Category Archives: Movies

Why I Have Mixed Feelings About “Life Is Strange: Before The Storm”

Life Is Strange (2015) is my favorite video game, and one of my favorite stories, ever.

So when a prequel —  Life Is Strange: Before The Storm — was announced at E3 2017…

…a part of me screamed “Yes!” while another part moaned “No!”

Why?

Well, as Cracked put it: The past was more interesting before we saw it happen.

When a magician hears the audience gasp and say, “How’d he do that?” he does not turn around and loudly announce, “Oh, the rabbit’s in my assistant’s ass.” Similarly, professional writers know that there are some questions that their audience doesn’t want answered, even though they think they do. Like a magician, a writer wants his audience to live in that space between knowing and wanting to know. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Having watched the trailer three times, my feelings towards it are more positive than they were on my first watch. For example: Before The Storm seems to be delving into Chloe’s psyche through the use of nightmares — Chloe dreams she is in the car on the day of her dad’s accident — like Life Is Strange did with Max near the end of Episode 5. (Max’s nightmare being one of my favorite sections of that game.) But… but…

sigh

You know the airport fight in Godzilla (2014)? The fight that you never saw happen?

Here’s why I’m ultimately glad Gareth Edwards cut away right before Godzilla and the MUTO went at it: The fight I imagine will  be superior to the fight I see.

And it’s the same with Before The Storm: The story I imagine will be superior to the story I see.

Another aspect of Before The Storm that has me thinking Don’t do that is the crow imagery:

Life is Strange21

Depending on who you talk to, crows are considered bad luck. And Chloe, to put it lightly, could be called unlucky.

Image result for life is strange train gif

The crow imagery reminds me of the Chosen One prophecy in the “Star Wars” prequels.

Thanks to the prequels, now in Return of the Jedi the Emperor’s death isn’t the result of Darth Vader choosing to save his son’s life — it’s the fulfillment of a prophecy.

The crow imagery has the potential to change Chloe’s death in Life Is Strange from a tragic accident…

Related image

…to the cruel, calculated machinations of the universe: The universe has it out for Chloe, and won’t stop until she loses everything — her dad, her best friend and, finally, her life.

Which would make sense, given what we hear in Life Is Strange:

Image result for life is strange chloe punished by the universe

But still: I would rather have Chloe’s death be an accident, not the fulfillment of the universe’s sadistic plan for one Arcadia Bay teen.

One reason why: Chloe’s fate being set in stone — if the crow imagery is anything to judge by — robs the “Life Is Strange” series of one of its most thought-provoking attributes: Choice.

Image result for life is strange whoever said we had a single fate

At the end of Life Is Strange, Chloe could have “forced” Max to make one choice or another by, for example, putting her step-dad’s gun to Max’s head and telling her “Don’t go back in time and allow me to die.” But she didn’t. Chloe chose to allow Max to make her own choice. Ultimately, it was free will, not fate, that killed Chloe.

Image result for life is strange final choice

Of course, all of this is just a reaction to the first trailer. I’ll have to play the game in its entirety before I have the… big picture.

Image result for life is strange max taking a picture

But I’m praying like Kate Marsh that Beyond The Storm isn’t what I fear it is.

Image result for life is strange kate marsh

Why I Stopped Watching “13 Reasons Why”

Note: Language. And spoilers for Life Is Strange.

Recently, I decided to see if the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why was worth the hype.

I got halfway through episode 4 before I stopped.

I was willing to accept the premise: A high school girl blames everyone expect herself for the choice she makes.

Image result for 13 reasons why hannah
There’s one person holding the knife, Hannah — you.

I was willing to forgive our protagonist masturbating to a picture of the girl who would eventually kill herself — a scene I skipped when it became all too clear what Clay was doing with that cloth he pulled our of a drawer. Watching a teenage boy masturbate is not my idea of entertainment.

Image result for 13 reasons why clay
“My computer is the only one who gets me.”

But the straw that broke the camel’s back was characters’ refusal to talk to each other about their struggles.

Whether it was teens talking to teens, teens talking to their parents, or teens talking to authority figures, it’s like there’s a force-field around the characters of 13 Reasons Why preventing person-to-person interaction.

I know mystery is a pillar of drama, but 13 Reasons Why felt needlessly complex. It felt like mystery for the sake of mystery: Mystery at the expense of common sense. If people just sat down and said “___ is how I’m feeling. And ___ is why,” the question of “What do we do about Hannah Baker’s suicide?” would be answered in 5 seconds.

The most infuriating character of all was Tony.

Image result for 13 reasons why tony

I kept hoping that someone would pin Tony against a wall, tell him to cut the bullshit (pardon my French), and just explain what his deal is.

Because, Tony, to quote Jack Sparrow:

While watching 13 Reasons Why, I would always eventually think to myself “I would rather be playing Life Is Strange.” One reason why being: The characters in Life Is Strange actually talk to each other about what they’re going through.

Life is Strange15

Maybe I’ll give the series another chance soon. After all: This could all just be hyperbole — I could be totally wrong and characters in 13 Reasons Why really do open up to each other. But my first impression was not a good one. The impression I walked away with from the 4 episodes I watched was: A lot of cloak-and-dagger with no method to its madness other than stringing out the story of a teenage girl’s suicide for as long as possible:

’13 Reasons Why’ Officially Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

Am I Writing Erotica?

Erotica: Literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire.

Lately I’ve found myself writing poems that, I realize, could be classified as erotica.

The reason I say that is: Sexual arousal is a theme that runs through both of them.

And that got me thinking: Oh no.

The reason why is: I don’t want to be some E.L. James type.

I want to be better than that.

I’m not saying that I want to consider myself superior to E.L. James as a person. No one is “superior” to anyone else. We’re all fallible human beings doing the best we can with what we have.

What I am saying is: From a purely literary perspective, I want there to be more to my writing than there is to a novel like 50 Shades of Grey. I want the (potentially) arousing aspects of my writing to point to something more: to not just be arousal for the sake of arousal.

Image result for 50 shades of grey book cover

 

While I write my poetry, I frequently find myself returning to a quote by Sharon Hodde Miller:

“…a woman’s breasts, hips, bottom, and lips all proclaim the glory of the Lord! Each womanly part honors Him.”

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

What I’m trying to do is show how sexual feelings “proclaim the glory of the Lord!”

My protagonists, as a result of what they are feeling upon laying themselves bare or consenting to another’s touch, are undergoing an awakening. They are realizing that their reality is not as they thought it was and, thus, must choose how to respond.

Blindly

Not wanting to know what I will see, I close my eyes.

Blindly, I lay myself bare.

And I wonder: Is the scream trying to escape my mouth one of pleasure or pain?

A Fire In Her Heart

This night
She screams

In pleasure?
In pain?

And this night
A heart screams a word

“Run!”

On another note:

All art involving nudity or sexuality will be arousing to some extent because that is the nature of nudity and sexuality. If it does not arouse, it is bad art.

Asking a heterosexual man to not feel arousal at the sight of a woman’s naked body is like asking a person to not squint when they try and look directly at the sun.

At the sight of a woman’s body, a man’s willpower tends to melt away like a face that has seen the Ark of the Covenant…

Image result for indiana jones face melt gif
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Fitting, since the Ark, like a woman’s body, is an enclosure for what is holy:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
~1 Corinthians 6:19

Which would explain the need for campaigns like Still Not Asking For It — the sight of a woman’s body can be too much for a man to handle.

Image result for still not asking for it

The Emoji Movie: It’s Not All Bad

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Being a fan of Life is Strange, I’m a member of a Life is Strange fan group.

Recently, one of the members of that group brought something to my attention:

A blue-haired, skull-wearing character in The Emoji Movie (2017) bears a suspicious resemblance to a certain character…

Image result for the emoji movie jailbreak Image result for life is strange chloe

Ironic, considering that Chloe Price hates emoji:

Image result for life is strange chloe no emoji

Also of interest is the character’s name: Jailbreak. She’s the “Rebel emoji.”

Chloe is also a rebel.

Image result for life is strange chloe quotes

My takeaway from this is: The creators of The Emoji Movie have good taste.

Plus, who knows? The resemblance between the two characters could cause someone to discover Life is Strange. And for this reason, this reason, and this reason, I’d say that’s a good thing.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

And yes, Chloe, I can put on some music now.

The College Dropout Survival Guide

Note: Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix. Her post Self-Care Isn’t Selfish is what inspired me to write this post.

It’s now been 3 years since I made the choice to come home after my second semester of university.

Bad grades, combined with not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, made me realize I need time to get my head on straight.

Coming home was a choice that almost killed me.

So, in this post, I want to share with you what I have done in order to keep myself motivated to get out of bed in the morning:

Get a job. I initially balked at the prospect of getting a job. But I knew I had to do it — I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life on the couch, living off the charity of others. So, despite the grumbling of that lazy, entitled, refuse-to-take-responsibility part of myself, when a job opportunity presented itself I jumped at it. And I am so glad I did. Sure, my work could use improvement. More than once, my boss has expressed disappointment at my performance. But, I keep at it. And I figure that as long as the paychecks keep coming, than I must be doing something right.

I’m not at Kiki levels of productivity…

Image result for kiki's delivery service gif
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

…but I’m getting there.

Plus, if nothing else: My job allowed me to have enough money to get an Xbox One after my Xbox 360 got the Red Ring of Death.

Have a spiritual life. If you’re spiritual/religious than, if you don’t already, get in the habit of praying at least twice a day — a prayer before you go to sleep and a prayer right after you wake up.

Even if it’s only 5 seconds long and consists of two words — “Hi, (insert name of higher power here).” — praying will do you good.

As the name of my blog implies, I’m a Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic faith and, so far, my faith hasn’t let me down.

Image result for star wars come on baby hold together
Star Wars (1977)

Realize that you aren’t alone. Chances are that if you’re reading this post, you’re in a similar position: You’re not in college and are wondering What the deuce do I do now?

Well, one of the ways to not despair is to know that you aren’t struggling alone. There are people who have gone through, or are going through, what you are, and either they need you to help them, you need their help, or both.

After all: In order to slay the Kaiju that is Despair, you can’t do it alone…

Image result for pacific rim crimson typhoon gif
Pacific Rim (2013)

(I picked Crimson Typhoon because, even though it does get destroyed, I think it’s the coolest Jaeger.)

Surround yourself with beautiful things. I don’t know about you, but: The 24-hour news cycle of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, presidential incompetence, rapes, and murders depresses me. It makes me ask the one question I never want to find myself asking: Should I keep on living?

So, what do I do? I focus on the good in life instead.

For example:

Instead of scratching my head over Donald Trump’s latest tweet…

Image result for donald trump face

…I listen to my favorite song instead:

It’s much more relaxing.

Do what you love. I’m currently teaching myself how to write screenplays.

I’m doing this because I discovered that, in my free time, I would frequently read film reviews. There was just something about the reviews by Steven Greydanus and Jeffrey Overstreet that hooked me. That kindled within me a passion for film. A passion to not just critique art, but create it. Because anyone can criticize. But not everyone can create.

Lately that passion to create has, unfortunately, been fueled by anger at the incompetence of fellow Christian film enthusiasts…

…reviewers are sadly out of touch with ticket buyers. In fact, they are so far out of touch that most of them pick only one blockbuster movie, and many mediocre “independent” movies and boring foreign language movies that appeal to only a few moviegoers.
~WAR ROOM’s A+ cinemascore tells the story

…but still: I’m glad to be doing something I love. Even if it can be hard.

Image result for writing meme

And:

Love yourself.

You’re not perfect.

You’ve failed before, and you’re going to fail again.

But is that going to be the end of you?

No.

Why?

Because: You love yourself, flaws and all.

You know that what you have to offer the universe is unique.

And you know that it’ll be a cold day in Hell before you let life get away with sucker-punching you.

Woman9

Taking On Narnia

Anybody else get a The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe vibe from the music video for “Take On Me”:

The woman = Lucy
The man = Mr. Tumnus
The bikers = The wolves (The White Witch’s secret police)
The diner patrons = Lucy’s older sister and brothers
The comic book = The portal to Narnia/Narnia itself

Lucy’s and Mr. Tumnus’ relationship isn’t romantic, and the man’s and woman’s is. (At least: That’s my impression of it.)

But still: I can’t help but think of Narnia when I listen to “Take On Me.”

Image result for lucy and mr tumnus
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

My Current Thoughts On Life

Below are some random thoughts I’ve been having lately that I felt like writing down just because they’d been bouncing around in my head and I felt like letting them out.

Quotes13

Lately I feel like I haven’t been taking good care of myself.

I’ve been so focused on trying to be a light for others that I feel like I’ve neglected being a light for myself.

Woman10 (2)

I want to do good for others. I want to change the world for the better. I want to be the best person I can be.

One of the reasons why is because, according to my parents, I almost died as result of my premature birth. I was born 3 months premature.

I see my life as a miracle, and I don’t want to waste it.

But I’m not perfect. To be blunt: I’ve fucked up.

There are times where I’ve become the kind of person I promised myself I never would be, and that has ended relationships I thought would last forever.

I believe there is a God.

Why?

Because: There’s a feeling within me that there is more to existence than what I can perceive with my senses. I don’t care if I’m seen as “illogical,” and I don’t care if I’m seen as “close-minded,” but: There is nothing anyone can do or say to persuade me that there is not something more to existence.

Image result for tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions meaning

I believe that God loves me.

But, at the same time, I believe I am undeserving of God’s love. One of the reasons why I believe I am undeserving is: I struggle with pride. And, if I think to myself I don’t deserve ___, than I won’t be as tempted to think Life owes me ___! I want it! I want it! I want it! like a spoiled brat.

Related image
Joffrey Baratheon — Game of Thrones

What currently drives me to write is the fact that I think so much of the art by my fellow Christians is awful. For example:

I hate saying that. After all: We (Christians and non-Christians) are just doing what we can to be the best we can. But I’m not going to be dishonest about my feelings.

I know my own writing isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know I still have a long way to go before my writing is ready to be seen by the masses. But there has got to be better art made by Christians. And I want to do what I can to make “better art.”

I feel like a lot of my posts come across as pessimistic. And that troubles me. As a Catholic, I know I shouldn’t be like that — I shouldn’t be pessimistic. But if I were to say “I’m not pessimistic” than I would be lying. And I will not lie.

It felt good to let that out.

In conclusion:

The song that does the best job of conveying my current mood: