entertaining. I believe that is the main reason I enjoyed doing side missions, because steering my ship around was simply fun. Now, I was told that they worked on this because of the success of ships in ACIII, well... I hated them there! That one mission was simply terribly done and I succeeded without knowing how I did it. So that is why I was not a fun right away, but I have to admit, that it was very well done here. I also loved, that in the end, my second in command was a woman. This game took the rules that society had at the time and let go of them in a heartbeat. Women take a major role in this game, and I loved the little things between the missions and I have to say that the dialogues in this game were just simply amazing. I find myself tearing up towards the end and I don't think any other AC game has ever had that effect on me.
Mini-bosses: Helping the other assassins was actually very entertaining. In previous games I was part of the Creed, here I liked that I had to earn my place, I liked how there were others and I wasn't recruiting them but my actions caused mistakes that I had to fix. In this story, the mini-bosses were a result of the main character being irrational and impulsive. Seeing other skilled and well trained assassins from all around the Caribbean was a wonderful treat. Helping them resulted in fighting smaller bosses, they were not a big deal. That is all I can say, as the major bosses evaded me until the end of the story, and there were four of them. The smaller bosses came from all around, since as a pirate everyone was my enemy: Spanish ships, English ships, other pirates, pirate hunters, often Templars and assassins too.
The Boss fight: Obviously in each game I look forward to the end, and this was a bit different from the others. Having at least four people to kill I got more and more excited about getting them out of the way, but in the end, the last person who remained was simply too easy to kill. One good jump and its over... I just remember how I used the last string of my life to kill Cesare Borgia and I missed the excitement of that. That said, I am not really complaining in the end, because it was still satisfying, but I would not call it boss fight, unless we take the last four battles as four iterations of the ultimate boss. It was just different, but not necessarily bad, is all I wanted to say.

What didn't work? First, I missed that there was no 'Sequence completed' signs during the game... I have to say, that even if I know the set up of the game I recognize when one chapter is over, I still missed being told that I am going forward OK. I do not know which board meeting decided on the elimination of that, but I did miss it. Second, my copy had a couple of bugs, and I don't know if that is just the PS3 version, or mine in particular (we did buy it used), but I did not really think that was a major issue that requires more than this one sentence.
There was, altogether, just one segment that was badly made: after I get my ship I kept getting my ass kicked and couldn't advance in any way. I then bought just one upgrade and it made all the difference in the world: now the game keeps giving you suggestions, but there was not a single 'equip your ship now!' suggestion and I did find that very weird. You learn everything pretty fast, and still, at the very end of the game I am still being told about the leap of faith, but the ship shops were only available after I get the Jackdaw and there were no hints for it. I found that very weird... but that is literally the only criticism I can think of right now.
What worked? Oh my god, everything. I love these games, really, that is why it hurts so much when they don't do them right. I find something I love in all of them, but if the criticism says that it isn't as good, I believe them, because that has been my experience too. My friend complained about the lack of Desmond, but I was completely fine with how they changed the main character, after all, others have interesting ancestors as well.

And that is it for my blog entries for 2018. Thank you everyone, well, anyone, who stuck by me and make sure you join me for year eight of my blog. Have a great year everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2018


I have finally seen the movie I have been waiting for all year long, and as fortune would have it, I could time it to be this year's Christmas review!

It is Christmas time in Whoville, but one mean creature is not in the spirit of the holiday, the Grinch even plans to ruin it for everyone else. In an attempt to cure a pain in his heart he thinks that the way to get over it is to try and defeat it, but when he learns that he is the only one who doesn't get the true meaning of Christmas, he apologizes for what he has done.

First off, I have not read any criticism and I refuse to do so still. There is a very simple reason for that: there is no rendition of How The Grinch Stole Christmas that the Americans are going to be OK with. This is a beloved children's classic and you all out there have your own memories of how it is and you prefer the 30 minutes cartoon with the original Dr. Seuss writing recited over it. Second, I did not grow up with that, so to me the childhood favorite was the Jim Carrey version from 2000, and most people who did not enjoy it as much at first, have claimed that it is one of their guilty pleasures over the years, mostly because of the dialogue and the visuals. I adore that movie, and I knew that any story that dealt with this character would be good - and so I went into the movie not knowing anything and keeping an open mind.
I have to say: I loved it. This is a great children's movie that teaches one very important lesson, and it is that of the necessity for apologies. In the end the Grinch obviously learns his lesson, and I find that the most important scene was when he tells everyone that he thought hurting others would fix something in him, but it didn't. We are likely to lash out at others more often then they would deserve, but I do not think many of us take the time to apologize after we realize that we might have been wrong. The lesson of this story was said out loud, but I applaud it for that, because learning to apologize for our mistakes is very important. I loved the design of the town, the voice acting, the Grinch's relationship with his dog Max, Cindy Lou's kindness and overall the small but significant characters of this little town that is so fond of Christmas.
If I had to be critical, there are things that I could bring up that were not to my liking. The new versions of the classic songs I think were terrible... the songs about the Grinch are also Christmas songs, but making them into something you would find as the last track on a 90s RnB album is not festive. Second, the makers put an extra emphasis on one song in particular, where carolers surround the Grinch as he goes into town. I did not agree with the fantastical town of Whoville singing "Remember Christ our Savior/Was born on Christmas Day" because I do not fuse the religious background to this fantastic holiday, especially because the story is about learning that material belongings don't matter! If they already knew the religious meaning, there would be no point in learning the lesson... My brother said that perhaps the reason it was annoying to him, was supposed to symbolize that it is annoying to us too, but I don't know if I buy that. And I think that is all the criticism that I can recall.

Watch it? This is not an adult Disney movie, that is for every ages, it is more for children, but we found with my family that it is perfect mash-up of the original cartoon and the live action version. This movie is for everyone, but you might encounter criticism that says otherwise. I personally adored it for what it is and encourage everyone to see it with their loved ones!

Until the next item on my list!

_ _ _ _ _

The Grinch - Benedict Cumberbatch
Cindy-Lou Who - Cameron Seely
Donna Who - Rashida Jones
Groopert - Tristan O'Hare
Mr. Bricklebaum - Kenan Thompson

Thursday, December 20, 2018

What's The Next Item On My List? While You Were Sleeping

In the vain of old movies that made a great deal to me, I decided to write about one that is also a Christmas movie in my book. Perfect for the holiday season!

Lucy has spent all of her life hoping for more: family, love, traveling, everything really that would make her feel like there is more out there. One day, she rescues a man who falls onto the train tracks and by a mistake, she ends up being surrounded by everything she ever hoped for, and even more. But she cannot go on without telling everybody about the mistake that made everything possible.

I think I was about six when I saw this movie for the first time, and I have seen it at least 20 times, in English... and in Italian... and well in Hungarian too. Gotta say, dubbing was quite great back then, a lot has changed since then. Going back to the movie, it was also the film that got me to fall in love with Sandra Bullock, and my love for her has never ceased to exist. She is one of the best actresses I know out there, and it is always an absolute pleasure when I get to see her in literally anything. She makes every movie wonderful, even the ones for which she receives Razzies, seriously, I loved the bad movies too.
This, however, is not bad, it is beyond awesome. When I think about all the stories that try so hard to push the Christmas spirit down our throats... here you have someone who just wishes for her never ending loneliness to be over. I love the scene where the family celebrates Christmas a few days later, because family and holidays are about the feeling, not a date in the calendar. I cannot even imagine what I would feel like, if my son ended up in the hospital on Christmas. To follow, even if he wasn't about to marry the girl who saved her, I would still be thankful to her and cherish her for taking care of him. And on that note, to find out that she is such a sweet girl? You know, I also love the small but important lesson, that sometimes good people are alone. Most of us suffer from loneliness, at one point or another in our lives, and we end up asking the question of "What is wrong with me?". Particularly in the Christmas season. This is another reason why I hate those romantic movies, that have people already in a relationship and then they find their true love like... you were about to settle for something you don't really want... that isn't in the least romantic. Good commentary on society's pressure though.
So here you have a heroine who seeks her prince charming, and she finds him in the most unlikely way possible, as he turns out to be the brother of the  man she wanted in the first place. All of her life Lucy did one thing: she did not settle for less than perfect. That is the main reason she is alone, and the movie very smartly showcases how the pressure of the holidays can weigh in on someone's loneliness. This pressure made her forget that she wants the kind of real love her parents had, not just something to get her through this time of year. It is when she realizes her real feelings, does she conclude that even if she has to be alone again, it isn't worth ending up with someone she wasn't meant to be with. I find that to be a wonderful moral lesson. Moving on from that, another thing I loved about this movie is the side characters: I am fed up with romantic comedies where the main character's best friend is an asshole. Parents, grandparents, siblings... everyone in this movie is charming, but down to Earth at the same time. Okay, I just realized that I could go on for hours about how great this movie is! You should just watch it.

Conclusion? How have you now seen it yet? I honestly fear for everyone who missed out on wonderful movies from the 90s that did now fall into the same terribly boring tropes that were brought on by the second half of the 2010s. I'm sorry, but if you look around, most movies are about the same things lately and here you have a festive holiday film with lovely characters and a lot of little stories that make me want to re-watch over and over again.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ 

Jack - Bill Pullman
Elsie - Glynis Johns
Jerry - Jason Bernard
Joe Jr. - Michael Rispoli

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Should You Enjoy Home Alone 3 In Spite of Public Opinion

I had a heated debate with one of my students, where they claimed that this was a terrible movie, and I felt the need to defend it. I even decided to take my nostalgia goggles off and re-watch it, just so I could either admit to caring for this movie for emotional or reasonable arguments. I can now tell you all haters, cause I will prove to you that you have been wrong for years!

A group of terrorists plans to sell a chip to an organization, but due to a mistake it ends up in the hands of a young boy by the name of Alex. As the terrorists try to retrieve the chip in his neighborhood; not knowing yet where it might have ended up, the terrorists are at a disadvantage and Alex decides to protect himself and not let them hurt anyone.

My first question is: have you actually seen this movie, or are you just part of the group of people who goes and assumes that sequels are worse than the originals? Because I am fine with you not liking it, if you have truly seen it... I saw this when I was either eight or nine, a friend lent me their VHS tape, and up to today, I have to say, it is not nearly as bad as they make it out to be. I will now list the things that I think make this a good movie with a great premise. One, there are no spiders in this movie. Two, as far as villains are concerned, I was always disgusted by the two bums/burglars in the first Home Alone movies, because that is real, that is something that can happen to me, that is something that I am literally scared of. And the thought of being a small child, who can come up with things (and I can't), to protect myself was never reassuring.
Three, I hate the idea to be forgotten by my family. It is literally the worst thing I could think of that can happen in my little life. My favorite thing about this movie is the fact that everyone cares for this little boy: his parents are not leaving him alone because they forgot him! Actually, they spend all of their time making sure that he does not have to be alone. The mom cancels meetings, the father puts off flying, they make sure the older siblings come home sooner... really the circumstances are just so much more real that it reassured my little heart. His brother and sister too might tease him, but once it is outsiders who want to hurt him, they step up and protect him. I like the way this family is set up and I like the kindness they teach to their son. Four, his sister is played by young Scarlett Johansson, and if that is not reason enough for you, then maybe I should give up convincing you at this point... Five, looking at the enemies, it might be a stretch that he can defeat terrorists, but I thought of it this way: they are not used to pranks, they are used to professionals. The latter I think are far more predictable, if you work in the same environment as they do. And this argumentation also goes for the first two movies, because we all know that people cannot comprehend a little child beating adults... and I might agree with you, but then this is the part where you need to admit that you have a problem with the whole franchise and not just the third installation! In this movie, you have the smart, the dumb, the overachiever and the so called professional... ultimately they are all just there to be comic reliefs, and they do a fine job at that. All of these movies are enhancing physical comedy, do not act as if the final showdown between Alex and them was not what we were all waiting for. And even that did not take more than 15 minutes, which means that this movies spent a good amount of time setting up the story.
Six, and my favorite, Alex is treated unkindly by the bitter old lady next door, but when she needs help, he goes out of his way to save her. He was kind to someone who was mean to him, because that is what he was taught! This is a great kid! Even if I understand Kevin's struggles, I wouldn't going around saying what a great role model he is... Again, I understand it, I was kid too, I too dreamed of having the house all to myself, but I simply cannot, no matter how many people love it, watch the first two without feeling in my stomach that this is wrong... which should have been the moral lesson of it... but was it? I mean really. Alex even calls the police, I mean come on, this little boy is a model citizen! The one thing Kevin has got going for him is the fact that he protected his home, but he could and should have called the police sooner... I'm just putting it out there, but did he? I dunno, I hate those movies, I haven't seen them in a long time. Anyway, this sequel movie is not a 4,4 imdb... (fine, the final scene with the women and her broken bones was a bit too much for me too, now, as an adult!).

In the past years I have started to grow a resentment towards movie that try to be more then they are... no, I will not get invested, no, I will not think about it, no, there is no further moral value to the story! Even if you include character development, to me an action movie should be about action, romantic ones about romance and superhero movies about superheroes! Some movies can be so pretentious and you sit there questioning why you wasted 90 minutes of your life for? This movie was meant to be a third movie, to a classic, with a whole new cast... let's be honest, it could simply not be good enough for anyone, the playing field was not leveled at all! I am sure you can name other sequels like it. And yet, based on what I listed up here, I think it deserve a re-watch on the part of everyone who hates it for no other reason than it missing Kevin or anyone from the cast of the original two.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Alex Pruitt Alex D. Linz
Petr Beaupre Olek Krupa
Alice RibbonsRya Kihlstedt
Burton Jernigan - Lenny von Dohlen
Earl Unger David Thornton
Karen PruittHaviland Morris
Mrs. HessMarian Seldes

Saturday, December 8, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Pacifier

The past weeks as you know I have been reviewing old movies that have a special meaning to me. This one is a bit out of the box, considering the kind of movies that I have covered on the blog in the past years, but as far as family movies are concerned, it is my absolute favorite and you will see why in a second.

An agent by the name of Shane Wolfe is surprised and attacked while overseeing the protection of an inventor by the name of Howard Plummer. After losing Plummer, he is delegated to protect his family, as the man after him still seek information that might be hidden in his home. In order to blend in, he becomes the nanny of the family, a job which he grows to like as he bonds with this family. In the end, he alone cannot take down the bad guys, but the children are not about to lose another important member of their family.

I am not a fan of toilet humor and the fact is that I am pissed at all of the movies that try to convey that that is the only means of inter-cultural humor available. We know this kind of gimmick of course: a grown man in trouble of taking care of children? A super-nanny? Unlikely adventures of an otherwise boring family? We have seen it all, so I am not so much concerned with how original the story is, but more about the ways they decided to make this different. And after all, it was these tiny but very important details that made the movie so much better. First of all, the girls in this movie are kick-ass! They do not need no man to save them, so much so that the expert private agent needs their help in order to win in the end. 
Second, there is no unnecessary toilet humor. A children's movie is the perfect opportunity to have some disgusting misplaced diaper jokes, but the movie didn't go there. The maximum was a baloney with some mustard. And finally, every single character is likable. The children have personalities, and they are age appropriate, and the way they all warm up to Shane was simply logical. There are a couple of twists and I never saw it coming, they mislead me (okay, I was 14, but nonetheless, the twists worked), and I just genuinely like to re-watch this movie. I think it fell under the radar because it was not meant for a wide audience, I would more like to deem it a 'made for TV movie', but out of those this is still a gem in the rough for me.

Watch it? I think it is perfect for a family night of fun, with a bunch of actors you all know and love today. As I said, it is not the most original story in the history of cinema, but that was not their intent. They wanted a big actor like Vin Diesel doing silly things, and the things he does are indeed cute and silly. But the reason this movie is good, is that him being big and comical is not the only thing that is has going for itself.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Shane Wolfe - Vin Diesel
Principal Claire Fletcher - Lauren Graham
Julie Plummer - Faith Ford
Zoe Plummer - Brittany Snow
Seth Plummer - Max Thieriot
Capt. Bill Fawcett - Chris Potter
Helga - Carol Kane
Lulu Plummer - Morgan York

Saturday, December 1, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Peanuts Movie

When I was a baby, my brother and sister already loved Peanuts, and as a child I wished to grow up to be Snoopy. When you think about it, don't you want to be Snoopy too, when you grow up?

Our story begins on a snow day, after which a mysterious beautiful girl joins the class of Charlie Brown, who tries to get up the courage to talk to her, despite not being very brave. In the background, Snoopy, writes a book about how he defeats the Red Baron in order to save the love of his life, Fifi.

Fortunately, Snoopy has all sorts of holiday specials, which I basically watch yearly. He was a favorite of my brother's, who I think up to today finds that Charlie Brown is his spirit animal. I do have to admit that he is a bit of a clumsy kid, but I find that this movie got together all the instances when this poor kid wasn't a 100%. However, with the inclination that a pink cloud is obscuring his judgment, maybe then lessened the impact of his misfortunes. Nonetheless, he might just be the unluckiest person on this planet... That said, his efforts are in the end rewarded, and that precious beautiful girl he wanted to impress cannot help but notice how hard he has tried over the course of the semester to be a good person, even if it seemed that he was unsuccessful at it.
I have to say that I loved every second of this movie. First of all, I loved how it was not a live action shit, like every childhood beloved that is remade recently. Second, I adored that it perfectly fit into the, let us say, canon Peanuts stories; almost as if it just continued where it left off all those years ago. Third, the animation chosen for this movie was simply delightful to look at. I am glad I waited a bit to watch it, because I needed to be in the right spirits, and since it started with snow, it was the perfect movie to watch with winter and the holiday season just around the corner! Not to mention, that you can continue with all the Peanuts holiday specials in order of release, or the other way around. These stories always get to me, I have to say, this tiny and yet huge universe gets me in tears every single time. I sure wish I had a dog like Snoopy!

Watch it? Definitely, great movie to start the Christmas season with, in my humble opinion. It is a guaranteed hit with the children and if cared for it when you were young yourself, you will be happy to see that the makers cared for this world just as much as you did growing up. Have a great holiday season!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Charlie Brown - Noah Schnapp
Snoopy / Woodstock - Bill Melendez
Schroeder - Noah Johnston
Marcie - Rebecca Bloom

Thursday, November 22, 2018

What's Next On My List? Free Birds

I wanted to wish everyone, even those who do not celebrate it, a wonderful holiday season, and ask them to stop for a moment and be thankful, really thankful, for the things they have. Now, an unlikely holiday treat, a movie about turkey's:

Two turkeys steal a time machine and travel back in time, to make sure that they are not the menu on the first Thanksgiving back in 1621. At first, they are hesitant, but slowly realize that being among their kind might have more to offer than 21st century technology...

I need to say that I am terribly mad at this movie. The animation on the birds is fantastic, but when it comes to the people... not only was the quality terrible, but it felt like I was watching another movie. I understand that maybe that is what they were going for, or at least I hope, showing the ugly within humans, but dear lord it was just hard to look at... and that made me super mad, because this movie had some wonderful jokes. It is essentially a children's movie, but there was some great buddy comedy, and physical humor that did leave me breathlessly laughing at times. But the trailer fooled me, because I thought there would be more jokes, and I definitely did not see coming the horrible animation... To me this movie is just a one-time thing in its entirety, but as far as my favorite jokes are concerned, I could rewatch it anytime. That is also a reason why I know that they had good things on their hands, but it just didn't entirely come together in the end. And, need to admit, the story itself wasn't bad, just the arch of the villains... give me more to care, the only reminder that the evil humans will eat them isn't enough for me. Think of great villains from Disney cartoons, or even Dreamworks: they might not be good, but at least they look good! Give me a real conflict, make me care, get me involved in a story about turkeys! You know you will not make anyone turn over to tofurky... but at least try to do that with good animation. No, I will not let it go.

Watch it? Well, there aren't many Thanksgiving movies out there, so I do recommend a watch, and the little ones waiting for dinner to get done will have something to do for a good hour and a half. It is not one of those cartoons, however, that is intended for a mature audiences. You have seen this story multiple times, but now it is with birds. If you like time travel and funny physical humor, you'll be in for a treat.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Until the item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Reggie  - Owen Wilson
Jenny - Amy Poehler
S.T.E.V.E. - George Takei

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What's Next On My List? Something To Talk About

When I decided which movies to review in the next coming weeks, I wished for them to be movies that mean something to me. One of those is the film that made Julia Roberts one of my favorite actresses of all time.

"- What is dignified about kicking somebody in the balls?
- Well, I feel better."

When Grace finds out that her husband Eddie has been cheating on her, she decides to move back home with her little girl. Her father, known for putting his business ahead of his family, forces her to just swallow what happened in order to not ruin his name. His behavior shows his daughters that he is not the man they thought he was, and maybe their mom is a pushover... it is their daughters courage to stand up for themselves that make their mom stand up for herself as well.

"- Are you addressing me?
- Yes.
- Well lick it, put a stamp on it, and mail it to someone who gives a shit."

I re-watch this movie quite often, as I find new layers and new lessons to learn each time. I think I was too little to understand the story at the time, but now, as I having had experiences with cheating, I find that out of the the stories out there that dealt with it, this is possibly the best. First of all, the one thing I think is the psychological aspect of stepping out on somebody: the story focused on the simple fact that lack of communication can lead to distance, which in a marriage can be particularly deadly. I do not condone his actions of course, but there is one scene where he and Grace talk about how intimacy has been dead between them, and that happened without them even noticing. In a following scene, however, he promises to her that he will tell her before things get out of hand again. I do believe that if you are aware of a problem you should face it. I find that there are relationships that are worth saving, and when Grace's sister tells Eddie that one day maybe they will make great grown ups. These two met when they were too young to understand that relationships need to be worked on, but it was not too late as their love for their daughter kept them close to each other. To me, every time, I am moved that Grace finds that no matter what happens, she will not eat shit with a fork and spoon. Her daughter, even if she is hurt by having to spend time without her father, should not be shown that her mother stood by when somebody was betraying her.

"I've got to see a horse about a man."

Watch it? I think it is truly a great movie and I like the idea that we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of our parents if we stand up. It might be a small thing, it might be a big thing, it does not matter. Our parents were thought differently than us, and as time changes, so do we. Many times nobody is left to blame, but one cannot pretend that something is OK if they don't feel that way truly. I love this movie because it taught me both hope and caring, and most importantly, that some toxic people can be within our own family and we are not forced to take shit from anyone.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ 

Grace King Bichon - Julia Roberts
Eddie Bichon - Dennis Quaid
Wyly King - Robert Duvall
Georgia King - Gena Rowlands
Emma Rae King - Kyra Sedgwick
Jamie Johnson - Brett Cullen
Caroline 'Doodlebug' Bichon - Haley Aull

Saturday, November 17, 2018

What's Next On My List? Charlie's Angels

Back when I was a tiny little girl, there was an action movie that made me feel powerful, that made me want to kickass, that made me wish I was the strongest woman alive and I could take down bad guys, and that movie was none other than:

Three girls, Natalie, Dylan and Alex, working for a man known only has Charlie, need to save a man, who turns out to be the villain all along. The girls realize that they have been tricked and use their own resources to make sure that the man who made them the angels, and helped them find each other all those many years ago stays alive.

I do not get the criticism these movies receive, up to today I wished they would have made a trilogy, because I loved this casting, the jokes, the stories, the twist especially, and this was the movie where I got to know Sam Rockwell, one of the best actors I know. Yes, the movie is misogynistic, yes, it degrades women sometimes, but... take a f*cking closer look: They abuse the fact that women are perceived as sex objects, and when they do attack, you do not see it coming. They might not mind the fact that they are perceived as they are, because it also keeps them undercover, able to blend in, which as the investigators and sort of agents as they are, is quite crucial. You do not make fun of the original series from the 70s, and these movies paid homage to the original, something the new TV show from 2011 did not do, nor do I feel like the new movie will either, but I do not want to judge in advance. And then the second movie came out:

The girls are asked to recover two rings, which, when put together give out the list of people who are hidden in witness protection. Way too many people are interested in finding this list, and the villain decides to sell it to the best bidder, but the girls are shocked when they find out who was behind it all.

I have to be honest with you here, not only is this one of the best sequels I have ever seen, but it is definitely one of my favorite movies. When it comes to criticism, I have to go back to my arguments on the first one: the movie knows its audience, in my opinion, because they gave me exactly what I wanted to see. First, this gave me Justin Theroux, who is another national treasure, second beautiful women using what they have to fight another day. They are kickass again, I do not know how to explain it, I am trying to come up with all the things I can to help you understand, even if I am not being very argumentative... I understand that I have nostalgia goggles, but I have just recently re-watched them and I need to say that I was still mesmerized by the layers in it. The movie managed to show three story arcs, from A all the way to Z, with a good villain, several twists and jokes to tell the story. I don't... I really do not understand the criticism, I just looked at the rating on imdb and my question is... what do you expect from these movies?

You would be disappointed if it weren't sexy women. You would be disappointed if they did not kick ass. You would surely also be disappointed if they had some other feminist agenda to shove into your face, but don't you get it? Those last two things are connected! If you make them into completely dumb bimbos, they will not be kickass... Think of you being the writer who has to modernize something but still keep enough elements to know that you are looking at essentially the same thing! How would you go about it? The movie dares to ask questions that the TV show never did, specifically regarding to Charlie's identity. Setting it up in a new modern society will require changes, and you can disagree with me, but I think these movies made the perfect changes for 2000 and 2003. And I hope it is in this moment you realize that there is a huge difference between what we in 2018 expect of our leading women, and what we did at what was essentially still the end of the 90s.

Watch them? I am sure you already have, but I think this is the time to re-watch them. I will always love these movies, no matter what happens and I will not, for the life of me understand why people do not like them...

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Natalie Cook - Cameron Diaz
Dylan Sanders - Drew Barrymore
Alex Munday - Lucy Liu
John Bosley - Bill Murray
Eric Knox / John McKenn - Sam Rockwell
Vivian Wood - Kelly Lynch
Roger Corwin - Tim Curry
Thin Man  - Crispin Glover
Jason Gibbons - Matt LeBlanc
Jimmy Bosley - Bernie Mac
Seamus O'Grady - Justin Theroux
Madison Lee - Demi Moore
Pete - Luke Wilson

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Blogger: Premature Christmas Decorating

Whichever side you take in this debate, I invite you to read my take on how I deal with this every year. I am sure that you have an opinion, and I also know that most people believe that they have the right answer... my argument is simply that feelings cannot be decided by a date in a calendar, and you'll see what I mean in a second.

I live in Hungary, which means that we do not have Thanksgiving, and even if we adopted Halloween, it isn't really a tradition still, it was mostly the last 10 or 15 years that we started to celebrate, or show signs of it. Not to mention, that most people would still rather have a 'party' than celebrate it with the family, something that never occurred to me, as I take candy over alcohol and board games over dance parties any day of the year. I have almost always celebrated it, as you could guess, as my family was fond of American holidays since we lived there for a whole year, a year that had a great significance in the life of my siblings. My interest in American culture got deeper with time, I majored in U.S. history and culture, and still up to today I celebrate their holidays as I respect them tremendously. So even if most do not think that we need Thanksgiving, but have no problem adopting Black Friday... (in case you missed it, this is a comment on the fact that humanity is garbage!) I, on the other hand do make sure to give thanks to everything life has given me from the end of November to the end of the year.
And when it comes to my family, it is indeed Christmas that is the ultimate holiday. So what about putting up that Christmas tree early? I am very mad when I go into a shop looking for Halloween things, or even just a pumpkin lantern to put on my table, and a wall of Christmas decorations fall on me. My reason for that is that I find it to be incredibly disrespectful to other holidays. To some Halloween is dressing up and eating candy, to me it is a night when I remember those who I have lost. The importance of the Day of that Dead that follows is never lost on me, but all these decorations give the impression that we do not care. In Hungary it is held on November first, in many other countries it is the second; whichever you celebrate, I apologize for those who do give the impression that somethings can be overlooked. Especially because there is an important debate about how Christmas is too commercialized, and I believe that it is at these times that people do feel that. Another problem is that premature 'Christmas spirit' does not always last until the end of the holiday season... and I can tell you, nothing sucks as much as sitting under the tree with your family and not being able to enjoy it.

The key about Christmas spirit is that it cannot be controlled, it comes when it does, you can help it along, but that is it. There is something that moves inside of you when you see decorations everywhere and I understand if people are maddened if they are in a time of their life when this is absolutely the last thing they want to be feeling. However, whenever I hear that Americans believe that there is a war on Christmas, I would very much like to shove them in these stores in the middle of October, which I am sure will surprise many of them, seeing that they have two holidays in the middle...

Bob's Burgers
People hate me too, in case you are wondering reader, I like to wake up a week after Halloween and start listening to Christmas songs, but even if I share them on social forums, I do not force it onto other people. And I think this is the key problem: when every store has their decorations out mid-October, how do you avoid it? I understand why you are mad. However, if your friend finds that they need the Christmas spirit, for whatever reason (that is right, nobody owes you an explanation) then LEAVE THEM ALONE. First of all, you do not know anyone's real baggage or life story; what if they never celebrated before? Let it be for any reason, they let their heart open to the opportunity and then you immediately kick them down? What if you celebrate National Talk Like a Pirate Day, or National Pancake Day, would you like if people kept kicking you for it? "Well Jim, I think you have had enough for today, argh!" When you think about it, the reason there is freedom of religion in the first place means that we acknowledge that people need and love somethings that you might not - this difference is often the reason we make the world better, so we should embrace it. And if one wishes to believe in Christmas, you need to respect that. A person's church is made up by their own definitions, you are not meant to understand it.
Second, as this holiday is a hard time all around, you might learn new things that open your approach to how you celebrate it. Hating on it will not help it make better, especially because you will probably not change the reasoning behind stores putting out trees, lights, wrapping paper and all that comes with it way early. If you think about it, it might be radical to me comparing it to religion, but really, nobody minds another person's beliefs until they force it on them. If I, for example, want to put up my tree right now, who is going to stop me? I need that little bit of cheer in my life and I know it will make me happy. Does a grumpy person's war with commercialism come before my own happiness? It should not. A friend of mine just posted on facebook the following meme: "Me waiting for it to be socially acceptable to put up the Christmas tree", with the grizzly bear sitting at the picnic table, and you know what, there is no rule that stipulates this. Society cannot define what I feel, and Christmas is essentially a feeling.

Third, what could be the causes for involuntary Christmas spirit? Besides the shops, the lights and the music in the background, I can tell you for sure that if you are preparing presents for your family and friends, you will not be strong enough. However, if you are starting to make presents in November, you probably don't want to be strong either. Also, if you have a friend like me, I might rub off on you, but I am house trained, so you'll be okay.

A gift from my sister.
And finally, how to escape it? You can't. The only thing you can do is not worry about it more than you should, because even if you try to tell somebody WHY you think it is wrong, they won't care, the same way you don't care about them putting up the tree sooner. So my advice to you is to let it go and not kick those who, for one reason or another, need it in their life. I do agree that stores are out of control, and I do agree that it is completely unnecessary, even if somebody likes to avoid crowds, they probably shop online and go at the beginning of December, not in October (and year round Christmas shops do exist for this specific reason!). I will, however, always stand for the idea that nobody, and I mean nobody, has a right to tell me or anyone else what kind of decorations they can put up in their own homes. And if you take my advice, you'll leave people alone too. 

Have a super happy and successful holiday season!

Usual movie reviews coming back soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What's Next On My List? Over The Garden Wall

Over the years my sister and I have become fond of 'coming of age' stories, because we found that there is a lot to be learned about how each story is told. To me this one is just as wonderful as Labyrinth or Where The Wild Things Are, by taking us onto a journey into the unknown and making sure we never forget this adventure!

Two brothers, Wirt and Greg, get lost in the forest on Halloween night, and encounter a series of unlikely creatures and beings that inhabit these mystical lands. They are, however, also trying to flee a beast who tries everything he can to trick them into staying the woods forever. It is Wirt's wish to make sure Greg gets back home safe the thing that saves them in the end.

I was scared terribly when I watched this the first time around, although it was balanced out very well: some funny episodes followed others with significant depth to them. The beast itself is something I would hate to encounter ever in my life, which means that it truly embodies everything a child would be terrified about. Overall I was moved by the simplicity of the conflict between Wirt and Greg, and by that I mean, that most siblings need to arrive to the conclusion that their brothers and sisters are not to be blamed for the decisions of our parents. In the story we find out that the boys are only related through their mom, and Wirt's parents had gotten divorce previously. I have found it endearing that the one who already feels in some ways the weight of life finds it easy to blame the innocent boy who does everything out of sheer interest for the world. No fear, no crippling anxiety, just wonder. That is probably why this pair is perfect: as the audience you have the same questions as Wirt, the same worries over getting lost in an unknown place. At the same time, you'd like to wonder around and discover like Greg does. The two main characters are spectacularly written in my opinion, not just as opposites, but as two sides of the same coin.
There is of course an implication, that this adventure wasn't all in Wirt's head, despite it serving the purpose of him 'coming to age', and no longer misplacing his anger and taking responsibility for his brother; we are still introduced in great depth to all the people they encountered, and we begin to care, wishing to see if they find their happy ending as well.
Ultimately this story is about facing the beast within, and I find that this somewhat creepy but magical world that we are introduced to serves as a perfect metaphor for that moment in many of our lives when we decide to take back control from the voice in our heads. These two boys will do everything they can to take care of each other, and I think that is a great lesson. I do believe that blood doesn't bind us, meaning that even somebody within your family can be a toxic force, but it wasn't the case between these two. And the fact that it all occurred on the night of Halloween makes this story perfect for this year's review of mine.

Watch it? Definitely. You will laugh, cry, be scared and root like never before to have these little heroes reach their goal. It is only 10 episodes of ten minutes, think of it as a good movie, and trust me, it'll be your favorite too! I would like to thank the writers and creators Katie Krentz and Patrick McHale for giving us this lovely story.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Wirt - Elijah Wood
Greg - Collin Dean
Beatrice Melanie Lynskey
The Beast - Samuel Ramey
The Woodsman - Christopher Lloyd

Saturday, October 27, 2018

What's Next On My List? Catch Me If You Can

I still remember the day I saw this movie: we were at a little open cinema by lake Balaton, and I remember that I was in awe. I believe that was the day I kind of grew up, and by that I mean that I developed a new kind of appreciation for movies, and I wished to see stories that were more intriguing with real moral values.

Frank Abagnale Jr. runs away from home when his parents are getting a divorce, and he puts all he learned from his conman father to use in order to take care of himself. He cheats and lies his way into high end jobs that procure him enough money to run away from the FBI as long as he can, however, one agent, Carl Hanratty, decides that he will not stop until he is brought to justice.

I gotta say, this is not really a review, as this is my absolutely favorite movie of all time and there is no criticism I can think of, and as such I will not even try to look for anything. This movie is a masterpiece in my opinion.
Up to today this is my favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie as well. I have said this before, but I am not a fan of his... ever since he started acting with the same directors, he barely does anything new... I feel like I am just staring at the same person yelling and swearing in different outfits and times. I also feel like he has a baby face, and in this movie he plays a 16 year old boy who tries to appear older and it works for me. And on that note, this is also my favorite Tom Hanks movie (along with You've Got Mail), and it was the first time I did not see actors, I was just watching a great story unravel. I like the jumps in time, I like the colors, the set up, the little details, from the Pan Am airline all the way to the little town in France.
The script is based on the real life events of the man who managed to con his way into being a pilot, doctor and a prosecutor, only to end up being an agent himself, helping the FBI catch guys like him. And I don't know if I am happy that we were rooting for a con-man, but for the first time ever, the actual motivations make sense to me: he just didn't want to face the divorce of his parents. He didn't kill anyone, he tried to not hurt the ones he really cared for, and the love he had for his dad never stopped, not once. In the end, at least in the story told in the movie, he just spent money he did not have. What Frank was good at is reading people, something he learned from his father, and if he didn't become a conman, he would have been a great businessman in my opinion. Nonetheless, to me the fact a boy wishes to run away from his problems is very relatable.

Watch it? Oh my god, you haven't seen it yet? This movie came out sixteen years ago and won lots of awards, get it together man and watch it NOW! Every single actor you love today appears in this movie, so you'll love it for sure.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Frank Abagnale Jr. - Leonardo DiCaprio
Carl Hanratty - Tom Hanks
Frank Abagnale - Christopher Walken
Roger Strong - Martin Sheen
Paula Abagnale - Nathalie Baye
Brenda Strong - Amy Adams

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Blogger: I am a Game Grumps lovely

It has been six years since the Youtube let's play page of the Game Grumps launched and I have been a fan since the first video was posted ever. I have been putting off this entry for one very simple reason: I did not know how to begin it. The reason for that is that the more time passed the more history there was for me to cover in order for my readers to understand what and who am I talking about - and I just got lost. The reason I did manage to sit down now to write it is quite simple, the two hosts of the show, Arin Hanson and Dan Avidan, decided to review their wikipedia pages and share information about their lives, which means that I do not have to write it down myself, but you can listen to it here: (If after reading my entry you have questions, you'll find the answers here.)

In that vain, I am only going to share what you need to know about in order to understand why I am writing about this to begin with. I linked every Youtube page you need (just click on the green names!), if you are interested. You need to know that they call their own fans lovelies, and being a huge fan myself, I decided to entitle this entry as such. And I have had other open letter style entries before, so that is what I am going for now too. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and checking out the work of these amazing guys. So here we go:

About eight years ago, not long after it was posted, my brother and sister found "The Decision", a song by Ninja Sex Party (composed of Dan Avidan and Brian Wecht), that was simply everything we look for in music and comedy. We became fans immediately and after that my brother showed us some animations by Egoraptor (Arin Hanson), and told us that another song of NSP was made by Arin, "Dinosaur Laser Fight".

When Game Grumps started, it was the first and up to today really the only Let's Play channel that I watch. When I moved in alone, every single night I would just listen to these guys being silly before going to bed and they got me smiling and made me just so happy to be alive. They had sort of spin-off shows, with Steam Train led by Ross O'Donovan (RubberNinja) and with their friends appearing on the show as well. Arin's wife Suzy Berhow has her own let's play channel (among many other awesome things she does), KittyKatGaming where most boys make appearances along with other Youtubers from various channels. They have another collective channel, GrumpOut which is used to post everything that is not game related, but belongs to them, from interviews to reviews and incredibly silly but well done trailers. (Everything else you need to know is in the wiki episodes linked above!)

Now... why am I writing about them? These guys feel like family to me. I have to say, of all things, this is the one channel that makes me happy that Youtube exists in the first place. I might never have enough money to go see them live, even if they come back to Europe, but no matter what happens, I know that I will have their videos all the time - even if they stop, I can rewatch from the beginning anytime I wish. I keep trying to explain to others why I like their videos, and I guess the answer is that I like them as people. On a few occasions I am lucky and they also play a game that I am interested in, but in reality, I just care for these guys, as rarely do I go and watch other let's plays (and by rarely, I mean never). I do care about why Arin would rather be a voice actor, then to make animation; I love the stories of Dan's family; I do want to know why they critique certain games that are considered classics; I love it when they die of laughter on the dumbest of jokes, and I also love when they get serious and share stories about depression and exhaustion and everything in between. Because of the personal nature of their talks I feel close to them, and based on the traffic on their channel, I am sure I am not the only one.

The reason I am writing this post is to say Thank You. I am sure the guys get this a lot, but I do feel like the saved me several times. The best thing I can say about them is that they are here for me always, figuratively, and the sense of knowing that helps me through small struggles in my everyday life. 

I comment very rarely on their page, so I want to do it here right now: first, the fact that a lot of viewers hated on Suzy f*cking drove me mad. She is super awesome and fun and there are some misogynistic assholes who clearly cannot handle smart women doing great. She is a goddamn treasure and I loved every single video she appeared on (and the Metal Gear V play-through with Arin was my favorite series of all time!). Second, people called Dan homophobic over disliking a disgusting character giving a blowjob... and just wow, how dare you call him that? There is a specific video where he says that they wrote "If We Were Gay" for a friend of theirs whom they cared for deeply, not to mention the hundreds of jokes and caring comments about loving everyone out there like... I do not want to be the kind of person who tries to define what a 'real fan' is, even if there is such a thing, but I will go as far as assuming those people do not know these two at all. Or at least refuse to listen, and I will open up about that in my update further down.

And if I were to comment more often, I would say that I am proud of them, I love the songs - both NSP and Starbomb -, I loved the different projects, from Guild Grumps to Good Game (read my review here!), with the podcasts and the 10 Minute Power Hour introduced this year. They put everything they have into their work and they inspire me in more ways than I can count. I would also ask them to have a guest grumps with the VlogBrothers and Shane, among many others.

And as I said, I would just like to thank them. So, here is the best chance for that! Thank you to both of you for what you do, it might have been a dream for you too, but I sure know that I am better for being able to be part of this adventure. Keep up the good work!

A quick update (2019 May 2nd):
I am very much fed up with that 5% of very loud pseudo-fans that keep hating on the boys. Recently I started getting more active in comment sections because I cannot listen anymore to people who do not hear people who are talking to them:

  • Beginning of the Detroit livestreams the Grumps talked about the fact that Youtube algorithms are changing. Not just them, but every single youtuber out there warned their viewers that there are great changes that not even content creators are warned about. I am fed up with people calling Arin names for caring about the 'business' ... if he didn't, we would not have GG anymore... 
  • People complaining that they are trying new things because the let's play genre is a dying is hilarious to me, because if after 6 years you are watching them because of the games, then you are not a GG fan. Being a fan means that you care for these boys, and that implies listening to them and seeing how much work they do and how hard they try to please the people that make it possible for them to be where they are in the first place. But I, for one, do not think that they owe me anything. I am happy until they post content and I will follow them after with any and all projects, because I genuinely care for them. Their platform allows me to think of them as friends of mine, even if they will never know who I am.
  • And I definitely do not want them to over-work themselves in the process of creating content. After six years they haven't missed a single post, and that is admirable. Another thing people like to overlook... 
  • As far as 'more money making' is concerned: not once did Arin or Danny ask any of their fans to give them money. Every single donation that comes in is out of our own volition. Yes, the livestreams help with that, but they did, at the very beginning of the year tell everyone that they want to keep the people at their office working. Another reason why I do not get how putting money in the front for somebody running a business is 'evil'? There are some awesome people working at that office, and if 10 bucks keeps them there, I am happy to give it to them. (Everything is also sold out in a couple of hours, so perhaps we all underestimate them.)
  • And speaking of streams: they have a 12-15 minute play-through and the donation readings. If somebody wants to consume it like daily episodes, they are more than welcome to do so without having to sh*t on the content creators. I for one love the longer posts: I often listen to them while working on something, that does require more than two hours at times. Not to mention, that I do not mind that they cannot fast-forward, because we always missed out on great interactions that way. 
  • Finally, on the streams, a lot of people show up that are in the background, since there is no SteamTrain or Grumpcade, this is a great way to hear from them. There are some special people there, as I have said before!
  • Yes, I am very emotional about this topic, but it hurts me personally when good people are put down. These two make sure to communicate everything to the fans and some refuse to listen. Quite frankly, f*ck those guys.

People just want and want and take and take, and do not wish to give in return. And that is fine, but at least do not complain about the way they go about their business. I hate how loud they are, because they DO NOT represent my views. Or that of many others. There are some awesome people that truly care for the projects they start and to me they are truly inspirational. And the 95% of the lovelies, the true fans, are just the greatest. I am proud to be a lovely myself, but I a sure you all knew that by now.

As a final note, here is me with my favorite grumps shirt. My brother got one for me and my girlfriend and it genuinely makes me happy every time I can wear it! It's sooo soft...

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _

Follow the video game boys here:

And for even more, I suggest you read this article by The Washington Post, written about Ninja Sex Party's appearance on Conan. You can also watch it here!