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Oct. 23rd, 2014

catwoman

CALLING OUT HATERS: Booty



Hypnotic and on someone who is confident about flaunting it.
Image Source: Billboard


Okay, this might be probably one of the strangest subjects I’m going to ever cover on COH and probably the most perverted, so if there was ever going to be a shark-jumping moment for me this might very well be it. I am currently on the skis right now, waiting for a boat to take me out in the middle of the ocean, no turning back now.

In the words of one Space Dandy: “It’s time to give booty the respect it deserves!” Or at the very least one that acknowledges respect that has come before, but people seem to keep forgetting.

I mentioned briefly in my blog on Bayonetta, that while in the process of writing it I was overtired and had butts a lot on the mind. That seriously was not an exaggeration, somewhere in my state of restless hell I became all about the booty. A rather notable part of our lower anatomies (Aside from the one we reproduce with) that whilst has the primary function of excreting waste of whatever we’ve eaten has time and again been the fascination of pop culture and sexual expression. People commonly like to compare them to breasts, in which aside from desire is only comparable in producing some sort of fluid or waste. We like to love them, like to kick them, we like to shove them, we like to lick them, love to flaunt them, love to watch them, we love to pick them, and love to kick them, for we’re an ass man (or women just not to discriminate).

There seems to be especially a fascination with booties when they are big and plump, especially on a female. Some people think having a big butt as a sign of fertility, that it makes for some great child bearing hips tied into our origins with primates and, I’m not kidding, has been scientifically proven to produce healthier and smarter women. Queen says they make the rocking world go round, ZZ Top wants you to take them downtown to look for them, Spinal Tap say they are cushions more for a pushing, and Sir Mix A Lot said that he wouldn’t deceive you in saying he likes them. Certain foreign countries like Brazil and within the continent Africa value greatly the size of a woman’s posterior as a sign of beauty, at least from my basic understanding, don’t hold that as an absolute fact. Brazil is a well-known cosmetic surgery capital of the world especially when it comes to butts, hold a competition called Miss Bumbum to determine the best one and there is a dancer named Mulher Melancia (the “Watermelon Woman”, also known as Andressa Soares) whose popularity is commonly attributed to her endowed butt dances. Even ancient civilizations such as Greece have art attributed to behinds, and a lot of dances like samba and belly dancing have long history that show people have been loving butts for centuries. Or maybe people simply just love the way the move and feel.

But for some reason people in America seem a little surprised when big booties continues to get mainstream attention. The latest thing seems to be butts being used as a symbol for feminine empowerment. I mentioned before Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” which samples “Baby Got Back” as a framework to flip the gender switch on how big butts are seen, and it’s hardly the only song that has a close connection with her rather robust derriere, “Super Bass” has a different meaning when you put the b at the end of the first word and more explicitly a song simply called “Ass” that she makes a brief appearance in. Then there is Jennifer Lopez after years of being noted for her backside, decided to finally devote a song called “Booty” collaborating with not only her husband Pitbull but another artist who is coasting off of her culo Iggy Azalea. Then there is Meghan Trainor who is “All About That Bass”, as in all about big butt pride, and thinks people who are skinny shouldn’t be threatened by it. Other people who have been made note of because of their butts and in some form of another have had an embracement of it: Shakira, Christina Aguilera (Specifically when she gained some weight post pregnancy), Beyoncé Knowles, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Nelly Furtado post-“Loose”, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jessica Simpson, and for better or worse Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus. It seems the popular thing to have a donk.

Of course with popular things come consequences, and this worship of booty crosses the line when it becomes the sole standard of beauty. That everything else about a woman is less important if she doesn’t have nice buns. The sentiment is nice enough when it’s just complimenting another way that makes a woman great, to go along with personality and other areas of her body like if she has an overall curvy figure akin to Christina Hendricks, but keep in mind not everyone is going to take the compliment. Some people don’t like it when their butt is given attention and called out especially from complete strangers. Not to mention there are creepers who like to candidly photograph or videotape women’s butts without expressed permission or grope them when they pass by. Sexual harassment is not okay no matter what the size.

When you approach someone about their butt, it’s best to really know that person would be okay with it first, it’s something that friends, intimate partners and people looking to “have a good time” at clubs or public functions would likely do, but it shouldn’t be the call for people who have no real connection with one another. Butt compliments have to be earned, not forced.

That goes for our shallow media too, whose standards for beauty seem to take precedence over whether or not they are good people. Fame through cheeks always doesn’t mean that the person itself can always be pleasant. Kim Kardashian is an example of a socially shallow heiress who has been complimented more on her butt than contributing anything that positive to society. Miley Cyrus’ whole twerking shtick doesn’t come across as natural, more seeing what others have done and cynically copy it to gain attention, and use people of color with bigger butts than hers more as objects. Same with Iggy Azalea who may have the donk but stylistically seems to copy closely to what others have done, not even getting into the fact both her and Miley have been accused of cultural appropriation with how they’ve been gloating. It’s really dumb when twerking itself is considered something new as it isn’t that far removed from how people have been shaking what their momma gave them for centuries through different dance moves. Singers like Lily Allen and Taylor Swift have tried to parody this sudden uptrend of singers overtly sexualizing themselves but have gotten criticism for falling into the same traps themselves, especially the whole “background dancers as mere objects” thing.

To move on to a more personal perspective, I will shamelessly admit to having a weird attraction to a woman’s butt. A woman who can shake a mean rump is one that can immediately catch my eye, the sort of thing is very hard to look away from. Certainly there are other, more important factors to take into consideration with a woman’s beauty, booty is not an absolute deciding factor, and I always like a woman who can be confident, in control in her dancing so rather than one who seems to just be forced into doing it. I’m also trying hard to distance myself from creeper behavior, as I’m not exactly the most social person. I always try be careful in where my eyes go and I never compliment if the woman isn’t asking for it. I am very sheepish when it comes to confronting women who have shown even a small bit of sexual energy towards me being a self-admitted 28-year-old virgin: my 2012 college graduation party involved quite a few women who have decided to use me as someone to grind off of, including one who was intoxicated enough that she outright sexually harassed me, so for a long while has turned me off from hitting the club, and being that close with someone who has impaired judgment is never alright.

Regardless though, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to appreciate booty, but you must really remember that there is a person attached to it. As well anyone who loves to flaunt it shouldn’t be shamed for doing so. Anyone who hates a woman who is confident in their booty, I hope a lot of farts are pointed in your general direction.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a shark tank with my name on it.

End of Rant

Oct. 20th, 2014

catwoman

CALLING OUT HATERS: Bayonetta



She doesn't look like she gives a shit whether you find her empowering does she?
Image Source: Manufactured Cosplay



Author’s Note: Part of this rant was written while I am fighting a really bad cold that has made me sleep deprived and taking an over-the-counter drug that has some funky side effects, so if some of these thoughts seems half processed, also strangely had butts on a lot on my mind, so you’ll know that I didn’t exactly write it with 100% clear mind. Oh and

NO SPOILERS

I haven’t finished the first Bayonetta or seeing anyone complete the second so plot details won’t be discussed. This will be based on the general principal of the character.


For many reasons, I should hate a character like Bayonetta. She most certainly isn’t a character that can be easily accepted, a leggy witch who loves to sway her hips in an exaggerated fashion, does sexually suggestive poses at the drop of a hat, because her outfit and part of her weapons is hair her special moves involve a degree of undress, ultimately culminating in her practically being naked to finish off an enemy. The games also cater very much to the male gaze in which the game seems makes sure you get very intimate with Bayonetta. Adding to the sexual stuff is moves being described as “Climaxes” and the fact you can even have a one-handed option to play the game.

But beneath her curvy exterior, there might actually be something a bit… empowering about Bayonetta? I mean think about it, she may use sex as a weapon but she is never submissive. She may gyrate, seduce and flirt just about every other moment in the game, but never comes at the expense of dehumanizing her. Being sexy is pretty much built into the character is made, would be a hell of a lot different had she been set-up as trying to take seriously like say the women of Dead or Alive which seems to be only putting up its main cast as well-endowed models yet wants you to take it’s convoluted plot seriously.

Then there is who made Bayonetta, and it may falls into place why the characters exist the way they do. The main brain was Hideki Kamiya is the guy who helped us bring the masculine equivalent of Bayonetta to the gaming industry in 2001, Dante from Devil May Cry. He also helped bring Clover studios together and helped find Platinum Games both companies loving to dip into the excess of style whether it’d be Viewtiful Joe or The Wonderful 101. It doesn’t feel unusual why the game is over-the-top in terms of its sexiness when you put those together.

Then there is the character designer herself… that’s right herself, Mari Shimazaki. I just feel like if you are to tackle the arguments of Bayonetta’s design you shouldn’t throw Ms. Shimazaki so casually to the side, she may not be responsible for the final result of the game but she certainly has a big hand in some of Bayonetta’s more controversial design choices. The fact that Bayonetta seems to be mainly comprised of limbs, giving her a freakishly tall appearance, a butt that won’t quit and a bodysuit made entirely of hair can be attributed to her thinking what an inherently sexual female character can be. And apparently she enjoyed doing it, so this is a case of not only men having a somewhat off-beat idea of what female empowerment through sexuality can be.

And what is there to say about empowerment through sexuality? Part of the reason why some women take up specific careers like being a stripper, sex worker, practicing BDSM for a living or even something as not quite as intimate like being a professional model or part of a burlesque routine, the idea of using sex as a ways of feeling powerful, that putting out for someone can be a rewarding experience. Some women like this feeling in control of their bodies as opposed to being forced to perform such duties, when they grind on someone’s lap it’s normally on their terms.

Of course not everyone will see it that way, really there is no denying there is a point in which sexy can become a problem. There is a key difference from when a character like Bayonetta pops up in video games in comparison to say Nicki Minaj releasing her single “Anaconda.” It was Ms. Minaj’s choice to write a song which is seen as flipping the idea of “Baby Got Back” in which big butts can taken as a symbol of feminine pride as opposed to male lust. Mari Shimazaki is only one part of a team of many men in which their gaze seem to be serviced more than hers, as Bayonetta is shot provocatively and even shamelessly poses for the player at times. Alternatively it can be seen as her just wanting to spread the sexual energy not just for herself but for the audience as well (And whose to say lesbians can’t enjoy it), but it still remains a valid thought that Bayonetta’s sexual freedom isn’t one that will be everyone’s cup of tea.

I can take the fact that people won’t universally see Bayonetta as a symbol of female empowerment, and I won’t argue against their views as video games are hardly the progressive side when it comes to positive representation. Where I will draw the line however is shaming those that do embrace Bayonetta for all that she is, that a woman enjoying the game shouldn’t be considered lesser of a feminist to see the character as empowering. People who declare themselves feminists yet spout a high degree of sex negativity is one thing I cannot support, not everything that has to do with sex is bad. One woman’s dismay may be another’s pleasure, and I think it’s perfectly alright for feminism to embrace both, just as long as they don’t start acting awful towards each other.

Well that was more than I thought I would write on the subject, and hey this is the week to really write about it as Bayonetta 2 releases on the Wii U this Friday and the anime Bloody Fate releases tomorrow on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digitial. I will tell you this definitely of Bayonetta, for all the stylish excess the game divulges in, it’s still plenty of fun and makes me wish there is a lot more character action games out there than there are currently. I’d love for old-school Dante to return.

End of Rant

Sep. 29th, 2014

Johnny Storm

CALLING OUT HATERS: 10 Worst Movies I’ve Seen In Recent Memory #5-1

Due to LiveJournal space limitations, I split this rant off into two parts.  So let us continue.


5. The Spirit

Nothing is more pathetic than seeing a film attempting to re-capture magic of a creator’s glory days, yet ends up falling face first into the toilet (“What? Toilets are always funny.”). Frank Miller’s attempt at making his spin at Will Eisner’s legendary comic book hero not only is comically inept in just about every way imaginable but also is another sure sign that the best days of Miller are LONG behind him.

The film attempts as some sort of combination of the gritty noir of Sin City but with some of the campy elements of Batman… that is the 60s Batman, but comes across the worst of both worlds. The noir itself doesn’t come across as Sin City as much as it feels like a parody, as the exaggerated noir tropes charm just don’t feel natural with the 60s Batman-esque campiness, two tones that just don’t mesh together. Not helping the fact that the film contains some of the clunkiest dialogue grown men and women should never have to utter on camera.

Miller has his typical tropes and that is objectifying/fetishizing women, can’t seem to write one without making them slutty. There is annoying protagonist narration that philosophizes without really saying anything. And just overall just seems confused on what sort of thing he wants to make. If he wanted a spiritual embodiment of the source, many people have said he’s failed. If he wanted to make something so off-the-wall batshit insane, he definitely succeeded. And it’s not the somewhat significant insanity that brought us The Dark Knight Returns, it’s the unhinged insanity that brought us The Dark Knight Strikes Back.

About the only relatively decent thing of it is Samuel L. Jackson’s Octopus, because he seems very much the only one who seems to have a good time with such stupidity. Scarlett Johansson seems to be slumming it up (Though maybe it was a point), Eva Mendes hasn’t shown beyond her range, Gabriel Macht is just an unappealing lead. Honestly, Miller, just stop, your best days are behind you, between this and the “acclaim” for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For just give it up.


4. Dragonball: Evolution

How many of us 90s kids dreamed of a Dragon Ball movie? Well how many of us didn’t dream it with the annoying kid from War of the Worlds as the hero and without any semblance of effort? It’s one of those movies where it was immediately apparent when details were leaked of it that it was going to fail, and in a big way.

I mean for the love of god, Justin Chatwin as Goku, just what universe was the filmmakers living in which that was a good idea. Not only an actor who has yet to prove himself capable as a compelling lead, but also is a white guy playing a character who is pretty much Japan’s equivalent of Superman. Goku may be canonically alien but his origin is inherently Japanese and Dragonball based upon the story of Journey to the West which I don’t even think these filmmakers really cared for (Goku has no tail for one thing). Chatwin was right away a big mistake, and he hardly has an ounce of the naïve innocence that Goku has in the anime and manga.

Even bigger mistake is basically boiling this movie down into trying to be a dry dull blockbuster, one that gets straight to the point without a hint of personality or energy to it. We have a cast of characters but save for Chow Yun-Fat’s Master Roshi, good luck finding anything endearing about them. Emmy Rossum’s Bulma is completely devoid of anything interesting, the inventor who tails along with Goku searching for Dragon Balls well in over her head is turned into Generic Action Heroine #12900, and only has strands of the character’s trademark blue hair. Joon Park’s Yamcha hell if I can find anything quite memorable aside from getting steamed in the balls, annoying comic relief is annoying. Jaime Chung’s Chi-Chi barely even a footnote, just written strictly as “Goku’s love interest.” Piccolo, your generic evil warlord through and through, goes down pathetically easy and is only noted to be played by James Marsters of Buffy fame. And just what the hell was Ernie Hudson doing in this movie?

Then there is the poorly done action and visual effects, granted they only had a $45 Million budget and probably couldn’t afford to do some of the elaborate stuff from the shows, but them trying to make big action set-pieces come across as just laughable. Much of the sets and art design have a cheap vibe to them almost looking like a slightly above budget Power Rangers episode. The fights manage to be poorly choreographed, shot and leave absolutely no impression. Final battle feels like a dime store version of a lot of the fights of the anime, and lasts a small fraction as long. With no care to the story, comes no care to the action, so what do I really care about this film?

The only glimpses of the original source material are in the scattershot way they bring in specific story elements. Try to weave in the story of the original Dragon Ball series, whilst trying to make it about Goku being in high school echoing Gohan’s Great Sayiaman Saga, and at least have certain elements in which it acknowledges the filmmakers have familiarity with the source. But it’s in what they change is makes it more noticeable, the botched attempt at Oozaru and the significance of Gohan’s death, a whole clichéd plot element of an eclipse, element-bending which really doesn’t amount to much other than I think ripping-off Avatar: The Last Airbender, the lack of the silly elements like anthromorphsized shape-shifting animals or just anything that light. Naturally half the humor of the original would likely not go well with American audiences, but when not even the sort of fun energy, it just feels like it’s mostly just hitting beats without passion.

Could have been capable of more, especially since Stephen Chow, a man who pretty much has made silly action work is producing, but I’d guess his involvement is about as much as Spielberg to the Transformers. The directing duties go to James Wong whose big movies of note before this were the first and third Final Destination and the Jet Li kicks his own ass vehicle The One which whilst only had a $49 Mil budget actually boasts a bit more impressive visuals than this Dragonball abomination.

Overall, this felt like Fox just pushing out a movie because they had the rights to it and ended up being the most soulless adaptation I have seen in recent memory. The Last Airbender can be laughed at how incompetent it is, but this… just can’t even make me laugh. Well if anything didn’t sour Justin Chatwin or Emmy Rossum enough to not re-appear together in the Showtime series Shameless and as far as I know their characters have sex with each other... yeah there’s that for you slash fiction writers.


3. A Good Day to Die Hard

If I were to make an appropriate metaphor, this film is akin to that of the current state of The Simpsons, forgot what made them charming in the first place and instead cynically tries to keep up with what is hip with today. Live Free or Die Hard at least had that feeling of overwhelming odds and a sense of fun to be had with some of the action, in spite of the over-the-top ridiculousness certain scenes evoke and a questionably pursued PG-13 rating. A Good Day to Die Hard just feels like a shallow cash-in through and through.

The fifth installment John McClane (Bruce Willis) in Russia so that he could get his son Jack (Jai Courtney) and ends up blasting away bad guys again. And just how John handles things? In the most obnoxious and unlikable way possible. He always acts like a grumpy asshole, does things that only solidify this status like whining how he is on vacation, carjacking a Russian and deciding to punch him because the guy doesn’t speak English (You’re in HIS country John), and has completely non-existent chemistry with his son. Jack McClane is definitely no better either, such an equally unlikable character makes me pine for Samuel L. Jackson or hell even Justin Long. Jack is the typical son who grew up to be a neglectful adult, if he’s not blasting away at baddies he’s nagging about his father and how his childhood sucks and just once I would like this character type to die. The whole John neglected by his offspring, already felt played out in the last movie with Molly but at least tolerable due to Mary Elizabeth Winstead selling it and the character not doing it when it matters the most. Sadly Ms. Winstead is only a regulated to a brief cameo in the Theatrical Cut of the film.

The action isn’t even that interesting as Max Payne director John Moore settles for quite possibly the worst sins of modern action movies, shooting them too close and edit them in which at times produces an incomprehensible mess. One of the major chase scenes at the start is quite possibly one of the worst action scenes I’ve seen in a long time. And ultimately you feel no tension as the McClanes are pretty much superhuman to which they can face off against hordes of bad guys even standing in full sight without getting a graze, even surviving impossible explosions and drops from high heights. Compounded by some laughably bad visual effects, this is quite possibly the worst action scenes you’ll see in a Die Hard movie by far.

Now there are a few questions that come to mind: Why? Why did this get made and in such a cynical and downright passion-less way? In spite of being the first movie of the franchise that actually was meant to be a Die Hard movie from the beginning, it is quite possibly the most far removed to how the series had set itself out as. Can definitely hand a brunt of the blame of Skip Woods who helped give us such “classics” as Swordfish and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I’d quite imagine there were stars in his Mr. Woods’ offered the job but doesn’t excuse the fact he ended up churning an absolutely abysmal charm-less shoot fest.

Yippie-Ki…blarrrgh.


2. Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

Oh look, another Fox movie. Seems to be a thing in which the worst movies I’ve seen are Fox’s cynical cash-ins to famous names, they seemed especially bad at it in the turn of the millennium. This one though is the most joy-less I’ve seen out of all of them, an exercise in crudity that manages to do a disservice to both the Alien and Predator names, as if Paul W.S. Anderson wasn’t enough (Though that’s just off of other people’s words haven’t seen the first film entirely).

The film leaves off where the previous AVP film did in which an alien bursts out of a Predator and causes a ship to crash into Gunnison, Colorado. The alien itself turns into an Alien/Predator hybrid called a Predalien which has the ability to impregnate alien embryos through its mouth… don’t ask me why. The crash gets the attention of a Predator canonically named Wolf who is sent down to Earth to clean up the mess including hunting down some Aliens who have sprung up. Oh and there are quite a few humans caught in the cross-fire.

Feel uninterested already? Well it gets a lot worse when you see the film. Its human element is almost treated as an afterthought, as the characters are just so flat and unmemorable that there isn’t any real attachment to them or feel anything for them when they meet their demises. Most dumb of all is a female soldier back from overseas who is meant to be an expy for Ellen Ripley, but by god does she not have a quarter of her personality. There is also a geeky pizza delivery boy, his fanservicey crush, a “bad boy”, a cop… yeah I won’t refer them by their names because that is about as much care I have for them, on the level as the filmmakers seem to have. One tries to even make a reference to “Get to the choppah” but it just comes across as just soulless pandering.

The film itself really isn’t scary either, relies on a lot of cheap fear in order to give the illusion of fright. And by cheap I mean REALLY cheap, not just regulated to cheap jump-scares. One of the first victims of a chest-burster is a father and a little child, the Predalien actually is able to produce many different aliens from the pregnant wombs of women and you get these in graphic detail. It’s shock value pure and simple, yet there isn’t really any feeling that it’s relevant other than the Brothers Strause essentially saying “Hey we got an R-rating, we can kill kids and pregnant women!” There is such a cold detached attitude of these deaths are part of what makes the film just joy-less to watch.

It might not be watchable anyway, unless you can even make out most of what happens. This film is dark, so dark in fact it’s hard to make out much what happens. We could be seeing the biggest fight of the century yet could barely make out a damn thing. Some filmmakers use darkness for tension Alien was definitely exemplary on that front, this just uses it as a way of saying “oooh, look at how scary things are in the dark.” That’s about the extent of the atmosphere and it doesn’t add anything to a paper-thin story.

And in the end what the hell does it all matter? With all the bloody carnage and cheap scares, the film ends with an empty feeling of, what the hell was the point? Did any of us really ask for this? People certainly asked for an AVP film that actually delivered on gore, but these filmmakers forgot to write anything else. The reason why people hold movies like Alien, Aliens and Predator with a high regard is that the characters weren’t just throw-away victims, the scares weren’t just cheap Carnival tricks, there was tension, there was atmosphere, a feeling of weight to the proceedings.

This is just chickenshit… no outfit with it just chickenshit. You might be able to wipe away the grime with Predators, but Prometheus is only a slight improvement, it still might make you yearn for the older movies.

Whoever wins, who gives a shit.


1. Birdemic: Shock and Terror

This is almost a cheat because one glance at the movie and you could already tell this was an incompetently made mess. But if I were to put on an objective hat for one moment, this film stands as quite possibly the worst made film I have seen in recent years. James Nguyen’s environmental message thriller makes The Room look like an Oscar contender, Manos: The Hands of Fate couldn’t even compare to how this film commits large sins of filmmaking (And not the dumb CinemaSins nitpicky kind).

From the very moment the film starts, there is a feeling you are taken for a ride, nearly endless shots of a person driving to music that ends up looping like a Sega CD game. Then there is the first spoken line of dialogue which sounds like it has been recorded with a tiny microphone that you’d usually use on talk shows, but was used as this film’s sound equipment. The incompetence doesn’t end there, editing at times feels like it starts too early or even stops too late, cross-fades are incompetently employed, scenes that seem to have no purpose but to pad out the film. It was like the editor did one pass on this film and didn’t even bother to do a second, I’m certain I can edit better than this on Windows Movie Maker. And this is cinematic incompetence even well before the titular Birdemic happens.

The leads are Rod (Alan Bagh) a man who works for a company who specializes in solarpanels (Not a mistake, that’s how he says it) and Nathalie (Future cameo star of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie Whitney Moore) a wanna-be Victoria’s Secret model who somehow finds the former character’s woodenness and creepy stalker vibe to be appealing. Virtually the first half of the movie is spent on this flat unappealing characters one who ends up being so ridiculously successful with his energy company ideas it’s funny, hanging out with friends by seeing An Inconvenient Truth and seeing their romance “blossom.” So much devotion made to setting things up, bland people doing bland things with a minimal of significance makes me wish the Birdemic happened sooner, so I wouldn’t have to put up with all the boring, at times laughable (Like the longest applause scene ever), but mainly boring.

When the Birdemic hits though, the movie becomes legendary. There is very little to prepare except a few shots of silence and then BAM birds are attacking! Not even well animated birds either, somebody seemed to forget to tell James Nguyen the advancements in visual effects that have been made over the past few decades, as the birds are stiff lifeless and at no point convincingly blend in with the film they are in, at times just stay in one spot whilst the camera does the movement (Like the birds were taped on the lens). At times I swear Nguyen was going for a film adaptation of Duck Hunt with how poorly animated the birds are when shot… or moving… or even hovering. About the only menace they provide is just being annoyances who occasionally explode (for some reason), slice throats and have I guess acid bird poop. One scene the characters try to fight off birds with coat hangers… it’s that sort of movie.

Now outside the post-apocalyptic setting the film tries to be a message movie. There are at least two characters who I can remember that stop the film dead in its tracks to deliver an environmental message, one of which reminds me of Woody Harrelson’s character in 2012. That this whole Birdemic happens is because humanity has been fucking around with nature for too long, “damn global warming.” Though a funny aside to this is centric around characters who want to be more environmentally friendly, and end up being received quite a bit of the receiving end of the Bird’s attacks. In fact there isn’t really a feeling that this Birdemic is affecting everyone, as in quite a few shots you see cars go by as if nothing was happening. What if this movie was just the crazed imagination of the protagonists?

Simply what else is there to say aside from two little kids end up joining the heroes but are absolute annoyances (Whine even when their parents have been BRUTALLY mutilated), the film just doesn’t so much end as it stops and somehow James Nguyen got enough attention to make a sequel, that even has a bigger non-ending than this (I haven’t seen all of so it’s not on the list). Let this movie be a lesson to any aspiring filmmakers, you should really know how to make a movie before you do it. This film’s utter ineptness in every level makes it legendary, but it shouldn’t be a guidebook on how to make a film. I think there should be classes devoted to this film on how not to make one. Just to think, had this never released, we would have never known what cinematic hell looked like.

Half-joking hyperbole aside, it’s both amazing and kind of sad that a film like this exists and continues to garner an audience who see it as some sort of epic. And you don’t have to watch it alone, as Rifftrax has a commentary for the film both as a stand-alone audio commentary (DVD required) and was the subject of one of their live shows which is probably the only time I’ve seen the whole film (But have seen enough w/o to really make this judgment).

Whatever legacy it leaves though, I still consider it to be the low point of cinema in recent memory. Shock and terror indeed.

You know what, it was actually good seeing Birdemic. That is it, I’m going to see a movie that’s cinematically friendly.

End of Rant

Johnny Storm

CALLING OUT HATERS: 10 Worst Movies I’ve Seen In Recent Memory #10-6



I understand the feeling watching these films Mr. “I’m Not Famous Anymore.”
Image Source:
Asgardian Poledance

Yep I’m doing one of these lists, one in which probably would have taken a lot longer if I had thought about the worst movies I’ve seen of all time. I have at least avoiding some of the real turkeys of the past decade or so, the Uwe Bolls, the Friedberg and Seltzer’s, many of Adam Sandler’s vomit, and two M. Night Shaymalan movies I actually haven’t actually seen: Lady in the Water and After Earth. However that doesn’t make some of these films any less painful, some get there on merit they are just badly done, others just feel like no effort was put into any of it. Some predictable, others you might have already forgotten.

Enough set-up, on to the list…


Dishonorable Mentions:

The Happening: A movie that is both a guilty pleasure and also one of the most inept attempts at making a scary and environmental message movies I’ve seen in a while (Save for a few on the list proper).

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: The low point in the whole X-Men movie franchise, a tired action origin story that doesn’t go for adamantium rage, as much as trying to keep a brand name alive. Worse thing of all, it has Deadpool but not the things that Deadpool is known for. Hopefully Fox will rectify with the proper Deadpool film.

Prometheus: As a dishonorable mention because it was one of the most disappointing films I’ve seen in recent memory. An aimless plot with characters doing things that no sane person should do, and a mythology that just feels wholly undercooked and doesn’t settle down for a moment to take anyone to take it in. Pretty visuals and some good performances (Especially Michael Fassbender) don’t really excuse the chore this film had to sit through. However in terms of recent sins made to the Alien franchise, there is one much worse in my list proper.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation: For all it tries to “fix” from Rise of Cobra, it forgot to have any sense of fun in it. This joyless shoot-em-up has even less Joes that don’t even stand out, action scenes that are cut and shot badly and one character introduction that is quite possibly one of the worst edited character intros I’ve seen. Lastly quite possibly one of the most emotionally removed scenes of destruction released in a year which there seemed to be common, but even Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness felt like they had some weight to them.   But no Joe, it didn’t make the list.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014): Only missed out because it’s a movie still fresh, and it’s not as painful as the others, just dull. There isn’t an original bone in its body and I felt no emotional attachment to anyone, and neither does the script seem to care for that matter. Yet sadly we’re going to get a sequel… nice job audiences.


10. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

Take a general premise of the 1951 film, add on a nonsensical environmental twist, an absolutely appalling child character, and sprinkle it with a bit of really bad writing with Keanu Reeves headlining. In about decades I don’t think this film will be that fondly remembered, only looked upon on what completely pissing on a solid foundation for a film looks like. It’s even more so to see that they decide to throw in some planetary destruction, because that is what can be interesting tailored for the 2000s crowd, if aliens don’t come to the planet and not destroy loads of things it’s not worth making right? Throw in an awful moment of product placement, wasting both Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates, nobody I think stood still for this shit. While I am not in as much of a mood to really tear this film a new one as it’s been years, the film still left me with a really bad feeling that makes it stand below just mere mediocrity, just outright cinematic blasphemy. Not even a good cameo by John Cleese could save it.


9. The Last Airbender

I guess I’d be a bit generous with putting this film in the low end on the list, but the film is nothing to be really proud of. M. Night Shaymalan took a great animated series and did things to it that either don’t make a lick of damn sense or just put it well beyond being a bad adaptation, but a bad movie in general. The film contains laughably inept acting, woefully bad direction fight choreography and cinematography, painfully generic and expository dialogue, character’s that are woefully underdeveloped compared to their show counterparts and one of the biggest misguided attempts at casting diversity in a film. I don’t know if I can say much more, there is barely a single thing this film does right, only small praises to some of the special effects, design and Dev Patel for not completely sucking as Zuko nor Shaun Toub’s Iroh. At least with M. Night’s The Happening I could laugh as an unintentional comedy, this I only laugh out of keeping my sanity. While ultimately not the worst in recent memory, it certainly gets an award for one of the most disheartening adaptations in cinematic history.


8. Sucker Punch

Zack Snyder certainly is getting a lot of heat for his vision of Superman, but to me this is the lowest that he has come to so far in his career. Billed as kind of a modern fairy tale, the film interweaves a narrative within a narrative within a narrative with no real sense as to why the hell it all happens, and as the film goes on, it even makes less sense. No real reason is given for Emily Browning’s Babydoll, who in moments before her lobotomy at an asylum envisions her experiences through a brothel, and in moments in which she’s dancing dreams up of fantasy sequences that range from robotic samurais to steampunk Nazis to fighting dragons with planes. It’s Snyder’s attempt at a layered narrative, but there is just nothing deep about it, no real personality to suggest why these things are being imagined, especially beyond a dialogue-free prologue there is virtually nothing to the main character, and her friends are just about as paper-thin.

There is another thing that is really irksome is the suggestion that this is supposed to be empowering in some way for the female characters. No by all accounts this feels like a sick perverted idea of what female empowerment is. Certainly sexuality in itself can be empowering, but the way this is doing it is from a very male lens: the framing device of a brothel, the fact that the fantasy sequences strike of a masculine mindset and not even one that fits within the era the film, and then there is the way the characters dress within which causes a frequency of panty shots, lots and lots of panty shots. Combined with the gratuitous slow-motion that Snyder is known for (Though strangely absent in Man of Steel) and some special effects almost gives the feeling of someone’s over-budgeted soft-core porno without the porn, or with the pop cover soundtrack at least a series of expensive music videos.

Trying to reach a deeper meaning with this is a futile effort, even with Zack Snyder’s explanation which I think it only makes the movie worse. This isn’t good layered storytelling, nor is it an empowerment film, it is a pale imitation and a very bad one at that, and for some reason it nearly cost Warner Bros. $90 Million.


7. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

To say the least, Michael Bay’s Transformers movies have been consistently crap, but this one is quite possibly the bottom-of-the-barrel, the worst it has gotten that I’ve seen (Haven’t seen Age of Extinction yet). Whether you can blame it on the writers’ strike or just lazy filmmakers in general, this film was just an unpleasant ride to watch, took much of the flaws of the previous film and only worsened ten-fold. The frequency of scenes with wholly one-dimensional and annoyingly unlikable human characters, even more of the frat-boy humor that is rather inappropriate for a film series based upon children’s toys, a pointless pandering death scene, old and new Transformers that barely do jack shit, all tied together with a plot that just seemed made up on the fly, which it likely was.

Just describing it alone isn’t enough as there are moments I wish I could wash out of my mind: Sam’s mom getting high off of pot brownies, any scene with Sam’s “friend” Leo, the running gag of things being humped, the romance subplot where the biggest conflict is freaking words, showing a close-up of John Turturro in a thong for some reason, Devastator having wrecking balls as testicles, Skids and Mudflap in general, kind of turning Optimus Prime into a sociopath... it goes on. This film just made me the most miserable watching out of the three by just how relentless it is, the noise, the editing, the acting, just makes it feel like the ugly side of mega-blockbusters rolled up into one package. Yet this was the second highest grossing domestic movie in 2009 and the 18th of all time Domestic, solidifying it as a place in history, even if it is garbage.


6. The Room

Oh hai readers.

This movie is an easy target of course, but why would this be so low you ask? Because it is freaking hilarious. It only puts itself up on the worst list because of its ineptitude in just about every way imaginable, the writing, the editing, the acting, the visual effects (Yes the rooftop green-screen counts) and just being a movie you question how the heck was made in the first place.

Writer/director/star/citizen of whereverville Tommy Wisseau try as he might can’t get human emotions right, can’t get proper characterization, can’t get a proper way to transition or end scenes. I mean between the scenes of footballs being thrown around, big revelations not being treated as a big deal (Even breast cancer), a character absolutely dumbfounded at a woman trying to have sex with him, subplots dropped or just forgotten altogether and hints that things that we don’t see thus have no real attachment to. There is just so much Tommy tried yet very little of it actually works. It baffles the mind how one moment a guy is talking about his underwear troubles and then gets knocked over by a light shove for no reason.

But there is just something funny and narmy it is all delivered with Wisseau’s slurred lines, Greg Sestero being a pretty boy and not much else to talk about, Phillip Haldiman’s laughable attempts at emoting, Dan Janjigan’s absolutely award-worthy cameo as Chris-R, and just how everything comes together in one big catastrophe. Had the actors not made such a pitiful attempt to play it straight it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as entertaining, and most certainly makes the ineptitude of the whole package all the more bearable.

Now as far as its legendary status goes, I can accept it, although maybe I think I’d never attend one of these screenings, sounds like a bunch of hyenas attend them. Also I’d be hard pressed to see this film again without the help of Rifftrax.


Rant to be continued...

Sep. 23rd, 2014

catwoman

Pilot Review “Gotham” (SPOILERS)


Image Courtesy of: Fang FanGirl


I really tried to come into this with some sort of open mind but the pilot to new Fox series Gotham, just felt like someone made a fanfiction and pitched it to a network.  What if Selina Kyle witnessed the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents?  What if much of the major villains before they were major villains were involved with that story?  What if Jim Gordon was younger and didn’t have a mustache and glasses, also a war hero and had a father that was in the DA?

Needless to say first impressions aren’t exactly Gotham’s strong suit, there are many allusions made to where people would end up later in life but without any hint of subtlety.  It gets really ridiculous early on, Bruce already acting with revenge on the mind, Kyle already sneaking around like a cat, Edward Nigma being a forensics expert speaking in riddles, Oswald Copplepott referred to as a Penguin (Though lacking chubbiness and a certain long nose), Ivy Pepper (Still an awful name) being around plants.  For a show that tries to tell a story of how James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) began to fight corruption in the city, the heavy handed-ness of the foreshadowing just feels like a distraction from what is supposed to be the core story.

The core story itself just is trying to embrace cheesiness, whilst at the same time going for a gritty crime drama, both elements don’t work especially when the design varies from comic book colorful (Some of the best parts of the episode IMO) to gritty blues and grays.  Gordon’s speeches to Bruce (David Mazouz) strike of just artificiality, like who the hell would talk to a kid like this?  Gordon’s comforting of Bruce in Batman Begins said a lot more when it didn’t need stupid speeches about light coming or something.  In fact a lot of what develops just feels artificial, the moment Gordon enters the episode, a big deal being made of “shiny shoes”, the obvious twist that Bruce’s killer would not be one character and a random tip is enough to put doubt on it, Renee Montoya’s Bechdel test failing conversation with Barbara, none of how the story progresses feels natural.

About the few saving graces that makes this pilot tolerable is Donal Logue’s performance as the corrupt Harvey Bullock (And unlike Blade and Ghost Rider he gets to live this time), whilst Jada Pinkett-Smith gives a deliciously hammy performance as Fish Mooney.  There isn’t really any other performances that stand out or are really that great, doesn’t feel like elevation to what is pretty mediocre material, James Gordon especially just comes across as a bland goody two-shoes.

Being a pilot, it does set-up for more things to come, but honestly I don’t find myself caring.  As much as they try to set-up interest in big arcs for the main characters being the people who they will be, it just makes me yearn for actually seeing characters BE those characters.  In fact I feel like this show would have been better off being a story about the police in Gotham in an era of Jokers and Riddlers being Jokers and Riddlers, or maybe even a straight Batman series.  But in trying to make an interesting story about cops before the city became infamous for crazed supervillains, this pilot failed.

Verdict: Won’t be staying for the full season

End of Rant

Aug. 31st, 2014

real life, fluffyman, costume

Fluffyman’s Updates from the Tor-Cha Chamber 8/31/2014

Can’t say I’ve been quite productive over this past Summer, but hey it’s nice to get some relaxation. But a few major things did change, I made my first co-op blog in a long time (And I hope to make another sooner rather than later) and that is there is a new Manic Expression website up, but I wasn’t exactly too energetic in posting all my blogs over there when they asked. I will still be an active member of Manic-Expression though, and maybe post some old blogs eventually.

Right now, just a couple of things on my mind:

-I have been thinking about a blog that tackled the whole situation that transpired in Ferguson, Missouri that started with the unlawful shooting of Michael Brown but I’ve been having a hard time finding the right approach to it, and really want to make sure I’ve taken in most of the facts before I go full in. As well there is always more that will be said of it, will be hard to pin down a point in which I could say something big.

-Part of the reason you haven’t been seeing political blogs from me mostly because I have felt a bit frustrated on how some have decided to respond to when I take a firm political position. It most certainly will make if I ever decide to tackle Anita Sarkeesian and the issue of women representation in gaming again a bit of a struggle, something that has blown up again recently and I’m not certain if I have a large grasp to make an absolute statement just yet.

-I have been working on ideas for another Top List but plenty have been really hard to rank or hard to make a write up for.

-I am really thinking of a way to continue my Gem or Turd series, but haven’t quite thought of a really good subject just yet.

Not much else to really write except I’m always open to ideas and hey I am open to potential Co-Op blog partners, though as always would have to be a subject that will be fit. Just wanted to let people know where I am at and haven’t dropped off the surface, just wanted to take a bit of a break.

Lastly… Bangarang, Robin. (And hopefully no one will take this as in poor taste)


Source: kattnoir on Tumblr

RIP Robin Williams

1951-2014

And to not forget who else passed away recently.


Source: That-Bearded Man on Tumblr

RIP Sir Richard Attenborough

1923-2014

End of Rant

Aug. 11th, 2014

Boromir

Quick Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014)


Poster Created by: Paramount Pictures
Courtesy of: Wikipedia Protected Under: Fair Use, to illustrate subject of the review

It takes a special sort of combination that makes MUTATED TURTLES THAT ARE NINJAS feel like a life-less boring experience without an original bone in its body. Being a film produced by Michael Bay, directed by the guy who gave us Battle: Los Angeles, starring Megan Fox, with a $125 Million budget and a troubled hype mainly involving aliens and Shredder supposedly being a white dude, there wasn’t much hope for it. But my goodness it didn’t feel like they even tried to make it even enjoyably bad.

To put it bluntly, this film is a Frankenstein monster of modern blockbuster tropes, corrupt corporate executives who want to make profit out of misery, a man who acts behind the shadows, “all the characters went to high school” sort of origin writing, a climax that takes place on top of a tower, “I killed your father!”… suddenly aliens aren’t looking so bad right now. A film that tries in no attempt to even make fun of how overused these elements are played frustratingly straight, a far cry from being based on a comic book that was essentially a parody.

Making the routine plot all the more worse is the characters lacking just about any development. April O’ Neil (Megan Fox) is the central character and yet her character is more dictated by the plot, than vice versa. O’Neil barely has any real endearing traits on her own at times coming off as the filmmakers trying to make a female Sam Witwicky from the Transformers films but Fox cannot pull it off, as she always looks like she’s in a constant state of confusion. The Turtles have their character traits but have no character arcs, they are merely defined by their one-note traits, and their clothing has more actual personality than the people wearing them. For those coming in expecting that Will Arnett could be the film’s saving grace but sad to say not even GOB can magically make the movie better. Arnett’s Vern Fenwick is just an unfunny comic relief and kind of a creep around April, even wearing a friggin fedora at one point.

But even more egregious, the film makes some changes to what people know and love about the Turtles to which it feels even dumber than what came before. Say goodbye to Hamato Yoshi, Splinter (Danny Woodburn w/ the voice of Tony Shaloub) and the Turtles learned martial arts from a book, and not even get cool Kung Fu Hustle powers either. In fact there is actually little to no personal connection between Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and the Turtles, most of theirs and April’s backstory revolves around a character called Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) to a point in which ol’ Shred-head ends up being a pointless part of a freaking Turtles movie. The foot clan itself is just pathetic, at very little point do they provide a challenge for the Turtles and Karai (Minae Noji) in spite of supposedly being Shredder’s pupil is a big pile of nothing in the film, spends most of her screen-time getting her ass kicked.

Most importantly, the film just isn’t fun. As much as they try to make humor of the proceedings, they come across as flat attempts to distract from the fact that the film basically looked at what other movies has done and thought they should un-ironically copy them wholesale. Sorry but I see the stitches, so much so I can’t even think of anything big to compliment it with.

It’s the worst film I have seen so far this year and possibly the worst Turtles movie in the whole franchise. The third movie if anything at least didn’t make me feel so bored.



End of Rant

Aug. 7th, 2014

Sayid

CALLING OUT HATERS: The Ending to “The Last of Us” (Big SPOILERS)



Don’t let this not ending moment fool you; this game is kind of depressing.
Image Source: thelastofus-a

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

Although the game is over a year old, I’d strongly advise if you haven’t played The Last of Us on either the PS3 or the PS4, its best not to read any further.  There will also be spoilers for inFAMOUS 2.


The Last of Us is Naughty Dog’s swan song to the last generation of video games, a post-apocalyptic third-person stealth-action hybrid that rewards careful thinking and resource management as opposed to guns blazing, Uncharted this is not.  It also weaves an emotional narrative that is part Walking Dead meeting Children of Men, in which it centers around a cynical grizzled middle-aged man named Joel (Troy Baker) who has to help guide the hot-tempered 14-year-old Ellen Page-look alike Ellie (Ashley Johnson, who was the waitress in The Avengers) to a rogue group called the Fireflies because she may be the cure to a fungal disease that has plagued humanity for twenty years.

The game also contains a very polarizing ending that really makes or breaks it for some people.  Essentially the only way for the Fireflies to extract the cure for the disease from Ellie is to kill her.  This doesn’t go over well for Joel who in the big Falcon Player Punch of a prologue he had lost a daughter and has throughout the game stuck his life out for Ellie, even doing some really dark things in order to make sure she is safe and they grew a mutual bond with each other through the course of the game.  So he makes the big decision to instead save Ellie’s life as opposed to have her anti-fungal genes be examined for “the greater good.”

Now of course there is a major issue that a lot of people have with this and compounded by the fact you cannot make Joel change his mind… isn’t Ellie’s possible sacrifice justified?  The world had been turned to shit because of the disease, many people lost including loved ones and people who have been friendly with both Joel and Ellie.  Joel even has to lie to Ellie at the end over fear of losing her. Doesn’t Joel’s decision to pretty much say “fuck the world, I must save Ellie” come across as selfish?

Though I guess a bit of cynicism can be read on the side of Joel, seeing the worst side of humanity for many years, especially in the course of the game, he likely doesn’t feel like it would change with a cure.  Society is already fucked, so what will a cure to only part of the problem do for it?  As well he doesn’t know if the Fireflies’ motivations are genuine, they were going to do it while Ellie isn’t even aware of it happening, and the Fireflies only concerned about for a cure for them-selves.  There is a bunch of angles in which you can see Joel’s side, beyond just “I just don’t want to another little girl to die.”

But regardless, I feel like the issue for me is more in how the player is forced along to just make the one path.  As cinematically driven the game is, when people get towards that moment of what they’d see as misplaced morality, they might feel almost less inclined to see it through to the end.  That the choice the character makes you not want to finish the journey.  It was what personally made me un-easy about having to sneak past the Fireflies to save Ellie because part of me thinks that the character I am controlling isn’t entirely in the right, and I wished there would have been an option to go another path.

To put in comparison to another Sony game is inFAMOUS 2, in the game’s last moments it gives you the choice of two different paths: Heroic Sacrifice or Preservation.  Cole gets enough juice to power the Ray Field Inhibitor (RFI) which would defeat the Beast, but in a twist if he activates it, he’ll wipe out just about every Conduit on Earth including himself and his friends.  So the sacrifice is presented by being the morally good thing to do, whilst the bad ending is to decide that Conduits are worth saving and the rest of humanity will have to kiss their ass (I think I haven’t really witnessed that Bad Ending).  So in that game you are given the choice of “needs of the many (Humanity) vs. needs of the few (Conduits).”

I think in order to have been some ideal ground for The Last of Us, there could have been a choice, though maybe not necessarily as laid out as black-and-white.  Make the choice for Joel as opposed to have it be forced upon the player, and in the narrative presented it still could have worked.  How hard they fought to get to the Fireflies in the first place could be seen as grounds for Joel seeing Ellie’s sacrifice is necessary.

But it was Naughty Dog’s choice to make a linear narrative and who knows this might not be the end of it anyway, as there are talks of a sequel that they’ll make after Uncharted 4.  There may be some ramifications of Joel’s actions, the Fireflies’ leader may be dead but I doubt that will stop them from hunting him and Ellie, and of course the world is a shit-heap no shortage of people infected or just completely off the bend.  In spite of my reservations about how the last big moral decision made me feel a bit uneasy about continuing, I am at the very least interested in how the narrative will go from here.

That is unless your name is Spoony.  He thinks this game is bad and you should feel bad for liking it.  The latter part is what bothers me more than the former.

End of Rant

Jul. 15th, 2014

rowsdower

CALLING OUT HATERS: Top 15 “Weird Al” Yankovic Songs



Image Source: Splitsider

What is there really to say about “Weird Al” Yankovic?  He wasn’t the first person to do song parodies but he is one of those people who made it into an art form.  Born Alfred Matthew Yankovic (No relation to Frank Yankovic) started on the Dr. Demento show, and has had a somewhat healthy career since the early 1980s, he is pretty much the Michael Jackson of song parodies.  I’ve been a fan of his for years, the first album I listened to was “Weird Al” Yankovic In 3-D, I attended a concert of his back in 1999, have seen just about every music video of his, and UHF I would agree is an underrated comedy classic.

Now here comes the difficult part, in light of the release of Al’s final album with RCA Mandatory Fun (Which is TODAY, BTW), I felt like I might as well give people what I feel are my favorite songs of his, both his parodies and his original works.  But there are so many damn songs to pick from that I really really liked it felt a bit more difficult to choose from.  So sorry in advance if a few of your favorites didn’t make it, and since Mandatory Fun is fresh I won’t be including any songs from that.  And I made it a point to not include any of his polka compilations because they are just covers, so not really count as much as his other songs (He does do a mean “Bohemian Rhapsody” though), same goes for his cover of “George of the Jungle.”

Cue the accordion… or just the list…


Honorable Mentions:

“I Love Rocky Road”: Taking a Joan Jett song about a love or Rock N’ Roll and make it about a favorite ice ream flavor takes a stroke of genius.

“I Lost on Jeopardy”: It almost was foregone with the Greg Kihn Band song it’s based on itself already called “Jeopardy.”  Bonus points for getting Don Pardo one of the original announcers of the game show in the late 1960s-early 1970s.  Though the song was in 1984 it actually made before the Alex Trebek version, so that’s why the set looks so retro in the music video.

“I Want a New Duck”: Probably holds a special place in my heart seeing a Donald Duck 60 Minutes-esque TV special which had a montage set to this song.

“One More Minute”: A pretty painful anti-love song, probably one of his more personal hits, but still feels a bit funny in execution how exaggerated the pain comes from.

“Headline News”: A solid parody of “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” if a bit dated considering it’s involving big things that happened in 1994, especially the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding incident.

“All About the Pentiums”: An aggressive Puff Daddy parody about… computers.  Yeah, better than it sounds, though slightly outdated considering it’s 1999, and computers have advanced quite a bit since then.

“Couch Potato”: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem was a great song, and while Al has done quite a few songs already on TV obsession I felt this was his strongest.  Too bad this never gotten an official video, due to Eminem not really wanting one.

“Hardware Store”: Really is one thing to be honorable especially when Al lists off all those dang tools near the end of the song.

“Ode to a Superhero”: “Weird Al” Yankovic’s tribute to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man to “Piano Man”… if only this was included on one of the film’s soundtracks.  And I agree Al, Willem Dafoe does look scarier without the dumb Power Rangers mask.

“Virus Alert”: Delete immediately before someone gets hurt.  A ridiculously catchy song based upon a thing that always can keep a computer user on edge.

“Weasel Stomping Day”: A somewhat hilariously upbeat and sadistic song on stomping on a furry little critter, and fitting for being featured on an episode of Robot Chicken.

“CNR”: Charles Nelson Reilly may have passed away in 2007 but didn’t prevent Al from making this kick-ass tribute to him in 2009… well half tribute/Chuck Norris joke parody.

“Perform This Way”: Pretty much a summation of Lady Gaga’s persona, parodying one of her most ridiculously catchy songs.  And if anything more encouraging Gaga giving her OK on it when her manager didn’t, as long as he gave the proceeds of the song to the Human Rights Campaign (The original song was personal for her after-all).  Bonus points for the music video that pastes Al’s face onto a woman’s body, your decision on whether or not that is really hot.


15. “The Saga Begins”
Parody of: “American Pie” by Don McLean
Album: Running With Scissors

This was impressive in two ways, one of which making the plot of The Phantom Menace sounding good, but another is that he wrote it from leaked plot details and got most of the movie accurate (I’d kill to hear Liam Neeson actually say “Stick it in your pointy ears” though).  Really puts me back into an innocent time where I too was a blind Star Wars fanboy, I even had people of Music class sing this along with me.  I just didn’t feel the crushing disappointment of the film itself until years later.


14. “Everything You Know Is Wrong”
Album: Bad Hair Day

“What is white up and down, what’s short is long.”  This completely almost nonsensical song just gets me not only for just the shit that happens but also the ridiculously catchy nature of it.  Rabid wolverines, aliens that look like Jamie Farr, dying from an infection of a paper cut, heaven having a noisy ice machine…   There doesn’t really seem to be much of a logic to it, only that all you need to understand is “Everything you know is wrong.”


13. “White and Nerdy”
Parody of: “Riding Dirty” by Charmillionaire f/ Krayzie Bone
Album: Straight out of Lynwood

What can make up a good parody is making the lyrics about a completely different subject than its original song and yet somehow make it work.  Here it’s Charmillionaire’s song of racial profiling and turning it into a song of a nerd boasting himself, like it would somehow give him cred with the gangsters.  Helping is Al’s ability to really match up with the tone of the song, and Sir Alfred Yankovic isn’t a bad rapper himself.  Then there is the music video which to date has nearly 86 Million views on YouTube, and boasts a few notable cameos including Donny Osmand, Seth Green and… Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele?  This was a song that pretty much made Straight out of Lynwood a hit, and definitely the “hippest” you’ll hear anyone sing about nerd culture.  Slightly dated with a MySpace reference though.


12. “Jurassic Park”
Parody of: “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris
Album: Alapalooza

Jimmy Webb’s love-it-or-hate-it 1968 hit actually adapts pretty well into a movie about cloned dinosaurs running amok in an island attraction.  Not so much about leaving cakes in the rain (Which is a metaphor I guess) as it is about people getting disemboweled and leaving them kind of mad.  Jurassic Park was HUGE in 1993, so I guess Al wanted a bit of that Spielberg hype waved, and it worked.   The film itself even 2 decades old stands the test of time, and for me so does this parody.


11. “Don’t Download This Song”
Album: Straight out of Lynwood

What also never fails to be timeless, the ridiculousness of charitable ballads.  As the cause might be good they usually come across as over-produced and/or lyrically questionable.  “We Are The World” being one example that comes to mind, but for me the one I really get sick of is “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”  Anyway this is basically a song shouting out to how basically the music industry including the RIAA does not take kindly to the whole music sharing scene, thus is a parody of how they would try to reach out and basically say “Don’t Download This Song.”  Sadly considering how the record companies (or pretty much any media company now and days) pretty much want to act as judge, jury and executioner to anyone who wants to download their shit, the song doesn’t seem all too exaggerated.  Pretty much has all the tropes they use in place in place guilt tripping, exaggeration of the consequences, and just all around trying to make you feel like the worst human being of the world, regardless if you are 30 or 10.  As a bit of satire in itself Al actually offered this song as a free download up to the release, encouraging bit of thought to practice what he preaches.  But still buy Al’s albums, he still needs to eat after all.  If anything though this song highlights just how very disturbing the music industry runs things.


10. “Trapped in the Drive-Thru”
Parody of: “Trapped In The Closet” by R. Kelly
Album: Straight out of Lynwood

With something as already ludicrous as R. Kelly’s magnum opus, what can really match that?  A song making an epic out of going to the drive-thru.  Brings up a scenario we all can relate to, in the middle of the night wanting something to eat but can’t really decide on what to, so it’s off a trip to the drive-thru.  What is the mundane made all the more dramatic, from just simply discussing food, finding change in the freaking car, to how people can share awkward stares for a long time (“Well he looks at me… and I look at him… and he looks at me… and I look at him” etc), also thrown in a bit of “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin to break things up.  The absurdity of the whole thing definitely makes it one of Al’s best epic songs, though what I consider his best is still to come.


9. “Gump”
Parody of: “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States
Album: Bad Hair Day

I don’t really have as fond of memories towards Forrest Gump as much as I used to and really I’m starting to get sick of annoyingly sentimental movies.  However that doesn’t make this a bad song based upon the film in anyway, works the whole thing about Forrest Gump really well into the beats of the song it is parodying.  While not a full summary of the film itself, still breaks down some of the basic elements to make it entertaining.  And that’s all I have to say about that.


8. “Albuquerque”
Album: Running With Scissors

A somewhat abusive childhood with Sauerkraut turns into an epic journey to a certain city in New Mexico.  So much crazy shit happens in the span of 11 minutes and 2 seconds, getting into a plane crash, fighting with a hermaphrodite with only one nostril over a snorkel, wanting donuts but getting weasels, marrying a girl named Zelda, having two children with her… and then mutilating two people one with a chainsaw and one with his teeth.  The setting only seems incidental in the gist of things, but if anything shows how something completely off the wall random can turn into an epic.  The wackiest adventure you’d find about Albuquerque… that is before Breaking Bad.  WAKA WAKA DOO DOO YEAH.


7. “Bedrock Anthem”
Parody of: “Under the Bridge” and “Give It Away” by Red Hod Chili Peppers
Album: Alapalooza

Yabba-Dabba-Yabba-Dabba-Dabba-Doo now.  Who knew a simple cartoon that was basically The Honeymooners in the Stone Age can really fit into the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ style and two completely different songs as well.  It isn’t enough to be said, pretty much nails the Chili Peppers and making you really nostalgic at the same time (Whether or not that is a good thing is up to debate).  The song was also popular enough to be included in The Flintstones movie soundtrack, along with “Walk the Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was) (Only a year after it was covered by George Clinton & the Goombas for Super Mario Bros.) and “Anarchy in Bedrock” by Green Jelly.  This song is just a gay old time.


6. “Yoda”
Parody of: “Lola” by the Kinks
Album: Dare to be Stupid

Seems a bit weird to have a tribute song to Yoda 5 years after Empire Strikes Back, still an instant classic from Al.  It’s also another song that really veers differently from the subject matter of the song it parodies, as “Lola” is about transgender confusion.  Still though doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of basically a tribute to the little green alien puppet we all know and love.  “I know Darth Vader’s really got you annoyed, but remember if you kill him then you’ll be unemployed” almost feels fitting to that cave scene doesn’t it?  “I will be playing this part til I’m old and gray” well almost took 30 years, but now Mark Hamill will be playing the part of Luke again, though making the movies until the end of time remains to be seen (And skipped out on about 3).  Wonder if Frank Oz has any Yoda left in him or is he still retired?


5. “Amish Paradise”
Parody of: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio
Album: Bad Hair Day

There is nothing less Gangsta than being Amish, but Al had found a way to make it fit parodying the breakaway hit from the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.  “An Amish with a ‘tude, you know that’s unheard of”, I don’t know you do a good job of making it sound it that way yourself.  Basically putting in all the things we know of the Amish into the tune of a rap song, pacifism included and even throwing a bit of the ending theme of Gilligan’s Island for good measure.  Now this parody is not without it’s controversy as Al actually didn’t get proper permission to do it from Coolio (Al always made it a point to get permission to parody a song even if he is allowed not to).  Thankfully fences have been mended in 2006, so now there is no bad blood between Al and Coolio.  And thus you can really appreciate this song without being guilty over the original artist’s opinion.  Otherwise I may have to get medieval on your hiney.


4. “Dare to be Stupid”
Album: Dare to be Stupid

What some would actually describe as the best Devo song that actually wasn’t written by Devo.  What Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh once said about it "I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else and, umm... I hate him for it, basically."  Al’s love letter to low intelligence probably the funnest of Al’s original songs and probably has the most fun music video of all of his.  Basically twisting a lot of old phrases to take the illogical step and even adding some nonsensical ones that fit well within the call of stupidity (“Stick your head in the microwave and get yourself a tan”, “Mashed potatoes can be your friend.”).  And of course the music video having a lot of energy, references (To both Devo and other things) really adds to the song as well.  Though one thing it does feel out of place is Transformers: The Movie in which Wreck-Gar and the Junkions become a pest to the heroes.  Not saying it isn’t fitting for the Junkions mind you, but it doesn’t feel appropriate for chase music.  It led him to make an awesome appearance as Wreck-Gar in Transformers Animated though, and doesn’t take away from the fact this song makes it feel awesome to be stupid.  I m seriouz, ya guys.


3. “Fat”
Parody of: “Bad” by Michael Jackson
Album: Even Worse

It may be incredibly cheap to laugh at fat jokes, but this definitely feels more amusing to me than most with the addition of being put to the backbeat of Michael Jackson.  Just hilarious as well to look at the Music Video and Al acting around in a fat suit doing most of the same things Jackson did, with much less success than MJ.  Just playing up the humor that a person would make being fat as intimidating but really it’s pretty damn absurd.  I think if you feel offended by this, I think you are taking this a bit too seriously, there isn’t a lot that feels all that mean-spirited at least with this.  Now if Al called fat people disgusting pigs or the worst in civilization anything else, then it might be something.  But point is I’ve heard far worse on fat, and this is still a ridiculously fun parody.


2. “Smells Like Nirvana”
Parody of: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
Album: Off the Deep End

As like a phoenix raising from the ashes, after Al’s flop of UHF it was this song that revived his career.  A parody of Nirvana’s breakaway hit from Nevermind that actually got the blessing of Kurt Cobain, in which it makes fun of the fact that at times Mr. Cobain’s lyrics can be incomprehensible.  Yes indeed it is hard to bargle newdle zouss with all these marbles in my mouth.  Such an affectionate parody, it takes a lot of love to make something sound so good like the original song and yet pave its own path making it a grand imitation and a playful tribute.  And this was before the age of the internet in which you could easily find the words up online, so people would easily confused what the lyrics are, what is otherwise known as a Mondegreen.  Funny I ran across a Mondegreen with one of Al’s songs “Slime Creatures from Outer Space” sounded to me like “Flying Teachers from Outer Space.”  It still pains me a bit to think about Kurt Cobain who took his own life in 1994, a man who had so much to give to the world ending it when he was 27.  But his legacy will definitely live on as a rock legend both through his songs and this parody tribute.


1. “Eat It”
Parody of: “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
Album: “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D

Whilst Al had produced notable songs before this one, it was one that I think really put him up into the mainstream and got him a Grammy.  Most certainly is the first “Weird Al” song I’ve ever listened to and I feel it is his greatest accomplishment so far.  Turning Michael Jackson’s song of gang violence and turning it into basically telling people that you should probably eat when you are told.  I think if anything getting approval from the King of Pop himself was another interesting thing as he even can get good humor out of twisting a song into meaning something completely different (He didn’t approve a parody of “Black or White” though).  The video itself resembles the original it’s uncanny with a few added visual gags, even some of the extras look so much like the original.  Now of course, there is some irony to think as a song such as this as you probably wouldn’t get Al to eat whatever you’d feed him on his plate, as he’s become an outspoken vegetarian.  Also applies to songs like “My Bologna” or “Spam” or “Lasagna” (Though vegetarian alternatives do exist) or that scene in UHF where he puts a hotdog in a Twinkie.  Though always separate the art from the artist that’s what I say, and I doubt half of the songs you can really take seriously if you take them at face value.  Al certainly has crafted his art of parody over the years but this is where I feel this was one where he pretty much solidified.  “Eat It” is my personal favorite song of his.

*To polka melody*

My personal favorite song… of his.  Favorite song of his.  Favorite song of his.  Favorite song of his.  My personal favorite song!

HEY!

End of Rant

Jul. 9th, 2014

catwoman

CALLING OUT HATERS: Shipping (W/jashykins)

PRESENTS

A

CO-OP BLOG

Image Created by: Marukaite Chikyuu on Tumblr

Previously on the Tor-Cha Chamber…

“Ah, shippers, how I absolutely dread them. I mean some might be justified as it’s rare to find a compelling romantic story in fiction now and days. While I find that Harry/Hermoine didn’t have the same sort of bond her and Ron had, the dissenters to Harry/Ginny are understandable considering J.K. Rowling did a really bad job building up that relationship, more pages were devoted to his ill-fated and misguided relationship with Cho Chang than developing up a significant bond with the youngest Weasley. However in some cases I think they are pushing it when it comes to finding the “signs” of their shipping preference, and I’m calling out the ones in that group that are awfully defensive about whom they prefer as a couple.”

(One Zutara Rant later)

“I just wanted to make a point on why I just don’t see why this pairing is enough to be worked up over. They can have their fanfictions and fanarts but when some of them shove their preferences down other people’s throats by bemoaning and insulting shippers of the official couple, then it crosses a line between an innocent preference to obsessive fanboyism. This is not something to get worked up over, they are fictional characters, there are far more worthy causes in the world to be all in a fussy about, having viscous debates about couples in a TV show isn’t one of them, as it doesn’t have the effect as say drastic changes in the environment or concern over how the government is running things. Don’t take it too personal, and at least have a sense of humor about it, I mean… why so serious? Now isn’t that so much better advice than saying ‘Get a life!’”

-CALLING OUT HATERS: Zutara Shippers get no satisfaction (Avatar: The Last Airbender SPOILERS), June 6th 2010


Look at the people around you when you walk down a crowded street, there is probably a sizable portion of them that are… SHIPPERS! In one form or another they have their own OTP or One True Pairing that they prefer in fiction or in real life. They’ll probably rant at great length about it on an open forum, in their blog, post a bunch of gifs on Tumblr or just talk with at great length with their friends, strongly supporting about whom they prefer as a couple, even battle with other ships over who is the true pairing. They might even make little cute nicknames of their preferences combining the first and/or last names of their characters to represent their ships.

Chances are your parents, grandparents and even great grandparents have done it as well. Before there was people debating Edward and Jacob, there was Betty and Veronica. Think the debates over Peter Parker’s one true love, Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson is a recent thing? That battle has been waged since 1966, not even Gwen dying in 1973 has quite stopped it.

But maybe I’m not quite the romantic, but I just can’t find myself understanding the whole fascination of shipping. I mean certainly I can feel strongly about people who have a romantic pull in fiction, after-all I did make a defense of Kataang (The official pairing of Katara and Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender) over four years ago. But there are certain aspects about shipping that I don’t really understand, especially the people who like to like to make cross-over ships (Merida/Hiccup, Elsa/Jack Frost… really?).

I mean it’s not like there is someone who has confessed continually can help a Fluffy Man out.


Jash Derin Kol-Ze aka jashykins:

Yeah, really wish there was someone to help you out. Someone who has a blog series about what they ship.

Wait...that's me...so...yeah...

I didn't start out as a big shipper and it's something I kind of ended up accepting about myself. I ship purely for fun and get annoyed when people take it too seriously. Even if people use shipping to make arguments that I agree with I don't usually like it since it takes out the fun element.

I ship things that I wouldn't ship in real life including incest. They're fictional people so real world logic doesn't apply.


Fluffyman:

…You ship incest?



jashykins:

Well the people in my incest ships aren't real. Nothing is actually happening to them in the real world. It's the reason I can enjoy a good slasher film: nothing is actually real so I don't have to feel guilty about cheering the killer on.

In the ship Wincest (pairing between Dean and Sam in the show Supernatural) or Charlie/Miles (Charlie and Miles Matheson from the show Revolution), things don't have to happen like they would in the real world, especially in the second example.

Besides the age difference in Charlie/Miles, there is the fact that Miles is either Charlie's Uncle or Father (because the show got cancelled we'll never know for sure). In real life I would be against this because of the power play that could easily go on.

But it's fiction and non-canon so if I don't want to imagine that happening, I don't have to and so I can enjoy the ship my own way.


Fluffyman:

Well… if I were to follow that, I’d put out some examples of my own… I mean not something I personally ship but have seen people ship or really shipped within the show itself.

I mean with Game of Thrones, brother-sister incest isn’t just implied, it’s freaking canon. Part of a major conflict in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros is the incestual relationship between Jaime and Cersei Lannister which they have not only done the nasty, they’ve birthed several children including the unholy abomination Joffrey. And funny thing is there are people who believe in them, even if they are not very nice people, it’s hard to find a moral paragon in the show or the novels to be sure. But I find it really mortifying people believe in an incestuous relationship between two kind of awful people… it is just pretty damn wrong. Ship might have sunk like a rock with the scene in which it very much looked like Jaime was raping Cersei (Which they changed from the book where it’s direct about it being consensual) but that sort of plot device is a rant for another time.

One non-canon incest shipping that really freaks me out: Prince Zuko and Princess Azula, the heirs to the Fire Nation throne in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Not only is this ship creepy for the obvious reason of incest, they could not be more different of characters. Zuko is a banished prince who had spent most of his life being the unfavorite to his father Fire Lord Ozai, and feels capturing the Avatar will restore his honor. Azula is Daddy’s Little Sociopath, has no empathy for anyone around her, only cares about goals that benefit her, not mention a master Firebender and carries out creepily elaborate schemes, making her one of the most dangerous characters in the show. Both have mommy issues, however Zuko yearns because of his abusive relationship with his father, Azula dreads because her mother never loved her. Pretty much both characters are trying to kill each other for most of the show (Azula though more trying to kill Zuko than vice versa) and even have a climactic battle at the end. There is a brief period in which the characters are “at peace” with each other, but even then, there are major differences that separate them. The idea of Azula being shipped with anyone though scratches my head, she isn’t a character that has a lot of redemption or even sympathy, I doubt there is anyone that is “the one” for her because. Maybe people just don’t like Mai, Zuko’s official pairing partner in the show.

Other incest pairings I’ve seen people ship: Simon/River Tam from Firefly, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff of Marvel Comics (Which Jeph Loeb decided to canonize in Ultimates 3 *shudders*), Thor and Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Elsa and Anna in Frozen, Peter Petrelli and Claire Bennett in Heroes (Not helping with the actors briefly dating in real life), Chuck and Ellie Bartowski in Chuck, and I’m certain plenty of others that you’d likely experienced.

I think what usually leads people to do things is when writers seem to have a failure to really write interesting romances for characters, but resonate much strongly with writing a relationship with a sibling or another relative. I can definitely see people seeing the failure of a canon ship causing them to wish there was a much better pairing, but to a blood relative… must admit personally creeps me out.

Getting back to the whole writing of relationships, is there anything that you can say about the mindset of those who write ships because they feel official couples fail to compel them?


jaskykins:

From my own mindset I never ship something because a canon ship fails. I ship canon couples as well as non-canon ones.

In the Animorphs series I ship Jake/Cassie and Rachel/Tobias just as hard as the non-canon couple Tobias/Marco.

I have really big emotions for Jake/Cassie and how much they go through and change throughout the war. I feel the sadness in the Rachel/Tobias ship by the end of the series. So they don't fail at all. They are big wins.

So I ship Tobias/Marco because I see connections between the two. Not because one of the canon ships failed.

I can't get into the mindset of someone who ships just because they feel a canon couple failed since the mindset is truly foreign to me. Of course I'm also one that doesn't hate most ships except one so I'm pretty open minded about most things.

The only pairing I don't like is canon and is from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It is between Jesse Flores and Derek Reese. It commits the sin of dumbing down Derek in order for the ship to work. Does that mean I started shipping Sarah Connor/Derek Reese because of it?

Hell no.

I see chemistry between two characters and I ship them. Not because 'the canon ship failed'. Of course this does mean there is a vast number of my ships that conflict with each other.


Fluffyman:

Well I feel I might relate a bit more to the mindset of finding the canon ship lacking and wish at the very least they could be bothered with writing one that is more compelling and better built upon. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley is one canonical ship I haven’t really felt. As much as J.K. Rowling and the films try to push them as a great couple, the fact is neither really did a good job building this great romance between them. They of course plant the seeds of something in Chamber of Secrets but Ginny’s importance in the series doesn’t come anywhere near as relevant until The Half-Blood Prince when they eventually become an item and (to borrow a bit of British terminology) snog. In-between Harry is side-tracked with a crush on Cho Chang which ends up pretty badly for both of them in Order of the Phoenix anyway with a combination of jealousy, betrayal and the death of Cedric Diggory (It’s much worse in the books). Harry and Cho’s arc of at least three books felt like it was given more care and attention to than the canon ship of Harry and Ginny which just seems more spontaneous than anything. Ron and Hermoine at least had an undercurrent that spread throughout the seven books, even with their tiffs especially with the whole in-book-only House Elves subplot. That does not mean I ship Harry and Cho mind you, it was great that it ended as it was more of a strained one that wasn’t going to work out.

Then there is a case in which I find all ships lacking and wished that the creators have spent energy on something else… anything else. One stand-out example recently is the sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender called The Legend of Korra. In this show the attempts at romance are far more in the forefront to the series than they were the previous one, and it comes at the detriment. I kind of understand since it involves people in their teens to early adults as opposed to kids in the last show, they’d tailor stories more closely related to that audience. In terms of the people involved we have the main character Avatar Korra, the brooding firebending orphan Mako, his charmingly goofy earthbending brother Bolin and rich heiress/hair-flip expert Asami. How it goes is that Bolin really liked Korra, but Korra really likes Mako, but then Mako also has a thing with Asami, Bolin’s heart is broken, eventually Asami’s is as well, Korra and Mako get together, then due to the big conflict in Season 2 Korra and Mako split up, Asami kisses Mako then trying to rekindle a relationship (In which she’s at an all-time emotional low in that period BTW), but then things get side-tracked and then Korra and Mako decide to split out for reals. A tangled web indeed, made worse by taking up a good chunk of the screen time with mediocre writing by which at the end I would like to have just screamed to the heavens like Lumpy Space Prince and shout “I DON’T CAREEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Things seem to just get better with the third season though as there doesn’t seem to be any sort of shipping shenanigans this time… I hope.

Not as bothersome to me but still kind of annoying is the whole shipping wars of Adventure Time. Centric on the protagonist Finn the Human people either prefer him to be paired with Princess Bubblegum, Flame Princess, Lumpy Space Princess, Marceline the Vampire Queen… and I’m certain there are plenty of others, Finn trying to be the honorable hero he is pretty much a chick magnet in this show. But one thing to keep in mind with any of this is Finn’s emotional maturity or real lack thereof, as he is a boy growing up to be a man, thus can’t really fathom the complex emotions of adulthood. To put it simply I can’t really strongly get behind any ship as because he isn’t quite at the point where a serious romantic relationship is possible. But if I were to put my two cents on a few, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline are REALLY too old for Finn and the former seems to just be written more and more like a sociopath. Flame Princess ship they pretty much all but sank recently. And Lumpy Space Princess… whilst strongly suggesting recently she has deflowered Finn so to speak (Yes it’s still a family show), LSP doesn’t really have much emotional maturity herself and their “moment” so to speak LSP was taking advantage of Finn, feeling disturbingly close to rape.

Speaking of Adventure Time, a popular ship is something that goes beyond the average parameter of family shows and that is Princess Bubblegum and Marceline, and I think if anything is implied strongly with the writers themselves. This is a ship I actually can see, and it’d be definitely a ground-breaker to follow through with it, if there are any spines left in Cartoon Network that is, but this show pretty much contains a ton of moments in which you question you are watching something marketed towards kids.

Any two cents on same-sex shipping? I can definitely see you have a few yourself.


jashykins:

Same-sex ships are either man with man which is slash or woman with woman which is femslash. And there are ships involving more than two people but that's an area I'm just now really getting into.

What I've come across shipping slash and femslash is people saying that me, and people like me, are only shipping those kinds of pairings because we have a fetish. It can't be possibly be because we see connections between two characters. Nope, we have to be fetishing the LGBTQ+ community.

What makes that even more stupid at times is actual gays, lesbians, ect. ship femslash and slash so...are they fetishing themselves?

I, myself, am not turned on by a good majority of slash pairings, but I ship them because I believe I see a romantic connection between the two. So when I ship Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (called either Science Bros or Science Husbands) from The Avengers I am not doing it because I get off on imagining them having sex.

Not that I don't mind it, but it is far from the reason I like to pair them together.

Femslash pairings, for me at least, are a little more rare though I like them as equally as slash pairings.

One of my more recent femslash pairings is Sifay (Melinda May and Sif from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) even though they only had one episode together and there's no assurance that they'll share another one.

And as for changing someone's sexuality for a ship: sometimes myself and others believe that it's obvious that someone isn't straight.

Such as Dean Winchester from Supernatural just has these moments where it seems he's bisexual. While in the Animorphs series Marco just acts too straight and makes a majority of the fandom agree he's not straight (I, myself, like to headcanon him as gay though I don't mind a bisexual Marco).

While having more LGBTQ+ representation in fiction would help, I don't think it would ever really stop these type of headcanons.


Fluffyman:

The accusation of fetishizing a sexual preference isn’t one that I haven’t heard before. This is different than the dumb accusation of something “pushing the homosexual agenda”; this is a case in which the homosexuals are actually offended by the way they are portrayed by others, especially in the media. There are writers and producers out there who just don’t know how homosexual relationships work, when gays are depicted in fiction, sadly they are usually put in as wacky comic relief or as part of an incredibly disingenuous ratings stunt. They write them less like human beings and more either to be ridiculed or fapped to.

Though with same-sex shippers, I do normally find the cases for them to be not so much about feeding a one-handed exercise and more thinking “wouldn’t it be cute if they were together” or something like that. Stark and Banner feels to me a pairing which people just really love how they talk and interact with each other, and becomes heartwarming when one isn’t afraid of the other.

Marceline and Princess Bubblegum though is a case in which their interactions can also be considered unresolved sexual tension. They have a troubled history together and in some ways feels like they’re mending a few fences in recent episodes that they’re involved in (At one point Bubblegum sniffs a shirt Marceline gave her to wake up in the morning… read that as you will). As much as people wish upon them being a couple there is still the hurdle that Adventure Time is on Cartoon Network, thus there is that barrier in which network censors would not approve of a same-sex relationship, even with all the other stuff it gets under a radar. I do hope there is at least a progressive change in which how family entertainment perceives homosexuality, but that’s definitely another rant for another time.


jashykins:

Yeah, some writers of TV shows and the like just don't get someone who isn't straight and their relationships. Queer baiting, though what is queer baiting and what isn't can be heavily up to debate at times, is a horrible thing where people entice others to watch in the hopes that a slash or femslash pairing will become canon. Basically using the HOPE of a same-sex relationship as bait to bring in views.


Fluffyman:

Now for a subject that I’m really kind of baffled on why some people genuinely like to do… cross-over ships. Can you explain to me the whole fascination with that?


jashykins:

I'm not really a person that goes with crossovers for the most part. The Shormlit Chronicles is mostly set in the Animorphs universe, at least for now though I have plans for that to change in the far future; and Inbetween: The Works of Crayak combines elements from The Following and Animorphs to get one universe.

So I don't have much experience with it personally. I will admit, though, that some crossover ships are cute and adorable.

Elsa and Jack Frost things I see on Tumblr make me okay with the ship though I don't ship it as much as I do other things.

The only fanfic I read, and do need to finish as well as the fic that came before it, that did a crossover ship wasn't one I'd normally think of but it worked. It was a Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Fringe crossover. The main pairing was Sarah Connor and Olivia Dunham.

The fic I need to finish does a great job at dealing with Sarah getting cancer and Olivia having to deal with that.


Fluffyman:

I personally don’t get the whole Jack Frost and Elsa thing, I mean other than being ice people and them having to come to terms with responsibility, Jack being a Guardian and Elsa being a Queen, there isn’t a whole lot in common with each other. Jack is a dorky trickster and Elsa is a bit rebellious but treats her powers in exile as a liberation and there isn’t a lot of time to be spent goofing around (Olaf is an unintended thing). I don’t exactly see them connecting quite as well as some Tumblr users do that gif them in scenes together.

As for Princess Merida and Hiccup, really hinges on derailing the former. One of the big messages of Brave was that Merida didn’t need a man to fulfill her life, the story was more about a conflict between herself and her considerably more conservative Queen mother Elinor. The suitors aren’t a major factor in her development, so how the heck can Hiccup be a major factor in her life? As much as there would be suggestion Merida would warm up to a suitor eventually, doesn’t change the facts. Hiccup might be part of a land with people who many of the adults have Scottish accents (Even though Vikings existed in Scandinavia), his dorkiness might have some appeal, but there is one important factor that cross-over shippers seem to not like and that is HE IS TAKEN. Hiccup doesn’t need a girl as he has Astrid, a determined yet hot-headed rookie dragon slayer who first hates Hiccup but then eventually warms up to him, and they even become an adorable official couple in the second film. I think it some people’s distaste for Astrid for some reason, but as much as she doesn’t quite strongly resonate with some people, she’s still with Hiccup, and she will always be with Hiccup (That is unless they pull some BS in the third film).

Other cross-over ships I’ve seen: Hiccup and Rapunzel (In spite of both being taken), Jack and Merida, Jack and Rapunzel (There’s even a whole shipping community called “Rise of the Brave Tangled Dragons”) Norman of ParaNorman and Coraline, Sailor Moon and Goku, Wally/Waldo and Carmen Sandiego, Bayonetta and Devil May Cry’s Dante (Helped by both being from the same creator), Samus and Solid Snake, Nathan Drake and Lara Croft, it goes on and on. And someone I knew once shipped Hunter of Road Rovers with Mallory of the cartoon Mighty Ducks doubling as inter-series AND inter-species ship.

It’s alright in the world of Fan Fiction but it just feels to me that if you do that, make pairings that might make sense. Then again I’m a person who has admitted to not being quite the romantic. As I myself don’t have a girlfriend and never officially had one, so I can’t exactly fathom entirely what can go into attraction, only really know what other people see it is.


jashykins:

The thing I think you're having a problem with is letting go of canon. As a multi-shipper who ships both canon and non-canon couples alike I don't worry too much about how they wouldn't all work and so I would just have to pick one.

I ship Dean with Sam but I still ship Dean with Castiel. Hell, Dean and Crowley look really promising especially with the finale of the current season.

So if you don't get too upset about canon, or how certain ships will conflict with other ships, there's really not much of a problem.

And as for pairings making sense...some people see things in some places that others don't. So it's really a difference of opinion at times.


Fluffyman:

Say… do you think you can ship me with someone, jashykins?


jaskykins:

Let me first say that I don't know you that well. Even though I do a decent job at keeping up with your blogs I'm not too familiar with what series/franchises you are into. Since I also don't know you that well...near impossible to think of anything at the moment.

With that said I'll have to go with a fellow member of Manic Expression. I will just say that I pair your blogging styles up and that's really all I'm going on: Jim Bevan.


Fluffyman:

*Laughs*

I don’t know if me and Mr. Bevan would stand each other. Now James Daniel Walsh is probably the closest I’ve come to of anyone in the Manic Expression website, being that he was a a major influence on my blogs in the first place. But I try my darndest to not suggest any tension between us when we did our co-op blogs. But he really gloated over me when he highlighted me as a Great Blogger back in March, and saying my series is better than his, leaves me very flattered. People might read some sort of tension in there. Oh and congratulations on being the latest blogger to be highlighted by James, you really seem to keep yourself busy to deserve it.


jashykins:

Ah, you and James. The great love story of our age.

And thanks for the congrats! I was extremely embarrassed and tried to hide from the screen. But it's still a nice feeling.

So who would you ship me with?


Fluffyman:

As far as you are concerned, I run into the same problem with you in that I only just became familiar with your work, so it’d be hard to ship someone. But maybe one of the guys from Supernatural you seem to really love them, maybe an Animorphs character, though I would have to really read up on them because I don’t have knowledge or experience in either. I know of one or two other known people who have a great appreciation of Supernatural so maybe… Obscurus Lupa?


jashykins:

Obscurus Lupa? I don't mind being paired with her. I don't keep up with her videos often but when I do watch them, sometimes in a binge which is the same way I like to view Linkara, I do enjoy her.


Fluffyman:

So maybe you are right, shipping can be a fun thing. Mind you there is definitely an extreme to it, in which people so passionate they really start to tear fandoms apart. As well there are certain parts of which I’d not like to get into like when people ship a kid with a grown adult, I feel very uncomfortable with even discussing it. But taking away the bad, there can still be something enjoyable found in there, I don’t quite know if I can completely come up with the right words.

Just a few assorted thoughts to wrap things up about shipping on my end:

-I’m probably not alone in thinking as a child, Shaggy and Daphne felt more interesting of a pairing as opposed to Fred and Daphne.

-I honestly don’t care about Gilligan enough to really think he can really be paired up with Mary-Ann or Ginger (Though I’m more of a Mary-Ann guy but that’s a self-insert)

-Batman and Catwoman OTP.

-Peter Parker and Mary Jane OTP, though hard for me to think how it could have worked in Spectacular Spider-Man a show that ended before they even got to that point.

-Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart.

-I’m not a fan of actor shipping, even if celebrities can look adorable together, I leave that to the gossipy media.

-Good lord… don’t get me started on Anakin and Padme.

Any last things you want to say about shipping?


jashykins:

My final words would be to just enjoy ships for fun and not to take them too seriously. Not that I like when my OTP (Science Husbands) are said to just be friends, but I don't start yelling at people.

Some people just think that ships need to be canon because they believe in them. I believe the LGBTQ+ community should be represented better, but some of the more...passionate shippers take things too far and don't help.


Fluffyman:

There are plenty of people who can take things too far with something they are passionate about in their fandoms. That is not to say passion is a bad thing, but certain passionate battles definitely feel like they take the fun out of whatever they are fighting about.

Thank you so much for helping me with this blog. This definitely has been a surreal and at the same time kind of enlightening conversation.


jashykins:

You're welcome. I love talking about shipping so it was a good conversation for me too. And any time you want to ask me to collaborate with you in the future just ask.


Fluffyman:

Happy to ship with you.

Wait…

End of Rant


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