Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dissecting Trailers

When the trailers for "The Force Awakens" and "Batman v Superman" came out, a lot of people, and I mean A LOT of people, would sit down and judge whether the movie was going to be good just from what they saw there.

"This character is going to suck because ..."

"They got that dead right because ..."

It's a trailer people! It's there simply to get you to buy tickets to the movie! There is no way that you can tell how good or bad the movie/character/writing/what-have/you is going to be just from the trailer. There simply isn't enough time for you to make that decision.

What you can do, 9 out of 10 times, is decide whether that particular movie is for you or not. Usually I'll see a trailer a decide whether I want to see it as soon as i feasibly can (pretty much any Marvel movie), wait for it to come out on DVD or TV (most films in my interest area), or avoid it all together (Star Trek: Beyond). That is simply based on the style or subject matter of the movie, not the perceived level of quality.

So, can we please, as the new year dawns, stop over analyzing 3-5 minute advertising snippets of films? Please?

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays!

In honor of the day, I thought that I'd post my absolute favorite movie version of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol". This version happens to star Alistair Sim, who does a wonderful job of showing Scrooge's transformation, but it also includes a scene that actually explains why Scrooge became a cold and cruel man. Unlike most adaptations that are not the equal of their originals, this is one of the few that actually surpasses it by adding that one detail.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Allow me to add the following, which I received after publishing my reading of the story last year:
Dear Gene,
I just wanted to compliment you on your excellent reading of the Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol". I'm certain that many people of our vintage have seen the filmed version in various forms with various actors, from Patrick Stewart to Bill Murray, from Alastair Sim to George C. Scott (I'm intentionally omitting Jim Carrey as I would prefer to omit Jim Carrey from all things that tend to bring joy into the world). But I would wager that very few have ever fully read the story upon which these films were based, much less had it read in full to them in such an entertaining manner. Yes, there were times that Dickens got a bit wordy with the descriptions, especially the depictions of food, but to hear the story in its entirety showed how all of these movies took sometimes the basic idea of the tale and put only that on screen. Listening to you read this was a joy, and I commend you for being able to do it. Even with simple short stories, I myself had fumbles with words and what have you...but your's was a professional production. Too bad DiManzo has an alternative definition of "professional" for his employees as this most certainly won't garner a Christmas bonus.
I'm typing this early on the morning of Christmas eve, and I hope that you and your family have a joyous, blessed, and happy holiday season. Thank you so much for the show.
Shawn Engel
Shawn was a fellow podcaster who I had the great pleasure of getting to know over my time in the hobby. He died rather suddenly on December 16, 2015, at the too young age of 45. He was much, much too kind in the above e-mail, as he was in all of his life. The fact that he spent some of his last Christmas holiday listening to me drone on will be something that I'll never forget.

In his honor, I'm republishing the link to my reading of the original story.


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Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Life with Star Wars

I have never known a time without Star Wars. True, I was born a year and a half before it even came out in theaters, but I don't remember being 18 months old. What I do remember, though, are all those hours that I spent playing with the toys. Yes, back in the dark times, before home video, all I had to recreate the experience of seeing the movie was the toys. Oh, we had a VCR, one of those old top-loading jobs, but it was in the living room and I had to bow to the will of the family on what to watch. I got my TV time, but not anywhere near enough to watch Star Wars constantly.

Courtesy of
No, I played with the toys, both inside the house and outside, for hours on end. I don't remember much of the first time I got them for Christmas, beyond my dad actually letting me do some of the decals on the Millennium Falcon, and breaking the cockpit so that it would always pop off when it was opened, but I remember the adventures.

I remember using the space between the cargo mandibles on the Falcon to dock with the X-Wing when there was a water landing (on the floor of my bedroom). I remember having Luke use the Y-Wing instead the X-Wing because he could actually take R2 with him. I remember having this odd fascination with Han getting frozen in carbonite every time he fell off the end of the coffee table in the living room.

Star Wars was always there when I was a kid, and even when I moved past the toys I enjoyed the books and Role-Playing Game (maybe a little too much?), and I'd re-watch the films whenever I could. I enjoyed the prequels when they came out, but wasn't overly thrilled with them. I loved the Clone Wars micro-series but wasn't all that thrilled with the ongoing series.

Currently, we watch Star Wars Rebels as a family, and my daughter enjoys it no end. We're going to see the new movie, but definitely not on the day you're reading this, as I have to work tomorrow. I might nip out to see it on Friday, but that's up in the air. I've moved beyond the urge to see everything as soon as it opens, but I know I'll see it eventually. This is one movie that's not going away anytime soon, so I have time.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Games You Can Pause

Maybe I'm getting old, or maybe I'm just anti-social, but when I play a video game, I like it to have a "Pause" button. It's probably a function of when I grew up, where home gaming systems were, at most, a two player afair, and you had to be in the same room for that.

I think what it comes down to is that I don't want to be dependent on others, especially others I don't know, for my gaming experience. Oh, I've played World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Star Trek Online, but only with people that I know outside of the game. Any time I've played with a pick-up group, either I'm too inexperienced for them, or they just run around and do whatever.

So, I tend to play solo games that I can pause, get a drink, deal with whatever Kira wants at the moment, go to the bathroom, etc. Or, I'm playing a Lego game with Kira, which means that we actual figure out what we're going to do together. Of course, I'm also not stuck in the office playing on the computer, I'm out in the living room on the Playstation, which means that I have to be able to stop playing when the need arises, and that requires a non-persistent game world.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to check on my Skyrim family.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Subtitle Change

You might be asking yourself about the title of this entry. Well, it's very simple. As of today, the subtitle of the blog is being changed from "The general and disconnected musings of you're average, late-thirties geek." The new subtitle, premiering when I get around to it, will be "The general and disconnected musings of you're average, middle-aged geek."

I'm sure you can do the math on your own.

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