Casabloga: The Aviator

If you’ve been following this blog since 2014, you’ll probably think that I’ve already reviewed this movie. You would be right. When I originally reviewed The Aviator, I was under too much stress from preparing a big move, so I spent a little too much time playing Skyrim. I’d watched the film to take a break from the game (which I was playing to take a break from packing), and ended up deciding to write the review.

Unfortunately, I was too eager to get back to the game that I rushed the review and it was one of my worst ones ever. Second only to my Lion King review. I’ve been wanting to rewrite this for a long time, and now I’m finally doing it. Here is my original “review”, if you want to read it to see what I mean. I didn’t delete it, I just took it off the list and changed the category from Casabloga to Uncategorised.

Anyway, this is in my opinion one of Leo‘s best films. I didn’t know much about Howard Hughes when I first watched it in 2004, but it’s what got me interested in him. After watching it, I read and watched everything I could find one him. The movie took a few liberties, but it’s accurate enough that I like to point to it as an example of how to make a biopic.

Everyone knows that he went mad later in life, but the film does a great job at showing him slowly getting there, even in his younger years. He had one of the most severe cases of OCD that I’ve ever heard of. In fact, when I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 22, I told them that I wasn’t anything like Howard Hughes. The doctor laughed and explained that there are different levels of severity.

Watching the film from the perspective of someone with OCD, I can totally relate to most of the things he does. Most of them are things that just bother me but don’t go as far as to tell anyone about, where he would have entire teams of people make sure everything was exactly the way he wanted. I sometimes wish I could do that, but also realise that’s not exactly a healthy way to live.

I think one of the biggest examples is actually something he does in the movie that makes him seem like a real jerk to most people. There’s a scene where he’s washing his hands and a guy with crutches is washing his hands next to him and asks him to hand him a towel. He says, “I’m afraid I can’t do that”, making the guy with crutches get it himself.

Yes, that seems like a jerk move, but I honestly felt like I understood. Maybe this isn’t why he did it, but in my mind I couldn’t imagine touching the clean towel while my hands still had soap on them. I’d have to wash the soap off first, but then I’d be handing the guy a wet towel. I mean, if that scenario personally happened to me I would just hand him the towel, but I’d have to start over and rewash my hands all over again.

There’s something that happens late in the film that is an extreme version of something I’ve been through. His girlfriend comes over and he has sections of the house roped off, saying “This is the germ-free area. You’re safe here”, then freaks out when she goes into a taped off room. I’ve never roped off areas, but I have avoided using entire counters because I set a dirty pan on it a week ago, and I know that spot is dirty (for example).

But the fact that I can watch this movie and relate to the OCD tendencies is testament to how good of an actor Leo is. I literally believe that this is Howard Hughes, and he is afraid of germs.

Another amazing actor in this film is Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn. Cate is spot-on as Katharine. Here is the first time we see her in the film, and here‘s a compilation of clips of the real Katharine shown at the 2004 Academy Awards to honor her life (she passed away in 2003). The first two minutes is Julia Roberts talking about how awesome she was, because she really was a legend.

But those are just two of the stars in this film. You’ve got Alec Baldwin, John C. Reilly, Alan Alda, Kate Beckinsale, Ian Holm, Jude Law, Gwen Stefani, William Defoe, and a much more.

I have to mention the fact that they got the extraordinarily talented Rufus Wainwright to sing Stairway To Paradise. This film is what introduced me to him, and he’s ridiculously talented. He can do pretty much anything. Some of my favourite of his songs include Hallelujah, Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk, and Across The Universe, which is one of the rare good Beatles covers (and yes, that’s a young Dakota Fanning).

I think my only real complaint with this film is that it stops when it does. He flies the Hercules (Hughes hated it being called “Spruce Goose”, so I never call it that), then the movie ends. But he lives thirty more years before dying. I kept waiting for there to be a sequel showing the rest of his life, but by now I doubt they’re going to. It’s been fourteen years, they’d have done it already. Unless they’re waiting for Leo to get to the right age, which makes sense.

Also, I think another reason they stopped when they did is because around that time is when the madness really started to kick in. He spent so long in seclusion, doing business deals behind closed doors, that the public started to wonder if he’d actually died and people were just benefitting off his name. It got to the point where he ended up being forced out of seclusion to prove he was alive.

If you want to know more information on Howard Hughes, I highly recommend this documentary. It goes more in-depth, and actually contains interviews with several people who knew him. You can also read this book for even more information. The author is interviewed in the documentary.

Advertisements

Casabloga List on IMDb

This is just a small thing I did and thought I’d share it here. I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but in my Casabloga reviews, I always link to the film’s Wikipedia article. Well, starting with Unfriended, the review I just posted, I’m now going to link to the film’s IMDb page. I probably should have been doing that all along, but for some reason I didn’t like IMDb. I used to use it all the time, and in fact I created my account back in 2011 and used it frequently until a few years ago. But I logged into my account earlier tonight and now like it again. No idea why I didn’t.

IMDb Lifetime

See?

Anyway, I have a ton of movies in my Watchlist, and was going through updating it with all the movies I can remember watching in the years since I’ve been away, when I had an idea. They have an option to make your own list, so I made one with all of the films I’ve reviewed in the Casabloga series.

Here’s a link to the list, if anyone is interested.

Casabloga: Unfriended

If you’d have told me a week ago that I’d be writing this post, I’d have called you crazy. Heck, if you’d told me yesterday. When I first heard of Unfriended, I assumed it was just a gimmick. There’s no way a movie that’s just a Skype call could possibly be good. The fact that there’s already a sequel just proves it.

But one of my bestfriends saw Unfriended: Dark Web today and posted on Facebook, “I am legit walking out of the theater shaking. “These Unfriended movies are dementedly genius!” (that was his post copied and pasted). I was confused, so I commented saying that I’ve never seen the first one. He and another friend commented that I should. We usually agree when it comes to movies, so I rented it on YouTube and watched it tonight.


FB Post


So, as you can see, in less than half an hour I went from thinking it was just a gimmick to actually liking it. Almost immediately, I realised it was something unique.

It uses real sites and programs, such as Facebook, Spotify, and Skype. This was a surprise to me, because usually in movies they use fake ones. Using real things adds to be authenticity and believability of the film.

The entire film is from the screen of the main character, Blaire. It opens with her looking up information on her friend, Laura Barns, who committed suicide a year previously. After a minute her boyfriend calls and the story begins. It’s essentially all in one shot, because it never cuts away from the screen, and instead has Blair switching tabs on the left (she’s using a Mac).

But as boring as this probably sounds, this is actually used to great effect to tell the story. You can see by the way the cursor moves how Blair is reacting to situations. Something will pop up and the cursor will pause, then slowly go over to click it.

I think one of the best uses of this is one scene when the characters in the Skype call criticize Laura, the girl who committed suicide, and Blair is using iMessage with her boyfriend in another tab, telling him they didn’t know Laura like she did, that she had a hard life. When her boyfriend asked what she meant, she types, “When she and I were young”, deletes it, types, “When she was”, deletes it, types “Her uncle”, deletes it, then finally types, “Just family stuff” and sent it. So much is implied by her deleted messages but isn’t explained. We don’t need it explained, and a lesser film would have gone down that road and handled it poorly.

The acting was surprisingly realistic. The group of friends got into a few fights, and there were real tears shed. Then when they were laughing and joking around, it felt like they were actual friends in a Skype call. I believed that we were watching a real group of friends interacting. Even when they were fighting, if something happened between one of them they suddenly stopped fighting and showed genuine concern.

I was legitimately freaked out several times watching this movie. It’s very rare for a modern horror film to scare me, and I think the last one to do so was It Follows.

Pretty much my only real complaint with the film is the very last second. Literally the very last second. they go the jump scare route. But unlike Paranormal Activity’s jump scare ending, it actually makes sense. I just generally don’t like jump scares. But as I said, that’s my only complaint, and it doesn’t ruin the rest of the film. It’s not like it turns out they were actually on an alien spaceship the whole time or something.

I’m now excited about seeing Dark Web. According to my friend, and most of the reviews I’ve seen before writing this one, it’s better than the first. I seriously hope so, because this one was amazing!

The Blogging Dead: 11.22.63 – 1. The Rabbit Hole

Well, this is an unexpected change. When I started this episodic review series, I was planning on just reviewing new shows as they air or as I watch them. But there’s not a whole lot that’s on that I want to watch. I watch The Walking Dead, but it’d feel weird to start reviewing it nine seasons in.

I read 11/22/63 by Stephen King back in November 2015, while I was in the hospital. Halfway through it I found out that they were turning it into a miniseries on Hulu produced by J. J. Abrams and starring James Franco. That’s, like, four of my favourite things at once! (J. J., James Franco, Stephen King, and…….the Kennedy Assassination……….)

I watched it in 2016 as it was airing, but I didn’t review it then. I started rewatching it today because I was bored, and near the end of the episode I decided to review it here! Which changes what this series is for me. Now I can review older things, not just new shows. That’s mainly what I watch, anyway. Older shows.

Anyway, there was a bunch of changes made to the story. Which is understandable, seeing as it’s an 849 page book that they were adapting into an eight episode miniseries. Some changes had to be made. But things were added that weren’t in the book which makes me question why they did that. Why take things out for time, but then add more things in.

But I’m rambling.

The story starts with Harry Dunning telling his story, much like the book did. Then it rushes Jake Epping (James Franco) to the diner for everything to happen.

In the book, Al Templeton and Jake spend several days, up to a week, planning Jake’s trip back to 1958. Jake goes and rescues a little girl, then saves Harry as a kid, then comes back to see how it effected the present.

In the miniseries, it’s over night. Jake finds out, Al somehow tells Jake everything he needs to know in one sitting, Al dies, Jake goes on the long trip the first time. Also now it’s 1960.

It might not seem like a big deal, but in the book there’s more story there, and it feels like Stephen King planned everything out better. Even though King is an executive producer on the show, it feels like everything is rushed to make it fit into the first episode. But the first episode is an hour an a half long, and he goes to 1960 half an hour in. The rest of the episode is him tailing someone Al suspects told Lee Harvey Oswald to kill Kennedy.

They easily could have slowed it down and spent the hour and a half doing the first trip, him coming back, and preparing for the second, longer trip.

But I don’t want to be one of those people who are like, “This is how they should have done it”. Even though I technically just did that.

Book aside, it was a very good first episode. They really get the feeling of the era down. For the book, Stephen King spent several years researching every minute detail, and it’s obvious they attempted to do the same for the show.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Season 2, Episode 10

As Anne says at the beginning of the episode, “Nothing is ever going to be the same”.

They didn’t wrap up everything, which is good because they need to leave something to come back to. Unfortunately, they tried to give the season a happy ending, which gave it a series finale vibe. As if they were afraid it wouldn’t get renewed for a third season, so they didn’t want to leave things depressing.

But things could have very well ended that way. The way the previous episode ended, it felt like this was going to be a very dark episode. But the sort-of-cliffhanger from that was resolved within minutes of this one. There was still a hearing to decide whether or not to fire Muriel, but the fallout from the fight only lasted a couple minutes.

Instead of addressing the episode itself, I will address the series as a whole. Thus far I am very much enjoying it, and I hope they continue for several more seasons.

However, I have been seeing articles basically bashing it for the modern changes they’ve made to the source material. Namely, adding gay and non-white characters. I’ve actually seen a couple people complaining about this, claiming they’re turning Anne of Green Gables into “SJW propaganda”.

What I have to say about that is, I’m honestly glad they’re willing to try something like that. Anne of Green Gables has been adapted so many times, there’s a massive “Adaptation” section on the Wikipedia page. If they just did a direct book-to-screen, that’d be boring because we’ve already seen that. This version took the original book and decided to give us something fresh with the old story we all know. I’m glad I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’d be bored and stop watching if I was watching going, “Oh, this is the part where this happens. Ah, now that’s happening. Then that mean that…yes, this other thing is happening!”.

Anne With An E checks all the boxes, but it also makes it’s own along the way. It adds characters, but they’re not wasted background characters. You care about them, and they further the story. They serve a purpose. As for the complaints that they’re trying to make Anne of Green Gables “woke”, what’s wrong with adding a bit of reality to the story?

There were gay people back then. They weren’t open about it like they are today, because it was literally illegal, but they definitely existed. They even include that in the story. Cole is afraid when he realises he’s gay, because it’s illegal. This article explains that they included a bunch of history by including those details, such as Boston marriages and Cécile Chaminade. I’ve never heard of any of that before, as they’re not talked about these days.

I know that I am definitely excited about the future of this series, and I can’t wait until season 3. Unfortunately, as I watched it as soon as it was released, and Netflix releases entire seasons at once, I have to wait an entire year for the next part of the story.

If you want to enjoy the original story that started it all, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery is available for free via Kindle, as it’s in the public domain. Speaking of which, the entire Anne Shirley series is available for free via Project Gutenberg. They cover her entire life, and I highly recommend them.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Season 2, Episode 9

I must say, this show can be downright epic when it wants to be. For this episode, it most certainly wanted to be. What starts off as a lighthearted introduction to the new school teacher, ends with so much changing by the end of the episode.

Muriel Stacey was the much beloved school teacher from the books and, most noteably for me, the Sullivan films. For this version, they reimagined the character in a sense. She’s still out of place in Avonlea, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

The reaction of the residents to her is rather comical, especially by today’s standards. She was deemed unfit to teach by the community because of things such as her not wearing a corset, her house being a mess (even though she was still in the process of moving in, and also wasn’t expecting guests), and for being a woman. Yes, apparently a female teacher was a taboo thing back then, and they took a huge risk getting her hired.

But it doesn’t take long for her to win over Marilla, who witnesses her make electricity out of potatoes. The other parents see this as well, but instead of seeing how important this was, insisted that it was a circus act.

When things turned to the dramatic is when Anne showed Marilla and Muriel her secret place. Through the course of the series, she’s had this hideout place she and her friends would go to share stories and just get away from everything. Cole has been spending a lot of time there over the last couple episodes.

That night, Billy Andrews, the bully at school, and his friends happen through there and smash everything. I mean everything. There is nothing left. Anne and Cole appear the next morning, and Cole is angry at her for sharing the spot with Muriel, because she told his family he hadn’t been going to school. He realised it had been Billy who had smashed the place and went back to the schoolhouse and attacked him, ending with Billy seriously injured.

That’s when the episode ended, but I haven’t even discussed Sebastian’s story. He ends up leaving Gilbert’s farm because he is fed up of Gilbert not including him in his plans. he goes to live with the person who housed them then they went to Charlottetown. What will happen now?

One episode left in the season, and I don’t think everything can be wrapped up in one episode, so I am already hoping for a third season.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Season 2, Episode 8

After the last episode, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to guess where it was going to go, because I was likely going to be wrong. Well, We finally got to the race issues I predicted.

Sebastian had a sore tooth, so he pulls it. But it gets infected, so he goes into Avonlea to have it looked at. He’s told his kind isn’t welcome there. Standard racism stuff. When it really gets intense was when he and Gilbert tried to board a train to Charlottetown. Even though they had tickets they had paid for, they were almost not allowed to board. Luckily, Marilla just happened to be on the train and acted like she’d been waiting for them.

But it’s good to know that not everyone in this universe are racist barbarians. When Gilbert takes Sebastian to his late father’s old doctor in Charlottetown, the doctor doesn’t hesitate to help him and fixes his infected mouth.

Afterward, Sebastian goes to where he was told “his kind” are. He’s excited to see other blacks, because he was thinking of his home in Trinidad. Unfortunately, he quickly found out that in North America blacks aren’t treated the way he was hoping. I don’t know where this particular story arch is going, but it looked like he got a surprise wake up call, and they could be setting up him being some sort of advocate or something. I think Sebastian might be one of my favourite new characters, so I’m really interested to find out what they do with his character.

Speaking of new characters, Cole finally stands up for himself! That might not mean anything to those who have only been going by my reviews, because I didn’t realise how important he was going to be so I hadn’t mentioned him until yesterday’s review. Well, he had a major moment this time when he stood up to Mr. Philips! Another character I failed to mention. He was courting one of his students, Prissy. Again, I hadn’t been mentioning that.

I say all of this to show that it’s hard to tell where this show is going to go. I’ve only been mentioning the aspects I thought would be important later, but turns out there are loads of things that have been going on that I never anticipated being very important. There’s two episodes left in this season, and there’s no telling what’s going to happen. You could tell me that aliens land and give them a book called “To Serve Man” that explains how to serve people (plot twist; it’s a cook book!) and I would believe you.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Seasons 2, Episode 7

I thought the show was going one way, then it abruptly goes another way. Based on the foreshadowing I mentioned in the last episode, I assumed this one would be about the residents of Avonlea being racist towards Sebastian.

Instead, it was about Anne, Diana, and Cole (a new character this season I’ve yet to mention because he wasn’t particularly important, but I think they’re setting him up to be one of the main characters) going to Diana’s Aunt Josephine’s house for a party. There’s they learn that she was gay, and her lover, Gertrude, had passed away the year previously.

Diana is horrified at this realization, herself being raised a traditionalist. At the beginning of the episode, someone said that she’s really good at the piano and asked when her career as a pianist was going to begin, and she responded that it would depend if her future husband allowed it.

Anne, unsurprisingly, immediately accepts it. When Diana says “It’s not natural!”, and responds, “What’s more natural than love?”.

Cole has been presented as rather feminine, which I honestly didn’t think anything of until this episode. Near the end of the episode, he tells Josephine, “I think I’m like you and Gertrude”.

So now I’m thinking that this will be something that becomes an issue later, because Diana’s parents don’t know yet. I can imagine that they will take it even worse than Diana did.

There was also a side story about Marilla falling ill and Matthew taking care of her. The two of them have flashbacks to when they were younger and their mother was in the same predicament, but she gave up and passed away. Matthew gives Marilla a pep talk about how she shouldn’t give up, because she’s stronger than their mother was. Marilla doesn’t really begin to recover until Anne returns from Josephine’s at the end of the episode.

While the character development of Matthew and Marilla was interesting, the story at Josephine’s was more interesting, so both stories kind of clashed a little. I actually forgot all about their story until now, which is why I hadn’t mentioned it before and waited this long into the review.

Each episode is full of surprises. You think it’s going to go one way, then it goes another. I like this over it being predictable. Then it’d get boring.

The Elder Blog: Gaming Update

I was seriously hoping to post updates as I played games on my Xbox One S. But I get so into playing them that I forget to, then I move on to the next game. When I review movies, it’s easier because I watch them, then they’re over. Games go on until I stop playing them.

So I’ll briefly list the games I’ve been playing since the last time I posted on here, and talk about what I thought of them.

Murdered: Soul Suspect. This was definitely an original game. At least to me. You play as a murdered detective solving your own murder. Meaning you play as a ghost. You walk through pretty much everything, with certain limitations. The only enemies in the game are demons, and you have to hide from them. Only way to defeat them is to sneak up behind them and attack. The game has a certain feel about it. Like a cross between The Crow and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. It doesn’t resemble those in any way, just in the feeling. At least in my opinion.

Forza Horizon 3. My XB1S was a FH3 bundle, so it included a digital code for the game, plus the Hot Wheels expansion. The Forza Horizon series is unique. I don’t normally like racing games, but there’s just something about this series. A couple years ago, the first Forza Horizon was a free Games With Gold and I grabbed it just because it was free. Decided to just play it to see what it was about. I loved it immediately. Shortly after, I bought Forza Horizon 2, and then when it was time to buy my Xbox One S, I chose the Forza Horizon 3 bundle (because I really wanted to play it, and because I already owned Minecraft). Now I own the entire trilogy, and I am currently excited about the E3 announcement of Forza Horizon 4 (or as I jokingly called it, 4za Horizon).

Agents of Mayhem. I’ve only played Saints Row IV, so it’s my only reference for how that series is. With that in mind, they took the concepts of that series and made AoM an even better game. It’s both toned down and amped up at the same time. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve played both games.

Mad Max. I’d honestly never seen the Mad Max films until several months ago. I don’t know if this is a controversial statement, but I didn’t like the first one at all. I liked the rest. Fury Road was my favourite. Anyway, not long after I watched them, I came across this game on Xbox Game Pass, and was in fact one of the first games I played from there. I thought it was going to be based on one of the movies, but thankfully it was an original story. Presumably even a reboot, because he has his car again, which was destroyed in the second film and again in the fourth (which they claimed wasn’t a reboot, but how did he get his car back?). In any case, this game was way better than I was expecting.

Shadow of Mordor. The Ultimate Edition was on sale for, like, $15, so I grabbed it. A coworker has been talking about it forever, so I finally got to see what he was going on about. While I admit it’s a good game, I rage quit before long. The individual enemies get stronger each time they kill you, and at the beginning you’re underpowered so die alot. So within a few hours, orcs were one-hit killing me, and ganging up on me. I told my coworker and he said I just needed to strategise. While I normally like strategising in games, this one made me too angry to continue. Maybe someday I’ll start over and try not to die so much. As I said, I can see it’s a great game, it just made me too mad.

Brave. WAIT! DON’T CLICK AWAY!! This game seriously surprised me with how good it was. Loosely based on the film, Merida collects a variety of powers as she goes on an adventure. I said loosely based on the film, but it’s so loosely that it’s practically an original story. It was another free Games With Gold title, which is why I even got it in the first time. The graphics are more than a little dated (they look like PS2 graphics on an Xbox 360 game, played on an Xbox One). Games based on movies tend to not be very good, especially games based on Disney movies. A few months ago they had Cars 2 as a free GwG title, and it sucked so much I didn’t even finish the tutorial. Brave was better than it had any right to be, and I genuinely enjoyed playing it.

Dead Island: Definitive Edition. I’d watched my little brother playing this once and thought it was just a mindless “kill all the zombies” game. Technically it is, but there actually is a story there, as well as a bunch of interesting characters. You can even have companions, and I liked my companion. It’s honestly one of the best zombie games I’ve ever played, probably beaten only by Undead Nightmare.

ReCore: Definitive Edition. This was the very first game I ever picked from Game Pass. My roommate suggested it, saying that he played it and that it’s awesome. He was totally right. It’s an interesting game with unique controls. I was too excited about playing the other game in Game Pass that I only played it a few hours. I should really go back and play it longer.

Rise of the Tomb Raider. I’m such a huge fan of the reboot series that I went ahead and bought the deluxe edition. I’d played the first one on 360 a couple years ago, and had played this on 360 as well. Other than the updated graphics, there’s a ton of new stuff in this version. Or maybe it’s just because I bought the deluxe edition. Either way, I can’t wait to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Gone Home: Console Edition. I wish they made more games like this. It’s purely story driven. You learn the story in whatever you find all of the notes around the house. The entire game takes place in the main character’s parent’s house. It’s a relatively small area, but because of that the developers were able to put a ton of details in the game. You can either play the game very slowly and learn every detail of the story, or you can literally reach the end in under a minute. There’s even an achievement for that. I played it with commentary, which actually enhanced the game for me. You got to hear the developers talking about making it, and you can tell they had so much fun doing so. Both because of the commentary, and because of all of the work that clearly went into making it.

Sea of Thieves. As I’m sure is true for everyone, I played this through Game Pass. I actually keep forgetting this isn’t technically a free game like Fortnite. I don’t have any friends who play this game, so I’ve played alone the whole time. I even have a video of me trying to learn the basics of the game and failing, but I found it funny so saved the recording. However, I do love the concept of the game. With games like Black Flag, you captain the ship while AI does all the work. In SoT, actual people have to actually do everything. Since it was just me, I had to weigh anchor, cast the sails, and steer the ship. When someone tries attacking me, I had to let goof the wheel, grab a cannonball, load it into the cannon, fire, and repeat. When they blew a hole in my hull, I had to grab wooden planks, run down to the lower decks, patch the hole, then use the bucket from that video to scoop up the water, run up to the deck, dump the water, then run back down and scoop up more water, repeat. It’s boring and stressful to play alone, but I can imagine how awesome it must be to play with a bunch of friends.

Fable II/III. I’m grouping these two together because they’re closely related to each other. Literally. In Fable III to play the grown up child of your character from Fable II. I absolutely loved both of these games. While I do have my own little nitpicks about them, I choose to ignore those due to how awesome both of these games are. All three Fable games are available on Game Pass (well, Fable Anniversary is, which is a remake of the original game. But it’s still the first game, but I didn’t like it so I’m not including it here).

Sunset Overdrive. This is another interesting game. It feels like a cross between Agents of Mayhem, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and Dead Island. Yes, I realise that’s an odd combination, but this is an odd game. In a very good way.

The Bridge. This was another Game Pass title, and I coincidentally played it the day after watching Loving Vincent. So I of course had Van Gogh in mind as I played this oddly intriguing game.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut. I’d honestly never heard of this series before finding this game on Game Pass. After playing it awhile, I looked it up and found out that it’s actually about five games in the series, the first one being The Great Giana Sisters all the back in 1986 on Atari. It’s not often I find lesser known [to me] series that are that old with recent games that are good. Twisted Dreams is a great game.

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. Another older series with good games released today. Though not as old as Giana Sisters, the first game was released in 2992 on the Game Boy Color. I say older, because even from the beginning it maintained a retro look. Granted, they kind of had to on the GBC, but in every game since they’ve had a retro feel, even having retro gaming music. There’s a ton of collectibles, and you’re always getting upgrade and new items. It’s basically a Metroidvania because you keep having to go back to the previous levels once you get more gear.

For Honor. I originally didn’t think I was going to like this game, after seeing gameplay footage during E3 last year. But it was part of Xbox Free Weekend awhile back and I played it, and to my surprise I ended up loving it. Unfortunately, even with the discount given to Free Weekend titles, I still couldn’t afford it, so I only played it the four days it was free.

Battlefield 1. I also played this one during the Free Weekend long ago, but again couldn’t afford it. But luckily it was on sale recently. I bought the Ultimate Edition for $10 (I love Xbox Gold deals). I love history, and have obsessed over World War II most of my life. But I hadn’t really studies World War I very much, because I thought it was just trench warfare and nothing much happened. This game changed that for me. Not only was it not just fought in the trenches in France, it took place around the world in other countries, even the Middle East. After playing this game I looked up a documentary on WW1 on Netflix (which doesn’t appear to be on there anymore. I was going to link to it but I can’t find it now. But there’s a ton of WW2 titles, which kind of proves my point…everyone focuses on that one), and it taught me even more about the war than I ever knew about….and it was all because of a video game.

Just Cause 3. I only played this game because of The Gaming Lemon. Before that video, Just Cause always annoyed me because it’d pop up when I was searching for Just Dance (which I have been playing, but I won’t list because I don’t have much to say about it. But I have been playing 2014, 2017, 2018, and Unlimited for the last two). After that video, I was like, “…you have my attention, game” and rented it from Gamefly. After playing it awhile, I bought Just Cause 3 XL Edition, which is basically the Ultimate Edition with all of the DLC. All of the DLC adds a bunch of awesome things to the game.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands. This is currently one of my favourite games on the Xbox One. I’ve always loved stealth games, and games that allow you to solve problems any way you want. This game does both. You can do literally any mission in any order you want, any way you want. Run in guns blasting, stealth in, etc. It’s one of the few games I 100% completed, I loved it that much.

Alien: Isolation. After the previous Alien game which won’t be named here (but I will link to a video I did involving it), I was afraid to play any Alien games. But not for the reason the studio wanted. I decided to play it after it was listed as one of the scariest games of the year. Sure enough, I only played it once because I ended up getting an anxiety attack. No joke! But I will never talk bad about this game, because it really is a good game.

Far Cry 5. I played Far Cry 3, thought it was okay, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, thought it was awesome, and Far Cry 4, but it gave me motion sickness and I stopped playing. Far Cry 5 looked awesome, so when it was on sale for $40 during the E3 sale, I snagged it. That wasn’t exactly cheap for me, but it was much better than the $60 it normally is. It took me three weeks to beat. One week on each region. I didn’t get 100% on it, but I came very close. It’s one of those kinds of games where you want to do everything. I made a playlist with every video I uploaded from this game (it’s only two videos).

There’s a ton of other games I have been playing, but I didn’t realise how long this post was until just now. I might make a second post in the near future. I want to discuss some of the other games, but this is getting really long, and it’s also very late here. I’ll continue this at a later date.

Casabloga: Ready Player One

Everyone suggested that I watch this movie because I’ve been obsessed with pop culture my whole life. But I honestly had no interest watching it. To me, it felt like they were just trying to cash grab the whole nostalgia trend.

I just watched it, and I have to say… Of course they did! They’d be dumb not to!

Instead of just throwing every single nostalgic pop culture they could afford into an incoherent non-story like I was fearing, it was honestly one of the most coherent and interesting stories I’ve seen in awhile.

To me, it felt like a cross between The LEGO Movie, Assassin’s Creed (the games, I have yet to see the movie, but I’m sure it’s the same concept), Infinity War (at least during the epic battle near the end, and how it ends), and finally Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (especially how the movie ends). I don’t know if that was the intention, but that’s the vibes I got from the film. Believe me, those aren’t bad comparisons, and I totally mean that in the best way possible.

Especially the Assassin’s Creed element. It takes place in the present, and you use the Animus to go to a realistic game world, and you’re on the run from Abstergo, and even corporation. In Ready Player One, Wade puts on a headset to go to a game world, and is eventually on the run from IOI, and evil corporation.

In The LEGO Movie, the main character meets a tough girl with purple hair, and the two of them end up teaming up to take down the corporation.

In RP1, the main character meets a tough girl with purple hair, and the two of them end up teaming up to take down the corporation.

Again, not saying this to put the movie down. Even something as original as Inception has the same plot as a Donald Duck comic strip. Everything is inspired by something else. That’s not a complaint, just an honest inevitability.

I highly recommend everyone watch this film. Considering I didn’t think I’d like it, I ended up getting excited at several moment, and literally cheering when certain characters appeared.

I only have two complaints. The Iron Giant has a war mode that they never used. During the battle at the end I was expecting him to change, but he never did. The other thing is the Holy Hand Grenade. It’s from one of the funniest moments of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In the scene, they made a big deal about having to count to three before throwing. Wade pulls the pins, then throws it. If they’re going to include a reference like the Holy Hand Grenade, they should get it right!

But honestly, that’s just a nitpick. The movie as a whole was amazing.