Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


IR25 (where I rant a lot)

Posted on February 5, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Not a lot this week, but two in particular that might spark a little bit of discussion, starting with:


Sessler's Soapbox: Videogame Movies


As much as I love Adam, he’s seriously talking out of his ass here. Oh, I agree with him on the videogame movie adaptations, they are going to suck and for the reasons he lists. But then he makes the mistake of throwing book adaptations into the mix as well.  If we made a list of all the great movies, you’d be surprised how many of them were based on books or another form of media entirely. Off the top of my head: The Godfather, Forrest Gump, The Princess Bride, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Minority Report, Full Metal Jacket, The Silence of the Lambs, The Maltese Falcon, Schindler’s List, Lawrence of Arabia, About a Boy, any number of Disney animated features, Apollo 13, Die Hard, Total Recall, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Grapes of Wrath, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Lord of the Rings Films.

Oh, you want more, ok....

The Searchers, The Harry Potter Films, Gone with the Wind, The Shining, Das Boot, Last of the Mochicans, The Fly, The Shawshank Redeption, Dances with Wolves, The Town, Psycho, Blade Runner, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Sideways, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Solaris, Frankenstein, The Thin Red Line, The Manchurian Candidate, Planet of the Apes, The Player, Master and Commander, Cape Fear, The Untouchables, Children of Men, Chocolat, Up in the Air, LA Confidential, Raging Bull, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Donnie Brasco, Interview with the Vampire, The Great Escape, Goodfellas, Rob Roy, The Exorcist, Leaving Las Vegas, Jurassic Park, The Killing Fields, Gone Baby Gone,The African Queen, Ben Hur, A Clockwork Orange, Doctor Zhivago, Midnight Cowboy...

Is Adam wanting literal adaptation for some reason? None of those above were exactly literal and had changes in some form. Some even have changes and alterations for the better (such as Forrest Gump). A literal adaptation is never going to work and you should never expect it to. You can’t sit there and say “all adaptations suck” especially when (sorry Adam) you really don’t seem to know much about film. I had planned to do a blog on book to movie adaptations (or play to movie, such as Amadeus or Casablanca, or periodicals to movie, such as On the Waterfront or All the President's Men) but you know...anyone who understands that different mediums have different requirements should know that nothing will be literal, and anyone who knows film knows a lot of the greatest films ever made are based on a book. I think this mini-response is good enough.

Movie Bob: Oscar Bait


This really aggravates me. Like Adam, I really like Bob. Personally, I think he’s better than this. And like Adam’s rant on adaptations, I feel disappointed by his assessment of “Oscar Bait.” By his account, The King’s Speech (a film that has taken years to get off the ground) was intended from the get-go to do nothing but be “Oscar Bait.” Come on, Bob. You should know better than that, especially when throwing out blanket-statements. His manipulation to showcase some “formula” is absurd and insulting and, I’m sorry, beneath him. That’s not how movies are made, especially one that took years to get made in the first place. Also, if you know anything about the director, you know this was a damn personal film for him. Do you think he really cares about getting awards? He got his movie made after doing years of leg work to even get an “ok” from the royal family to do it.

Of course the point of The King’s Speech telling a story that, as much as he wants it to be, hasn’t been told before and 99% people are completely unaware of is seemingly irrelevant. The thing is, when someone says “Oscar Bait” that gives the impression that the people involved intentionally went out of their way to make a film to do nothing but get awards, not caring if the film was good or not.

First, the film is good in regards to The King’s Speech. Second, calling something “Oscar Bait” is nothing but a shallow jab to a film because you can’t call it anything else, including “bad.” You don’t agree with the praise a film gets, so you fall back on “it’s just Oscar Bait” because you have nothing else to really criticize it with.

Second, and again...the “formula” he comes up with is just ridiculous. To create such a formula, you have to apply it to every film that won that award (also note, The King’s Speech hasn’t won anything yet, it’s just nominated...even Star Wars was nominated...also the Exorcist his other example). If a majority fall in line with it, then you have a good example. Not an exact one, but at least a point. But he covers every base which would naturally apply to all sorts of films of all shapes and sizes. All together into one? Hardly ever. The last ten years gave us The Hurt Locker, Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings, No Country for Old Men and The Departed, none of which fall in line with his assessment. The decade before that had the likes of America Beauty, Forrest Gump, Unforgiven and The Silence of the Lambs (the latter two genre pictures). Even the ones that “somewhat” apply to his formula are simply cherry-picking and nothing but broad-stroke observations, especially when something as broad as “overcoming” something is pretty much the entire basis of narrative storytelling.

I liked his videos, I liked his non-movie videos, but this was a failed attempt to try and bring validation to his own view. Apply it to Frankie and Alice, one of the few films I’ve ever called “Oscar Bait” and that would be a far fitting example. The fact it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar was the greatest thing ever. But that one was unabashedly “Oscar Bait” due to it not even released yet and Berry a producer who went out of her way to create a film where she can “act” for people. Plus it's not even a good movie. The King's Speech is, and no magical formula is going to prove otherwise other than to make a person feel better about themselves

And don't get me started on the "didn't do anything new" thing again. I handled that with Avatar last year and it's as pointlessly used here as it was for that film's detractors.


Alright, on to the rest of this weeks articles and videos that really grabbed me:

Seven Myths that Mythbusters Proved were True

A fun collection of some myths that, turns out, are true.


Nostalgia Critic: Dungeons and Dragons

A very lengthy video of a notoriously bad movie. I just really liked this one from Doug and wanted to put it here because it's a showcase of some of the biggest, worst acting you could ever ask for. Well "worst" might be harsh, truth is that's the only way Irons could do that role, but it is just really really hammy.


Cracked: Six Suble Ways You're Getting Screwed at the Grocery Store.

 Sometimes I like seeing validations of my own bullshit, whiney world observations. #2 on this list is one I’ve said for years, I got it from my family and will pass it on to my adopted African baby to continue the trend of “says who?”The dates aren't regulated, they're just slapped on there.


Oancitizen: Perfume

Kyle Kallgren is awesome, and this isn't the first time I've put his videos on here for you go and check out. I like Kyle because of one reason, other than taking on movies nobody else will: he challenges himself. The reason why nobody takes on those movies? They're hard to take on. They're even harder to discuss much less make an entertaining video about. Taking something notoriously bad and making fun of it is easy. Choosing some niche art movie is a whole other beast. My only worry is that Kyle set his own bar so high with his Angels in America video that everything else will pale in comparison.

But that's not fair, because his videos are still great. So go check out one of the most odd movies (odd in that it seemed to try so hard in everything  yet not succeed in anything) that is Perfume: The Story of a Murder. Trust me, watching his video is far better than having to watch the movie).

RetroActive: Ghostbusters

A great look back to one of the more underrated platformers of 16 bit gaming. I remember renting this one back in the early 90s and finding it incredibly hard. I think it was the non-linear nature because I had a hell of time in Metroid also. Either way, it's a great game with awesome controls and art style, this video covers all those and more.


The Google Art Project

This is just awesome. Check out art, walk through famous museums, spends hours doing so.


Nerdiest Inpsirations for Concept Albums


One of the better pieces off of Topless Robot in a while, a great article on some classic concept albums. Nerds go way back, before they were just much more subversive.


Cracked: Comics that Secretly Stuck it to the Man

From Cracked, a fun look into artists getting back at their bosses (or competitors) in the pages of their comics. I'm willing to bet this happens more often than not. As someone is drawing a thirty page comic to be out every months, panel after panel that's going to be downsized into a smaller format from their larger art, there's got to be a ton of things like this.


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