Wednesday, September 29, 2010

October Nights

So, October is coming up by the end of this week and I had been thinking about this for a long time, so you know something, I'm going to do it... and "it" is doing a review a day for all of October. Now, I have no idea how much time or energy I'm going to have for October, but I really don't care. I am going to do a review a day all of October, so 31 reviews, all horror reviews of course, or things dealing with horror in a way.

I have to say that October is my favorite month of the year. I absolutely love horror as a genre and am going to be thrilled to review and assess horror things.

So, starting on Friday I'll be focusing on a review a day. Some of them may be very outside the box, just saying, but I also think a lot of the reviews are going to be very enjoyable. I'll have some movie reviews (some of my favorites like 1408, Jacob's Ladder, Session 9, The Changeling with George C. Scott, and a few others too.), some video game reviews (Again some of my favorites like Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 4, and others...), and many other things. I may be focused on some books as well. It'll be fun! Yeah!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Television Show Examination: Twin Peaks

Ah, Twin Peaks... I absolutely love Twin Peaks. Now, I understand, there are many things wrong with Twin Peaks... the second half of the second season for instance, but also the whole "soap opera-esque" essence of a good portion of the show. Some of the actors weren't all that good, especially those who played some of the more normal "villainous" characters like Leo Johnson and Ben Horne. I also have to give a special mention to James Hurley as one of my least favorite characters in anything. His whole storyline made me want to chew on bricks and then bash his character over the head with various cement objects.

All of that being said, I still love Twin Peaks. It is one of the strangest, most bizarre, and really thrilling television shows ever to hit the small screen. David Lynch, the creator of Twin Peaks, really knew what he was doing in this. After making Blue Velvet he made another small town America gone wrong kind of story out of Twin Peaks. Both even had the same actor starring, Kyle MacLachlan. There are similarities in both, but a ton of differences as well. I found Blue Velvet perfectly all right, but not amazing. there was very little that I found incredibly memorable. Twin Peaks on the other hand has a huge amount of memorable moments and lines and characters and everything.

I'm actually on the fence about Lynch as a director. I do like a lot of his films, but I also equally dislike a lot of them. Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire particularly earn my ire, but Lost Highway happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. Twin Peaks has a surreal quality to it that it is pure Lynch without going off the deep end of not making a lick of sense. Sure, there are some things that are very confusing, but most things make sense in the context of the world that the characters are in.

All of that being said, Twin Peaks is an exciting story with twists and turns along the way. It is a surreal and mature way to look at a young woman's murder in a small town. There are visceral acting performances by some of the actors in the series and one scene in the second season in which a fairly well-seen character up to that point was murdered was actually pretty terrible to watch. It felt like watching an acquaintance die in front of your face with no way to prevent it.

My favorite parts of the story-arc of the series was very obviously the main storyline and trying to find out who murdered Laura Palmer and why. The surreal nature was also astounding. How many other television shows or movies have the balls to show a surreal quality? And of course, that surreal nature of the show (and the second half of the second season) was the show's ultimate downfall. And that's just too bad. Intelligent series are hard enough to come by these days because of so many reasons. Executives at networks want mindless comedy or explosions, but very few shows will show real drama, real acting, real questions, or surreal or meta-examples of humor or drama... and that's terrible. It's terrible that a show like Twin Peaks airs only two seasons while an idiotic show with base humor and no intelligence at all will air for an indefinite amount of seasons. It make me wonder about humans and our own sad lazinesses, our indifferences to actually learning something, or thinking hard about a situation.

I'm going philosophical over this, but Twin Peaks deserves this kind of discussion. It deserved better than what it got. Then again, would the series have continued being ridiculous like in half of the second season, or would it have gotten better after the season (and series) finale that was easily one of the best episodes of the entire series? That seems to happen though. Even through a terrible season a good show can come back and be just as good as it ever was. The second season of Twin Peaks reminds me of an equally intelligent show (at least in its beginnings), Sliders, which fell apart in its third season to come back with a few very good episodes towards the end of that season. (Then it fell apart in seasons four and five, but that's another story.)

I guess Twin Peaks will always be something I enjoy, something that makes me angry because it was cancelled, but also something that makes me so happy because it existed at all. It really was a catalyst in my own writing and storytelling techniques, and Agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan) became one of my heroes in a way. His character was so weird, so confusing, but so focused and competent that it was hard not to look up to him. He was facing everything from weird dreams with backward-talking midgets, getting shot in the line of duty, love interests, giant men, all the way to an evil, chaotic spirit man named BOB. I mean, that doesn't even make sense, but it is awesome, every bit of it. The Red Room... Laura Palmer... all these things stick out in my mind along with other more humorous examples of things in the show like the following picture for instance: Yes, those are a bunch of donuts in front of an FBI special agent and a sheriff of a small town.

What other show could get away with that? None. Yeah, you heard me.

Anyway, it's a great show. Check it out sometime if you haven't, especially if you're into weird or surreal things, or just a person who likes a good story. Hell, if you like David Lynch check this out, and if you don't check it out anyway. It's not much like his other stuff in many ways. You'll be shocked by some of the scenes and some of what happens throughout the plot, but you'll also find solace in the fact that it all ends terribly. There is no happy ending here just like real life. People die, things happen, and the consequences of everything can be more outstanding than one could ever imagine. And if you don't care to see the series, then just go out and have a damn good cup of coffee. That will be enough to console me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here's Something to Read

Okay, I've probably been making more or less sense in most of my posts (even though many of my posts were made early in the summer), but here is something that is going to sound crazy. I'm going to rant on a few items and see what happens. I have no idea how many people are ever going to read this blog-thing, but I still want to rant like a crazy child that just inhaled a bunch of cocaine.

All right. Let's see what I can do here. First thing first I'm going to go back to my old formula of doing a review a week or whenever I have a chance or so. This summer was a bit busier than I thought it would be and I tended to have very little time for actual fun-styled writing. Now that I'm in college again I can get down to writing these crazy little reviews of crazy things.

I have some bigger reviews planned, mostly in the forms of books and video games, but I'll probably do some movie reviews if I get the chance and have time to see some movies. I just saw Castle on the Hudson with John Garfield and was thinking about reviewing that one. As for books, once I finish Abarat by Clive Barker I'll give a review of that. Also I have some other books planned including the Dune books, the Star Wars X-Wing series, and possibly some of my more favorite books of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and others. As for video games, I'm currently playing a bunch of different ones (albeit very slowly) including Mass Effect 2 on Insane mode, Kingdom Hearts, a nice little hack-and-slash number, my first Japanese RPG, Final Fantasy VII, and Dragon Age: Origins, which I'll probably be giving another, more in depth, review for in coming months. Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy VII are actually being played by my girlfriend with myself watching, although I may play a bit of them myself. I'm probably going to start Silent Hill 2, one of my favorite games, pretty soon as well.

As for other reviews, I might have some others lined up, but I'm keeping quiet about it right now.

Expect some kind of analysis about once a week or so from now on... maybe more and maybe less, but around that. I'll probably focus a bit on some of the stuff I didn't mention at first.

So, it should all be very fun and not about pangolins at all.

Stuff Analysis: Latin

Yes, I'm back and ready to talk about important things. This time I'm going to talk about one of the most important things that the world has ever known: Latin.

Now, I'm sure you're going to say something like, "Saquarry, Latin isn't important and you're a moron." Well, I'm going to disprove both points. Latin is important and I am not.

Latin is a language used in the Roman Empire around the height of their power. It is a bit of an amalgamation between a few other languages of the ancient world, namely Etruscan and Greek. It has way too many similarities to Greek to be coincidental. I kind of think that Latin is to Greek as English is to Latin. So much of English grammar is taken from the Latin (through the French) instead of the German roots that English has. Well, Latin is the same way except it used Ancient Greek as its inspiration.

The main problem with that is that Latin has no accents or any real stresses on particular words unlike Greek, so Latin poetry which runs on meter can be very difficult to understand. It makes no sense unless one also happens to know Ancient Greek.

Latin is my favorite language though. Now, I'm sure you're saying, "Saquarry, why do I care abotu what your favorite language is?" Well, you don't, but that's not the point. The point is that Latin is fun and interesting and not s easy as most people think.

Currently I'm translating Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis which is an account of two female saints in the early church. Always interesting, I suppose, but also incredibly difficult. Here's a bit of Latin that gave me particular headaches:

sed uiderint qui unam uirtutem Spiritus unius Sancti pro aetatibus iudicent temporum, cum maiora reputanda sunt nouitiora quaeque ut nouissimiora secundum exuperationem gratiae in ultima saeculi spatia decretam.

Could you understand a word of that? Yeah... not easy, is it?

Anyway, Latin has a lot to teach us and I feel that ever since the Catholic Church stopped using it in their masses and schools started focusing on languages that were not dead languages the world has literally gone to hell. So, bring back Latin and stop screwing the world over, you stupid idiots.