At least one Ninja Turtle is paying attention.

Jeremy-Howard-Donatello-Ninja-Turtles-Movie

I never did get around to detailing my thoughts on the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I did discuss it a fair amount with my friends, and the single biggest complaint I had was that it never slowed down. It was a frenetic and frenzied blitz from start to finish, never really allowing itself to breathe or let its best assets (its characters) marinate in your mind.

That’s actually a big reason why I feel the original Turtles movie (1990) was – and remains – so great. It wasn’t a movie with nonstop action, worried that dialog might bore the audience. It has a strong sense of deliberate pacing, which allowed the four brothers to appropriately display their differing personalities and show off the ways in which they interacted with one another.

So I was delightfully surprised by a comment from Jeremy Howard, who plays the role of Donatello in the newest Turtles flick, that indicated he felt the same way. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Howard said, “I’d love to see more interaction with the Turtles, more quiet moments where we get to see how they think and what makes them tick.”

Considering I wasn’t really a fan of much of anything in 2014’s TMNT, this is a promising thought from someone directly involved. It doesn’t mean that’s what we’ll get, but at least someone’s acknowledged it.

Advertisements

Internet Fatigue

Nastiness on the internet is something we’re all far too accustomed to. We accept it because ‘that’s just the way it is.’ The anonymity and openness of platforms like Twitter allow for some truly disgusting exchanges between strangers, but even on social media where real names are required for a heightened sense of accountability, people are still just as blatantly hateful.

It’s gotten to the point that I dread clicking on anything from a news outlet because there is always – literally always – someone with something awful and disparaging to say. And this is even on posts that shouldn’t garner any negativity.

But, not to let any stone go unturned, the degenerate denizens of ‘teh interwebz’ make sure to leave their mark the same way many animals do – by dropping big piles of crap wherever possible.

Everyone’s angry about something. Everything’s an outrage. Everyone’s an expert on everything. Everyone’s got an unsolicited opinion.

Don’t agree? “WELL THIN YOUR A MOORAN!!!1!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

These miserable goblins (who look a whole lot like people) crawl out from under whatever bridges they’re living beneath and sniff out, track down and stomp out humanity, empathy, compassion and civility wherever they may be.

It bugs me that I even pay this crap any attention, but it slowly grinds away at me each and every time I see it. I learned a long time ago that it’s not even worth the keystrokes to respond to any of these cretins because no amount of reasoning or logic will help them reach enlightenment – plus, it just increases the severity of the cringing and facepalming when they’ve focused their attention onto you.

Lately, I’ve been turning off my phone when I’m at home, and I’m trying to limit the amount of time I waste scrolling through social media. Being so plugged-in and connected all the time is exhausting, and I’m not sure it’s healthy. Some days I just want to cut myself off from society entirely and just go live in a shack in the woods. I just don’t want to participate, even as a bystander.

Some thoughts on same-sex marriage and the “philosophical journey” that got me there.

asheville city courthouse gay flagThe outside of Asheville City Hall on October 9, 2014.

This is a post I made on my Facebook page a little over a week ago. I figured I might as well put it on here to share with anyone who might be interested.


 

I’ve been debating whether or not to comment on our state’s ruling to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage, but finally decided I would. I wrote most of this simply to coordinate my own thoughts, so it’s a little long-winded, and a bit self-centered, I worry. But stick with me.

I usually avoid sharing my thoughts on political and social issues, mostly because I don’t feel comfortable making statements about how other people should or shouldn’t live their lives. It’s not my place to tell anyone what or how to think. And it would be awfully presumptuous on my part to assume anyone even cares what I think. Continue reading

Family Guy and The Simpsons collide at last.

s-fg-crossover1

It’s trendy to hate on Family Guy and lambaste newer episodes of The Simpsons, but I’m truly a fan of both shows, and this week’s crossover episode really hit the spot. It wasn’t the best of either show, but it was still entertaining. And of course, it was neat to see the two clans finally interact.

Even with an hour (about 44 minutes without commercials) to fill, the episode admittedly felt a bit cramped. But when you consider just how many iconic characters are in each series, and how many different interactions and scenarios are possible, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot is going to get cut. There just isn’t enough time.

So it’s less about missed opportunities and more about time constraints. I suppose they could’ve made it into multiple hour-long episodes, but then it would’ve started to lose what made it so special in the first place – the fact this likely won’t ever happen again (something the episode is quick to point out).

But for all that didn’t make it in, the episode was full of meta jokes that broke down the fourth wall, poking fun at both shows and the audience alike. And it did that while mostly staying true to each series. Some jokes were a bit crude and more puerile than what you’d expect from The Simpsons, but of course, that’s in-line with Family Guy. There was a balance, though, and plenty of references for fans of both shows to take in.

That said, I think you really have to be a Simpsons fan to fully appreciate this episode, and I get the feeling that some people – primarily those who only watch Family Guy, or haven’t watched The Simpsons in a long time – may not really “get” all the allusions to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of The Simpsons. There were some good ones, though.

I was a tiny bit skeptical about this crossover when it was first announced, but upon reading the interview with Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks ago, my apprehension was put to rest. And rightly so, it seems.

How We Value Art

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the way we value art. We watch movies and play games, and then assess their value by assigning a number. It’s like saying, “Your work, effort, time and creative vision are worth this number. Next.”

Too often, we outright dismiss something without even taking the time to consider everything that went into making it. We’re all guilty of it – I know I certainly am.

Can you imagine pouring your heart, soul and mind into something, only to have some snot-nosed twerp or pretentious neckbeard on the internet blow it off – without even reading the actual criticism – because some reviewer gave it a less-than-stellar score?

Something just feels inherently unfair about judging creativity in this way.

I realize that a numerical score is what the lowest common denominator will best understand, but as a general standard, creators, artists and content producers deserve better than that. They deserve a real, honest critique.

Now, I understand that not everything – be it a book, song, movie, game, poem or whatever else – is truly created with expression/experience in mind. There are many, many works that are vapid and made only with the intent to cash in on a fad in the most lucrative way possible.

But that doesn’t mean our criticism has to be just as flat and one-dimensional.

Nintendoes What The Rest Don’t

iwata mario luigi

Yesterday, Nintendo put out a hilarious video in collaboration with the guys at Mega64, officially detailing some of the company’s E3 plans. It featured fan favorite and president of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime. I’ll include the video at the bottom.

This morning, I woke up to another video from Nintendo, this time, in the form of a special Nintendo Direct, featuring details about the upcoming Wii U title, Mario Kart 8. It, too, was a very whimsical presentation. Continue reading

So, Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…

520200-25_michael_bay_super

If you’re not an obsessive fanboy like I am, then you’ve probably not kept up with all the news surrounding the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s been the target of a colossal amount of scrutiny for more than four years, largely because of the Hollywood names associated with it.

Michael Bay, best known for directing the recent slew of Transformers movies, has a poor reputation among the geek elite. When his name is mentioned, a collective groan can be heard across the internet, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror. And while this new TMNT movie is not directed by Bay, he is credited as a producer, as his company, Platinum Dunes, is producing the film. Continue reading