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Monday, July 26, 2010

Smith: O’s baseball or “Inception:” which is worse?

From Postlethwaite to post season wait…it just never ends.

So Saturday, it was 100 degrees in Baltimore for, like, the millionth straight day.

Remember Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing? It was that kind of day. Hot in the early morning, hot as firey hades at midday and set-your-oven-to-clean hot by the evening. The city stank and a dusty orange haze hung over Oriole Park. First pitch, 7:05 pm against the Twins.

I didn’t go. Nor did I watch. I couldn’t bear another loss under the broiler. Instead, my wife and I went to the movies.

...If you ask me, which you didn’t, the movie reeked. Way too clever for its own good. Plus, all the actors looked like they were 13. It was like watching the Roosevelt Jr. High School adaptation of Inception. Lots of fakey blow-up stuff. Lots of freaky dreamy stuff. Smitty says: nope.

And downtown, 22,299 people paid to see the Twins beat the O’s 7-2 to fall 30 & 1/2 games behind the Yankees. Baltimore starter Brian Matusz fell to 3 and 11 on the year. Another disaster for the worst – by far – team in baseball.

Who had more fun? Me at at an insufferable movie in a busted seat? Or O’s fans?

Repoz Posted: July 26, 2010 at 01:06 PM | 1582 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, orioles, special topics

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   1501. PreservedFish Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:18 PM (#3612838)
Davo:
So what?

It failed.


That is seriously your standard for movies? That they push you to think about the world in greater depth? Or do you just think that Inception failed at its own stated goal?

DP:
Based on the hype, I thought it would be mild-blowing. It wasn't. It was fun, well worth the cost of the Imax ticket, and made for a good discussion afterward. That's a good film.


OK, I don't disagree with you.
   1502. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:48 PM (#3612877)
That is seriously your standard for movies?
Yeah. Mr High Standards here actually expects artists to communicate at least one interesting idea about the world they inhabit.
   1503. PreservedFish Posted: August 10, 2010 at 05:56 PM (#3612881)
You must be very frequently disappointed.
   1504. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 10, 2010 at 06:09 PM (#3612897)
You must be very frequently disappointed.
Not really. We saw the Adam Sandler/David Spade comedy Grown Ups on the same night we saw Inception.

I liked one of them.

(Hint: It's the one whose director took its story seriously and actually cared about the audience's reaction to it.)
   1505. Paul D(uda) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 09:33 PM (#3613120)
Play some games before making claims about their shallowness and lack of emotional engagement. But this is a huge debate in game design and Game Studies right now- the balance between gameplay and narrative, if we should expect games to have great narratives, if video games have a logic with different aesthetic criteria than visual and audiovisual media, ect. To dismiss the medium b/c of its graphics/visuals, without actually having to navigate and play the game is precisely the generationalist error that Ebert made and stubbornly refused to let go of.

Heavy Rain is the best game I've played all year, and a real example of the power of video game storytelling and art. That story as a book or movie is nothing special, but the way you're forced to interact with the characters throughout the game elevates it to something else.
   1506. Paul D(uda) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 09:35 PM (#3613122)
Are you saying that you liked Grown UPs more than Inception

And, perhaps more importantly, are you saying that it caused you to reflect on how you think about the world?
   1507. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 10, 2010 at 09:42 PM (#3613132)
You realize you're talking to a guy who thinks Freddy Got Fingered is one of the top 10 movies of the decade?
   1508. Tuque Posted: August 10, 2010 at 09:45 PM (#3613137)
There's nothing wrong with having bad taste. What's annoying is when people get an inferiority complex about it.
   1509. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2010 at 10:35 PM (#3613191)
I liked max payne when it came out. It was a cross between matrix, graphic novels, and gta when it came out. But a couple of yeas later I played it again and found it tedious.
   1510. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2010 at 11:50 PM (#3613248)
so what is there to do in omaha? I'm going to be there this weekend.
   1511. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 10, 2010 at 11:58 PM (#3613255)
And, perhaps more importantly, are you saying that it caused you to reflect on how you think about the world?

I haven't seen either, but I generally appreciate movies that know what they are and don't pretend to be something more.

I actually agree with a lot of what davoarid says about movies where the debate is simply about what happened, rather than about what it meant. I don't think this is a valid criticism of Memento, however, since I think Memento did a great job of putting the viewer through what Leonard was going through--i.e. there was actually a purpose to the confusion of the plot (unlike Donnie Darko, which I agree with davoarid's criticism of).

Also FWIW, Nolan was not subtle in his suggestion that Sammy and Leonard were the same person. Also, people on the Internet all seem to think that the answer to that question is simple and obvious, but they all seem to have different theories.
   1512. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2010 at 12:20 AM (#3613297)
1507 and 1508: Did either of you actually see Grown Ups?

I'm not asking just to be a prick. I, like you, saw the trailers and knew about the story going in--we only saw it because the early showing of Inception had sold out, and we had time to kill.

So if you haven't seen it, and you think--based on the previews and interviews and knowledge of the director and cast--that it's just some simple vehicle for aging '90s SNL stars--you're just mistaken. Grown Ups is a much, much more serious* movie than the marketing campaign would have led you to expect.

If you guys both saw it and still think it was just a high-concept Billy Madison-esque remake...Well, then I'm not sure how to respond.

* Not "serious" meaning "unfunny with attempts at drama" (the way people would say Funny People was serious). But "serious" meaning: it took care to show the real emotions the characters would experience based on the plot.
   1513. Sonic Youk Posted: August 11, 2010 at 01:08 AM (#3613351)
You must be chocolate wasted if you think that.
   1514. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2010 at 01:15 AM (#3613365)
And to answer your question: I would gladly watch Grown Ups again, but you'd have to pay me money to sit through Inception.
   1515.     Hey Gurl Posted: August 11, 2010 at 01:18 AM (#3613368)
Remember how Gordon Levitt wouldn't let the architect touch his totem


Must be gay.

The only thing that bothered me about Inception was ...

****SPOILERS****

The concept of "Limbo" seemed kind of stupid. The idea was that if you die in the dream and you can't wake up, you're "trapped" in limbo, yet the train incident and the ending both seem to indicate that you can easily get out of Limbo by killing yourself. So isn't Limbo just dream-state N+1? And why did Saito have to "wait" for Leo for 100 years instead of just killing himself immediately.

And most importantly, why didn't Leo just send for his kids to come join him abroad.
   1516. Paul D(uda) Posted: August 11, 2010 at 02:12 AM (#3613444)
1507 and 1508: Did either of you actually see Grown Ups?

No. But based on the reviews, and the fact that Adam Sandler hasn't made a decent movie in 10 years, I'm quite confident that it's not for me, and not half the movie that Inception is.
   1517. Lassus Posted: August 11, 2010 at 02:23 AM (#3613463)
Thanks, Lassus. I had never heard that piece. With Bach, an athe-gnostic like me gets as close to feeling the hand of God than anything else.

Seriously, and I have no gnostic in me, even.
   1518. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 02:26 AM (#3613467)
Crap just lost my post.

recap: Leo probably couldn't send for his kids because their grandmother, his mother-in-law wasn't going for it plus I doubt the government would be okay with it. Secondly if you believe the movie is all a dream then there are no plot holes.

Limbo: Limbo I believe is supposed to be dangerous because you don't realize you are in limbo. You think you are awake thus you get older and older until you go senile or you get so wrapped up in the fantasy life that you are unable to live in the real world with real rules applying. The only problem I have with that is that Leo and Mal when they were in limbo should have realized they were dreaming since they were creating a world.

AS for Adam Sandler, there isn't a single movie of Sandler, Spade, or Rock that I would ever want to see more than once besides maybe waterboy. Everything else has been forgettable and don't think because I didn't mention the fat guy and you can do it guy that I don't believe the same about their movies as well. I simply don't recall their names.
   1519. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 03:02 AM (#3613499)
It was a very long movie.


I was just thinking the other day that it has been a really long time since Denzel made a bad movie and perhaps he never has made one but then I flip over to IMDB to see exactly how long funny people was and right on the front page they got a blurb about Denzel's latest movie which is about a runaway train and I thought to myself, yep, right there. That is going to be a bad Denzel movie.
   1520. Lassus Posted: August 11, 2010 at 03:26 AM (#3613528)
(Hint: It's the one whose director took its story seriously and actually cared about the audience's reaction to it.)

This seems like an appropriate place to break this out.


As for Adam Sandler, there isn't a single movie of Sandler, Spade, or Rock that I would ever want to see more than once besides maybe waterboy.

Punchdrunk Love was quite good, actually.
   1521. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 03:46 AM (#3613542)
saw it wouldn't want to see it again.

I've never seen Spanglish, Reign over Me, Bedtime Stories, and Eight Crazy Nights.
   1522. Lassus Posted: August 11, 2010 at 03:58 AM (#3613548)
Make no mistake, I hate Sandler, for the most part. I like golf, so Happy Gilmore is about as far as I can get with his comedy work.

But Punchdrunk Love wasn't anything close to a comedy, I'm not sure you can group it with those.


That is going to be a bad Denzel movie.

I looked it up, and his track record is better than I thought, but between Book of Eli, Pelham 123, and this upcoming one, there's a real Alomaresque decline phase occurring.


Swerving away to television, I'm currently hypnotized, courtesy of Hulu, by JEREMIAH. Post-plague Showtine sci-fi Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. It's not good, but it's something.
   1523. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:13 AM (#3613557)
I liked Book of Eli, I don't know if I'd go out of my way to see it again but I thought it was decent. Pelham 123 suffered because it had Travolta in it and I think Denzel was miscast in that movie. Unfortunately to me it seems like that movie was one of the few movies where Denzel sleepwalked through and gave his standard stereotypical performance. I don't know if I would call it a bad movie-it was close and I wouldn't say Denzel was bad in it, just uninspired.

But yeah runaway trains seems like such a tired out cliche for a movie these days.

Of Denzel's movies I've never seen The Great Debaters, He Got Game, The Preacher's Wife, Devil in a Blue Dress, and everything from 1991 and before expect for Glory and Ricochet. I'd say of the movies I've seen a lot of his early action hero stuff is forgettable and of his newer stuff I would say John Q was the worst of the bunch though Denzel will tug at your heart by the end but every is such a stereotype and a cliche in that movie. In terms of bad performances of his newer stuff I'd say perhaps The Bone Collector, Pelham 123, and I don't know perhaps Manchurian Candidate but it should be remembered I don't think he was really bad in these flicks just not very inspired in them.
   1524. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:19 AM (#3613561)
I would say Denzel's had a pretty bad ten years now. John Q? Seriously? I also think Training Day is an awful and preposterous movie and it's one of Denzel's least interesting performances. I've always thought the Wayne Brady sketch on Chapelle Show put the movie and that performance in the proper perspective: it was a comedy that people, for some reason, took seriously, including the actors and director.

I've disliked almost every movie Denzel's been involved in since 1999.

I saw Grown-Ups last week. That's a kids movie, or something for families to go watch together. In that light, I guess I can understand why ther humor is so immature and silly. I don't have kids. I wasn't a big fan.
   1525. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:24 AM (#3613562)
To add, I think Manchurian Candidate is my favorite of the list of Denzel movies, and that's mainly because of Streep's performance, and the decision to make it the story campy and sort of funny. A side note: Liev Schreiber is always good, and he's quickly becoming the heir-apparent to Morgan Freeman in terms of actors who do great voice over work.
   1526. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:41 AM (#3613571)
I would say Denzel's had a pretty bad ten years now

The biggest criticism against him would be that he plays virtually the same role in all his movies. I liked Training Day because it is a role he doesn't normally play.
   1527. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:48 AM (#3613574)
I've never seen Spanglish, Reign over Me

Those are two of the most angering movies I have ever seen. Reign on Me was pure emotional exploitation nonsense, meant to capitalize on people's pain from 9/11 and The Who's awesome song. The court room scene is particularly despicable, they do nothing but plod around for an hour and a half and then they soup up the score, spend five minutes trying to set up an emotional climax and hope that no one noticed that this wasn't a culmination of the film, but an artificial conclusion tacked on to a cheap and lazy 9/11 story. There's absolutely no reason to see it.

Spanglish is just irritating. Sandler and the maid are these morally perfect people, who are surrounded by completely unsympathetic ######## with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It's not even mildly plausible and it's totally unfair that a woman as hot and likeable as Tea Leoni got stuck playing a one note self centered house wife with no depth to her character. The entire movie can be broken up into two types of scenes, scenes that display how good and wonderful Sandler's character is and scenes that display how miserable and mean Leoni's character is. It's not funny, it's not interesting, it's not compelling, and #### Roger Ebert for convincing me it was worth watching.
   1528. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:54 AM (#3613579)
Back in the day I thought Tea Leoni was pretty hot (Bad Boys, she was 29 when it came out. Talk about a late hollywood career peak) but she always seems to play one dimensional parts and looking over her IMDB page I'm actually surprised by how few movies she was actually in. I don't know if it was because she didn't hit Hollywood until she was in her 30's but she always seems to be cast in the wife or wife-like role and those are pretty one dimensioanl roles.
   1529. CFiJ Posted: August 11, 2010 at 05:17 AM (#3613593)
Back in the day I thought Tea Leoni was pretty hot

Jeez, God, yes. Before making Bad Boys watchable, she was hotly adorable in the first season of "The Naked Truth". But to her credit, Bad Boys was her last "hot" role. I don't think she was typecast because of any lack of sexiness or hotness. I think she made a conscious choice to select parts that didn't require hotness.
   1530. NTNgod Posted: August 11, 2010 at 05:23 AM (#3613596)
THE NAKED TRUTH did run for several years (I seem to recall it being more critically acclaimed than highly watched, but I think ABC was in one of its slumps back then), so that would be one reason she wasn't doing many movies in the late/mid '90s.
   1531. CFiJ Posted: August 11, 2010 at 05:34 AM (#3613600)
Back in the day I thought Tea Leoni was pretty hot

Jeez, God, yes. Before making Bad Boys watchable, she was hotly adorable in the first season of "The Naked Truth". But to her credit, Bad Boys was her last "hot" role. I don't think she was typecast because of any lack of sexiness or hotness. I think she made a conscious choice to select parts that didn't require hotness.
   1532. CFiJ Posted: August 11, 2010 at 05:40 AM (#3613603)
Back in the day I thought Tea Leoni was pretty hot

Jeez, God, yes. Before making Bad Boys watchable, she was hotly adorable in the first season of "The Naked Truth". But to her credit, Bad Boys was her last "hot" role. I don't think she was typecast because of any lack of sexiness or hotness. I think she made a conscious choice to select parts that didn't require hotness.
   1533. CFiJ Posted: August 11, 2010 at 05:43 AM (#3613604)
Well, that's embarrassing. Not my computer and database issues are my excuses.

YouTube really is amazing. I hardly expected clips of the Naked Truth to be up at all, let alone the the one scene that has stayed in my mind all these years as Tea Leoni at her most adorable.
   1534. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 05:53 AM (#3613606)
THE NAKED TRUTH did run for several years (I seem to recall it being more critically acclaimed than highly watched, but I think ABC was in one of its slumps back then), so that would be one reason she wasn't doing many movies in the late/mid '90s.

I remember seeing a couple of the episodes, it seemded like a pretty bland and forgettable tv show.

Anywho,

I was thinking about Denzel and how he plays the same role which led me to think about Cusack and how he always plays the same role which then led me to Russell Crowe and how he always seems to play the same role which then made me think about how Crowe has taken over for where Nick Nolte left off which then made me think about how almost all big Hollywood actors have to play a likeable people. Even when they are playing the bad boy it is always the bad boy with the heart of gold which then got me to thinking about Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger each playing the Joker. See it all comes back to Nolan. Anyway a lot of people think Heath's joker is far darker and sinister than Jack's, even I I think said something like that in the last thread about the Dark Knight, and yet Jack's Joker is far far more evil than Heath's. Heath's Joker killed bad guys and terrorized innocent people. Jack's Joker killed innocent people, along with bad guys, and terrorized innocent people. Jack's Joker threw acid on his girlfriend's face and then kept on dating her and warping her to the point that his girlfriend killed herself to get away from him. Jack contaminated products that led to the death of innocent people which I never stated explicitly must have meant that infants, kids, old people, some people from all demographics were killed by simply going about their daily routine. Then of course at the end he tries to round everybody up and gas them to death. Jack's Joker is pure evil but because Jack doesn't play him that way the audience never really gets that. So Jack falls into the likeable category. He his playing a character that should be pure evil and even commits pure evil acts but Jack refuses to play him that way and because Jack needs his character to be liked and acts in a manner that will cause the audience to like him we ignore the evil acts.
   1535. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 11, 2010 at 06:00 AM (#3613609)
She's aces in "Flirting with Disaster," although to be fair, so is everybody else.
   1536. Every Inge Counts Posted: August 11, 2010 at 06:38 AM (#3613617)
So who is seeing Expendables this weekend. I think Scott Pilgrim is my must-see, but I am making my girlfriend see the Expendables (for making me sit through Eclipse or whatever the third Twilight movie was called).
   1537. formerly dp Posted: August 11, 2010 at 11:27 AM (#3613642)
Paul:
Heavy Rain is the best game I've played all year, and a real example of the power of video game storytelling and art. That story as a book or movie is nothing special, but the way you're forced to interact with the characters throughout the game elevates it to something else.

Picked it up on Friday but haven't sat down with it yet. I have Borderlands, Alan Wake, and StarCraft 2 coming this week. The amount of good games (in terms of gameplay not necessarily narrative) that come out in a year is staggering at this point. I just got around to playing Dead Space over the weekend, which was pretty fun and actually had a halfway decent story.

EIC:
So who is seeing Expendables this weekend. I think Scott Pilgrim is my must-see,

I'm not excited about either. Pilgrim just does nothing for me. This summer has been a pretty huge lump of nothing- we saw Iron Man 2 and Inception and I think that was it. Some stuff looked interesting but we'll wait until the Bluray comes out. Probably should've gone to see Despicable Me but didn't want to sit in a theater filled with little kids. Jonah Hex got slagged, Predators didn't look all that interesting. Might go see Salt just to kill some time while it's still hit as balls here in the south...

Re: Grown Ups

Good god, they still let Adam Sandler make movies? I didn't read a single positive review of this film. It got a <i>30</b> on Metacritic. That isn't a terribly easy feat to achieve.
   1538. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 11, 2010 at 01:50 PM (#3613717)
I would say Denzel's had a pretty bad ten years now
I thought American Gangster was pretty good.

So who is seeing Expendables this weekend.
Seriously considering it, looks like it could be mindless fun.
Good god, they still let Adam Sandler make movies? I didn't read a single positive review of this film. It got a 30 on Metacritic. That isn't a terribly easy feat to achieve.
...though a lot easier than a 13.
   1539. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: August 11, 2010 at 02:38 PM (#3613767)
I will be the first to slag MN Dave's taste in movies, but I do enjoy and largely agree with his concerns and points of contention with regard to film. Listening to him speak in general, I would think we should have similar tastes. Alas, we do not.

Anyhow, just wanted to drop that in atop all the "you are strange" (and you are) comments.
   1540. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 11, 2010 at 02:51 PM (#3613785)
I would say Denzel's had a pretty bad ten years now

I thought American Gangster was pretty good.


Inside Man was a pretty great heist movie.
   1541. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2010 at 03:46 PM (#3613848)
formerly
Predators didn't look all that interesting

I realize this is probably the kiss of death, but I loved Predators.

1. Adrien Brody plays the same role that Arnold Schwarzenegger did in the original. The director (Nimród Antal, who made the fantastic 2003 Hungarian film Kontroll) wins a Primey for this comment on the casting: "I told everybody early on that I can make anybody look tough. What I can't do is teach them how to act."

2. It's the only movie I've ever seen that opens with a deus ex machina: All the characters in the film are literally dropped out of the sky and into the story.

3. At my theater, as soon as Laurence Fishburne appeared on screen, the person to my left screamed "Morpheus!" and we all laughed for the next five minutes.
   1542. hokieneer Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:09 PM (#3613871)
Heavy Rain is the best game I've played all year, and a real example of the power of video game storytelling and art.


Yeah it was good, but the story sucked. I see it as a great stepping stone in the pursuit of an interactive movie-game hybrid. It proved that there is a market for games like that, and that there are developers that can make it happen. The story writer and team need to be upgraded for the interactive drama genre to really take off.

I think games like the classic Silent Hills, Dead Space, & Bioshock are the best examples of a video game combining narrative and art. Those games feature a completely immersive atmosphere with a narrative that's interwoven into both the task at hand in the game and the surroundings.
   1543. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:25 PM (#3613887)
Devil in a Blue Dress is pretty good. Cheadle/Mouse!

I kinda hoped Leoni could pull off a 90's version of Lucille Ball type career; she's pretty good at screwball roles. Alas...

Training Day: I choose to interpret it as a comedy early in my watching of the film - helped immensely.
   1544. formerly dp Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:38 PM (#3613904)
I see it as a great stepping stone in the pursuit of an interactive movie-game hybrid. It proved that there is a market for games like that, and that there are developers that can make it happen. The story writer and team need to be upgraded for the interactive drama genre to really take off.

We'll see how much life it has beyond the novelty factor- HR got a lot of positive press leading up to its release, and a lot of people picked it up to try something new and different. I'm not sure how much life it will have as a genre. A game like that needs to sell a lot of copies to be commercially viable.

I think games like the classic Silent Hills, Dead Space, & Bioshock are the best examples of a video game combining narrative and art. Those games feature a completely immersive atmosphere with a narrative that's interwoven into both the task at hand in the game and the surroundings.

The environmental storytelling in Bioshock was fantastic. Looking forward to Singularity for the same reason. But if the game mechanics failed, no one would've made it far enough in to notice. I'm really glad we've seen the "gameplay, cutscene, gamplay, cutscene" mode of storytelling eclipsed as the dominant model in games. It works well in some games (Uncharted), but for years got shoehorned into games where it didn't fit. Went to a talk by Ken Levine, the guy understands how to unfold/pace a video game narrative in such a way that it draws you through.

davoarid:
I'll see Predators at some point. My standards/expectations get a lot lower when I'm watching the movie at home. Plus the wife has never seen any of the Predator films (WTF!?!?! she is a huge SF fan otherwise though) so she wouldn't bite on going to the theater unless it got really strong reviews.

(As a case in point, we finally watched Eli the other night, and enjoyed it, esp. for the visual style. Plot was lacking and action nonsensical, but as a fan of the postapocalyptic genre I'm inclined to overlook those things. If we saw it in the theater with high expectations and out $20, I would've felt differently)
   1545. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:41 PM (#3613907)
Teal&Black;:

I will be the first to slag MN Dave's taste in movies, but I do enjoy and largely agree with his concerns and points of contention with regard to film. Listening to him speak in general, I would think we should have similar tastes. Alas, we do not.

Anyhow, just wanted to drop that in atop all the "you are strange" (and you are) comments.
Thanks....I think. :)
   1546. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:49 PM (#3613913)
Saw the latest Mad Men finally and while those who like character studies might like it I think for the rest of the masses this year has been one big frustration for us. Everybody is just spinning their wheels and nothing seems important.
   1547. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:58 PM (#3613927)
I can see why people think Tea Leoni is hot, but she doesn't do much for me.

Saw the latest Mad Men finally and while those who like character studies might like it I think for the rest of the masses this year has been one big frustration for us. Everybody is just spinning their wheels and nothing seems important.


I thought it was hilarious to see Lane let his hair down and go out for a night on the town with Don.

Every season of Mad Men has been a pretty slow buildup. They're definitely laying down the foundation for stuff later on, as they have in the first few episodes of every season. Its not til midway through the season that anything really happens. SPOILER ALERT!

You know they're setting Anna/Don's secret identity to be a factor this year. I think they're also pushing Don to hit rock bottom so he can come back up and try to redeem his life somehow. They're setting up some sort of "Peggy has to choose which life she wants to lead" conflict and they're also kinda hinting she's not happy being in Don's shadow. They seem to be hinting that Joan is going to lose her husband - whether through death or divorce - then again, Weiner tends to shy from the obvious conclusion. And I like how they are subtly moving the show into the free-swinging 60s, although you have to drag the old-timers like Don into the decade (I hate when time period shows are so blatant about it - "hey look, I'm listening to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as I watch the moon landing and cheer on the '69 Mets!).

The season does need way more Roger though.
   1548. hokieneer Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:58 PM (#3613928)
The environmental storytelling in Bioshock was fantastic. Looking forward to Singularity for the same reason. But if the game mechanics failed, no one would've made it far enough in to notice. I'm really glad we've seen the "gameplay, cutscene, gamplay, cutscene" mode of storytelling eclipsed as the dominant model in games. It works well in some games (Uncharted), but for years got shoehorned into games where it didn't fit. Went to a talk by Ken Levine, the guy understands how to unfold/pace a video game narrative in such a way that it draws you through.


I haven't heard or read much about Sinularity, but I might have to check it out. I admit the time I spend on games has dropped nearly 75% since my son was born in Nov. and the we bought a house (always finding some kind of DIY project to work on), so I'm out of the loop. I forgot about Uncharted 2. It has such an entertaining story with terrific actors that it pulls off the cutscene storytelling. I liked Uncharted 2, didn't love it, but it was a beautiful game that kept me and my wife entertained throughout the story. It probably pulled off the "interactive movie" angle better than HR, because the production qualities were similar to a summer hollywood movie. Just shows that a good storyteller can create a video game and unfold the narrative many different ways and be successful.

I'm really looking forward to dead space 2 this fall. The first one completely engulfed me while I was playing it.
   1549. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2010 at 05:15 PM (#3613941)
You know they're setting Anna/Don's secret identity to be a factor this year.

I don't see that bieng the issue granted I haven't looked ahead to see what the summaries are for the next episodes. I think the Anna segues into

I think they're also pushing Don to hit rock bottom so he can come back up and try to redeem his life somehow.

I definitely agree. I think they are setting it up so that the world Don knew and created all comes crashing down and he cracks. But really they have already done that story once.

They're setting up some sort of "Peggy has to choose which life she wants to lead" conflict and they're also kinda hinting she's not happy being in Don's shadow.

I think the relationship will definitely be a sideplot in this season but just isn't an interesting one and I don't see it being a major plot point. I think Peggy has always walked the line of being an independent woman and wanting Don to be proud of her. I haven't really seen a change in that relationship so far this season in their limited interactions. That part of the story seems to staying at the status quo.

They seem to be hinting that Joan is going to lose her husband - whether through death or divorce - then again, Weiner tends to shy from the obvious conclusion.

Something is going to happen as they have been setting that relationship as a false perfect relationship but Joan is such a neutered character so far this season. She was far more interesting as the lone wolfette than she is in a flawed relationship. They didn't really do anything with this relationship to make people care about it. I think most people even if the breakup is tragic will be happy it is over so that hopefully Joan can get back to her old ways.

The season does need way more Roger though.

I think the season needs way more the firm in general. This season is all about inspecting people's personal relationships while ignoring what would have been in most cases the far more important story arc of a new firm and all of the challenges and entanglements that would have resulted from that.
   1550. formerly dp Posted: August 11, 2010 at 06:53 PM (#3614038)
I'm really looking forward to dead space 2 this fall. The first one completely engulfed me while I was playing it.

If you missed Bioshock 2 don't let the haters dissuade you- a fun game from start to finish, though the last couple of levels got pretty easy.

I admit the time I spend on games has dropped nearly 75% since my son was born in Nov. and the we bought a house

That's a big reason I don't want to own either property or a child...
   1551. hokieneer Posted: August 11, 2010 at 07:08 PM (#3614050)
If you missed Bioshock 2 don't let the haters dissuade you- a fun game from start to finish, though the last couple of levels got pretty easy.


I plan on playing it. If I had more time I would have rented it and beat it over the course of a weekend or 5 days. I can't justify paying $60 for a game I'll likely only play once. I'm waiting for the price to drop. I almost bought a used copy a few weeks ago, but I'm still waiting.
   1552. Paul D(uda) Posted: August 11, 2010 at 07:25 PM (#3614072)
Yeah it was good, but the story sucked. I see it as a great stepping stone in the pursuit of an interactive movie-game hybrid. It proved that there is a market for games like that, and that there are developers that can make it happen. The story writer and team need to be upgraded for the interactive drama genre to really take off.

I think games like the classic Silent Hills, Dead Space, & Bioshock are the best examples of a video game combining narrative and art. Those games feature a completely immersive atmosphere with a narrative that's interwoven into both the task at hand in the game and the surroundings.


I think Heavy Rain's story is much better than Bioshock (haven't played the other two games), but like I said, it only works as a game. If I describe the story to you you'd think it was dumb, but being forced to interact with your characters like that, and the fact that your decisions had permanent consequences, made it great.

I have to admit that one of my favourite parts was after finishing it, I called a friend to talk about it and we realized that we'd had completely different endings.
   1553. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 12, 2010 at 06:40 PM (#3614846)
Thanks, Lassus. I had never heard that piece. With Bach, an athe-gnostic like me gets as close to feeling the hand of God than anything else.

John Coltrane's "Psalm" from A Love Supreme has that effect on me.
   1554. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 12, 2010 at 07:00 PM (#3614870)

I think games like the classic Silent Hills, Dead Space, & Bioshock are the best examples of a video game combining narrative and art.


Half Life 2 belongs in the conversation. Of course all I get around to playing these days is Left 4 Dead 2 multiplayer and the Total War games, neither of which have much in terms of narrative.

I hear he upcoming MafiaII game does a good job in terms of narrative, like a GTA4 that's actually worth playing.
   1555. hokieneer Posted: August 12, 2010 at 07:12 PM (#3614881)
Half Life 2 belongs in the conversation. Of course all I get around to playing these days is Left 4 Dead 2 multiplayer and the Total War games, neither of which have much in terms of narrative.

I started playing HL2, got 1/3rd of the ways into it, and something came up and I never got back around to playing it again. It's not for the lack of quality or anything, it was shaping up to be an amazing experience. It's on my list of games to play, near the top.

I've been playing Shogun Total war a lot recently. It's still one of my all-time favorite games.
   1556. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 12, 2010 at 07:14 PM (#3614885)
My video game career ended with SNES's Ken Griffey Jr Baseball.
   1557. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 12, 2010 at 07:31 PM (#3614902)
I've been playing Shogun Total war a lot recently. It's still one of my all-time favorite games.


Yeah, I've never understood the popularity of RTS games when something like the Total War series is out there. I used to be a pretty hardcore Age of Empires II player until I stumbled across Medieval: Total War; after playing a game with real tactics, going back to amorphous waves of peons and micromanaging berry-pickers completely lost its allure.

You know they're remaking Shogun: Total War with their new game engine, right?
   1558. hokieneer Posted: August 12, 2010 at 09:14 PM (#3615045)
You know they're remaking Shogun: Total War with their new game engine, right?

Yeah, I have mixed feelings about it. I'm sure the turn based empire and city building aspect will be much better. Other than graphics, I'm not sure I like the new tactics engine over the original. I have not played a whole lot of recent Total war games, so I'm possibly selling the new tactics engine short.
   1559. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 12, 2010 at 09:28 PM (#3615067)
Well remember the original Shogun: Total War was just a 2D game, adding the third dimension really opens up some new strategies. Charging your mounted units downhill really sends infantry flying, and the physics engine makes wedge formations much more viable for heavy cavalry. None of this "paper doll bounces off paper doll" stuff from the early Total War games.

Grab a copy of Medieval: Total War 2, you can get it for under $20 now and give the new tactics a try. The new Shogun will have a more modern engine but I doubt it will be as significant a jump as from the original 2D games to the Medieval/Rome engines.

And hey, how about those O's?
   1560. sardonic Posted: August 12, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3615076)
Still haven't had a chance to try out the Total War series. Civ 5 is dropping this fall though, excited about that.

Also, RTS is much better for multiplayer because of the shorter duration of games.
   1561. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: August 12, 2010 at 09:38 PM (#3615081)
You know they're setting Anna/Don's secret identity to be a factor this year.

I thought so too, but really, his secret doesn't really matter any more. The only people who would care already know.

I think Don/Dick is slowly learning that he doesn't have to hide everything in order for people to respect him or like him.
   1562. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: August 12, 2010 at 09:44 PM (#3615087)
I've sort of drifted away from video games over the past decade or so. I feel like game designers have taken advantage of better processing power to create better physics and graphics, and haven't progressed much in terms of actual gameplay.

I'd much rather go back and re-play a game like Baldur's Gate or Alpha Centauri or even Grim Fandango than the new Halo game. Twitch games leave me cold.

And get off my lawn.
   1563. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 12, 2010 at 09:59 PM (#3615102)
Well the Halo games are just first-person shooters for console sluggards whose reflexes aren't sharp enough to play on a PC. They're sad representations of their own subgenre, to say nothing of gaming in general. If you liked Alpha Centauri you'll probably enjoy the next Civilization game coming out this year. I can't give enough love to the Total War series either, which certainly isn't twitch-reliant and gives you a chance to try out some fairly complex tactical approaches to field warfare.

I agree with your larger point though, although nobody loves a good physics engine as much as I do. I really thought we'd have much more robust and varied AI in games by now.
   1564. formerly dp Posted: August 13, 2010 at 12:29 AM (#3615209)
I've sort of drifted away from video games over the past decade or so. I feel like game designers have taken advantage of better processing power to create better physics and graphics, and haven't progressed much in terms of actual gameplay.

I've had so much fun with games on the current generation of consoles that I've got to disagree. I read Bissell's chapter on Gears of War today and he highlighted how much time and energy developers put into gameplay, the mechanics aspect of level design, ect. The top-rated games, with a few exceptions (GTA IMO) all do gameplay exceptionally well, to the point where even beautifully-rendered games will tank if the gameplay is poor. The best designers really playtest their games well, to the point where they can really anticipate player experiences and reactions. The God of War series played tight. I've also come to have no pride about playing twitch games on medium or easy b/c I just don't have hours to devote to beating a single level anymore, and I enjoy actually progressing through a game.

The learning curve on the Total War series was a bit high for me, gotta give it another shot. Just about to play SC2 after way too many hours spent on the first one.

Don't throw anything at me, but I really enjoyed the campaign on Halo ODST.

After pouring months into III I skipped Civ IV b/c I actually wanted to complete my degree. But I will be going all in on Civ V, which is apparently a huge step forward from the previous one.

hok:
I can't justify paying $60 for a game I'll likely only play once. I'm waiting for the price to drop. I almost bought a used copy a few weeks ago, but I'm still waiting.

I've seen it as low as $20-$25 online. I try to wait until stuff falls before picking it up. With BS2, I preordered the collector's edition, but I don't indulge that impulse very often.
   1565. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 16, 2010 at 06:21 PM (#3617394)
My video game career ended with SNES's Ken Griffey Jr Baseball.
I'm quoting myself here, just to point out that this weekend I shelled out the $60 to buy a Super Nintendo just to play Ken Griffey Jr Baseball again. (When I told the seller that I was only buying one game for the SNES, he felt sorry for me and gave me the game for free. His loss!)

My 1993 Braves have gotten off to a 29-2 start, thanks in large part to Ron "Extrava" Gant's .640 batting average (and .640 On Base Average) and 14 home runs.

Still, hands down, the best baseball video game ever made. I say this having played no new baseball video games since 2002.
   1566. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 16, 2010 at 06:44 PM (#3617407)
So I finally saw Inception on Saturday. Honestly, I was disappointed. Too much shooting, too much "seething acting" by DiCaprio, yet another in a long line of "let's see how serious and tortured I can be" roles. My girl and I both were reminded of one of our mutual favorite movies--La Moustache--on the way home, that Inception was like a louder and, for lack of a better word, dumber version of that film. I also thought it was funny that they featured Edith Piaf so extensively in a movie starring the actress that played Edith Piaf.
   1567. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: August 16, 2010 at 06:59 PM (#3617416)
too much "seething acting" by DiCaprio, yet another in a long line of "let's see how serious and tortured I can be" roles.

I've been really disappointed in DiCaprio's career. He gave an absolutely wonderful performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, but I haven't seen him do anything I like since then.

Part of the problem is that he keeps getting miscast as a streetwise tough guy. I just don't see it.
   1568. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 16, 2010 at 07:10 PM (#3617428)
I've been really disappointed in DiCaprio's career. He gave an absolutely wonderful performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, but I haven't seen him do anything I like since then.

There's Catch Me If You Can which I really enjoyed. That movie is strange for me because I like all three principals but I haven't liked any of their recent work except for Catch Me if You Can.
   1569. PreservedFish Posted: August 16, 2010 at 07:13 PM (#3617433)
Too much shooting, too much "seething acting" by DiCaprio, yet another in a long line of "let's see how serious and tortured I can be" roles.


I am also tired of this, and confused why directors keep casting him in these roles.
   1570. cercle Posted: August 16, 2010 at 07:29 PM (#3617448)
It started with Gangs of New York. Scorcese said he reminded him of Deniro and once he put him the tough guy role it was a given that others would follow. I actually though he was decent in GoNY, but generally agree that he's better in the pretty boy role.

I liked him in Catch Me if You Can, also.
   1571. The Good Face Posted: August 16, 2010 at 07:56 PM (#3617483)
It started with Gangs of New York. Scorcese said he reminded him of Deniro and once he put him the tough guy role it was a given that others would follow. I actually though he was decent in GoNY, but generally agree that he's better in the pretty boy role.


Some wise critic pointed out that Gangs of New York was doomed when it asked us to accept a young DiCaprio as the toughest Irishman in NYC.

I also agree that he's miscast as a world-weary tough guy, but he apparently sees himself as a cross between Gabriel Byrne and Viggo Mortensen, and seems to seek out those kind of roles.
   1572. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: August 16, 2010 at 08:02 PM (#3617486)
Just saw Inception this weekend, and thought it was spectacular. That is all.

Tea Leoni was/is wickedly beautiful/sexy. She picks bad movies, though.

BTW, is anyone watching AMC's Rubicon? It's definitely interesting, it's definitely well-acted, but boy, it's got the slowest of slow burns. Still, the show seems to be more sure of itself with each and every week, and this past episode had one of the most remarkable TV monologues of the year in defense of his intelligence division's budget.
   1573. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:31 PM (#3617984)
I thought The Aviator was very good, and DiCaprio was good in the role.
   1574. BDC Posted: August 17, 2010 at 12:44 PM (#3617997)
DiCaprio was also good, early on, in Marvin's Room, a fine, modest film of an interesting play. As an actor, he's similar to Brad Pitt: good-looking leading man who tries to choose interesting roles. I think he's been in better films than Pitt, on aggregate: whether smarter or luckier, who knows?
   1575. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:15 PM (#3618027)
I think he's been in better films than Pitt...

Until Moneyball comes out, that is.

Actually, did you see that DePodesta doesn't want his name used in the film anymore, and now Jonah Hill is playing "Peter Brand"?

I haven't seen enough of Pitt's or DiCaprio's work to judge who's had the better career, but Pitt was great in Se7en. I happened to be watching it the other night and he really did a fantastic job with that role.
   1576. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:29 PM (#3618041)
BTW, is anyone watching AMC's Rubicon?


Yeah, the wife and I started watching it. Exactly the kind of show that I had assumed I wouldn't like - massive pre-planned plot arc is basically all there is - but I've been impressed with how little the writers and directors appear to be 'talking down' to the audience. Very few dialogue clichés, plenty of 'show-don't-tell' events even when that means zero explanation after the fact, and some fairly understated acting.

It may help that several of my family and friends work in the kind of government job which is sort-of analogous in the UK. Haven't seen the most recent one yet, but might be a surprise hit with me. Which will make a nice change of pace after 'Futurama' and the BBC's 'Mongrels' . . .
   1577. Lassus Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:49 PM (#3618061)
Have you liked the BBC's MI-5?

Which I guess everywhere else is called "SPOOKS"? I never really knew that.
   1578. formerly dp Posted: August 17, 2010 at 01:53 PM (#3618063)
BTW, is anyone watching AMC's Rubicon? It's definitely interesting, it's definitely well-acted, but boy, it's got the slowest of slow burns. Still, the show seems to be more sure of itself with each and every week

Fell asleep during the first episode and haven't given it another shot. Seems like one of those shows that might be best watched on DVD when the slow plot won't be as maddening.
   1579. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:03 PM (#3618076)
Have you liked the BBC's MI-5?

Which I guess everywhere else is called "SPOOKS"? I never really knew that.


Wife's a big fan, me not so much. 'Spooks' is a much better name, by the way, because otherwise you get the absolutely insultingly bad tag line "MI5, not 9-to-5". Hate it so much . . .

Anyway, I suspect I would be okay with it if I sat down and concentrated, but I've never really been a huge fan of BBC drama, with the exceptions of 'House of Cards', and more recently 'Hustle' (which is largely a comedy anyway, I suppose). The documentaries and comedies are far more my comfort zone, plus some of the recent quiz/panel/wisecrack shows (QI, Only Connect, Mock the Week).
   1580. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:11 PM (#3618083)
I think he's been in better films than Pitt, on aggregate

I disagree.
   1581. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 17, 2010 at 02:12 PM (#3618087)
But I will be going all in on Civ V, which is apparently a huge step forward from the previous one.


Very excited for this. I really liked IV, much better than III (less emphasis on massive expansion for the sake of it; better use of culture, religions were interesting) but they've never really cracked the 'stack of doom' problem to my satisfaction. The new engine might really help with that this time.

Civ Revolution for consoles isn't bad. Seriously cut-down, of course, but some lovely touches, and kind of a family-friendly vibe. Personal favorite - moving a Spy during the game results in a comical xylophone 'sneaking' melody playing. It's like 'Evil Genius' or something.

Dusting off SimCity4 this week. There's a game that desperately needs a sequel.
   1582. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 19, 2010 at 11:23 PM (#3620829)
BTW, is anyone watching AMC's Rubicon? It's definitely interesting, it's definitely well-acted, but boy, it's got the slowest of slow burns. Still, the show seems to be more sure of itself with each and every week

Fell asleep during the first episode and haven't given it another shot. Seems like one of those shows that might be best watched on DVD when the slow plot won't be as maddening.
I tried watching it last night, and I too fell asleep. Fortunately, Vicodin was the sole culprit, because I found the show very entertaining.
   1583. McCoy Posted: August 20, 2010 at 12:04 AM (#3620853)
I have the show on my list of things to watch but right now it is behind hornblower, warehouse 13, and jeremiah.

the last epi of mad men was pretty good. They finally focused on the business and it llead to an entertaining episode. True blood, rescue me, eureka have all been a bit of letdown for me. Especially rescue me since this is their last season. It doesn't seem to be building to anything.
   1584. McCoy Posted: August 22, 2010 at 06:21 PM (#3622783)
After watching the first four episodes of Rubicon I couldn't agree more with the sentiments above. An incredibly slow burn and probably best watched on DVD when you have the whole season and can watch them back to back. I could not imagine watching these 4 episodes over 4 weeks and still have an interest in the show.
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