Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


More Prompt Thoughts

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM


Megan Fox is April O'Neil in a movie about Mutant Turtles that are Aliens or Something

Oh man, did the fanboys scream out in unison when this was announced or what?

Here's the thing, though. Didn't you and everyone else with half a brain already write the film off when the name "Michael Bay" was put with "TMNT" in the first place? At this point, who cares? You already aren't going to eat that shit sandwich, so why does it matter if someone adds more shit to it?

I grew up with Ninja Turtles. Hell, I still enjoy going back and watching that first movie and the latest show on Nickelodeon is surprisingly well-done. But do I care about a Michael Bay Ninja Turtles movie in the first place? Hell no. It's not even on my radar. So why would I even give a second look at who is in it? Not only that, it's April O'Neil to begin with. Isn't all that's required of her in the role is to be kind of pretty and get kidnapped or put in turmoil at every turn? You know...the same thing Megan Fox has been doing already?

Oh, and if you want to know who I would cast if this was a movie that had any remote possibility of being good? This gal:

Oh would make a great red head




Oscars happened. Yay, I guess. I'm happy, though. The films I thought would win didn't really win, and the films/people I WANTED to win did. I seriously thought it was Lincoln and Spielberg's to lose, but I am more than happy to be wrong because Lee was who I wanted to win director and Argo was what I badly wanted to win best picture (Ben just needed to be on that stage, I didn't care how).

The more I think back, the more it seems that Jennifer Lawrence was the clear favorite. Only until she won did it come to full view for me. Sure, I was routing for Wallis, but Lawrence is a solid winner and just sweet:


Jack knows….


The only real surprise, to me, was Waltz winning Best Supporting Actor. Oh, I wanted him to win badly, but I felt it was impossible because it was Tarantino and him together again and he just won a few years ago. I feel the Academy really got it right (same for QT and screenplay, I really didn't think the Academy would get that right either).


But…the show itself…well, this is why DVR was invented. Then again I didn't watch the show either, I watched highlights, read about it and caught up later. From my understanding it was, again, overlong. That's the big problem with these things: they have all these things they want to do, plan it all out, but never take in to account the time. I can only imagine how awful it is to be in attendance: you have all you see on the TV, but then you have those lulls of nothing during commercials. At least at home you have the commercials.


I've sen the highlights and sound bits from Seth MacFarlane hosting. I never liked him as a choice only because I don't think his style mixes with what the Academy wants to do…because the Academy has no idea what it wants to fucking do. If they got their act together, that abrasive style of comedy is probably great, but they're still trying to be classy and serious which is their ultimate downfall.Then it all just comes off as flat and in an already tough room that's just awful and sometimes painful to watch.

You don't need me to tell you that, though. It's the same every single year: people get all hyped, think everything is going to be magical, then it all ends with bitterness and frustration. Every year, nothing changes, which is why I never watch these things. I can't stand the way the show is put on, I can't stand the snarky blogs and reactions and I can't stand the way the entire day is spent focusing on it all, from fashion to the awards themselves which are just shoved out the door because they don't generate views as much as someone's dress and a movie clip.


Here's what I think should be done: have a private ceremony (these used to be private, I might add) and do the actual awards. Then have a two-hour special where you can edit in all the winners and categories in to a manageable time. It helps get rid of things we don't need to see, can help in cutting down on the things that didn't work or fell flat, certainly would help with pacing and timing and still lets you sell your all-important ad space. If the Academy wants to make a show of it, as said the awards themselves are just a means to that end, then this would be a good solution to make the self-gratifying show better.


And On That Note

The Onion made headlines by sending out this tweet:

This tweet sent a lot of people in an uproar, causing The Onion to apologize for calling a 9-year old girl the "C-word." Honestly, though, The Onion should just apologize for lazy comedy. They're known for shock-value and all, but even for them this felt pretty half-assed.

I also don't think they should have apologized for doing it in the first place. It's satirical, nothing more. Bad taste? Sure. But so are a lot of things. I mean...where's my apology for putting Kristen Stewart on stage, Academy?

The Simpsons Tapped Out

I've been enjoying the little mobile game, The Simpsons Tapped Out, since last October. It's a fun little game in the vein of a Cityville only less demanding and more funny. Then along came a glitch. A glitch that has ben dubbed by the players of this game, which earned EA millions last quarter, "The Harp of Death."


Go google that. I'll wait.


Yeah, that's a game-crashing bug right there. You can't open your game, you can't log in, you can't play shit. The game often has limited-time cool stuff that many gamers are missing out on (for example, I could get a ton of in-game cash right now with all my Valentines Hearts, but alas I have no way to do it and it'll expire in a few days).

But that's not the main issue. The main issue is that it's still not fixed and the communication from the publisher of the title has barely spoken out on the problem. EA's track record with the game has been spotty already, but this is pretty much a deal breaker and a reminder of why everyone just generally hates EA.

As of this past Sunday, it appears to have been fixed (though it took some time for that as well, the update also caused crashed and whatnot but eventually it got people back). Either way, I missed out on a lot of stuff for my little town and whatnot, certainly the daily money gathering, but man...just make stuff that works, folks. For me, that's all I ask. Game, movie, massaging chair...just make it do what you say it's supposed to do.


The Shitty Part of Movie Making

I was looking for the best article that can best explain this before I comment on it, so this one from io9 is what I'm going for. It lays it all out pretty well and also provides link to other articles and editorials on this problem. And it is a problem. To sum it up, basically, these visaul effects companies are starting to feel used, and this year it all came to a head as one of the biggest ones was forced to file for bankruptcy (or plans to at least).

These companies, folks, aren't buying some computer and dicking around in photoshop. These are million-dollar investments to build hardware and software from the ground up to get special effects on screen. So much many, so many hours by artists and all forced to work on limited budgets. So basically they spend a ton of money and put in a ton of hours to meet a studio's demand (whcih is why a lot of studios go to multiple effects houses for one film) and have to deliver, but the cost is exceeding the revenue here. Studios aren't going to "pay as they go" - they pay a fixed amount under a contract and expect results. Because there are so many effect houses in competition, the cost begins to be driven down because the studio will pit them against each other for the bottom dollar.

It's not just a money thing, though. The whole bankruptcy ordeal is just the surface representation of something that goes a lot deeper - a group of artists that feel taken advantage of and treated like dirt (this open letter to Ang Lee, for example...his film would have been nothing without the VFX team). This is the darker side of movie making. There's always someone shit on and pushed around and right now, with VFX houses in high demand (from large-scale computer characters to just fixing lighting), they're on the pulpit. With the VFX a bit scattered, unlike writer or producer unions, it's easy to take advantage of them. All they really want is financial security, allowed to work closer with the physical production and acknowledgement.

For example, I know an Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor who was hired to work on a major studio film. The director of this film, though, was completely ignorant to visual effects. He would change things and alter things, even do complete re-shoots of a scene, then go back to the VFX people and all that work they JUST did was now useless. They had to completely restart, yet still deliver by the same date and not get paid more for the additional hours. This was ongoing and just an example off the top of my head about the very thing these folks are talking about. (By the way, this supervisor quit half-way through...he couldn't handle it).

Only these folks still have nothing after all that pain and sacrifice.

But...and this is where there's some bitter truth here...the Visual Effects community need to get their ass in gear and man-up to the plate. They aren't exactly unionized, and overseas competition makes it hard, but they can get together to make a change here. Just to be human beings and say "alright, we all need to be on the same page" to make these changes happen because the studios aren't going to until you do. It's a hard thing to do, those studios could easily just say "alright, fuck them we'll outsource to Korea" but I don't see any other path. Maybe that's what we're seeing, but if that's the case then they need better spokespeople out there in front to get them noticed and to put more pressure on production companies and studios - major filmmakers who might threaten to not bother making that big movie if the VFX that's hired isn't taken care of - because changing your picture of facebook to a green screen isn't going to accomplish jack.


Playstation 4

Sony execs and nerds went on stage last week to unveil the Playstation 4 - and by "unveil" I, of course, cock-tease us for two hours. They at least got through some bullet-points and noted the specs because the Playstation 4 is going to be a powerful machine, and the new architecture that's focused on developers getting the most out of the system is a major step in the right direction. They were also a bit humble in saying that the PS3 was probably limited due to the whole CELL technology, which means developers have to learn their ways around this new architecture rather than going right in with what they know.


They also did a good job of showcasing their focus on gaming. That was always a big question: is this electronics giant even all that interested in gaming, or is the PS3 just another device to them? I think they answered that pretty well by who they brought out on stage alone: developers and long-time gamers who love video games rather than just execs in suits or mouthpiece hype-men that are just paid to be there.


Still, no box shown, no pricing, more just hype-building and keeping the brand alive. It was really just a lot of posing and posturing now that I think about it.


Oh, and they also really talked about "gamers" this and "gamers" that. They drove that in to the ground: how gamers are amazing and wonderful and the greatest people in the world. That's all well and good….





No Wonder Gamers are Assholes

The bigger picture for me during the Playstation 4 conference was the buzzword "gamer" and the view of "the almighty gamer" during the show. Maybe I overlooked this over the past few years, or I'm just now noticing, but since when was the gamer such a great thing? Since when was the nihilistic jerk that's never happy and always the first to bash something at any given moment the greatest thing for anyone? Let's face it, most gamers are kind of dicks. Why the entitlement?

Did you ever go to school with that spoiled-brat of a kid? You know - the kind who's parents bought him everything he wanted and he would flaunt it in front of everyone else. The kind of kid who's family always told him he was the best and the greatest even though he wasn't all that great. You probably met that kid, he's this guy:

Well guess what, gamers today aren't Fred Savage from The Wizard; the enthusiastic, overall nice guy who likes to play games and cares for his little brother. No, any chance of the gaming community being like that died long ago like a distant, vague memory of reading Nintendo Power and feeling a sense of wonder and enjoyment just to play a videogame. Somewhere along the way, gamers turned in to a big hunk of Lucas. Cocky. Full of himself. Shows of all the cool stuff he has but didn't really earn any of it. Gamers just tend to be assholes that feel entitled.

But what do you expect when you have companies putting "the gamer" up on a pedestal like they apparently have been? I practically expected that Sony conference to invite 30 "Hardcore" gamers, whatever passes for "hardcore" these days, on to the stage for a circle-jerk of self love and a goat-sacrifice to keep them appeased. If you keep telling that bratty, spoiled kid how amazing and great he is (that damn Lucas from The Wizard that NOBODY liked back then yet ARE HIM 20+ years later) then eventually he's going to start believing it. Then he's going to start demanding everything and never feel satisfied until you praise him at every corner and give him everything he desires. Hell, that's why they had to go back on Mass Effect 3, wasn't it? Because all the Lucasi bitched and moaned about the ending not feeling satisfying to them as though every single person in the world that played that will be 100% pleased?

Companies really need to stop doing that. Its fine to talk about your target audience, but quit saying how amazing and great they are. Gamers are assholes…and you helped make them that way because you are too afraid to call them out on that because it would hurt that bottom line and you have to keep praising them because it's a marketing strategy to show how much you put them first in everything you're attempting to do even though gamers are always the quickest to negatively judge everything you're doing. There's no way around it. 

I don't see this changing any time soon either. Gamers are going to get another fist-pump of self-importance at the Microsoft conference as well, I'm sure. It's strange. There's a "core" group of gamers out there that aren't "hardcore" nor are they "casual." I think I'm part of that group: the kind that just enjoys games and stopped worrying about all the hype and masturbatory buzzwords when we turned 16 and grew the hell up. Today's younger gamers can't grow up or learn lessons - learn that sometimes you just don't always get what you demand which also explains why they give out participation trophies to every kid on the field.

Then, one day, they're going to be adults and it's going to hit them. Hit them fucking hard. That thing called "life" where nobody always gets what they want, then you move on and not worry about it because at the end of the day, videogames aren't all that important in the first place. That younger gamer today is going to take it harder than any other generation I know...and companies like Sony or Microsoft sitting there giving them pats on the back as thought they did something at all and coddle them to get their money is what's going to make them completely unready when one day they get that bitch-slap reality check that is real life. But I'm fine with that, because that's what they deserve.


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