The skybeam trope in many popular films was inspired and popularized by the Luxor Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada, which also contains a deadly beam of light shooting at the sky. In many cases, film directors have been reported to have said, "damn that's cool" when seeing the Luxor for the first time.
If we can't have old stage tropes anymore, what can we have?
After the train wreck that occurred when Green Hill Zone came back and after Casino Forest Zone is considered "not original", what does the stage tropes have to do to be considered original then? Does that mean we can't have the beach level trope or the casino trope anymore?
Ended my gambling career (for now) on a high note - jackpot handpay to end 2020. My thoughts and ramblings as a now-retired gambler.
Warning: long rambling stories ahead. I am bored and waiting to get through my first day back at work since before Christmas. You've been warned! I've been going to the casino pretty regularly for the past few years. Before that, I played occasionally. I exclusively play slots. I view it as a night out - first with friends back when I brought $50 and played penny denom minimum bet spins and prayed to win $20, and then eventually shifting my mindset to playing higher bets and denominations. I hit my first jackpot handpay a couple of years ago. I hit $3700 on a $27 bet on a Geisha machine. I've hit a few other jackpots here and there, culminating with my biggest jackpot ever this past summer. I hit $12K on a $50 bet on a Pompeii slot machine. Well, the long story short is that I have fallen out of love with gambling. I have somehow managed to have a positive ROI on gambling. I track my withdrawls and win on a spreadsheet. To put it bluntly: I have been extremely lucky over the past few years. I know that slots are not a viable way to win money in the long run, so I made a decision a few months ago to "retire" from gambling at the end of 2020. I went to my local casino last Wednesday. It just so happens when I hit a jackpot that I usually do it within the first half hour or so I'm at the casino. Well, it happened again. After going up $600 or so on another slot machine (I don't remember the name), I went to one of my most hated/favorite old school slots - Zeus dollar denomination. One of my worst moments in all of gambling was a few years ago. I got a bonus round on the Zeus dollar denomination on max bet of $45 a spin. I was BEYOND excited. I've seen Youtube videos where people have won tens of thousands of dollars in that exact scenario. Much to my shock, I won nothing. In that game, you don't win anything for triggering the bonus. So I actually *lost* $45 on getting the bonus. I cashed out and left immediately. Anyway, last week I hit a modest $4500. It was exciting...but not as exciting as I thought it should be. I was cool, calm, and...detached. The wins didn't mean much to me, and the losses mean absolutely nothing. My wife and I are in the EXTREMELY fortunate position that losing $500 or so every week or two at the casino is affordable. I'm not ignorant to how lucky we are to be in this position. After getting paid out, I played a bit longer. But that hand pay drove home the realization that I had a few months ago: it was time to stop gambling. If I can't get pumped about a big win like that, and if I'm not even phased a little bit by losing, it's just not worth gambling any more. I used to go for entertainment, but even now gambling doesn't provide that much. As I sit now, I am up roughly $18K over three years of slots. Not bad, but not life changing. Enough that I bought my wife a Burberry and Louis Vuitton handbag on separate occasions. The rest if stashed in savings or in an investment account somewhere. But I am 100% committed to being done. At least for 2021, and probably longer. If anyone is interested in hearing my thoughts on how to win...I don't have any insight to share. It's luck. I got lucky. I know I got lucky. The usual tropes about setting win and loss thresholds is good advice. Sometimes I chased payouts and hit them. Sometimes I chased and lost. But I managed to hit more than miss, and for that I'm lucky. And thankful. Anyway. I don't have a major takeaway or anything. I don't have many people I can talk about this with in my personal life, so I figured I'd share a bit of my story here. If you do gamble, please do so responsibly. Good luck, and try to have fun. If you're not having fun, it's probably not the right way to spend your time or money. EDIT: I just wanted to say to anyone who reads this in the future that I appreciate the nice responses and PMs from people. It's nice to share a positive experience with others! I sincerely hope that if any of you choose to play in the future, you choose to do so responsibly. Gambling can be a hugely problematic lifestyle for some people. Stay safe. (end of preaching here). I also want to take a second to address some comments from some people about slots being skill based. This is 100% false. The concept of slots being skill based in any way is demonstrably untrue with three seconds of reasonable thinking. If we accept that there is a hypothetical slot game which is based on skill and not pure luck, what are the consequences of that? First of all, this information would leak out. There would be no way to contain it. If one person can solve the system, another an as well. Subsequently, someone would write a book on the subject. Think about all the poker and blackjack strategy books out there. These are games where skillful play can increase your odds of winning. Last I checked, there aren't any books or Supersytem-level analyses from prominent individuals willing to stake their names and reputations on publishing a "slot technique" book. There's a reason for this. And also - think about this: casinos still carry blackjack tables for a reason: they still have an edge to win. If there is a surefire way for individuals to win when playing slots, casinos would 100% for sure take these games out of circulation. Casinos are not in the business of giving away money. Any claim there is a foolproof way to win money playing slots does not make sense when critical thinking is applied to the circumstances. Slots are not like card games. Finding and playing only games where there is a "must win by" progressive is not the same thing as skillful play. That's more akin to something like card counting in blackjack. Many people who design slot machines and engineer the software behind the scenes have posted on Reddit and elsewhere that wins are based on random number generators running behind every spin. There is literally no skill involved - you win or lose each spin based on pure random luck. I am saying this because there are a number of people who come to this subreddit to look for ways to cheat the system and get easy money. I see posts like this fairly often, and I'm only browsing this subreddit occasionally. Gambling is not, and should not, be a way for anyone looking to make a quick buck. If you're looking to get an edge playing slots because you need to pay bills or make a quick buck, you are already in serious trouble. Do not buy into the delusion that you can get an edge or guarantee a win. People saying this are snake oil salesmen who do not care for you or your well-being. Anyway. I'm going to stop monitoring this post. I'm still open to receiving PMs or messages, but I've had my fun with this so far. I could do with fewer trolls, but this is the internet. I knew what to expect. Bon chance, everyone!
As someone who spends $1000+ a year on video games, here's my perspective on what is putting me off from spending money on RDO
I feel like Red Dead Online in general has highlighted some worrying trends in regards to Rockstar's design philosophy and I am concerned about the online experience in their future titles such as GTA 6.
I don't expect this post to have any massive impact on the future of RDO, but I wanted to share my expectations and attitudes as a consumer in hope that it might help Rockstar gain a better understanding of their audience. After all I have money that I am willing to spend and they seem to be after, there just hasn't been a reasonable incentive to do so.
For a long time GTA:O was my main source of entertainment and I used to regard Rockstar Games as the best video game publisher in terms of quality and value of the experience their games provided.
When RDR2 released two years ago, I was excited by the massive step-up in terms of complexity and immersion from GTA:O. I was also quite burnt out with GTA so I was prepared to turn RDO into my main source of entertainment.
I didn't own a console so instead I decided to save and build a high end PC in time for the game's PC release. I was prepared to commit 100% to this game.
October 2019 came, my PC was ready and I pre-ordered the Ultimate Edition. I got the game, played Story mode through all of Arthur's chapters, but stopped when I reached the Epilogue - I was excited to get into Online and see how it felt. And then it all fell apart.
Meh, the game felt a bit GTAish at the start, but I didn't mind it so much. I think I experienced some bugs or technical issues that made me take a break from the game and wait for a fix.
I was away for the holidays and then travelling for work so I get back to the game in late January. I finish John's story too and then head back into online. At this point I'm greeted with a message that Outlaw Pass season 2 is in progress. "Great, so I've already missed one?" I tell myself. I was not aware at that point in time that Steam PC players didn't even have access to Outlaw Pass season 1. But this was already starting to become a deal breaker for me and I'll elaborate on it further:
What is the appeal of Rockstar's games?
Let's take a look at GTA:Online, Rockstar's most financially successful title, success which they are probably trying to replicate with Red Dead Online. I don't know what goes through the minds of other players, so I'll share my personal experience. Before I stumbled upon GTA:Online in 2017 I had been mainly playing World of Warcraft for 3 or 4 years, but I was at a point in life where I just started my first full-time job and no longer had the time to pour into an MMO. I remember I used to describe it as "I come home from my job and have to log onto my other job" on raid night. I was also fed up with 90% of the game's content becoming irrelevant whenever a new update came along. it was just the same gameplay loop in a different packaging.
So what was so special about GTA: Online?
The biggest aspect for me was the Sandbox experience. It's an open world environment, you can fuck around freely, there is no linear gameplay imposed upon you or other restrictions that limit gameplay for the purpose of "balance". You are also free to experience the game at your own pace. There is no FOMO (fear of missing out) mechanic dictating that you play now or risk being locked out of content permanently.
Another big element of GTA Online that appeals to me is Customization options for the purpose of immersion and roleplay. The game contains so many references to Hollywood tropes and it allows you to act almost any persona that crosses your mind: Pablo Escobar, killer clown, every Charlize Theron role I can think of, the list is endless...
One thing that GTA Online did well and I used to praise them over other games for it was the inclusion of Universal Reward/Currency. Any activity you carry out in the game rewards the same currency, it's always meaningful progress towards your next goal. You had the ability to purchase it via Shark Cards, but the microtransaction served as an alternative in order to save time, not as a means of unlocking content behind an exclusive paywall. With the Arena Wars and the Casino DLC it looks like Rockstar has been experimenting with new ways to milk both "player engagement" in the form of time spent grinding secondary currency and revenue in the form of microtransactions. They can go claim to their shareholders "our playerbase is more active than ever and also spending money on the game". It just feels very limiting and at least the Arena Wars currency comes across as an artificial incentive for people to engage in gameplay that R* is not confident about it being popular on its own.
So I've established what were the most appealing elements of GTA:O as a consumer: 1.Freedom of Sandbox environment 2.Immersion and Roleplay in the form of customization options 3.Unique Currency serving as the means of progression
In my opinion, time-limited exclusive content should have no place in a sandbox game. I like the Outlaw Pass as an idea, it gives people something to work toward. I am just not a fan of the thought that development time goes into creating the rewards, they're added to the game, take space on my drive, but they are just locked forever with no means of obtaining them. It just diminishes my perceived value of your product. "Oh great I didn't play from the start? Time for an incomplete experience." Not to mention the fact that PC players are getting an incomplete product by default because Outlaw Pass 1 was never available on their platform. Some would argue that it's rewarding players who have been playing from the beginning. At what cost? It's also penalizing new players. Players that would've easily spent money on the pass, they just picked the game up too late, so now they are locked out of features forever. As someone who has missed almost 3 Passes worth of content, this is my biggest gripe about the game and what's holding me back from committing to the game to the point where I'd be willing to drop real life money on it. And I'm not arguing about getting the rewards for free. I am arguing for making that content available through other less efficient means. I didn't play the game when I was supposed to play it and now there's less content available for me. Oh sure, that'll definitely bring me back to the game and not make me abandon it on the spot. You can still reward players who buy the pass by unlocking the rewards for them, but why lock content forever and devalue the experience for any future player that buys your game? You could add them on a rare rotating stock for a ridiculously high gold bar price. There's a gold sink for you right there, now you're giving people a reason to spend money on your game. Or I don't even know, sell the passes again at some later time. You probably have the technology to allow players to purchase multiple passes and keep one active at a time. Just make old passes no longer reward gold or whatever.
Rockstar, you're concerned with reducing people's means of obtaining gold while also falling behind on delivering meaningful content. That's cause you're digging your own hole with your shortsighted approach on FOMO, working on adding content to the game only to then lock it away. But most importantly, you're establishing your stance: "Monetization by all means, screw player experience, screw a quality integral product, pay us right now or risk the game becoming more incomplete."
Some would argue that the Outlaw Pass is just cosmetics. I would totally get that point if this were a MOBA or a FPS or any other genre where gameplay is the predominant feature. But have a look at what's the most popular GTA content on Twitch: roleplay. Immersion and Roleplay have always been defining features of Rockstar games. Time-limited exclusive content just detracts from the value proposition of a sandbox game. If not cosmetic options, what else is there to work towards in RDO? It's not supposed to be a competitive game. K/D has no meaning, high scores have no meaning, It's a Club Penguin with guns and horses. Also the whole point falls apart because with Outlaw Pass 4 and 5 there are actual gameplay upgrades that are featured as time-limited exclusives,
The perceived loss of value from missing one outlaw pass was what made me drop the game again back in January. I picked it up again a month ago and I was actually enjoying it to the point where I was prepared to buy gold for the Outlaw Pass. Inaccessible content was a minor issue that I was willing to overlook since it didn't look like I missed out on any gameplay impacting features from previous passes. But oh boy, Rockstar, you didn't even try to be subtle in the latest update. You just reinforced the statement that you're after my money at any cost. I get that daily challenges had to be addressed, but at least the nerf didn't lock away access to content. But now you're taking gameplay impacting upgrades and holding them hostage behind a time-limited paywall. To me that's a sign that you're willing to compromise the quality of gameplay for a Q4 financial boost. It's very hard to justify spending money on this game at this point when there is no sign of good will from its developer.
GTA Online didn't need all these extreme incentives of monetization and look how well it performed. RDO feels like monetization came first and the game was build around it. Every feature feels like it was designed to psychologically entice me into spending and that's its biggest flaw. Everywhere I look I see a price, but I don't see value.
Saints Row The Third: Remastered - Nostalgia Sexily Reinvigorated
Remasters in 2020 continue to be a popular theme, as newer IPs have been baking in the oven waiting for the right moment to be served on the next-generation of gaming platforms, it’s never a bad time to revisit some of gaming's biggest hitters. The Saints Row franchise has experienced an interesting journey, what started out or was seen as a bastardized GTA clone back in 2006 has survived the scrutiny thanks to its bona fide atmosphere that combined exaggerated gangster tropes with true crime motifs that resonated surprisingly well with fans of the genre. Volition embraced feedback from its community to develop on the wackier aspects of the first game to implement through its game-mechanics in its second release just 2 years later. What happened with Saints Row that other GTA clones failed to do was that it became self-aware of its over the top nature and capitalized on it. Seeing as most action-adventure games that fall in the spectrum of crime often tend to fall in the same grim and dreary undertones to the point where the storytelling and characters become comically predictable or the mechanics feel lacklustre. These pitfalls are masterfully avoided, if not, taken to zany creative heights in the worlds of Stilwater and Steelport. I could go on about Volition’s previous installments but it would detract from Saints Row: The Third, Remastered. Right off the (dildo) bat, graphics have rejuvenated this game to a whole new level; breathing new life into its characters, cut-scenes and decadent world. It’s clear that with the remaster, Volition/Sperasoft have proven they are up to date with modern standards of visual fidelity. If you own a high-end console or a PC, 4K and HDR support for this game are available. Regardless, the textures are sharp, detail oozes right down to the very skin pores, the overhauled game engine sells itself beautifully and does a great job at making the world of Saints Row even more believable as crazy as it sounds. Just watching a before vs now video says it all really. Of course it's still far from Rockstar Advanced Game Engine levels of immersion, it’s still a step up in its own right. The new lighting model is excellent, although RTX is not yet available, it still renders its environments to a level of stunning and detail that brings out every world element in true 4k fashion. Even though it's a remaster and not a remake, I can’t help but feel a little ticked off that Sperasoft haven’t found a way to fix the day/night cycle that the game clearly needs and not the random preloaded time of day antics. Come on, it’s 2020 and you still haven’t figured it out? Every character gets a very well done remodeling that borders on uncanny valley in spite of its more cartoonish origins. My only gripes with the character models are the lack of effort that went into the lip-syncing, this undermines the realistic approach it’s trying to sell; in certain cut-scenes it felt like I was staring at high-tech androids with the oral articulation of an animatronic mouth servo. It doesn’t ruin the experience but again, if you’re going for that uncanny valley feel, investing in better animations can go a long way. Steelport, even it being a fictional world, feels very believable. Each “district” of the island city has a distinguishable urban mood. Carver island in the southwest feels oppressively industrial with its smoking chimneys. The postmodern architecture of downtown Steelport and its towering Skyscrapers of steel and glass make for pleasurable obstacles to perform feats of aeronautic exploits on. The suburban neighborhoods of Stanfield in the northwest and New Colvin in the east are reminiscent of Manhattan’s Chelsea borough district style of public housing and Detroit's urban decay. This brings me to my next point; I couldn’t help but wonder if Steelport was on the verge of bankruptcy or if its mayor just hates public transport? Seriously it has an airport and metro system but they are both defunct, not a sign of life. I understand this comes down to Volition being a MUCH smaller company than Rockstar so resources were a lot limited and crime being so overtly rampant, perhaps could be written off as Steelport being a discouraged tourist location? I digress but the world feels more dystopic and is reinforced by that with its updated visuals that really liven up its decade old environments. The “cribs” give a lot for the eye to look at, it's packed with props that give credibility to the world and really convey the lived-in vibes of a world famous but dysfunctional criminal organization. The rifles and rocket launchers casually lying around Shaundi's Ex’s apartment feel more plentiful, the eccentric art deco of Zimos’ pad, the shiny floors and gaudy fixtures of the Saints HQ, the decrepit surroundings of a once booming casino at Angels Gym, Kinzie's secret hacker warehouse are all given the special remastered treatment and feel very distinct from on another and make them worth dropping by in every now and then if you’re in their respective neighborhoods. The audio and music are cleaned up but still use the old sound files. Still though, it felt good driving over to Planet Saints singing along to Sublimes “What I got” with Pierce, the nostalgia my inner child was feeling certainly didn’t die off. The “Party Time” mission when you jump out of a helicopter to Kanye’s “Power” to crash a rooftop pool party somehow feels more electric. Flying a STAG VTOL on your way to wreak havoc across the city felt even more epic than the first time I played it, and I must have finished SR3 like well over 6 times at this point. Nevertheless, the entire narrative story is blockbuster material that only occasionally takes itself seriously, the main characters are well written and expertly voiced by a robust cast (Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, Daniel Dae Kim, Hulk Hogan, Sasha Grey, Burt Reynolds, Danielle Nicolet, Arif S Kinchen to name a few). If you’ve never played a Saints Row game, Saints Row 3 is a great way to get acquainted as it is perhaps the latest of the series to have kept its head on its shoulders as far as the meta goes. What happens after the third game is hit-or-miss. Do not go into this game expecting a GTA immersive sim experience or you will be disappointed. SR’s core strengths lie within its addictive, offbeat gameplay loop and insanely rigorous customization schemes. All this is now amplified with its updated visuals and DLC that come included in the remastered version. EDIT: Good to read up on other Saints fans opinions out there! It's nice to know that this game still has a loyal base despite R*'s big shadow.
A Cinematic Guide to The Weeknd: Pt 3. My Dear Melancholy and After Hours
My Dear Melancholy
Gaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective. Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking. https://preview.redd.it/qga7a3l8ct261.png?width=910&format=png&auto=webp&s=371cf20d42ee8783cc23bfe7f2cfa16a0a927a0e Asian Cinema Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed. https://preview.redd.it/fx7o9s2bct261.png?width=642&format=png&auto=webp&s=0fec2f841e9d3b09104238d0f89595daa6140faa https://preview.redd.it/n4x7fiy9ct261.png?width=1316&format=png&auto=webp&s=8a9650263272518216fc5f36913e80a10d2b0a8e
Martin Scorsese While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society. While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours. https://preview.redd.it/wcds9qpdct261.png?width=1196&format=png&auto=webp&s=246c560c72340782e26ad03b8ff63367999eaadd Urban HorroIsolation With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia. https://preview.redd.it/dtbxjc3ict261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=66a98cc3cba73d502f8586a215a65cc41c5408a1 The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films. https://preview.redd.it/egap17ttdt261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=1aab204ac0845a7df74ceeff6d1f714274f9ace0 The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two. https://preview.redd.it/g53copgmct261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d29e368ae695d295b36039e86125ccfd7b4eb88 Las Vegas As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas. https://preview.redd.it/gjow6hq2dt261.png?width=1992&format=png&auto=webp&s=10a379bc26df54af88064bf64813d5cdd29775d9 While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film. https://preview.redd.it/98ec10wxct261.png?width=1168&format=png&auto=webp&s=45e29aa361fa41ff74e2a6017e203015bdcbc6c3 New York/The Safdies Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect). https://preview.redd.it/f3w7yz4pdt261.png?width=1346&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe7e4f003987fd843020a42a5b53f94092984267 Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again". https://preview.redd.it/em255b5qdt261.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=a5226c9496d0ae5c14b6d6c05e16f5ea18678a9a Obsession/Toxic Romance While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively. https://preview.redd.it/eq1ioijvdt261.png?width=898&format=png&auto=webp&s=f9e4b781ee60762ae767c4dbd92066357ebc24b0 In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem. https://preview.redd.it/3m661q62et261.png?width=1342&format=png&auto=webp&s=c9377018cb53f67cf7ce95b24392afb471e4aec1 One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love. https://preview.redd.it/zfllbd83et261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c048ee98d86d7bbb9db67fa8302d34c36214c4f
To cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas. Steeped in the history of the medium… It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work. …is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films… This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom. …while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs… In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video. --------------------------- …and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research. I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch! If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project. The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied. Thanks all!
Story Arc or Standalone? What is a more preferred formula that the next Bond should follow? (And my detailed look at the continuity)
Since Bond’s inception there has been a loose continuity of sorts. From Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan there have been recalls, direct references to prior adventures and some members of the cast that stayed on throughout numerous tenures of the main role. When Craig became Bond it was a signal that all was changing, there was going to be a new Bond. A Bond that defied expectations, that started a brand new timeline, a Bond that was going to be a reinvention of what many grew to love. When Casino Royale came to the screens it was marked as a revelation to the franchise, gone were the over the top gadgets and villians, and instead a down to earth gritty Bond, getting the mission done with a straight forward plot. However, after Casino there was news that many fans were to be expecting a direct follow up to the events of Casino, Bond fans had experienced something to this effect before with the pre-title sequence of DAF, although all that did was make little effort to establish a connection to OHMSS and all the events and emotions prior were quickly tossed away in pursuit of a more campy and distractive movie that was used to bring audiences back in the seats due to Connery’s return. Quantum was going to be a different case though, it was going to be a pure sequel , an extension of Casino, that audiences couldn’t wait to see. The film was a success despite its production problems with writers strikes, editing choices and a very fast paced narrative that didn’t give the audience time to breathe. It left a mixed taste among Bond fans and viewers that only further worsened as MGM filed for bankruptcy and the future of Bond was at risk. Enter 2012, the money troubles had been resolved and Bond was coming back with Craig in the role again, and this time in the form of Skyfall, a movie celebrating the 50th Anniversary helmed by the extremely reputable Sam Mendes and vowed to be a return to form. A movie that stood alone from the previous movies and told an emotional tale of forgiveness and family. The film was a gigantic success, both critics and viewers left relieved and excited again and the news of Craig and Mendes returning for a sequel excited many. It had been a while since a director had helmed the subsequent film in the series, the last being John Glen in 1989, so many were happy that a director could continue his vision with an actor he shared a good connection with. However, Spectre wasn’t a smooth sailing ship despite being a great success, Sam Mendes made several comments stating his displeasure working on Spectre, the working conditions and Craig took a long time to be persuaded to return. But more than that, the narrative of Spectre once again tried to connect to previous entries, but this time in a way which was deemed nonsensical, confusing and downright laughable with silly tropes. We now come to 2020, In an ideal world NTTD would have released by now, and we could include this in the discussion but unfortunately we must be continue eagerly anticipating the next instalment, a sequel of Spectre which seems to be connected outright with Madeleine Swan being a key plot point aswell as Blofeld being revealed as a key information source. So with the entries we’ve seen of Craig, the big question is has this story arc ‘so far’ paid off? Should the next Bond continue Craig’s story? Reboot once again or should Bond finally go back to a standalone set of movies that only loosely connect, a formula that has allowed so many Bonds to reign and succeed one another?
Concerning Longmire, Nighthorse, and the matter of plausibility...
First off, this is an opinion coming from a viewer who only had a passing acquaintance with the show up until a family member started binge-watching it on Netflix (I'd seen three, maybe four episodes in all, up until recently). Second, this is my rebuttal of a post on here (https://www.reddit.com/longmire/comments/9nvsle/what_the_hell_i_mean_what_the_fucking_hell/) made a while back... Concerning Nighthorse: My first impression of Jacob Nighthorse is a comparison to a villain from a '90's sci-fi that only managed one season before it was cancelled - "Space Rangers". The character I'm referring to - Isegol - acted just like Nighthorse does; always acting through third parties, or just far enough in the light that taking him to task is not only an inordinately tall order, but it's an excuse to be destroyed just about every single way a person can. This is especially true in the lead-up to Branch being shot; everything that follows - including the revelation that Ridges was alive, after all - is compounded by the fact that ol' Jacob is justclean enough to squeak past getting sent to the hoosegow. The author of the reddit post I referenced up above claims that the worst thing Nighthorse did was take dirty money for the casino; only problem is, throughout the series, he is shown in connection with incidents where he is either trying to maneuver himself into a position of advantage over people (Branch's attempt at becoming sheriff, for starters), or allying himself with people who are certifiably bad juju (the former tribal police chief), and that is too much of a coincidence to ignore. Longmire's attitude: Throughout the series, Walt is a man haunted by his demons. We know early on that he beat the shit out of those junkies in Denver, and it is even heavily implied that he's hiding the fact that he killed Beck for murdering his wife. Honestly, though -- this trope has been done; Deep Space Nine did it with the character of Benjamin Sisko. The quintessential difference is that Walt isn't built to be anything other than a lawman; it's practically genetic with the guy. On top of that. Walt - unlike Sisko - never fully came to closure with the death of his wife; it became something of a personal crusade for him, and it took him to a dark place. I see posts on the Longmire wiki, and on this subreddit, that accuse Walt of being the stereotypical white cop, and acting like how he acted was unjustified. Skipping past the point that this is fiction, this story has been done several times before, in a myriad of genres - hell, the dynamic between Walt and Nighthorse is almost a parallel of the Hamilton storyarc of NCIS: New Orleans; now, why does Hamilton get burned in effigy from minute one, but Nighthorse's connections to events that put him in a position of power on a reservation he's not even a member of by blood get a pass? I mean, c'mon - it's the same fucking story, just told in Wyoming instead of the Big Easy! Ultimately, my frustration for the way this story is interpreted is because I see too much sympathy for the devil, and not enough for the lawman put through hell.
The reason why I watched clips of Martin Scorsese's 1995 Las Vegas crime drama epic is me scrolling down the Bowdlerise Film page on TV Tropes, which had a section about the hilarious censorship of the movie, and I watched clips of it on YouTube. I only watch this mob movie because it has Joe Pesci, one of my favorite actors growing up when I saw him in Home Alone. As for my honest opinion on this film, while it doesn't break new ground in cinema, it's still fairly serviceable in terms of acting, cinematography, soundtrack, and the Las Vegas setting, which are pretty good. Not as good as, say, Goodfellas, but still fine on its merits. The movie's best parts are when Ace Rothstein throws out a cowboy who put his feet on the table at the Tangiers Casino, Nicky Santoro putting Tony Doggs' head in a vise, Ginger McGee going berserk, and the meeting in the desert. The one thing I would complain about is the excessive profanity. Look, I know mobsters don't always have the cleanest mouths out there, but jeez, do they have to use nearly every swear word in the book to convey to us that it's a gritty mob drama? Others like it don't always rely on this gimmick 100% of the time, and we still get what they're trying to tell us. I'm not again swearing in movies. In fact, I tolerate most swear words with the exceptions of the F-word, the C-word, the C-sucker word, and the T-word, the former three of which are uttered in Casino sometimes gratuitously. I do find Pesci's usage of the F-word to be funny at times in specific scenes. Overall, I would rate a 6-7 out of 10 or 3 and a half stars.
r/StarWarsCantina, which is the best cantina scene (besides Mos Eisley)?
"Mos Eisley Spaceport. Never again will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious." In the original Star Wars, Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina (yeah I just found out what it was actually called, thanks Wookieepedia) introduced us to the breadth of bizarre alien creatures in the Star Wars galaxy, all crammed in a seedy bar on a backwater planet. From the hammer-headed Ithorian designed by Ron Cobb to the devilish Devaronian designed by Rick Baker, Lucas's creative team helped bring a universe of seemingly limitless possibilities to life in one short sequence. The scene has had a number of homages and imitations in other entries of the saga, but how do they all stack up compared to the original and arguably the best? There's some criteria for what constitutes a "cantina" scene. It has to be some kind of enclosed environment featuring a plethora of unique alien designs with tonnes of visible personality as well as an overall lively though somewhat intimidating atmosphere for the protagonists. I'll be ranking them all out of 10 on the Cantina Factor. I'll only be counting the mainline "episodes" of the saga. Episode V... doesn't have a cantina scene. The closest thing is the bounty hunter gathering on the Star Destroyer bridge, but... it doesn't really have the same feel and is a bit too brief to count. Move along, move along. Episode VI, on the other hand, throws us right into the 24/7 partyhouse that it Jabba's Palace. A stew of filth and debauchery surpassing Mos Eisley, you almost feel dirty just looking at this place. Jabba is truly the Fisher King of his establishment, everything is as grimy and seedy as the giant slug himself. We see Jabba's entourage of performers, jesters and burlesque dancers, as well as servants, guards, bounty hunters, VIPs and assorted criminal scum. Compared to Mos Eisley, we get to see this litany of bizarre characters in greater focus, with many turning out to be quite important figures in the expanded universe. The main centres of attraction include: Jabba's pale, weak-minded Twi'lek majordomo Bib Fortuna; the axe-wielding, boar-like Gamorrean Guards; Jabba's cackling jester Salacious B. Crumb; Boba Fett flirting with girls; Oola the sexy Twi'lek slave dancer who's fed to the Rancor; Malakili the Rancor keeper who tenderly weeps when his beloved pet is crushed to death; EV-9D9 the sadistic torture droid; Ephant Mon the horrifically ugly elephant thing who is apparently Jabba's best mate; and last but not least, Max Rebo the cute blue DJ. Bossk the Trandoshan bounty hunter also has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo. The 1997 Special Edition controversially extends the song-and-dance number with Sy Snootles, replacing her (admittedly awful) puppet with CGI and adding an entirely new singer, Joh Yowza, who obnoxiously mugs the camera during his solo. Overall, the Jabba's Palace scene is in many ways better than the original Mos Eisley cantina scene, but it suffers greatly in the Special Edition... still, nothing can stop it ranking a solid 9/10 on the Cantina Factor. With an enhanced budget and new fangled digital effects technology, Episode I is basically one long creature-feature. There's not really a single scene quite like Mos Eisley, as nearly every scene seems to have crowds of alien extras wandering around. Ironically, we don't see any cantina-like locations on Tatooine in the film, though the Boonta Eve Classic podrace scene provides us a decent alternative. All of the greatest podracers in the Outer Rim gathered together with their own idiosyncratic vehicles, including Anakin's cruel arch-rival Sebulba, the four-armed Gasgano, and the legend himself Ben Quadrinaros. Pit droids wander around providing some visual comedy. We see Jabba and Gardulla presiding over the event, with live race commentary provided in both Basic and Huttese by the hammy two-headed Fodesinbeed Annodue, a.k.a. Fode and Beed. Anakin's slave friends, including the young Rhodian played by Warwick Davis, also appear to cheer him on. However, considering that the rest of the film shoves so many CGI alien mugs in our faces all the way through, it doesn't have quite as much impact. 6/10. In Episode II, we get the Outlander Club on Coruscant during Obi-Wan and Anakin's citywide chase for the bounty hunter Zam Wessell. As an avid clubber myself (not so much now, thanks COVID), I naturally like this scene and it's also cool to see the night life on a civilised Core World for once. On the downside, we don't get a good look at many quirky alien characters, but the one who does make an impression is no less than excellent: the deathstick dealer Elan Sleazebaggio. I wonder if he did go home and rethink his life? The scene also started the fan theory that Obi-Wan might be an alcoholic, seeing as he eagerly heads straight to the bar for some shots like the absolute legend he is. The "Jedi causes commotion with lightsaber, everyone looks then just carries on as normal" beat is given a tribute too. Moreover, the Outlander Club is used in an awesome fan film called Hell's Club which mashes together various iconic club scenes from other movies -- Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan encounters Ewan McGregor's Renton from Trainspotting while Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever leers at Anakin a little too long (also the madness makes Carlito's death no less sad, RIP). 8/10. Episode III, there isn't one, skip. Being a soft remake of Episode IV, Episode VII gives us a straightforward cantina scene with Maz Kanata's Castle on Takodana. Takodana might be one of my favourite locations in the whole saga. On paper it's an unremarkable forest planet but there's something... tangible about it. The fact that it was filmed in a real forest and a real set for the castle rather than a greenscreen backdrop definitely helps. Beyond Kanata herself, we see glimpses of some interesting looking characters, including: Grummgar the hulking big game hunter; Bazine Netal the enigmatic First Order spy who rats on BB-8; and most memorable of all, Sidon Ithano a.k.a. The Crimson Corsair, the red-garbed mercenary who Finn offers to join up with. Among the flags adorning the castle, you can also see the emblem of the real life charity organisation, the 501st Legion. Nice touch. Will we ever find out how the Skywalker lightsaber got there though? 9/10. Episode VIII gives us the controversial Canto Bight on planet Cantonica. I'm very much pro-Canto Bight, it's a perfect 'anti-Mos Eisley'. Rather than a usual wretched hive of destitute criminals, Cantonica is a luxury casino resort filled with the disgusting, decadent elite of the galaxy. Crooks of a different breed. The aesthetic is great, it's all white and clean but filled with some truly repulsive-looking aliens squeezed into tight tuxedos and dresses. Like Finn, it's easy to get lost in the glitz and glamour until you see what it's all built on, then you can cheer when the Fathiers tear it all down. As bad as it all is, a part of me still finds Canto Bight appealing -- I wouldn't mind getting suited and booted and playing a bit of roulette (or the Star Wars verse equivalent of it, idfk) with some fuckin' weird aliens. Speaking of, let's get to some. We've got: Countess Alissyndrex delga Cantonica Provincion, the ruler of the town who can only be described as a purple slab of meat with a human face; Lexo Sooger the long-armed masseur; Slowen Lo the busybody Abendedo who almost destroys the Resistance because Finn and Rose parked on a beach; the Cthulhu-esque Palandag jazz band, somehow weirder than the Modal Nodes from Mos Eisley; Dobbu Scay the diminutive monocled alien who drunkenly mistakes BB-8 for a slot machine, also played by Mark Hamill; Justin Theroux and doll-faced model Lily Cole cameoing as the suave "Master Codebreaker" and his square-haired partner respectively; and of course, Benicio del Toro's "DJ" imprisoned down in the cells. Below the casino itself, we see the abusive slavery practices on both animals and children, with the boy Temiri Blagg revealing himself as Force-sensitive in the ending shot of the film after being inspired by the legend of Luke Skywalker. Whether or not you like its role in the story, it's a damn good alien cantina, 10/10. Finally, we get to Episode IX. It's easy to miss because of how insanely fast-paced the film is, but yeah, there is a cantina scene on Kijimi, in the Spice Runner Den. I always wondered if this planet is a reference to Hideo Kojima, makes sense considering he and J.J. Abrams are friends, though apparently it's also a reference to some Japanese synthesizer brand. It's nothing to write home about. I mean, yeah, we're introduced to Zorii Bliss and Babu Frik, the best character in the entire trilogy, but what else is there? Oh yeah, a cameo from John freakin' Williams as the bartender Oma Tres. But yeah, apart from that, it's bland and forgettable, there are some aliens dotted around but none of them are focused on particularly. 3/10. And there you have it. I felt weird about ranking Mos Eisley itself with its own imitators when it originated the whole trope, so I leave that one to you guys. Which is your favourite?
My Brother Finished Collar x Malice...& Enomoto's a Himbo!
Hey all! My brother finished Collar x Malice; here are his thoughts! If you don't want spoilers, scroll down below for a conclusion to his otome journey.~ His thoughts on Enomoto’s route: “I LOVE the route, but I don’t like the boy [Enomoto]; I’m sorry! He is such a himbo! I love his route, I love his arc of learning to trust again…but god, he’s just such a himbo that I’m like, ‘meh, I don’t know’. I thought it ended on kind of an anticlimax, though, where it’s just like “and then they stopped Ogata. The End” What?! Where’s the climax that I deserve?! Where’s Adonis’ hideout?! Instead it’s like ‘and then they talked to him [Ogata]. The End.” Also, “I thought the climax would play on the fact that Enomoto has trouble trusting people…but it didn’t? It’s not that it’s a bad conclusion, & he still got a good conclusion to his arc in learning to not put his sempais on a pedestal, & evolve his idea of justice like he asks Ogata to do at the end, but I just wanted more on the fact that he had to trust Ichika & accept, full circle, that cops aren’t saints.” Finally, “I really liked the case in this one, & the fact that he’s the one who found the body. I enjoy him as a character & a concept, & just don’t like his actual character very much!” Also, “the bad ending [where love isn’t high enough] is so sad. I’m like, ‘no Ichika, return to your boy! What are you doing?!’ I’m sad now.” One last note: “I hate his eyepatch. It’s such a dumb reason to wear an eyepatch, I’m like ‘please stop; it’s not cool Enomoto!’ I’m sorry; that’s my truth.” Overall, “It’s a 7 [out of 10]. If I liked Enomoto more, it would’ve been an 8. He’s a very interesting person, and a very loving person—I just think he’s a dunce!” ∠( ᐛ 」∠)＿ Finally, shoutouts to u/supersonic_princess who called Enomoto a himbo in my last post with my brother’s thoughts; as my brother said, “that’s the perfect way to describe Enomoto!" (￣▽￣)ノ Also, during Enomoto's route, he predicted that Zero is either Saeki or Mochida. So, he predicted Saeki being Zero before playing Yanagi's route! Before starting Yanagi's route, he said "I'm honestly not looking forward to it; I think he's pretty boring." When he got to the part where you had to type in Zero's name, he had forgotten Saeki's first name, so he had to Google it. "I actually suspected Saeki for a while, but seeing Ichika's reaction [to Saeki being suspected] was like poor baby; she had no idea!" After playing the route, "Yanagi's still boring; I'm sorry. He's a fine person, but he's just boring to me--he's trope-y & boring." Also, unfortunately, "The route didn't have any surprising twists & turns, because I already figured out who Zero is, & I already figured out Yanagi's backstory. I wanted to see twists & turns like with the other routes, but I didn't, which was disappointing." And, "Yanagi's not a bad guy or anything--he's just boring! He gets more interesting after they start dating, but he's still not overly interesting. He seems like he's a good guy for Hoshino--I just didn't like him. I thought [the route] was interesting, especially Saeki wanting to be killed by Hoshino so the cycle could continue, & the endings where she becomes part of Adonis were interesting. I honestly don't have a lot to say--his route just kind of bored me. It's just ok." One little note, "I didn't get the last CG--I had to go back & have him hold my hand instead of hug me." And finally, "he's a 6.5 out of 10. He's boring--sorry Yanagi!" ∩(︶▽︶)∩ His final thoughts on the game: "You can make the argument that Collar x Malice is just police propaganda, because it's like police uwu the whole time. But I don't think that argument would be engaging with the text honestly, because [the game] has a lot to say about if the police are even trustworthy to begin with--that's not giving it as much credit as it deserves. It deals with can you even trust the cops to begin with, & asks a lot of interesting questions about who gets to choose justice, & why the people who choose justice are important. I can see this is coming from my American perspective, because there's a lot of police brutality in America, whereas I don't know how the police are in Japan." Also, "I also feel a sense of dread--it's implied in all the endings except the true route that Adonis got away, & Saeki's still at the police station, so I'm like uh-oh. Well, they're doomed." "I liked all the boys--I at least liked each of them a little bit. It was fun getting to know each one--they're all lovely people, except Shiraishi, not as lovely, but he's trying though." Finally, "I'm really interested to see what Unlimited covers now. I need that soft sweet romance!" (*･▽･*) His favorite boys from best to worst: Sasazuka>Okazaki>Enomoto>Shiraishi = Yanagi. "Sasazuka and Okazaki are up there, almost tied, then there's a gap & there's Enomoto, & then there's another gap & there's Shiraishi & Yanagi." ヽ(･∀･)ﾉ To finish off, just like with Code Realize, my brother came up with songs for each character. They are below: The whole game: Basset-Hound - Black Cat #13 Adonis: Dream Sweet in Sea Major Takeru: Shiffley - Harmonic Okazaki: Fun.: - Sight Of The Sun Enomoto: Hellogoodbye - Finding Things To Do Shiraishi: Coldplay - The Scientist Yanagi: Hoobastank - The Reason One last thought from him after playing Code Realize, Future Blessings, & Collar x Malice: "I really like the heroines in these games! I thought they'd be more self-insert-y, but they're really fleshed out & have a lot of personality, & I really like them." (❁´▽`❁)*✲ﾟ* And my brother liked the game so much, he's already written CxM fanfiction & has bought CxM merch! Specifically some buttons & this Collar x Malice Casino tapestry featuring Sasazuka (1st pic). In his words, "I just had to get my boy with a headband." Apparently it'll arrive soon.~ He also made casino! Takeru his phone lock screen. In his own words, "Takeru with a headband is an unbridled delight." (≡^∇^≡) He also listened to the Collar x Malice character songs! In his words, "I f*cking love Okazaki's! And of course Takeru's is good too, but I'm like, 'it's a little downbeat for his character'. I'll admit, though, it's grown on me" （*´▽｀*） He'll be playing Collar x Malice Unlimited next, & after that Piofoire: Fated Memories! I won't be posting his thoughts because I haven't played either game & don't want to be spoiled, but I'm happy he'll be checking them both out! （‐＾▽＾‐） Finally, to finish off this long post, I'll tell you what my brother said after I told him, "I'm glad you like the game [Collar x Malice]." His response was, "I really like it! Thank you for sharing it with me. It’s humbling that you introduced me to this because it’s been such a big part of your life, so it’s really nice that you wanted to share that part of your life with me.” He then added, “I’m glad you got me into otome. They’re really good, & playing them makes me really happy. And the stories in these ones are really good. I want more! I'm glad you introduced me to these things.” Hearing that almost made me tear up. ;_;
I remember my daughter's drowning death in the 1800s
I have had a series of very vivid dreams about "my" daughter's death over the course of about 5 years. I'm 32, so they started in my late 20s. Some backstory: I have ALWAYS had an irrational fear of drowning in a confined space. It is my only phobia. You may not notice it if you don't share my phobia, but a LOT of popular media contains this trope. Characters stuck in a submarine or ship that's slowly filling with water, etc. Sometimes a scene like his will materialize out of nowhere in a movie where I was not expecting it, like Casino Royale or San Andreas. There was recently a film called The Old Guard with Charlize Theron where one of the characters, who is physically immortal, is thrown into the ocean in an iron cage. Once she hits the ocean floor, she drowns, briefly dies, then wakes up again, inhaling water, drowning, dying, etc in an infinite loop for eternity. The idea of this was SO upsetting to me that I started crying, and it's just a stupid popcorn flick. Anyway, I have no experiences with nearly drowning in my current life at all. In fact, I love being in the water and swimming, and have even gone scuba diving on several different occasions. I would just never go cave diving, or go on a submarine (not that I can imagine a situation where I'd have the opportunity to). Anyway, all of that is to say that in my dreams, I'm a man in his late 30s (I'm a woman right now), who is an American homesteader. Kind of down-and-out, but I don't really know it. My life is very hard, but I take everything in stride because I have very little else to compare it to. I have a farm, or a ranch, or something. It's not on the East Coast--it feels like the frontier, like I'm trying to build a life for myself out of nothing but my own blood and sweat. It's hard to describe the mental state that this past life me is in--it's just completely different from my current life of luxury and modern conveniences. I perceive danger and death totally differently--they are simply part of my life and I am used to loss and hardship, but I am not depressed or unhappy. The moment in the dream that sticks with me, is that my homestead is flooding due to an overfull river nearby. I have ascertained information about the flooding somehow in advance, maybe from other farmers, or maybe just from knowing the weather patterns. There has been a MASSIVE storm, washing out my property, but in the aftermath pretty much everything is okay, except for the fact that my best horse is outside of her pasture, in the river, stuck in the water up to almost her neck. I have a teenage daughter, she is about 13 years old. She is my only family. I don't have a wife, and I don't have any other children. She is a strong and capable farmhand and my partner managing my homestead. She wears pants and shirts, not skirts or dresses. She has light brown hair and a dirty face. I love her, but am not physically affectionate toward her. The work of running our ranch is all-consuming and it's all we talk or think about. We are standing on a fence with water all around us, trying to hatch a plan to lasso this horse and bring it back to the farm. Words cannot describe how important this is to me. I need this horse to come back--it is one of my most valuable belongings and if it dies or washes away I will not be able to recover financially. My daughter makes several unsuccessful attempts to lasso the horse, who is shying and may lose its foothold in the riverbed at any second. She curses, then dives off the fence, into the river water, and swims capably over to the horse, who is getting more and more nervous. She is able to attach the lasso to its neck, but gets caught in the current, and is swept behind the horse, who promptly kicks her in the head and she goes under the water. I see that there is tension on the rope implying that it is tied around her wrist or something, and the current is pushing her under like a fish caught on a fishing line. I watch in dismay as the horse panics, loses its foothold, and both my daughter and the horse are swept away. The crazy thing is that, despite how big of a life event this is, I am still thinking about money and the future as my own daughter is dying before my eyes. I have had this dream 8-10 times in the past 5 years.
Thinking about how your character learned the skills they have is a great way to add some flavor to your character
A lot of people I’ve played with just gloss over how their character has the skills they have, they look at the skill list and pick one at random thinking, “I’m a Rogue, of course I’d have Deception” and leave it at that but there are so many ways a Rogue could pick that skill up. •A Rogue with the Spy background might have gone through extensive training to hone that skill while training at Fantasy MI6 boot camp. •A Rogue with the Entertainer background may have honed their ability to deceive so that the audience is more likely to believe that it’s all part of the act when it was not their card. •A Rogue with the Gambler background who has spent hours around a poker table could have honed their ability to bluff through trial and error in a casino. This method could be used for any other skill, take survival for example. •A Barbarian who has spent their whole life in a HunteGatherer tribe could have learned these skills as a natural part of their upbringing •During their training to become a Paladin a teenage Noble might have been abandoned in the woods by his mentor in the classic trope of “survive and become my apprentice or die” •A character with the Sailor background could have picked up the survival skill when their navy training covered how to survive in the event of a ships distraction. Let’s do one more, Stealth •Theres the classic example of a rebellious noble child sneaking out to do various rebellious things •And who could forget the classic street urchin evading the guards to bring the food they’ve stollen back to the abandoned building where all the other street kids live •A survivalist hunter type may have learned to move silently to avoid scaring off the various moose they intend to make their prey. This is a type of thing I really like to think about when making a character, it always makes them feel a bit more real. A personal favorite of mine was a Rogue I played with the Entertainer background, I had to think of a reason they’d have Thieves Tools so I decided to incorporate escape artistry into their act, it really helped me nail down the street magician vibe that I wanted.
Can you think of any movies/TV shows with scenes containing the 'Super Multi-Purpose Room' trope?
This is the trope where a button can be pressed to hide or reveal certain parts of a room, such as revealing weapons racks, hiding gambling or casino tables, a rotating wall with fireplace or lounges, etc. This website lists a bunch of them, but I am specifically looking for any scene that shows a room of casino and gambling tables being hidden quickly to show a normal looking room. The Simpsons scene with Moe's Pet Shop is one relatively good example of this. I know I have seen this trope in some classics, but I just can't remember any of them. Cheers!
Just finished Mafia DE...mixed feelings [SPOILERS]
So I just finished the remake and wanted to give my thoughts. I have been a huge fan of the original game for years, so was really looking forward to this remake. However overall, although I certainly enjoyed it I believe it also missed the mark in huge ways: THE GOOD:
Voice acting was mostly good, Tommy I liked a lot more as he felt like a real working class joe turned mobster. I really enjoyed the interactions between the characters. I especially liked how Tommy’s friendship with Paulie and Sam was greatly fleshed out so they truly start to feel like your pals over the course of the game. Hell I even loved Sam despite knowing that he would betray me in the end. The extra scenes with Sarah were nice too. I always found it ridiculous in the first game that their relationship was basically friends>sex>wife with no real actual development or personality given to her. Seeing that she exists outside of just being a background character for most of the story was a great change.
Gameplay and gunfights were very fun, cars were a great joy to drive and just WOW does everything look amazing. Lost Heaven is incredible in the remake and the vintage cars are sexy as hell. Fantastic work all around aesthetic wise.
Some good story changes. Morello is fucking terrifying and I like how in the remake he is a considerably more powerful mob boss than Salieri, whereas in the original they were implied to be about both equally matched. I liked some of the minor tweaks too, like changing the diamonds to heroin for example. The Bon Appetite mission I thought was greatly improved in the remake. The original was mostly just a way to include a genre trope (hunting down a rat) where the remake uses it to instead flesh out the character of Salieri. Carlo is more sympathetic and we get to see just how much of a monster Sal really is.
The collectible cigarette cards were awesome! I really enjoyed how H13 is working to tie the story of all 3 titles together into a cohesive fictional lore.
Waaaay too linear in mission design. The original game allowed much more freedom in how you go about completing missions, and the levels were a lot larger and more open. I understand that some design changes needed to happen in order to accommodate modern shooter mechanics, but it felt very much like a corridor shooter when the original game wasn’t like that at all. There was way, way too huge an emphasis on combat. The first Mafia included a variety of different change ups to missions that kept the game interesting. Visiting Rich People tested your ability to be stealthy AND nonviolent, Happy Birthday required you to figure out a puzzle under time pressure, Just for Relaxation tested your patience and ability to adapt, Moonlighting gave you the freedom to choose how the mission goes down etc. The remake had none of that, just go to the place and wait for the shooting to start.
Way too fast paced in terms of story. This ties into the previous point but DE seemed to be in a constant rush to get you to the next shooting segment without giving you time to ever relax. It’s also odd that they cut out so much from the original that utilized the city itself considering how gorgeous and fun it is to navigate the city now. You know how the original game had those annoyingly long car rides to Salieri’s bar? I honestly wouldn’t have minded them here. Being able to take in the city and feel like I’m going on a commute would have actually been enjoyable in the world that H13 created, and yet they barely give you any opportunity to do so.
The ending...just wow they fucked it up. Moonlighting was terrible. My favorite mission from the original is my least favorite from the remake...and that sucks. Moonlighting was originally awesome because it not only built an incredible amount of tension leading up to the heist, but it also gave you a taste of freedom that you were previously denied. You could choose your own weapons and car for example, which is fun from a player perspective but also works from a story perspective too. It allows you to understand just why Tommy went along with an obviously stupid plan...because it was a stupid plan that he could do his OWN way. No Vinny or Ralphie assigning him a gun and car, he (and the player) could do so themselves. No Salieri telling you what to do, it was a job that was all about Paulie and Tom. H13 completely misunderstood all of this and just thought “cool a bank heist” and the result is just disappointing and sad. The Death of Art also felt extremely disappointing. The wide open final arenas have been replaced by corridors and the whole thing felt like some on rails version of the original...just meh.
The Epilogue was...bad. The original epilogue was shocking and depressing, a reflection on the futility of mob life, how heartless and cynical the mob friendships are, and how a culture of treating human lives as expendable will ultimately come back around to destroy you someday. The new epilogue? “Uuuh family is important because yada yada muh family and also you gotta keep your family close because family is everything and also did I mention I have a family?” It was soooo saccharine, so poorly written, H13 can and has done way better and I’m shocked that a company that was able to pull of a scene that was so subtly acted and written as the Sal Marcano casino confrontation in Mafia 3 would choose to end the game on such a RIDICULOUSLY sappy note. Having Tommy surrounded by his family bleeding out while he exclaims ”You’re....safe now!” facepalm I’m pretty sure not even a 10 year old could write something so utterly cheesy as that. Absolutely ruined what made the original ending so impactful and I hate that there are people who have never played the first game who are now going to have their experience colored by this. Maybe I’m being over dramatic though, who knows.
Anyway those are my thoughts. Am curious if anyone agrees/disagrees with me. Overall I enjoyed the remake a lot and thought it brought some interesting things to the table, but it failed to capture much of what made the original game so special and well loved despite it’s outdated gameplay/graphics.
Pop media (films, TV shows, etc) with sexist tropes are rightly condemned and criticised, while those glorifying crime or criminals like The Godfather, Money Heist, or Ocean's Eleven don't face the same level of scrutiny. Why is this so? Is there some social differentiator which separates the two?
This also applies to tropes which are racist, homophobic, etc. But since this is a space for feminism, I have mentioned that only.
QoS is the black sheep of the Craig franchise. When I first saw I barely understood what was going on, and I didn't even realize it was over when it was over. On rewatching it though, I appreciated it for taking an entirely different, character-based approach to Bond. The first unusual thing about it is that it's a direct sequel to Casino Royale. That movie was praised for eschewing a lot of cheesy Bond tropes like gadgets and quips. Quantum of Solace doubles down on that seriousness. There's virtually nothing cheesy or heightened about this movie. And I think that fits really well with the story they're trying to tell. The ostensible mission is for Bond to find out more about Quantum, the evil organization from the first movie. But what Bond's really out for is revenge for his girlfriend Vesper's death. M. tries to reign him in, but he's just on a rampage, killing every new thug he meets. This creates a sort of disconnect in the plot. The villain of QoS, who's trying to hold a country hostage for its water, is not really a personal one to Bond. He's affiliated with Quantum, but his actual plan is totally unrelated to Bond's goals. It's slightly more related to Olga Kurylenko, who's quest for revenge parallels Bond's own. I think this mismatch of external/internal goals could be what turned people off, but once I understood (most of) what was going on, I think it works to show how blinded Bond is by his quest for vengeance, to the point where he's getting his allies killed because of his recklessness. It's pretty bleak stuff. There's also a subplot with the CIA and David Harbour, and the organization is portrayed pretty negatively, which is cool. So give it a second look! It's a fairly brutal, pared down movie (only 106 minutes) that takes the Bond character established in Casino Royale in an organic direction. P.S. - I can't remember, is this the last we hear of Quantum? Does it just get folded into Spectre? The way it's portrayed here is pretty compelling, but it seems like they might have dropped it after this.
A [Super Long] Story Archive: My Aneurysm Given Human Form
This is a story that happened earlier this year. I posted part one of this on another subreddit but never had a chance to finish the story so I guess later is a better time than never. Just to be sure before this begins, this player is no longer in our group and no way is this story meant to be malicious in any way towards the offender, just airing grievances and retelling a tale since it was my and many other players' first time experiencing That Guy. Now on to the post: A little background information; I'm currently in a DnD group that I've been with for a little under 2 years now. I love them very much since everyone has the perfect balance of voice acting, character development, and player tactics. We've played two large games, one of which we finished, and the other still ongoing. Between that there's been tiny offshoots ran by different members every once in awhile - there are 10 of us in total but I will be talking about one very... Very special person. In order to protect privacy, we'll name this special person Jerry. Here's an index of the names of those who will be featured in this story down below: • the Drow Cleric/Aasimar Paladin = Me [Anon] • The Gunslinger Tiefling = Bunny • The Eladrin RangeRogue = Nick • The Goblin Druid/Tiefling Warlock = Jordan • The Human Druid = Big Brain • The poor DM = Blaine & • Repeating Offender = Jerry Now that everyone's known, let's get started. So here's to the beginning of the new campaign. It started because me, Blaine, and Bunny were in vc and tossed around a few ideas about it being a thing that Blaine would DM again because we missed him and it's been a few months since he ended his old one. He took our 5 hour long conversation and announced he was running a new game using the ideas we'd come up with. Essentially, we'd play a group trapped on a magic island with the only civilization being basically a Vegas paradise all ran by one overly kind lady but things weren't exactly what they'd seem. We all love a good mystery so of course, everyone was excited about it. Especially Jerry who jumped at the new opportunity to show the party what crazy character idea he can come up with Since he has a knack for a certain trope... that which I will cover in a later story. He broke off from his expected trope though as he now played a minotaur oathbreaker paladin with amazing wisdom and a -1 to Intelligence. Now here's when things get tricky. Having a -1 in intelligence basically means you're a little below the average person right? You would think that the +4 in wisdom would make up for that when it comes to hindsight and understanding the consequences of your actions. Instead, Jerry played his paladin like he had a -4 in all mental stats. At the beginning of the campaign, he did this thing where if there was anything even slightly "off" to him, he'd smack his horns with his Warhammer and cast Thunderwave. It was cool the first time, and never again the next SEVEN times because he'd do it EVERYTIME HE WAS SURROUNDED BY THE PARTY. He almost killed my drow grave cleric session two and still kept doing it even after being told multiple times to knock it off. Not to mention, Jerry as a player never understood the functionality of the mute button. He had a horrible mic at the start and we heard everything in his busy background and sometimes he'd be driving and the noise of his window being down or just the truck itself would be louder than most of the players. It gotten to the point where Blaine had to install a game vc where push-to-talk was mandatory and even then, he hardly obeyed that. Eventually, there was a part of the campaign where Jerry's paladin left the story because his father came to make him take his place on the throne. Yep. Apparently his paladin was a prince of some sort and was escaping his destiny (would've never guessed but okay). Jerry always seemed to want to make characters that had to be special in some way or another and if that character stops being special, he'll try to kill it off or make a new character like a child who was bored of their toy. We thought it was the end of the stress, but it turns out he took a seat next to Blaine as a Co-DM! Blaine thought since he wasn't really good as a player then maybe he'd be good as a DM because it sounded like more of his speed and his need to be in control of the situation to do what he wants. Unfortunately, Jerry's time as a DM was the worst part of the campaign as it suddenly seemed like everything was out to kill us. We soon found out that even behind the DM screen, Blaine and Jerry regularly disagreed with what was and wasn't good for the party, Jerry was asked to make a few doable areas for the party to run through but instead made everything super deadly and even blatantly ripped off encounters from Critical Role verbatim. Poor Blaine had to scrap and rewrite entire story plots because Jerry revealed and fucked up secrets and storyline way too early for them to be impactful. Even worse, after Blaine kicked him off the DM team, Jerry used all the information he learned from the plot as leverage over the party. We'll talk about THAT after we talk about the child NPC that Jerry played. Since Blaine was a huge fan of a particular DnD podcast called Acquisitions Incorporated, we had an npc that was essentially a malfunctioned child clone from one of the player characters of that podcast since he was part of the story (like a cameo in a way.) Jerry played that character and everything went relatively well... Up until we got to a dungeon that was hidden under the city. Inside there were nodded and nodes to our characters from the previous campaign in the form of statues of the great heroes from the past. We eventually got to the end of the dungeon which was a skylit labatory with a huge gross cocoon in the middle of it. The party all collectively agrees to stay the hell away from the Resident Evil looking egg because it was surely bad news. All the party except Jerry, who had the NPC go OUT OF HIS WAY to open the cocoon, even bypassing our Half-Orc fighter's grapple attempt with teleportation move that the DM had to correct him on. Once the NPC touched the cocoon, it literally sucked ALL the life out of him until he was a shriveled up husk of a person, effectively killing this child. As the cocoon suddenly sprung to life and opened, low an behold it's Jerry's gnome rogue from campaign 1, fully formed as this "Bane Lich of Ragnarok" as he'll be referred to by every NPC and us from now on. That entire dungeon and his gnome rogue was the last of Jerry's input as a Co-DM now that he's successfully inserted his character from our last campaign as the BBEG of our new campaign. Blaine, who wasn't a fan of backtracking had to roll with it and turn it into a plot that the party would actually enjoy and he did a pretty good job at it. Understandably, Jerry eventually did get discontinued as a Co-DM as Blaine saw it was more trouble having him in the DM's seat than in the party. As he was working on a new character to re-enter the party with after a few sessions of not being in the campaign. Blaine had suggested he play his Paladin again but at the last second, Jerry had another idea. The day before the session started, I was feeling the nostalgia of having that callback from our previous campaign and I remembered that my druid ended up in a relationship with Jerry's rogue. Finding it ironic, I made a drawing of a lovechild between our characters and told Jerry about it all while showing him the art and concept I had because I was pretty proud of it at the time. You can see where this is going. Apparently Jerry switched out his paladin to play the child between my and his character without even asking or acknowledging me. He named the kid, put a cloak on it and he was given the okay to go by Blaine who had no idea that he never asked to use the character. The plot of the session he was introduced in was to rescue my drow cleric from a dungeon that the city uses as a jailhouse since he got arrested for being disruptive in public (amongst other things.) We visited the city's casino the session before so it was fun to go throughout the city and see the dumpster fire my character had left behind which were all unbeknownst to me because he was blackout drunk and Blaine took him over. The entire time, Jerry tried to get the party and NPCs to do what he wanted by throwing his name and his connection to the Bane Lich around (keep in mind that he was supposed to be IN HIDING and nobody was supposed to know who he was.) Remember last time when I said he'd use his knowledge as a Co-DM in character? Well he'd do that. A lot. So much so that word by word that came out of this stolen character's mouth was immediately reconned and redirected by Blaine on the spot. He tried to sabotage the party in multiple ways, including selling the party out to the Bane Lich every time he had the opportunity to do so. He even made it clear that he would PRAY to the Bane Lich in secret like the gnome was some sort of deity. His reasoning? To give the Bane Lich more power of course! Even though in the concept I had for the son was that my druid would've kept the father's identity a secret from him in fear that he would follow in his footsteps. When we got to the dungeon, he was in no way any help because the person who put my Drow there was this big beefy Tiefling executioner who could 1000% clap the entire party's cheeks singlehandedly if he wanted to. Blaine had made it clear beforehand that we weren't supposed to fight him so of course, Jerry immediately picked a fight with him which in turn got three of our party members killed including my drow after the party found him passed out there with no hand since he rotted it off to escape his cuffs (That was my choice.) During the attempt to escape and run away he had THE AUDACITY TO FALL ASLEEP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SESSION. That meant his character wasn't there and then couldn't have taken responsibility for his actions. If it was falling asleep on accident, it would've been a different story. But we heard him ACTUALLY GET IN HIS BED because he NEVER turns on Push to Talk. This also happened after the DM had informed him NOT to get in bed during sessions because he was known to fall asleep. After the session, Blaine ruled that he automatically died in the dungeon because it's only fair to the rest of the party since one of the party members who died wasn't present either. Later, that player got a free revive. Jerry, however, did not. Fast forward, right before we took an in game break. He introduced his new character to the party; a goblin rogue. There was nothing really notable about him other than he was a carbon copy of Jordan's goblin druid in terms of personality and he worked for an evil-aligned NPC in the story and was supposed to watch over the group and report back to them. During the in game downtime, he insisted that he'd go down into the mines that our party was supposed to investigate as a group after the downtime. He made considerable headway and managed to steal plot important artifacts which, of course, he forgot about almost immediately because he didn't write them down in his inventory at all. Then he got upset when Blaine said he didn't have them anymore when we were supposed to come across them. Before that, he spent his downtime essentially winning money from an underground fight pit, jumped at the first opportunity to join a black market rogue organization and then stole from the same house twice after failing the first time. Once he succeeded his little heist, he then demanded from the rogue organization that he'd be moved immediately up the ranks to LEADER for one plunder (which was 1 (one) necklace btw.) The only kinda good thing he did was buy the party gifts with the money he stole. But only to install trust in hopes that the party would trust and like him better. Afterwards when the downtime one-on-one sessions had ended, it was time to search the mines. Unfortunately, we were horribly outmatched and outnumbered for the infernal monstrosity from Blaine's pit of hell that he so cruelly slammed down upon us in the form of a hellfire engine at the very end of the dungeon (I say this with nothing but love in my heart, it was an intense moment that left everyone hanging on the edge of their seats). Two out of the four members that were there died that day; Jordan's druid and my cleric. Rip. Jerry also died trying to go against the hellfire for a magic item Jordan's druid had on her that he wanted for himself. He got too overzealous and went in too far over his head as per usual. He managed to escape the hellfire engine's wrath but funnily enough died inches away from being safe (he failed a check to gain his footing on a bridge and fell 500 feet down into the pit where the hellfire was.) After that, everyone felt relatively bad for him losing his rogue. We thought he was a sweet character but generally was kinda uninteresting to the point where it became a ongoing joke amongst the party of people constantly forgetting who he was. That was until he revealed the fact that if he hadn't died, he would've betrayed and killed the entire party. He even had a gun for no reason and didn't even have proficiency with. None of which was the original idea that he and Blaine had since Blaine actually sat down and gave him advice + a little bit of help building this character. The entire time he played his rogue, he would send constant messages to Blaine about random things or things he wanted to do behind the party's back, a theme you will see very often. The next character he played went without incident and was actually helpful to the party. Nothing I can really think of what was wrong with the character except the fact that it was some weeb samurai concept with the only motivators of "I want to fight the strongest enemy." That and he was a polymorphed dragon I think? I don't remember much from him because he didn't last long. He got petrified, cut of a potential negotiation with a hostile npc, and joined a half-dragon guard squadron to protect a city bay from pirates and then he was gone just like that. Which... Leaves room for his next character and the actual bane of my fucking existence; the return of a certain minotaur.... And something that I will go into great detail on next post as this one is getting too long for my tastes. Stay tuned for next post I guess?
You didn't think this was going to stop did you? I know I've given myself tonnes more work to deal with, but I couldn't not write about the matches in the AdR where we're rating each celeb who hasn't managed to get in the main season tournaments. As always, I'll continue to rate my favourite comments against each match up - so make sure that not only do you vote, but you comment too as you may get some bonus tokens towards those cards needed to enter future card tournaments. As many comments have been regarding the lack of knowledge of some of the celebs, I'll try and include a small amount of info about each one in my first commentary. Consider this a wikipedia copy and plagiarise session :) Top scorer for the first round with 98 votes! Emilie de Ravin vs Olivia Taylor Dudley Emilie de Ravin, who got Lost until 2010, then was found again in Once Upon a Time is a 38 year old Australian actress. Her opponent, Olivia Taylor Dudley, 35, is a USA actress, known for her role in The Magicians, but also interestingly played "Vegas Hooker" in a short comedy titled Ticklish Cage in 2011. Armed with that knowledge, both actresses had a face off in the first ever AdR tournament battle in the history of CBL. Emilie won 77 - 33, climbing 202 places into 43rd. OTD drops 36 into 363rd u/SacasticCynic67 clearly generated the most comments with his controversial post about Beauty's Belle, however as co-founder of CBL and creator of many a card, I doubt he needs the tokens. u/a_v_o_r replied regarding AdR with:
I really liked her Belle and also voting for her for that role. Her acting was really moving, and I'm still salty about what her character had to endure again and again. But I almost chocked reading the rest of your comment, couldn't disagree more.
Markéta Štroblová vs Charlize Theron Markéta, Czech Republic, 33 years old and often credited as Lola or Little Caprice in her movies, is known for spreading herself far and wide as she fulfils many an exciting role. Her opponent, South African Charlize Theron, 45, is an actress and producer known for her roles in Fast and Furious 8, Mighty Joe Young, and the Dior perfume ad. Charlize proved she could cope with Markéta's many thrusting attacks, with the match ending 42 - 98. Markéta drops 224 places into 360th whilst Charlize climbs 52 into 38th place. u/hsikrut
Extremely sexy vs classically beautiful. Charlize with her mesmerizing look should take this by a mile.
Isla Fisher vs Brianna Hildebrand https://preview.redd.it/wpkq67kc76q51.png?width=354&format=png&auto=webp&s=45a8c02175740c3a4025f77f0094ce5db4112180 Perhaps one for me to comment more on tomorrow because unfortunately this match had to close early following a steward's enquiry. It turns out that the photo above was not actually Isla Fisher but a stunning imposter. Therefore in the interests of fairness to Brianna Hildebrand (who I'm sure will be ever so grateful) a rematch is taking place which will close when I get to check the scores in the morning. You can still vote on the match by clicking here If anyone knows who the above is, perhaps she's one we can consider adding in future? u/_Rainmaker_4 posted
I've always found Isla to be cute but that photo may be the best I've seen her look Plus she's a red head Plus she's Aussie Isla takes this one for me
She looked stunning, but it wasn't Isla. That being said, the other 2 reasons were good enough for me! Extra kudos to u/Dojo_Casino for putting in the time and effort to contribute by providing a photo. it isn't his fault that he was duped, as I was too. And also extra kudos to u/Buck_Up_Man for confirming that the photo wasn't Isla so we could get this sorted. Rachel Cook vs Rachael Leigh Cook Rachel Cook is a blue eyed brunette 25 year old model from the United States. Rachael Leigh Cook, who a couple of my friends would argue that she spells her name wrong (they're both Rachels) is a 40 year old actress from the US who, among many other roles, voiced the character Tifa Lockhart from the Final Fantasy series of videogames. This match was the only non-randomly generated one due to confusion between which Rach(a)el Cook was meant to be represented on CBL. Cook beat Cook 80-45 which puts model Rachel Cook up to 49th place as a new entrant whilst Rachael Leigh Cook now sits in 353rd. u/Dojo_Casino
Love me some Rachael Leigh. One of the originators of the nerdy-girl-who's-secretly-hot trope in "She's All That", but my personal favorite is Josie & The Pussycats, actually a really fun little movie parodying the turn-of-the-century pop music scene.
Quote of the Day I aim to pick up the pace so we can run more matches per day, but currently with only four to choose from i've got to say that it's actually tougher. The quality is still there but it's condensed into four matches. I have to say that the comment that piqued my interest is u/Dojo_Casino's post - I will look into Josie & The Pussycats at my earliest opportunity :) CBL World Rankings Top 10 As it stands currently, the top 37 haven't been affected by any changes on the table, which is as expected considering this is phase 1 and we're dealing with the middling celebs. So I'll instead share the highest 10 affected positions: https://preview.redd.it/q3me7v95b6q51.png?width=454&format=png&auto=webp&s=13347b3a98633adfbe4106e6e1c08f70b5f4eea7 What do you think of AdR so far? Are you enjoying the other celebs being included in the rankings more? If you want any of the celebs in AdR or any others that haven't featured yet in the WR, to feature in Season 4, you have the option to guarantee them currently by making a donation via Kofi at https://ko-fi.com/cblmods
Have been watching old kannada movies in lockdown as I started to miss going out in the city & here are my reviews or opinions on movies I watched. - part 7
Jedara bale - Noir - 3.5/5 - Available on Youtube Jedara bale is inspired by James bond movies that were all the rage then & is still. Director duo of Dorai-Bhagwan tries to emulate the same in jedara bale with Rajkumar playing the role of a secret agent joined by Narasimha raju. It follows the Secret agent story template to the last detail, with even including a daring stunt scene that involves a chase/fight in an under construction building which felt realistic & serves well to the spy thriller narrative. Story revolves around a kidnapped scientist who is tortured to give up his formula/recipe to mint fake currency notes, with Rajkumar & narasimharaju the secret agent duo on hunt for them. Movie features all the tropes of Secret agent movie with flashy gadgets, femme fatales, an array of bad guys, a dodgy casino & a rich businessman in the middle of all this. What works for this movie is "swag" of Rajkumar who owns his role as secret agent & his charisma seeps through every scene he is in, he is enthralling in his role & as usual carries the movie in its entirety. Supporting cast features Ashwath, Udaykumar, Dinesh, Jayanti etc who all do justice to their role, especially Uday kumar as a Casino owner, who is menacing as well as frustrated & plays a formidable villain to Rajkumar. Another refreshing fact was the use of the city in the movie, most of the movie shows the city as this lively, vibrant creature, which gives a movie an exotic feel which is huge plus instead of usual deserted roads & set pieces that is seen in other movies. Aa karala raatri - Drama - 3.5/5 - Available on Hotstar Aa karala raatri is a debut movie of Anupama gowda & she shines brightly in this. Directed by Dayal padmanabhan, movie has a stage drama feel to it & director's choice of locations are spot on. The run down home, in a desolate valley sets an ominous tone throughout the movie. Movie starts with a strangetraveler played by JK who arrives at this village & decides to spend the night in run down house owned by Muthanna's, played by Rangayana raghu, family. Then the stranger's behavior oscillates from friendly, to preachy, to flashy, to demanding all the while which results in conflicts with Anupama gowda, who plays Muthanna's daughter. Anupama gowda plays a difficult role as a jaded bitter woman who has lived devoid of any hope of companionship & her raging chemistry with JK sizzles through the screen. From delivering her lines which borders on crass & detailed with conviction to portraying mannerisms of her dangerous mindset, she over-shines veterans like Rangayana raghu & Veena sundar, who plays the role of her mom. JK seems to be the weak point of the movie as he fails to be a sort of an enigma into his character & instead plays it as one-dimensional character & his lines/dialogues just service the story without altering the tone of his character which would have made the final conclusion that much shocking. However, the story is the king here with a dark fairy tale undertones, adapted from a russian story & Anupama gowda's brilliant acting not only saves this movie from being just another artistic misfire & instead makes it an experience to relish. Hope to see more of Anupama gowda & such novel efforts. Gayatri madhuve - Comedy - 1.5/5 - Available on Youtube Anant nag plays a double role in this comedy movie which revolves around the marriage of titular Gayatri, played by Ambika, who plays a pretty face & nothing else. Anant nag plays a dual role of an innocent nerdy rich man looking for a bride & a poor seasoned street smart mechanic. Movie starts with three bachelors who are in love with Gayatri, who is unaware of their existence. The start was the enjoyable part of this movie as seeing these bachelors compete with each other & then the nerdy Anant nag promised a shenanigans filled comedy movie. But once this part of story is dealt with the movie meanders aimlessly & starts being a chore to watch & every scene sucks the fun out of the movie. A bumbling anant nag is used as a poor excuse for comedy & Tiger prabhakar is used for action segments, with Vajramuni wasted in his role as a cunning driver who plots to switch rich Anant nag with poor Anant nag in Gayatri's marriage for monetary benefits. Only saving grace is the first 15 mins or so & then Dinesh chewing the scenes with authority. Movie has songs which has a nostalgic value with catchy lyrics, so if you are a fan on old romantic kannada songs, you can listen to couple of bangers here. Overall movie is forgettable & I am glad it had a short run-time. Ibbara hendira muddina police - Comedy - 5/5 - Available on Youtube A comedy classic from early 90s, a fun filled story made in all Tamil, kannada & telugu by Relangi Narasimha Rao who hits jackpot with this perfect family entertainer. Shashikumar plays the dual role here one of a cop married to Tara & Nirosha, Another an unemployed youth looking for a stable job. I haven't seen the Tamil & telugu version but Shashikumar knocks it out of the park here & I cant imagine any other actor in his place. This movie doesn't have a wasted minute or a character. Tara & Nirosha, as quarreling wives of Shashi kumar are so believable in their animosity for each other watching them console each other at the second half was a comedy gut punch. Umashree & Mysore lokesh as cattle farming couples capture the hearts in their iconic roles, the ease with which they assimilate into the story & get involved in the mistaken identity shenaningans is a laugh riot. Mukhyamantri chandru & Rekha das with their "Pada pooja" ritual gag is a guaranteed laugh, the Gag never ages & gets a laugh everytime its presented. Seeing Mukyamantri chandru nailing the comic timing with simple & natural mannerisms contrasts how Rangayana raghu does it with over the top acting & shows how rare a talent like Mukyamantri chandru is. Overall a perfect family entertainer where every scene, dialogues, gags are iconic. The Jokes range from adult to childish & gives something for everyone to enjoy. The supporting cast of Mukhyamantri chandru, Umashree, Mysore lokesh rivals Golmaal rashakrishna & this is a shining example of Shashikumar's Golden era in the 90s, a versatile, charismatic actor. Watch this for a Guaranteed entertainment for the whole family & its just so good even songs had me grinning ear to ear while rest of the movie had me laughing out loud. Indrajith - Action/Thriller - 4.5/5 - Available on Youtube Indrajith is a quintessential action movie of the 90s dealing with corruption & politics. One way to describe will be to call it Police story for adults. K V Raju the director takes a lion's share of credit for this movie, his fresh direction, ripe with symbolism & metaphors in every single scene keeps you glued to the screen. The movie starts of as a hardboiled thriller as stylish as any of the John woo films. Movie sacrifices a gritty feel to a stylish narrative. Starring Ambarish as an honest daredevil Inspector Indrajith, who blazes the screen with masculinity, churning out the complex dialogues with authority tearing through the story. Every line uttered by Amabrish gives you goosebumps, its not crass lines aiming for masses but a conditioned well thought lines that wouldn't feel out of place in a literary play. Dialogues are extremely well crafted & will need multiple re-watches to enjoy it. Ambarish embraces the angry rebel personality that got him his fame & one can see why he is so revered as Rebel star, he is fully committed to his role & is able to match the herculean efforts put forth by K V Raju. Background score from Hamsalekha is timeless, his composition comes alive on screen complementing the tone of scenes, adrenalin jumps high & emotions hits hard with Hamsalekha. More than the songs, which are amazing, the background score rules the movie. Its on par, if not better, than Hamsalekha's partnership with Ravichandran. The movie is a holy trinity of world class vision by K V Raju, melodious compositions of Hamsalekha & Rebel star Ambarish at his very best. Supporting cast of Devaraj, Deepika, Shashikumar, Doddanna & Disco Shanti are all portrayed well. Shashikumar & Disco shaanti as unhinged villains deliver a terrifying performance as antagonists. Devaraj plays a crucial role with ease, with Doddanna doing what he does best as a corrupt officer full of menace. Plot is reminiscent of PunisheDaredevil comics of a good man force to turn vigilante & if you have adored Ugramm, KGF or Police story, then you must watch Indrajith which puts out a template for Action movies which in my opinion is yet to be matched balancing both the mass & class elements. Would rate it as the best Action movie in kannada cinema & if not for the climax which is bit too cliched, this would have been a 5/5 movie for me. Please watch it. Minchina Ota - Thriller - 3/5 - Available on Youtube Minchina Ota is Shankar nag's debut movie as a Director & it stars Shankar nag, Anant nag, Lokanath, Priya tendulkar & Ramesh bhat in prominent roles. Starring both Nag bros & being directed by Shankar nag, the movie feels a bit under-cooked compared to the standard that Shankar nag is usually associated with. Nag bros join Loknath as car thieves, due to financial circumstances & they are later met by Priya tendulkar who plays love interest to Anant nag. This ensemble cast is a joy to watch & their heist part is enjoyable, while Shankar nag effortlessly plays his role, Anant nag as Tony seems out of depth in most of his scenes, his transitions from angry mechanic to reluctant thief to masterminding the group is not smoothly done & feels a bit jarring, Shankar nagintends to show Tony as a perpetually angry man, allowing his rage & fury to dictate terms for him but Anant nag's portrayal falls short as Tony doesn't materialize as a complex character, in contrast Loknath & Shankar nag act around him effortlessly. Direction by Shankar nag shows his expertise & ambition which becomes apparent in his future efforts, Shankar nag never resorts to cheap tricks or theatrics, as chase scenes, jail scenes seems gritty & real. Movie has a documentary feel to it & allows the natural settings in the scenes to shine through, one never feels like the movie is watched behind the camera lens & instead transports you into the movie & to its era. Not as enjoyable as his other efforts but one can see the ambition that Shankar nag had & see the shadows of his love for unapologetic hard hitting portrayals of story & characters which gets much better with Accident & Malgudi days.
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