Friday, June 22, 2012

100 Posts

Today's update marks a special occasion: the 100th post on Knight's Reviews, as well as the 5th year anniversary of my first post ever. It wasn't my original intention to wait two and a half months between reviews, but I really should have started work on this at post 90 instead of post 99..

I thought that for my 100th update I should do something, but I wasn't sure what. At first I thought, "I know, I'll go back and add annotations to some of my old posts saying what I think of them now, or maybe expanding on stuff that I left out before," but I already did that.

Finally I settled on writing one single meta-post, sort of like a larger one of those annotations, covering everything on my blog, and mentioning some of my favorite things in the categories of movies, video games, music, etc. I also decided to make it long and rambling so that no one but me would enjoy it. Enjoy!

On Music.

At the time of this writing I have only one music review up, on the topic of Ciara's awful Like A Boy. A lot of you are probably thinking this is because I'm not a music person. Well, the truth is a bit more complex than that.

Actually, I only recently (about 4 years ago at the time of this writing) became a music person, thanks to a combination of Guitar Hero and an independant online radio show hosted by an acquaintance of mine. Since then I mostly just listen to what I like and ignore everything I don't.

At the same time I'm not quite enough of a music guy to be able to talk confidently about chord progressions and composition and stuff like that, so if I tried reviewing what I like it'd probably just end up as a list of some of my favorite bands and maybe links to some of their songs. (Rise Against, Blind Guardian, Nightwish, Pain, Edguy, Sonata Arctica. You're welcome.)

Before I became a music person, though, I either listened to my local pop radio station or whatever my friends or family had on. During that time I heard a whole lot of crap. The only band I really regret not taking on from that time, though, is Finger 11. For those who don't know them, be thankful for that rock you're living under. For those who do, here's a sample of some of the material I had for them.

Q: Why is Finger 11 called Finger 11?
A: Because you need to grow a third thumb just to put the proper number down.

Q: Why are all of Finger 11's songs about strip clubs?
A: No other place on Earth plays bad enough music for you to have a chance of hearing them.

Q: Why do all of Finger 11's songs sound the same?
A: Because there's only so many different types of shit.

Hey, I just said I had material, not that it was particularly funny or informative..

On Video Games:

While I might not feel completely confident discussing all the ins and outs of why I like certain bands and songs, I absolutely do feel more than comfortable telling you all about my favorite video games.

Donkey Kong 1994
I talked before briefly about how the crappy little Nintendo Game Boy beat the pants off the (technologically) vastly superior Sega Game Gear, by virtue of having classic games like Pokémon: Red/Blue Versions while Sega wasted their handheld on ports and time-waster garbage. What I regret not mentioning was just how classic some of those games were. I actually sat there and played Donkey Kong 1994 on my Game Boy all day, every day as a kid despite having a working Super Nintendo not a few feet away. Why? Because it was a masterpiece of an action puzzle adventure with over 100 unique levels and it took me a month of basically nonstop play to beat it, that's why. Seriously, I probably spent more money on batteries for my Game Boy then I spent on my last car.

Pokémon: HeartGold & SoulSilver Versions
If you need to be introduced to the concept of Pokémon then you're clearly a time traveller. It's one of the best-selling video game series of all time with nearly 30 games, a hit television show, 14 movies with a 15th on the way, and a trading card game so popular it makes even Magic: The Gathering look like peanuts by comparison. Even people in Ethiopia know what Pokémon is, and even the most out-of-touch among us could almost certainly name at least one of the creatures off the top of his head (Pikachu, obviously). The point is, the Pokémon franchise is huge, so it's actually quite the compliment to say that HeartGold/SoulSilver is the best thing to ever come out of the series. These two versions are based on the second installment in the main series, Gold/Silver, which are a perfect example of a sequel done right: they expand on the original while also maintaining their own individuality and stand on their own as truely great video games. In 2010 they were remade as the aforementioned HeartGold and SoulSilver. To make a long story short, if you only want to buy one Pokémon game ever then I highly reccomend you make it HeartGold/SoulSilver.

And a few more that I don't have a lot to say about: the Boktai series, SaGa Frontier, Monster Hunter Tri, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Guardian Legend, Borderlands, the Guilty Gear series)

On Movies:

As I mentioned before, one of the websites that inspired me to create a site of my own was the Agony Booth. I didn't say very much about the site or what it means about me, though. Agony Booth used to be a compendium of lengthy recaps of awful movies, though lately it's become more about just general reviews of movies. I have a keen appreciation for certain bad movies is the point I'm making. Especially if those bad movies come with sarcastic commentary from a guy and his robot friends.

At the same time, I'm a lot more forgiving than the folks at The Booth. As I mentioned in my review of Dungeons & Dragons I can forgive a lot in a movie as long as it's obvious that a few of the people involved either really cared about it or were really having fun. For example, you may remember a while back I reviewed that silly Wendy's training video and while I gave it a lot of crap I actually loved it. It's the kind of goofy cheese you don't see nearly often enough, and it's obvious at least one person involved tried really hard and was really enjoying himself.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have so low of standards that I'd campaign to have, say, Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 classified as anything other than shitty. That's why it would earn a 2 out of 5 from me: because while it was bad it's also plain to see that the writer, director, and the actors all cared about what they were making. They wanted to make something good, something people would love, and...well, they failed. They failed hard. I can tell you the movie sucked, but I can't damn the people who made it for an honest mistake. If you feel like you can then I'm sorry you had to find out this way, but you're a horrible person. You're going to miss out on everything fun because you're too snobby to see it for what it is, then you're going to die angry and alone.

The point is, the only movies I really hate are the ones that obviously don't care: the cheap "me can haz money plz?" cash grabs like Epic Movie or Soul Plane or Stan Helsing. The creators of those movies would probably say "well, we knew the movie was bad when we made it, so it's fine." No. That's worse. That means you intentionally made everyone's day just a little bit darker so you could get a few bucks and 15 minutes of fame. You're an asshole and despite what you think being stupid is better than being an asshole any day of the week.

With that out of the way, a few of my favorite movies:

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Tremors, Dark City,

And a special mention:

Casablanca: I wanted to mention this seperately because I have to admit, saying you like Casablanca is a lot like saying you hate Hitler: you're not impressing anyone. This movie is a classic and one of the most copied films of all time, with remakes, tributes, and homages ranging from god awful to actually kind of decent. Still, I have to mention Casablanca, not just because it honestly is my favorite movie of all time, but also because unlike most classics, which are more "culturally and artistically important" rather than actually "enjoyable," Casablanca actually still holds up today, even with its black-and-white graphics and World War 2 sensibilities.

On "From Another Universe"

I've made two posts so far with the label tag From Another Universe. As you've probably guessed, this is where I use the premise of an alternate universe to explain how great creations would've sucked if they'd followed the traditions of stupid modern society.

Well, you guessed wrong. I was actually completely serious about the whole thing. You won't see anything about it on the news because of the cover up, but the black hole has now consumed the entire southeastern United States. I've already left your sad, doomed dimension for a new one and I suggest you do the same. It's great here. The President of the United States is literally ice cream. The downside is we all get paid in chewing gum. Yes, those stupid commercials were actually from this universe.