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Topics - Gaoics79

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General Comments / Trump just won the 2020 election
« on: March 02, 2018, 06:18:51 PM »
http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/trumps-steel-tariff-draws-global-backlash-just-st

I think the people who got Trump into power just had a collective orgasm with this news. Even if it never brings a single job back to the USA the symbolism of picking steel is brilliant. And the more the globalist technocrats bash this, the more Trump will win in the next go around.

Be afraid.

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General Comments / Etiquette question?
« on: November 04, 2017, 03:36:33 PM »
Is it okay to give a single sports ticket as a gift? My wife's uncle has done us a fantastic favour looking after our cats and we want to give him a gift. We know he loves hockey, so we thought he'd enjoy a live game. But the tickets are ridiculously expensive. We could give him two mediocre tickets or one kick-ass ticket.

He's separated and tends to himself (he's a bit of a loner) but he does have three sons who love hockey.

We'd rather give the one great seat than the two mediocre ones.

Is it okay to give just one ticket in this circumstance?

Note: if we gave him the one great ticket, there is 0% chance that anyone could go with him because they wouldn't be able to sit with him, even if they had the money to pay for their own tickets. All games are resale only at this point. Unless you buy through Stubhub you aren't getting anything.

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General Comments / Rogue One
« on: December 19, 2016, 08:24:52 PM »
I had a chance to see this and thought I'd share some of my thoughts.

SPOILERS BELOW

Let me preface my comments by saying that I despised The Force Awakens, for reasons that are well documented on the earlier thread:

http://www.ornery.org/forum/index.php/topic,24.0.html

From its sloppy, lazy plotting, to its Mary Sue protagonist, TFA was one of the biggest disappointments for me, a sign that not only had they made a bad Star Wars movie, but that Star Wars had moved on to a place I could no longer follow it - that this was no longer my Star Wars, but J.J. Abrams and Mickey Mouse's Star Wars. Like Star Trek, I was ready to write off the franchise as invariably lost.

With that in mind, my expectations for Rogue One were mixed.

Let me say that I liked Rogue One - I liked it alot. This movie is the antithesis of Force Awakens. While TFA had practically no characters to speak of save one, Rogue One depends on a colorful cast of characters, each with a unique contribution to the story and each played beautifully by talented actors. Any one of these characters, from Forrest Whittaker's fallen rebel, to Donnie Yen's blind monk (with the soul of a Jedi, but no flashy powers) could have carried a movie on their own.

While TFA ripped off A New Hope, plundering and regurgitating its story shamelessly, Rogue One tells a fresh story that complements Episode IV rather than raping it. While TFA insulted our intelligence with a shabby sloppy plot riddled with holes, Rogue One is a story that works, start to finish, and requires no appeal to conjecture or other apologetics.

Rogue One has an effective villain who is vile to perfection, oozing arrogant malice, but avoiding the over the top Nazi caricatures of TFA. What I enjoyed about this villain is that even he struggles against forces beyond his control, even he falls victim to the petty tyranny of his overlords. He is the kind of banal bureaucratic villain that we have yet to see in this kind of film. Regarding the Death Star, they make the brilliant choice of having it operating only at a fraction of its power. Instead of obliterating worlds, it levels cities instead. The sight of the mushroom cloud rising above murdered cities as the protagonists look on in horror is more chilling than anything seen before in a Star Wars film. This is destruction that feels personal , the very antithesis of the detached CGI explosions we see in TFA or even A New Hope with the destruction of Alderaan. In its use of the Death Star, I'll go so far as to say that this film actually surpasses ANH.

Let me also say that this is a story that does not pull its punches. The heroes face an impossible task, and the conclusion of their story must be to pass the baton to the next person, with little hope of personal salvation. A final scene involving Darth Vader slaughtering the rebel crew (as they desperately pass the disc with the death star plans from person to person) really provides an amazing image in service of the story arc - even fan service in this film bows to the story, complementing it, rather than seeming extraneous or tacked on. In this story there is no happy ending, except the satisfaction that there is still hope. In case you didn't know, everybody dies. Everybody. This is a type of Star Wars film we have never seen before.

It's not a perfect movie. Ironically, the leads are possibly the least compelling of the characters. The thing that most kept this good movie from becoming a *great* one was really the weakness of the central performance by Felicity Jones, who simply cannot convey the emotional punch that is needed for this role. Unfortunately, for most of the movie she just sails along without really selling us on her character. She is kept afloat, despite this weak performance, by a powerful supporting cast, including such standouts as Forrest Whittaker and Donnie Yen. Even the droid manages to die with poignancy. But that's the beauty of this story - Rey needed no one, and pretty well carried the story single handedly - Jin is supported by her friends, and cannot reach her goal without them. Her death at the conclusion is powerful, despite the weaknesses of Jones's performance. But sadly, not as powerful as it should have been, and would have been had they selected a more talented actress.

But the good far outweighs the bad here. I give this movie a strong recommendation. If you, like me, felt that the franchise had left you behind with TFA, Rogue One is the film for you.


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General Comments / Holy......
« on: November 08, 2016, 09:51:08 PM »
Trump is holding Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia and New Hampshire....

It ain't over obviously, but wow - the blood of many people must be turning cold watching this.

As Wolf Blitzer just noted, this could put the polling industry out of business.

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General Comments / The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« on: December 19, 2015, 12:27:21 PM »
I figured I'd get the ball rolling on this, since it was only a matter of time before someone did it.

When I saw the movie last night, I was mildly amused, occasionally excited, but mostly just ho-hum. Is it more competently made than the prequels? I'll give it that. But most of it was just lacking real panache. Very little was memorable, save perhaps one scene where the Empire (sorry, the "First Order") blows up Coruscant. Okay, that part was pretty shocking. But the rest? Meh. The prequels may have been tooth grindingly bad in parts, but with those movies the highs were really high, even if the lows were really low. This movie is just par for the course.

Let's start with the score. I can't remember a single tune in this entire movie. The only time the music made any impact on me was when they were playing themes from the original trilogy. The rest? Totally forgettable. Even the Phantom Menace had that March of the Fates song. This one? Zilch. That may sound like a nitpick on my part, but I think music plays a much bigger role than people think. I think when you consider the original trilogy and imagine it without John Williams' iconic soundtrack, you'll agree something would be missing. This movie was John Williams's third string material. It sounded like Star Wars, but you instantly forgot it when you left the theatre.

The plot? At its best it was a remake of A New Hope. But where it strayed from that basic plot, the writing just became sloppy. For example, the main characters are running from the Empire on Tatooine (it's called something else in the movie, but forget it, it's Tatooine) and there's this rusting wreck of a ship in a junk yard that looks like it's been there 20 years, and whadya know, it's the Millenium Falcon. They just jump in, turn the key and whoosh, up they go. Wow, there's flying in a "hunk of junk" in the metaphorical sense, but in this movie they take it a little too literally. Then they fly up into space, and within 10 minutes there's a tractor beam on them and whaddya know, it's Han Solo and Chewie! Small universe??!

But okay, let's get to the real problem with this story: the characters.

I'm going to say this up front: Rey is a Mary Sue. She's one of those characters that's just *impossible* defying virtually everything we know about the universe she inhabits. First off, she's instantly a badass. And I mean she does everything perfectly, all the time. She jumps into the Millenium Falcon and is flying it around like an expert. Then she's schooling Han on how to repair his own ship. Wow, I know she's supposed to be a junk collector, so she'd be technically proficient, but really? She knows more about starships than Han?

Then she's captured by Kilo Ren, the "villain" of the piece, who she manages to defeat in a mind battle (she has no force training and didn't know the force existed until a few hours before this scene). Then she's pulling Jedi mind tricks on the guards, forcing them to release her (did I mention she has no training and has never even met a Jedi to this point?). The kicker is when she defeats a Sith Lord in a lightsaber duel within five minutes of picking up a lightsaber for the first time in her life! I know she's probably Luke's daughter, and Ren really is a pansy of a Sith Lord, but really? Remind me, did Luke walk up to Darth Vader and kick his ass in the first movie? My memory is a little fuzzy... The only thing I can think of that's remotely analogous is kiddie Anakin single handedly taking out the Droid Mother Ship in Phantom Menace. But that seemed more plausible somehow...

This brings us to Finn, supposedly the other main protagonist in the film. Except he's not really a main character. You know how they bill him that way in the trailers? Well he's not. He literally does *nothing* in this movie. He is entirely superfluous to the plot. In the first scene he meets Rey she is being attacked by three or four thugs and he races to help her, but she just flat out kicks their asses. You can take that to be the motif for the rest of the movie, Finn thinking he's helping Rey but discovering that she doesn't need his help. Finn goes to rescue her in the second half, but she already rescues herself by the time he gets to the bad guy's base. He tries to protect her from the villain, but gets knocked unconscious and she promptly kicks the villain's ass herself. Finn serves no purpose in this film but to witness time and again what a badass Rey is and how she doesn't need him for anything.

I am all for strong woman in film (loved the new Mad Max film) but Rey might as well be in the movie alone. Even Han and Leia have to just stand by most of the film and watch Rey do everything herself. Finn's entire contribution to the movie is just telling Rey that the droid (which she already has acquired) has a map to Luke Skywalker (which the droid could just as easily have told her) and in act 2, he couriers Luke's old lightsaber to Rey so she can use it to defeat Ren. That's it.

Finn's character is paper thin. He's a stormtrooper who doesn't want to be one anymore. This would be an intriguing setup if there was a setup, but he's literally running from his employers in the first or second scene he's in. We are given no meaningful backstory or  context to him, or any explanation of why he is so different from other stormtroopers. He's just a stormtrooper with a heart of gold I guess. Whatever.

Rey has almost no backstory either, for that matter. What little we know about her  is told in 5 minutes. Her big secret is no secret, her backstory kind of transparent. All you need to know about her is that she's a better Jedi than the Jedi, she's a better pilot than Han, and she doesn't need a man (or anybody really) to look out for her, ever.

The villain, Kiro Ren, is threatening at first, but then degenerates into a whiny twerp by the end. The rest of the supporting villains are just stock Nazi caricatures, with the big evil hologram (Lord Voldemort?) having none of the charisma of Palpatine or even Dooku from the prequels. Even the quiet dignity and menace of Grand Moth Tarkin would have been a huge upgrade for this film.

Coming to the end of this rant, I realize, in retrospect, that this movie makes me angry. Very angry. I take back what I said. It's not competent. I don't like this movie at all. I should say something nice about. Okay, here goes - the effects were great. I loved the electric sizzle of the lightsabers. Ren was threatening at least until he took his helmet off and turned out to be a whiny teenaged twerp. The empire's new death star was awesome - I totally did not see it coming that they'd just blow up Coruscant like that. WOW.

But the story? I'd give it a pass. If you like strong women, watch Mad Max instead....



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