Watching Wednesday #24 – Well Rounded
I took most of this week off, so I’ve been trying to do some recovery type stuff to feel better physically and emotionally. Part of that has been, admittedly, just lazing about and enjoying some good ol’ fashioned media. Berserk continues to be a fascinating, disturbing journey and Shadow of War is still pretty fun and all.
This is a simpler pleasure. It’s a neat little indie game (made by a frequent poster on the /r/gamephysics subreddit ) played by some neat dudes with some neat editing.
I mean, it’s got a “Guns that only shoot snakes” mode and some friends having genuine fun.
Watching Wednesday #23 – Wicked Ways
The Wild Wild West (We’re Going Straight to)
The short of it: Pro: excellent plot, storytelling, music, acting, choreography, setting. Con: No giant steampunk spiders.
Fine, I’ll say it. Westworld kicks off harder than Game of Thrones.
To be fair, androids broaching sentience and a park for the darkest of human desires is easier to sell than medieval political intrigue. Both have plenty of radical murders though.
Westworld delivers this puzzle that leaves you grasping at straws rather than pieces, because it can’t be that obvious. And then it is. Then it isn’t.
My edge lord description of it is “It’s like if Jurassic Park had androids and didn’t suck.” The idea of a whole “world” dedicated to man’s recreation of life is fascinating; the fact it’s a world meant for amusement, not reflection or evolution, opens up a whole new level of questions.
Watching Wednesday #22 – Wittle Wails
This House is Not a Home
The short of it: It’s a nice showcase of the beauty of embracing tropes. And screaming Canadians.
With Spooktober in the air, I’ve been in dire need for some creeps and crawlies. So I revisited some old Shitstorm videos from Two Best Friends Play. Spooky’s House of Jumpscares is arguably one of the top three videos in the six year old series (I may be saving the number one for a later WW).
Now rebranded as Spooky’s Jumpscare Mansion, Spooky’s House of Jumpscares is an adorable little romp in a mansion full of jumpscares. And a few escaped monsters. And did I mention the scares?
I adore the Two Best Friends for their ability to make me appreciate or notice all of the little intricacies and details I miss in video games, from trope subversion to design flaws.
Spooky’s is a delight, due in part to Spooky herself and her adorably funny speeches. Pat’s little babby screams, on the other hand, make this into a masterpiece.
Watching Wednesday #21 – Weirdo Wonder
BECAUSE I’M A CREEP, I’M A WEIRDO
The short of it: It’s early Donald showing off how versatile and delightful this now award-winning Renaissance man is.
It’s been fun watching Donald Glover’s career evolve along with his talents. His original start in the Derrick Comedy videos was a great piece of early YouTube history. Musically, his transition from mcdj to Childish Gambino marked a bold step forward for his creative output. His writing on 30 Rock was even better than his occasional cameos (“Who told?”), and, of course, his work on Community was one of the highest points of the show’s original run. This is right around when this special came out, after Glover established himself behind the scenes but before the world really embraced him as a creative force.
This special is a Glover frozen in time– it’s a more raw form of him doing what he thinks is expected of him. It’s just a friendly hop away from the Community jokes, despite his warning at the beginning of the show. That isn’t to say this is worse than his later stuff, but it’s just a nice time capsule packed with jokes.
On an unrelated note, I’m not sure what to think of this uploader’s description:
Well, thanks anyway Willard.
Watching Wednesday #21 – Wacky Wiseguys
The short of it: Subvert yourself with a smirk for success.
In a world full of YouTube content creators, it gets extremely easy to lose track of the weekly schedules and output of the genuinely entertaining ones. Sometimes the weekly format and standardization grinds down both the creator and the viewer, leading to fatigue and content that isn’t quite as good as it could be. Creators can flanderize themselves in an attempt to draw in viewers and gain infamy.
Cowchop managed to subvert this brilliantly.
By breaking a repetitive cycle and openly mocking themselves, they’re acknowledging their own faults and their fans’ criticisms. It’s a fantastic culmination of all this chaos and craziness that’s been paired with a genuinely interesting premise.
10/10 Couches Engulfed in Flame
Watching Wednesday #20 – Whambamwhammy
With Gloves Wide Open
The short of it: Without a single weak actor, Creed goes 12 rounds with Rocky’s story beats and comes out on top.
It’s genuinely impressive how many things Creed does right. For one, its fights are thrilling, with few cuts and even fewer of the obvious misses/bad coreography of the preceding films that gave them far less impact.
The music is another knockout. It’s full of heavy hitters, both new school (Future, Meek Mill, Vince Staples) and old (Nas is on this, like c’mon that’s dope). The tracks are all these perfect snippets of hype that tread the same territory as older tracks.
I think that’s what’s so impressive about this movie. Unlike the rest of the Rocky’s tendency towards brain-off, predictable rides, Creed comes full force as a story. The roller coaster is the same, but the new cart makes a world of difference.
Watching Wednesday #19 – Whack-y
Bet on It, Na What I Mean
The short of it: It’s all the satisfaction of watching those fantasy character fights with none of the boring commentary and all of the actual fighting.
Salty Bet is a constantly streaming pseudo-gambling site running the M.U.G.E.N. fighting engine. It pits two computer-controlled characters from pretty much every medium, from manga to Sega Saturn games, against one another in a best of five match.
It’s often a series of lightning quick exchanges, the two sprites darting back and forth before becoming wrapped in the other’s combos. Occasionally a match will simply devolve into a stomp fest, with one character easily sweeping the other. Sometimes it’s a bad matchup or a broken character, like a custom Aladdin that uses a sprite from a GBA game for movement and a secondary sprite from a Sega Genesis game for sword based attacks that go full screen.
So it’s a crapshoot. And that’s the best part of it.
The randomness of the matches, combined with the high possibility of upsets and the hyperbole of Twitch chat, makes it a hell of a lot of fun. It satisfies the curiousity of that inner combative nerd that needs physical validation of the quality of their favorite characters.
Watching Wednesday #17 – Welcome Weeb
Back On My Berserk
Sir Yes ‘Serk
The short of it: Yeah, Berserk is still dope.
Alright, this might be double-dipping, but I don’t care.
Berserk is insane. Insanely good, dark, funny, heart breaking.
I think one of the most under-talked-about (underrated is overrated) sensations is when something completely changes your mind about other things of its kind. In less awful terms, it’s super cool when a genre or medium you’ve previously ignored or rejected becomes open to you thanks to a single piece of content.
I’d written off manga long ago. Anime’s easier to consume, cheaper, and it moves! Reading is for nerds. I’ve never felt really dissatisfied with any manga-based anime I’ve watched.
But there was always Berserk. This behemoth in nerd pop culture that could never be properly captured in any other format. Its designs and characters fascinated me, and I’m a sucker for nonsensically large weapons. The strange occult roots of the story, mixed with the grit and gore, means I couldn’t resist the legend for long. So when it went up for $8 a volume, I nabbed three or four.
I just got my second shipment of seven more volumes.
Sure, I liked the first few chapters. But something just clicked once the series started to flashback to Guts’ life before the Brand. For how infamous the series is for its inhumanity, the scenes of Guts’ relationships and heartbreaks are so human. They’re genuinely touching. I was actually standing up and cheering as I flipped page after page of brutal battles.
Knowing the final destination of the series makes the ramp up to it feel that much steeper. Every panel sheds a little more light on the mystery and injects a little more adrenaline into the reader. It’s got me going berserk.
Watching Wednesday #15 – Well, Wire Wins
Through The Wire
Wired for success
The short of it: Despite its obvious age, and the terrifying truth that the aughts are now a sign of age, The Wire’s vulnerable characters make this a sort of odd predecessor to Game of Thrones.
It’s the answer at everyone’s fingertips the moment social media asks about masterpieces of television or Twitter tosses out a poll about favorite shows.
And here I am, years and years later, just deciding to start it on a whim, despite the thousands of internet voices praising it every time I logged on.
No surprise here, it’s dope.
Now, I’d like to say that’s a bad joke on account of the dope-slinging focus in the first season, but the show’s heartbreaking depictions of both the addicts and the dealers make any joke about it far more bitter than I’d like. So for now, that’s just one of my more mediocre mannerisms.
The show’s good. It starts with this immediate jump into the life of the Baltimore Police Department– another victim of the streets to deal with and another soon-to-be-victim of the streets to comfort. Character names fly by, but the faces and voices stick.
Watching Wednesday #15 – Weeawoo
I Bes in the Zerk
The short of it: As striking as it is brutal (much like Guts), Berserk is a legend for a reason. Gorgeous depictions of terrifying tragedies make it hard to put down and harder to look away.
Technically, you look at manga, which is close enough to watching. Whatever, it’s dope.
I’ve got this bad habit of comparisons, which, as a concept, are generally lazy. Thanks to the transitive property though, a revelation is revealed about this legendary series:
Berserk is Dark Souls.
Dark Souls is Berserk.
Catch-22 is Dark Souls.
Catch-22 is Berserk.
Alright, I’m not a math guy. There’s a reason I took algebra at a community college and there’s a reason I got a journalism degree and not one that involves non-data-driven numbers.
Alright, they’re the same reason. Maybe the writing skills I thought compensated for my lack of math ones aren’t quite as good as I thought.
The point is, I butchered that as bad as Guts butchers and is butchered. It’s too cruel too cool.
Note: Berserk’s occult cult status isn’t exaggerated. Knowing the story doesn’t spoil the ride or mystique. So far at least.