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I wouldn't recommend putting this in Scraps. This is a really lovely piece and actually stands out in spite of, or maybe because of, it...

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ON OPINIONS AND TASTES - A PLEA FOR PEACE

ON OPINIONS AND TASTES - A PLEA FOR PEACE


One of my favorite parts about reviewing and discussing movies, music, and more, if not my very favorite part, is the opportunity to talk and engage with fellow fans and trade opinions back and forth. I love hearing new perspectives, both ones that resonate with me and ones that I disagree with. No one person has the exact same take on everything, and so whenever I see someone's uploaded reviews or essays, or see a long or even brief comment pop up in one of my own posts, I look forward to reading and responding to whatever someone has to say. It's one of the greatest things the internet can do for us: bring together people who could otherwise never interact, and allow for enjoyable, friendly yet passionate discussions on the things they enjoy so much.
… If only more people felt that way. If only less people felt compelled to turn such a joyous experience into one of fear and hatre
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Literature
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (MOVIE REVIEW)
MOVIE REVIEW:
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME


The Spy Who Dumped Me is a spy comedy directed by Susanna Fogel, who also co-wrote the film. It stars Mila Kunis as Audrey, who is recently dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux). It's revealed, however, that Drew was secretly a spy. When Drew goes out of commission, Audrey is then dragged into his dangerous mission along with her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon). The result is a comedy that, while uneven with its story and pacing, still delivers a very funny and surprisingly exciting experience.

Of course, with this being a comedy, you'd hope for it to supply the laughs. I really did think this movie was genuinely very funny, sometimes downright hilarious. Is it super clever? No, but it's that brand of humor that's stupid but really well-timed to get several big laughs out of me. I especially liked when it subverted typical
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Literature
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS (MOVIE REVIEW)
MOVIE REVIEW:
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

So I've seen two documentaries in theaters this year. Funny how the first one was an uplifting, heartwarming, and all around feel-good experience and the other is … um … not.

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary film from Tim Wardle. It tells the true story of three triplets who were adopted by separate families at an early age, and are reunited in at the age of nineteen. They celebrate their reunion and share their story with the world. However, investigations soon ensue regarding the true nature of their upbringing, and that's when the film takes a much more serious turn. I'll try to give away as little as possible in that regard, as I feel that this film is best enjoyed on a first viewing when you go in completely blind. I did, and as a result I got a very disarming, shocking look at a story that really is almost too bizarre and crazy to believe.
If
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WHY I HATE FLYING by BluJayPlayer WHY I HATE FLYING :iconblujayplayer:BluJayPlayer 3 8
Literature
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT (MOVIE REVIEW)
Okay, can we agree that the trailer for this movie had one of the best uses of a pre-existing song in trailer history? I mean that was just seamless! (The song is "Friction" by Imagine Dragons, by the way.)

MOVIE REVIEW:
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT

Mission: Impossible - Fallout is the sixth and latest entry in the Mission: Impossible film franchise. Directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote and directed the previous film, this film once again stars Tom Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. This time, he and his team must chase down and retrieve three plutonium cores that an evil organization plans to use for bombs. All the while, CIA agent Walker (Henry Cavill and Henry Cavill's mustache) has been assigned to keep an eye on them after they fail in a mission early in the film.
I haven't seen the first three Mission: Impossible movies, but I immediately grew fond of the series when I saw and
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Literature
Album Reviews: HIGH AS HOPE and POST TRAUMATIC
BLUJAY THE SONGBIRD

ALBUM REVIEWS:
HIGH AS HOPE and POST TRAUMATIC

After getting my feet wet with my 2018 Album Collection discussion, I'm ready to try my hand at talking about albums in a little more detail. So welcome to my new series, very cheesily titled BluJay The Songbird!
Two albums I've been anticipating came out recently: High As Hope by Florence +The Machine, and Post Traumatic by Mike Shinoda. I decided to talk about these two back-to-back in a single posting because I'm still not fully used to talking about music from a "critical" standpoint - or at least, a loose form of being "critical". So these each are shorter than my standard movie reviews, but I still hope they're detailed enough to make my thoughts clear.
Also, if I get something wrong regarding certain terminology or anything like that, feel free to let me know so that I can fix that mistake for the future.

High As Hope - Florence + T
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: LEAVE NO TRACE
MOVIE REVIEW:
LEAVE NO TRACE


Leave No Trace is a new drama film directed by Debra Granik, who's best known for 2010's Winter's Bone. Based on the book My Abandonment by Peter Rock, the film follows a father-daughter duo of Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). These two live in isolation in a wildlife park (illegally), largely cut off from many modern luxuries. However, when they find themselves exposed by authorities and their way of life is challenged, it brings up questions about their choices that test the two's relationship, as we are slowly let in to the reasons behind their lifestyle and the history that motivates it as they try to return back to the life they know.
This film has been getting an insanely high level of praise, having been lauded at festivals and maintaining an impressive average rating by critics. While I myself certainly have some issues with the movie
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MISINTERPRETING ROTTEN TOMATOES by BluJayPlayer MISINTERPRETING ROTTEN TOMATOES :iconblujayplayer:BluJayPlayer 4 6
Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
MOVIE REVIEW:
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Geez, in the eight months since I started on DeviantArt, I've reviewed three MCU movies! Yet after each one, I've walked out like:


Ant-Man And The Wasp is the twentieth (again, geez) film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the second film starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, or Ant-Man. Once again directed by Peyton Reed, it takes place after Captain America: Civil War, but before Avengers: Infinity War. Currently on house arrest after the events of Civil War, Scott is contacted by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily). Seeing how Scott managed to enter the Quantum realm and return alive, Hank thinks it's possible to find and rescue his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), who was lost to the Quantum realm decades ago. They face opposition in their goals, however, when a stran
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: UNCLE DREW

MOVIE REVIEW:
UNCLE DREW

So if nothing else, this movie did what we thought was impossible: it made Shaquille O'Neal's acting look … GOOD!


Uncle Drew is based on a character from Pepsi Max commercials. Directed by Charles Stone III. A streetball team manager named Dax (Lil Rel Howery) finds himself down on his luck when his rival Mookie (Nick Kroll) steals his team. When Dax comes across an aged local basketball legend known as Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving), Drew agrees to join Dax's new team if he's allowed to recruit his old friends who were a part of his own team years ago. So the two are off to find the rest of the teammates and hopefully show that these older players still have something left in the tank.
I would think it'd be obvious that it wasn't my love for the Pepsi ads that got me to see this film. Instead, I thought that one of the trailers showed some
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
MOVIE REVIEW:
WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Quick warning: because of the nature of a film like this, it's hard for me to cover my thoughts as broadly as I usually do. So while I will keep this "spoiler-free" and won't give away any specific moments, I will be covering the film in more detail than usual. I honestly kind of recommend going in blind, but in case you read this before seeing it, just keep that in mind.

Won't You Be My Neighbor? is a new documentary about the life of Fred Rogers, the man behind the very popular and iconic children's television show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Directed by Morgan Neville, it explores his upbringing, life, career, and the impact it all had on his friends, family, and the world at large.

I regularly watched reruns of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood when I was very young, although my memories of it are generally very fuzzy, and any depth, inspiration, or i
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: JURASSIC WORLD, FALLEN KINGDOM

MOVIE REVIEW:
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM


In 2015, Jurassic World took the world by storm, smashing many box office records and revitalized the Jurassic Park franchise. Now we have the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The film is directed by J.A. Bayona and takes place three years after the events of Jurassic World. The island of the park, Isla Nublar, is now abandoned and finds itself under the threat of volcanic eruption, which would lead the remaining dinosaurs to their second extinction. Now, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) return to the island as part of an attempt to save the creatures. But all the while, various schemes are afoot involving what to do with the dinos, many of them revolving around businessman Eli Mills (Rafe Spall).
To give my brief thoughts on the Jurassic franchise films so far, the first Jurassic Park is one of my all
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: INCREDIBLES 2

MOVIE REVIEW:
INCREDIBLES 2


Well it looks like most people were really happy with this movie. Now I'm just here like...

After many years of fans, myself included, craving a sequel to the Pixar hit The Incredibles, it's finally come to fruition. Incredibles 2 has Brad Bird returning to write and direct, and is once again about the Parr family of superheroes: spouses Bob and Helen as well as children Violet, Dash (now voiced by Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack. And of course, their friend Lucius, aka Frozone. This time around, after failing to stop a massive crime and causing damage in the process, the family are contacted by Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener), who want to send Helen back out into the field as Elastigirl in an attempt to regain the public's trust in superheroes. This leaves Bob to look after the kids, a task that p
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: HEREDITARY
MOVIE REVIEW:
HEREDITARY

There are many who lament having inherited the baldness gene or lactose intolerance or something like that from their relatives. Turns out that they could have gotten something much worse … 



Hereditary
is the feature directorial debut of Ari Aster. In this psychological horror film, the family of one Annie Graham (Toni Collette) becomes mysteriously haunted following the death of Annie's mother. Now she, her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), her teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff), and daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) must face not only the consequences of this haunting, but their own dark, painful history that resurfaces.
I was very excited for this film, especially after the crazy amounts of buzz it was getting. I'm a relatively new fan of horror, having gotten into it from newer releases like Get Out, It Comes at Night, It, A Quiet Place, and now <i>
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: ADRIFT

MOVIE REVIEW:
ADRIFT

Yup, that settles it. I'm not sailing across an entire ocean unless it's in a cruise ship that would make the Titanic look like a kayak.

Adrift
is directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who is known for directing films like A Little Trip to Heaven and Everest. This film tells the true story of Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), a couple whose ship is devastated by 1983's Hurricane Raymond in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Left with little resources and no way of contacting anyone, Tami must now find a way to tend to an injured Richard - who is too wounded to be of any physical help - and get them both back to safety. We also go into the backstory of how they met, fell in love, and a bit of their own individual histories as well.
A few things should be made clear right up front. Firstly, if you don't know the true story of what really happened and you plan on seeing this movie, whate
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Literature
MOVIE REVIEW: SOLO, A STAR WARS STORY
MOVIE REVIEW:
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY


SPOILER FREE!

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the latest Star Wars film to be completely universally loved, with no fan backlash whatsoever.
… Right?
Okay, in all seriousness, this film is the second Star Wars anthology or spin-off film, this time directed by Ron Howard. This film is an origin story of sorts for the character Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), who aspires to be the best pilot in the galaxy and run away with his love Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke). This mission leads him down a path of a smuggler, and the two end up caught in the middle of a heist with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), criminal Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), smuggler and fan favorite Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), and droid L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge).
I've made my thoughts clear on the new Disney-era episodic Star Wars films, but not so much the spin-offs. I'm more or less indifferent to the idea of spin-offs. I would hav
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Favourites

Literature
Politics and Culture
Your systemic oppression
Has an unjust impact.
I can’t trust the decisions
You make on my behalf
And I have no control.
I gave it to you
Back when you made promises
That made me smile
Before the blatant betrayal.
And now you won’t
Relinquish it.
Do you feel empowered?
I am angry
Because I am scared.
You may even be charitable
But you’ve taken away
What I needed,
So I assume you’re not.
Yet, I can’t truly promise
I wouldn’t do what you did,
But I promise anyway.
Your decrees violate
My morality,
But I know…
Opportunity begets self-interest.
What would I do
If the systems brought me you?
What would I do
If your maker made my shoes?
We are given options
Then we have to choose.
Systemic oppression
Has an unjust impact.
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Literature
Phobia: Part II
A tickling trail moves up my leg
Above my ankle
Towards my knee.
I glance and see
A freckle.
Nothing more.
I look away.
A sharp pinch pierces my calf.
Sensitive,
I feel an intricate
Yet focused texture
Where there is now a faint throb.
I look and see
I have leaned against
Peeling wood.
Nothing more.
I look away.
I feel once more a tickle.
It trails above my knee this time.
It feels as if someone is softly
Brushing a finger against my skin
Moving towards my thigh.
I tell myself
I am paranoid.
It is just a hair
Or a fluff
Or I’m
Just itchy.
I don’t look.
Just scratch
And something
Brushes against my finger.
The tickling moves to my index
I look.
There I see translucence,
A small nodule with extruding legs.
It is moving towards my knuckle.
It tickles.
My throat expels high pitched shock.
My arm, taken by instinct, flails.
My heart races against gasping breaths.
I look.
It is gone.
I look on the floor.
It is gone.
I look under the nearby couch.
It is gone.
Oh, where has it gone
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Journal
Thoughts on Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom
The day before I saw Ant-Man and the Wasp, I went and saw the sequel to 2015's dinosaur movie extravaganza.
Now, let me say this right out the gate:
I love the original Jurassic Park. It's perhaps one of my all-time favorite movies. I simply cannot overstate the impact that the film and its media had on my life. As a kid, it was the movie that made me get into dinosaurs. It was the film that probably helped shape my interest in science, and science fiction. And I can probably credit the original novel by Michael Crichton as being one of the many influences that got me interested in writing. 
I love the original film.
And I also love the sequel, The Lost World. I think it's a much better film than people give it credit for. (And that Doug Walker is an asshole for reviewing it in the way he did, and that people who criticize it by quoting his review are also assholes. XD
And as for the third sequel... eh, fuck that one. That's the one that deserves
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Journal
Thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp
Another movie I've been meaning to write up. I saw it just before I shipped out on my trip out west...
Fun fact - this is the second Marvel Cinematic Universe film that I've seen on my birthday. The first one was Spider-Man Homecoming.
The sequel to 2015's unlikely superhero comedy/caper film Ant-Man, AND the first MCU movie to be released after the smash triumph of Avengers Infinity WarAnt-Man and the Wasp looked like it had a pretty tall order ahead of it, to stand up against one of the year's biggest and most successful superhero films...
Fortunately, director Peyton Reed was more than up to the challenge.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a delightful joyride of a superhero movie. It's clever, fun as all hell, and displays some of the most inventive uses of superpowers put to the big screen.
Opening in flashback like its predecessor, Ant-Man and the Wasp begins with the memory of original Ant-Man Hank Pym (played by Mi
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Journal
Happy International Cat Day!
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Journal
WatchMojoUK on Harry Potter-DEBUNKED
Hello everyone! 
So...since I haven't been posting much content on my DeviantArt as of late, and because I hate to keep you all hanging, I decided to give you something I thought I could provide yet another entertaining/thought-provoking debunking for your entertainment!
Ah, WatchMojo...Not the site I put the most stock in, seeing how so much of their entertainment-related countdowns are basically amalgamations of popular consensus. But I do check out their videos from time to time, as they can bring up certain contexts that I wasn't aware of. I don't think they're a terrible website, some of their ideas I agree with less than others, and their branches with MsMojo and WatchMojoUK are what they are. It's just pretty run-of-the-mill for me.
That being said, here's one of those instances where I can find points to debunk. 
For whatever reason I can't explain, there are few Hollywood franchises that I've ever been able to really get into as much as the rest
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Literature
Cracking
The stress sounds the cracks below,
Right down to the foundation and more,
They crack like spiders dark and slow,
Eating away straight to the rotten core.
Splintering and busting under the weight,
It will all come down eventually,
All we have to do is sit and wait,
For this will continue to happen perpetually.
When it all comes crashing down soon,
Be aware of what comes soon after,
At the fullness of the giant red moon,
All you will hear is the spiders laughter.
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Literature
The Smiling Dinosaur
Long ago across vast plains,
The valley still moist from the rains,
Most life snuffed quickly in pain,
Alone - a determined youth remains.
The last of her dying race,
A smile remains on her face,
Grief in this heart has no trace,
Set to match the world's new pace.
Enemies remain even with friends dust,
Bones that will return to the earth's crust,
But she won't - she is the last of her race,
This grinning dino still has a place.
Tyrannical in her rule of a dying throne,
Silence has become the new tone,
Life's constant loss is worth the future,
But this smiling Rex has a sense of humor.
I hope.
For this was never really about that,
The smiling dino of ages past,
Your past isn't you - and that's that,
But a smile even from ancient past,
Can shine bright in a far telescope.
I hope.
A smile can last,
A mistake doesn't,
Life is never wrong,
But sometimes unexpected.
I know.
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BB-8 and Bumblebee by Sebastiansmind BB-8 and Bumblebee :iconsebastiansmind:Sebastiansmind 5 2
Journal
the Darkest Minds Movie Review
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Journal
Thoughts on John Wick
I'd meant to type this up before I went on my trip, but oh well.
John Wick.
AKA, "The one where Keanu Reeves proves he can act."
Or, if you'd prefer, "The dog-owner's revenge fantasy." :lol: 
This 2014 neo-noir action movie is a veritable masterpiece of story, worldbuilding, and yes, action. The first thirty minutes of the film are quite minimal in dialogue, and yet the audience is deftly led into the plot of the movie and why we should care.
After the death of his beloved wife Helen (played by Bridget Moynahan), John Wick (Keanu) finds one last memento of her and their love, in the form of an adorable beagle puppy named Daisy. Forming a connection with the dog, John takes her out in his vintage Ford Mustang.
At the gas station, John encounters some thugs. One of them, spoiled mob boss' son Iosef (played by Alfie Allen of Game of Thrones infamy) wants John's car, but he refuses to sell.
That night, the hoods break into John's home, ambush him and beat him senseless, steal h
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Journal
Memories of the Trip
Hey everyone. Now that I'm back and had a bit of time to settle in, I wanted to share a bit of a longer recount of my trip out West.
As a big fan of paleontology and with a certain fondness of geology (I took multiple classes in college, even though I needed just the one for science credit, because I found I liked the study of rocks so much XD), I'd dreamed of someday going out to visit some of the US' big fossil sites. So after I graduated college, I made plans with my folks to fly out to Denver and head out to visit some choice destinations.
It was with a very heavy heart that I ruled out Dinosaur National Park, as I really wanted to go, but with how big that place is (it comfortably stretches between Colorado and Utah) and how far a drive it'd be... if I'd really wanted to go, that would have to be the only destination.
So with that in mind, I picked two other fossil sites:
First, the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota.
Then, after that, the Agate Fossil Beds near Harrison, N
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Literature
Phobia
Tiny dark dangers,
Distorted legs,
Bent at impossible angles.
Complex system of motion
As if resenting being trapped
Forever in fast forward.
Even the young squirm
As if uncomfortable in hordes.
See them dive-bombing,
Staggering, skittering
Towards me as if to attack.
Jolting as if teleporting
Through time and space.
They mock with their gait
Which knows we are superior
But approaches anyway.
They punish not with violence,
But violate personal space,
Hiding in corners,
Under my belongings,
On my arm.
When did it get there?
They punish with
Unexpected pinches and itching,
Smears on the wall,
With multiplication.
If just one inspires fear,
Oh what thousands can do.
Self-defence is futile.
They are everywhere.
They will breed
And surround me in death.
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Literature
What Did You Learn Today?
Classroom
Quiet, Anxious
Hushing, Hiding, Knowing
The door isn’t bulletproof
Drill
:iconTheSmileyDinosaur:TheSmileyDinosaur
:iconthesmileydinosaur:TheSmileyDinosaur 3 6
Literature
The Known Unknown
Part I: The Secret
For that grim occasion,
I was owed an explanation
Since it was your creation,
Not unlike myself.
Your tears of indignation
Sprinkled my imagination
So to combat defamation
You gift wrapped my half truth.
I knew that the translation
Was for my own salvation,
Though not that the foundation
Of my future had been set.
So I embraced your kind donation
Never seeking implications
Because I feared separation
Beyond alternate weekends.
After years of maturation,
I’ve not sought the education
So your secret information
Is part of who I am.
I feel its radiation,
A tool for devastation,
So please find the motivation,
To think of me again
To preserve the exclamation
To hush retaliation
All for the preservation
Of the words that are unsaid.
Part II: The Stranger
Are you an angel
Sent to bring my apocalypse
Dare I gaze?
Dare I see myself in you?
Are you a goddess
Of war
And will you touch my life?
Have you touched it before?
Are you an enchantress
A disguised hag
Will your sp
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Thor's Worst Critical Fail by kirk327 Thor's Worst Critical Fail :iconkirk327:kirk327 7 3

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ON OPINIONS AND TASTES - A PLEA FOR PEACE

Untitled by BluJayPlayer

One of my favorite parts about reviewing and discussing movies, music, and more, if not my very favorite part, is the opportunity to talk and engage with fellow fans and trade opinions back and forth. I love hearing new perspectives, both ones that resonate with me and ones that I disagree with. No one person has the exact same take on everything, and so whenever I see someone's uploaded reviews or essays, or see a long or even brief comment pop up in one of my own posts, I look forward to reading and responding to whatever someone has to say. It's one of the greatest things the internet can do for us: bring together people who could otherwise never interact, and allow for enjoyable, friendly yet passionate discussions on the things they enjoy so much.

… If only more people felt that way. If only less people felt compelled to turn such a joyous experience into one of fear and hatred.

Several months ago, I wrote up an editorial called "On Opinions And Tastes - Why So Serious?". In it, I delved into the reasons behind why many people get so passionate over art and entertainment. But I was specifically talking about those who do it in a reasonably healthy manner, at some points even justifying said passion and insisting that anyone who has it has the right to feel it and contribute to the conversation. A lot of people seemed to really enjoy it, and many of the comments it got really moved me on a personal level. For that, I offer my sincerest thanks. However, with all that I've seen happening over the last several months - okay, over the last several years, but specifically nowadays - I felt the obligation to tackle the darker side of opinions. You all know what I'm talking about: the seemingly increasingly harsh, hateful, and toxic culture that we find across the internet and beyond.

So often - in fact in the majority of the cases I address - we have seen comments ranging from petty insults to death threats over something as seemingly ridiculous as a movie, online show, and so on, whether it be towards the people who made said works of media or fellow fans who disagree with another's opinion on the work. My thoughts on the matter have been festering more and more, and finally I decided to say my own piece on the matter.

I want to establish right off the bat that I am not trying to pretend that I have all the answers on this matter, or that what I have to say is guaranteed to be correct. I am not some all-knowing, all-seeing person with the keys to balance and peace, or any of that. This is all entirely based on my own observations, my own ideas and thoughts, and my own unique perspective. I actively encourage everyone reading to compare and contrast their interpretations on the subject to mine. Like I said, I'm always looking forward to hearing similar and different points of view.

Last time I excluded those who take their opinions too far, but this time the focus is entirely on them, as I attempt to identify the problems and their consequences, address several reasons why I believe it keeps happening, and offer my potential ways to remedy it.



WHAT IS THE PROBLEM AT HAND?

Pleapeace2 by BluJayPlayer

When you're commenting online through text, it's harder to get across your intended tone. When you're speaking in person or in a video, you're able to use your vocal inflections, make your mood clear, emote with your face, and so on. There's much less to have to interpret. Of course, disadvantages could pop up if you're communicating live or in person because you don't have as much time to fully form your thoughts and think of how you want to have them be said. You're also more prone to impulses as well, saying something in the heat of the moment that you either didn't really mean or were blowing out of proportion without time to think it over. This should be where online communication like written comments and pre-recorded videos should have the advantage. You have as much time as you need to think over what you're going to say, how you're going to say it, the exact choice of words to use, and can look it all over before sending it out. And your impulses are no longer on immediate display. This is very much how I approach communicating online. I try to have the best version of me be the one that everyone sees. Sometimes I'll spend up to ten minutes writing a comment or response simply because I want to make sure that it's as well-said as it can be. And in an ideal world, most everyone else who goes online would try to approach discourse in a similar manner.

That's obviously not the case, however. In fact, in far too many cases, online and fan communities are pretty much a nightmare.

I myself have yet to become part of a conversation with anyone that has been angry or even uncomfortable directly towards me. So far everyone I've met has been perfectly pleasant to me. But while I haven't been involved in any bad drama, I've certainly observed it and heard about it. The name-calling, being so quick to anger, treating someone like they literally punched them in the face whenever a disagreement occurs. I've heard of, seen, and have been baffled by this discourse. When I scroll through the comment sections of certain YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, or even right here on DeviantArt, I often find it hard to believe that what I'm reading came from an actual person, who took possibly several minutes to think up and type out such obscene sentiments towards another person or group of people over something like media and entertainment. As in, someone sat down and thought, "You know what? This is worth insulting someone over. This is worth going out of my way to try and make someone feel bad and ruin their day." Any time I see a nasty tweet, comment, etc., towards something that someone disagrees with or dislikes, I genuinely wonder what they are trying to accomplish by doing so. I've talked about how passion over such subjects is understandable and reasonable, but there is a line, and wherever that line is, it has clearly been crossed.  

And all of these thoughts on the issue finally culminated within me with an actress named Kelly Marie Tran, better known as the actress who played Rose Tico in Star Wars Episode VIII - The Last Jedi. The character, while loved by many, also proved to be quite controversial and a source of anger from many Star Wars fans. That itself is perfectly fair. However, it sadly bled over onto Tran herself. The hatred directed towards her got so insane that the actress eventually left her Instagram account altogether. Some of you may remember a post I made shortly after finding out about this. I can't access a screenshot of it, but I essentially expressed my sadness over how a woman has had a dream come true - being in a Star Wars movie - be turned into a source of sadness and fear, as well as how bad the Star Wars fandom, which I obviously am a part of, looks right now in particular.

It's obviously not immoral to hate the character of Rose Tico, or anything about The Last Jedi or any Star Wars movie. That really shouldn't have to be said. But what does apparently need to be said is that people clearly either don't understand or, even worse, don't care, about the boundaries between creators and creations. Rose is a completely fictional creation whose backstory, dialogue, and motivation are nonexistent in real life; therefore I have no moral issue with fans tearing her apart in that regard. But, and again this really should be obvious, Kelly Marie Tran is a separate and real person in the real world. And she can potentially see and hear every comment that is sent her way. When you bring the actress herself into the equation - which can even extend to commenting on Rose's appearance, since it's the same as Tran's - more maturity and decency should be used.

Maybe the saddest part of all this is that this isn't even the first time that Star Wars has led to a mass onslaught of harassment and cruelty towards an individual. Jake Lloyd's childhood sounds to have been all but destroyed by the amount of people making fun of and harassing him for his role as young Anakin, and George Lucas himself has been called things like the Anti-Christ, to the point of no longer wanting to take part in the universe he created. And to see it continue to happen now with Kelly Marie Tran (as well as people like Rian Johnson), to see another person feel the need to shut a part of the world out because of a creative, artistic choice that some people didn't like, was the moment that inspired me the most to create this editorial.

How ironic that The Last Jedi, a film about the dangers of being dehumanized by legend, is being used as a means to dehumanize Rian Johnson and company over how they treated a legendary franchise, the same way they've done with Lucas for years. How sad that Kylo Ren, a character who violently attacks those who disappoint and fail him, is a perfect stand-in for the many who are doing the very same thing when a movie fails them. And Rose's line about needing to save what you love rather than fight what you hate has clearly gone over many people's heads (say what you will about its placement or motivation in the film, that line at least on its own carries a lot of wisdom).

We stifle each others' growth by jumping down throats instead of simply discussing, primarily because it interferes with any genuinely helpful and insightful comments, positive or negative, that are also trying to get through. People like the Screen Junkies team have said many times that they are always open to suggestions, feedback, and constructive criticism from their fans, but when there are so many nasty comments that obviously take things too far and too personal, it's hard for them to determine what's genuine feedback and what's just bullying. Even people who don't mean to be so harsh and are just passionate can be mistaken as one of the hate commenters. It takes the many layers of human opinion and the wide spectrums it can take on, and reduces to a set of extremes and camps. You're either on one side or the other, with or against, either fitting perfectly into one idealized set of values or cast out and ridiculed.

All this extends beyond talking about entertainment. I don't need to tell you that this is probably the most politically intense and divisive period that the United States has seen in quite some time. And there's nothing inherently wrong with disagreements or differences in opinion, even regarding the most important and serious of topics. Heck, free debate and discourse are what led to the creation of things like the Constitution as we know it. But nothing good was accomplished in this country from simply screaming and yelling at each other, or instantly villainizing those who simply have different points of view or flaws.

And very recently, it turns out that this form of immediate shunning has reached the corporate level regarding the one and only James Gunn. As most of you probably know by now, Disney fired James Gunn from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old (as in, roughly a decade ago) tweets resurfaced of him making extremely inappropriate, offensive, and taboo jokes. Now, regardless of how you feel over the jokes themselves, I found it extremely strange and irresponsible how quickly Disney pulled the plug on him. I don't even think there was time for an outrage to even happen before they made their move. They clearly didn't take the time to have a deep, nuanced conversation, weighing the pros and cons regarding what is the right business and ethical choice. They just immediately went to an extreme. And I'd be willing to guess that they did this solely out of fear of the immediate-shunning culture, as these tweets pre-dated any mentions of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, so they must have known about them when Gunn was initially hired.

Additionally, what does this say to people who have ever said or done something stupid in their past - that is, every single person in existence? Gunn didn't do anything really that harmful - just stupid and tasteless - and has since grown and actively moved beyond such humor. Yet, those mistakes from years ago were still used as reason to cut him loose. This and other incidents give me genuine fear that our culture may reach a point where any public mistake people make will be seen as a reason to shun them; you'll either be completely pure of heart in the public eye or a professional outcast. I feel that such narrow, cut-and-dry mindsets, even if well-intended, are harmful to the development and evolution of society. And on the internet especially, they're spreading like wildfires. But why?



WHERE IS ALL THIS ANGER EVEN COMING FROM? WHY ARE PEOPLE SO HATEFUL IN THE FIRST PLACE?

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I guess it's just their way of getting their aggression out? That's the most immediate reason I think of. I mean, we are taught from an early age to do things like punch pillows when we're angry, or shout and call our laptops pieces of junk when they don't work right, or get mad at a slow driver on the road. A simple explanation, I guess. But the problem is that when you're online, you are, in a sense, in public. People can "see" everything you're doing. The internet is not your own personal therapy session or private thing to yell at. It's a shared resource, and everything you do spreads some form of an influence. So when you're lashing out at a certain actor like Tran, or a director or something, and taking it to a personal, petty place, it is very different from when you're just sitting around with your friends and letting off some steam. I'll go more into this later, but I think that this is something that a lot of the "toxic" minds don't realize, and therefore a source of why we always see them.

Another source of all this could very well be the exposure that the internet provides to those who otherwise have little to no experience or even knowledge with anything not fitting to what their surroundings have taught them to be true. Many people likely live in an echo chamber, so to speak, where they either never got the chance to see beyond a limited perspective or choose not to. I myself am someone who sometimes has a hard time adjusting to unfamiliar environments and living arrangements. If I've grown used to a certain way that things have been working only for many of those things to be stripped away, even in something like staying in a rental house for a family vacation, my mood can sometimes be affected by that difference. I'm sure many people have similar negative reactions to unfamiliarity in media. But when I feel frustrated by change and I occasionally lash out, it's usually just venting in private towards family, and while it's certainly not justified to do so, it's less damaging because they're people I love and trust to forgive me and not take it personally. However, when you're dealing with films, television, and other media that usually is on a global scale and can have a deep cultural impact, not only are there going to be thousands or millions of people venting, but they're taking their vents to the grand scale to match the height and seeming importance of the pop culture in question.

I'm a strong believer that people like this have always been out there; that as early as film and other forms of modern entertainment were invented, those who would post such toxic thoughts if they could were alive and among us. But it's only thanks to the internet and social media that they are now able to be seen by all. They've been given a voice, a place to vent, and clearly they're content to use it. And sure, sometimes there's nothing wrong with doing such a thing healthily, as many of us have.

But I think that the biggest source of why there's so much toxicity going on, at least from what I've observed, is that the people saying these terrible things, quite simply, just don't know any better. There could be many reasons for this, including poor parenting, a sheltered, non-social upbringing, a mental disability, the anonymity making it easy to forget the human beings on the other side, or any combination of these and other factors. This can even extend to the ever-infamous internet trolls who very intentionally cause chaos not because they're genuinely angry but just for a laugh. They may know what they're doing, but I don't think even they realize how much damage they could potentially do to one's morale and self-esteem. They may see it as a simple joke or way to entertain themselves, but the person on the receiving end may not get the joke, especially if there are other commenters whose mean words are genuine.

The internet clearly plays the central role in all this. In my previous "On Opinions And Tastes" editorial, I mentioned how I too have felt the spark of anger when online. And I'm sure many of you have as well. But can you even count on more than one hand the number of times you've felt that same spark when you disagreed with someone you were talking to face-to-face? Whether it be a close friend or maybe even just the person sitting next to me in a theater, I can't think of a time when I was genuinely irritated with the opinion of someone I was talking to in the same room. As in, genuinely upset or frustrated. Because you see the real person as, well, a real person, and can therefore more easily see how they came to have a perspective that's different from yours. Not to mention you can instantly respond and counter their arguments, rather than be forced to settle typing in a comment that will likely get lost in a sea of others speaking their minds.

There's also the famous vocal minority argument, which I fully believe in. It's the idea that while it seems like toxic commenters are everywhere and make up a majority of a fanbase, they really are just a small portion in a sea of more rational, polite people. But usually said people are far less inclined to share their thoughts, for whatever reason, leaving the more intense, vitriolic voices a majority of what we see. This makes the issues I've already state that much more magnified.

Finally, there's the fact that even though someone may be upset solely with the art itself, it may be difficult and unsatisfying to take out their anger on it, seeing as how it's an abstract creation without any form of sentience. Like I said before, however, the people behind it are real, and so I imagine they are much easier and less challenging for angry fans to use as scapegoats and lightning rods for their frustrations. I'm sure all of us, myself included, have been upset with a complicated problem in our lives and tried to pin the blame on someone clearly not at fault. But in the case of art, the creators often are at fault, making this process even easier.



WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP GET THINGS BETTER?

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Once again, I can't sit here and pretend that I have the sacred answers to such a dilemma. But I do have my own thoughts on some possible remedies.

Here's one of the most important things to remember that I feel a lot of people tend to miss: we all must acknowledge that we may have contributed to the problem at some point or another. No matter how hard we may try to keep things respectful, it's practically inevitable that we can get it perfect every time and be 100% aware of how we're coming across. Something I've said online may very well have gotten someone very upset, even if my intention was far from that. Like I said on my "Why So Serious" editorial, we all have that spark of anger and passion within us over these subjects, and I'll bet that everyone one of us has let it slip at least a few times.

But it doesn't just stop at our own etiquette. The media we consume, especially that revolving around criticism and parody, may be unintentionally feeding this culture. Shows like Nostalgia Critic, I Hate Everything, and others are inherently negative at their base level. Just the name, I Hate Everything, sounds a little too much like a troll account, doesn't it? There's even a famous YouTube film review called YourMovieSucks! And of course, almost all of these kinds of creators get their content from insulting and sometimes viciously making fun of the work and creations of other people. Simply making a joke out of someone or their work could contribute to the toxic online culture, even if totally unintentionally. We as a society have been drawn to this kind of content for years, even before internet culture became a thing. Look at the likes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Does this mean it all should stop? No. I still love and watch a lot of these shows and angry rants and all that. But that awareness should always be there, even if only in the back of your mind, whether you're reading/listening to such content or making it. Not everyone who comes across it will get the true meaning behind it; we're not mind-readers. Sure, it can be fun and therapeutic to vent, shout, and attack something you find bad. I've seen many a rant on this site alone, and have found many to be entertaining and occasionally even insightful. But unless you have context or know of the person saying it from following their work, it can be difficult to distinguish which of these cases are intentionally/comedically exaggerated and which ones are genuinely meant to be hateful.

Even if it's not that harsh or severe, it could still add fuel to the fire. For instance, calling a screenplay lazy. I get that something could feel lazy, but for all you know it was the result of someone putting as much time and effort into it as possible. Or if the writers were struggling with writers' block and couldn't push back a deadline, or anything like that. We can't pretend to always know how or why a bad work came out the way it did.

I had a case recently where someone - not naming anyone - said something along the lines of wanting to smack Kathryn Kennedy with some of the new Disney Star Wars action figures. I tried to gently suggest that, even though they were likely joking, saying stuff like that wasn't helping the culture right now. We exchanged a few further thoughts and came to respectfully understand each others' points, and they did clarify that they didn't seriously want to do something like that. But I still felt the need to jump in because, again, it's so hard to tell the difference sometimes. But even if it was obvious, I think that stuff like that can still potentially serve to fuel the culture we're coming to dread more and more.

Again, I'm not saying that venting online is inherently bad. I love some of the content creators I've mentioned, and have been intrigued and entertained by such angry things on this very site, written by people whom I know are respectable. But maybe some caution is in order for us all, myself included. I'm not saying we should walk on eggshells around everyone or be so afraid of offending someone that we lose our own voices. Just keep that thought in the back of your mind is all. It's a tough line to walk.

And yes, lately I have grown a little more alienated to the kinds of review that are made primarily to mock and ridicule something, even segments that I used to love like Chris Stuckmann's Hilariocity reviews. I have become a little more leery whenever I see something turned into a laughing stock online, even if I myself strongly dislike what's being mocked, because it detracts from legitimate feedback that, if stated in a mature and respectful way, could help the creators learn from their mistakes in the future.

I also find it ironic whenever I see a film critic, whose job it is to sometimes talk negatively about other PEOPLE'S work, gets fed up whenever someone talks negatively about their own work, or sometimes asks them to instead just not watch. This especially applies to the exaggeratedly-negative "caustic critics" like the NC or IHE. Kind of seems like they're unable to handle what they themselves are doing to others, doesn't it?

But if you want to just try and approach the problem directly, like confronting those at fault, I have a strategy for that as well. I once said something to a fellow Deviant a while ago regarding advice for how to deal with difficult commenters. For the sake of not typing up a whole new paragraph just to say the exact same thing, I'll just repeat/copy what I said before. My plan for when or if I ever get into an unpleasant conversation with someone is to do everything in my power to not become as angry or intense as the other person, or at least to not show it in the comment. So if I ever find myself interacting with one of the trolls, bullies, or just seemingly-crazy people we've heard about, I'm just going to let any frustration that comes to me subside before I start typing a response, and keep myself at the level of calm I had before reading it, so as to avoid getting caught in the hysteria. That is, unless they say something truly inexcusable on par with, say, praising the Holocaust. But even then, I may just stop talking to them and move on if I feel nothing can be gained by continued interaction with someone clearly not all right in the head. Who knows, maybe that level-headedness could rub off on the other person, get to the human being hiding behind that wall of toxicity. I just don't believe that matching their intensity or hostility helps anything, even if I'm in the right.

This all brings me to what I think is the biggest problem with today's tech culture that fuels such bad fan environments: the disconnect. The simplification of people into caricatures and abstract entities, and into certain camps without any sense of nuance or empathy.

People need to realize that when they're talking about art of any kind, they're talking about something that other people have created and put their time into. These are human beings with feelings, dreams, and passions like all of us, and who were likely thrilled to be living out their dreams of being filmmakers, musicians, and so on. Even when it comes to movies that are essentially cash grabs, there are still hundreds, potentially thousands, of people involved in the production who have big dreams and need to work their way up, paying their dues so to speak. Or maybe some of them are legitimately passionate about what they're involved in, even if the people in charge are not. I'm not saying that we shouldn't call out something or state our negative opinions on it if it's bad. That is in fact necessary for art to evolve, and we won't get anywhere just giving out free passes to people just for trying. But it's another thing to demonize it and the people involved.

And of course this also applies to how fans and art consumers treat each other, and how we treat each other in life as a whole. I think that, of all people, Markiplier sums up these thoughts perfectly:



But to further fend off the toxic culture, I feel that a great way to help is to balance out the vocal minority by becoming a vocal majority. If you have something positive to say, feel free to share that with the public eye. That's what many of us here came to do in the first place, anyway. I myself am trying to put more effort into actively sharing any praise or positive responses to both media and to those I meet in person. Be as ready to share your own mature or positive feedback as others are ready to jump out to immaturely attack. If you have a nice thought to share on a YouTube video, maybe take the time to actually type it up rather than just moving on. It doesn't have to be anything detailed, just something to make the meaner comments less relatively frequent. Or if you come across a fan whose thoughts you agree with, feel free to strike up a conversation or simply give them some silly GIF of approval. Or if you have issues with what you're seeing, give a thoughtful and respectful response explaining what you felt didn't work and maybe suggest what could be done to make it better, or explaining why you have a different point of view. As hokey as it may sound, a good attitude is a gift worth sharing.

And beyond that, I would strongly caution against assuming another person's intent, mindset, or rationale for what they say or do. Again, this is advice that we should try to follow both online and offline. I get constantly fed up with the tendency to have opinions stratified into various camps. I brought this up regarding the Star Wars fandom at the end of my Solo review, (which you can read here: MOVIE REVIEW: SOLO, A STAR WARS STORY) and I still stand by it. Not only can certain people like something that others dislike, but two different people could like something for completely different reasons. My initial dislike for The Last Jedi, for instance, was for completely opposite reasons from why most other people I saw disliked it.

For instance, I was not a fan of Incredibles 2. But imagine if in my review of it, I said that all those who like it are clearly just there for mindless jokes and pretty colors, and don't respect the depth and heart of the original. That would be insanely disrespectful, not to mention highly pretentious and presumptuous of me. It's that kind of stratification and generalization of fanbases and art consumers that's really bugging me lately.

On somewhat of a side note, can we also stop saying, "Well this director clearly doesn't respect his audience" whenever a point or theme is seemingly too on-the-nose or blatantly obvious? How can you know why the director made that choice? Even worse, it implies that anyone who can't figure that certain thing out is an idiot. Did it ever occur to you that maybe the director doesn't trust themselves enough to be able to be clear enough? That maybe they fear they're being overly-vague or niche? It's not like they can just assume that if they themselves understand it, then that means the audience will as well.

Writing this all out, I realize that I may sound a little preachy to some. I'm not at all insinuating that I follow all of my own advice perfectly. Like everyone, I'm sure that at many points I have failed to be this ideal representation that I'm advocating for, and like many I will continue to stumble even as I improve. But I feel it's good, at the very least for my own goal-setting, to have something to strive for. Even if we fail, and we all are bound to at many points, we are at least aiming for the right direction. And ultimately, I feel that's all we can really hope to do.



CONCLUSION

Well, as much as I could go on with more examples and points, I think that all covers up my thoughts on the current issues with media and entertainment culture nowadays. I hope that everyone reading this could at least get somewhat of a better understanding of where these problems could potentially be coming from, why it's important to recognize them, and what we can do to try and help reduce them. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I agree with Markiplier that it all comes down to one word: respect. Respect for those who created content or a product that you dislike, respect for fans whose opinions you disagree with, and respect for those you may not even realize are there listening.

Will it ever be perfect? No, of course not. It never was and it never will be. But I still have some hope, naïve as you may call it, that we could possibly get to a point where the majority of conversations about art and interacting with others in our community can be not only safe, but as exciting as the art itself.






(I own none of the images used for this editorial.)
(This editorial may not be copied or reused without my explicit permission and credit.)
ON OPINIONS AND TASTES - A PLEA FOR PEACE
I've hinted at this for a while now, and here it is, my attempt to make at least a little sense of the craziness going on online and beyond: On Opinions And Tastes - A Plea For Peace.

As always, feedback is always very much appreciated and encouraged! Additionally, feel free to share your own thoughts on the matter, or parts in particular that you either strongly agree or disagree with.

Thank you all very much for reading! :D (Big Grin) 
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I've been hearing Weezer's cover of Africa on the radio ridiculously often. My mother was already sick of hearing the original version non-stop! This oughtta drive her insane.

Also, why am I hearing Weezer's cover of Africa so ridiculously often?
MOVIE REVIEW:
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME


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The Spy Who Dumped Me is a spy comedy directed by Susanna Fogel, who also co-wrote the film. It stars Mila Kunis as Audrey, who is recently dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux). It's revealed, however, that Drew was secretly a spy. When Drew goes out of commission, Audrey is then dragged into his dangerous mission along with her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon). The result is a comedy that, while uneven with its story and pacing, still delivers a very funny and surprisingly exciting experience.

Spydumpgif by BluJayPlayer

Of course, with this being a comedy, you'd hope for it to supply the laughs. I really did think this movie was genuinely very funny, sometimes downright hilarious. Is it super clever? No, but it's that brand of humor that's stupid but really well-timed to get several big laughs out of me. I especially liked when it subverted typical expectations, like the reaction of a cab driver to what's going on, or when you think Audrey is in one state of mind only for us to learn she had a plan the entire time. The physical comedy is pretty strong as well, especially when combined with the intense violence. And there are a few reoccurring jokes that tie back into the plot hilariously, one involving a past friend of Morgan's that had me gut-laughing. In spite of the problems with the story and structure, the movie's arguably most important aspect - being funny - is fulfilled.

I always like Mila Kunis as an actor, and as usual she brings a lot of likeability to her role. Kate McKinnon was also great. Her introductory scene had me really worried, but she quickly won me over and kept me for the majority of the film. I'd say about 10% of her humor flopped, but the rest of it worked so well that it didn't bother me.

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I wasn't expecting any grand or innovative story with this movie, but I was still let down with just how predictable a lot of it was. This was the most disappointing aspect of the film for me, as I was able to call about half of the plot "twists" from as early as the first third. I'll admit that some things had me guessing, such as the true loyalty of a few characters, but if you've seen enough spy films you'll have very few genuine surprises. I actually thought of fellow spy-comedy Spy (which I consider the superior film), with which this film shares a lot of beats. One of the last major third-act twists had me thinking, "Dammit, they're doing this?"

Despite this, however, I still felt the story was executed well. Like I said, the characters are still really likeable, have great chemistry, and there is a decent amount of heart to it, particularly with Audrey and another character (whose identity I won't say because the context would give away the outcome). And again, it did legitimately have me guessing, and I was very rarely sure about characters' intentions.

By far the element that surprised me the most about this movie was the action. Believe it or not, this is a very brutally violent movie at times. We've got nasty headshots, impalements, neck snaps with some oh-so-delightful cracking sounds, and all of it really looks like it hurts. More than that, though, the action sequences are really, really well-helmed. I don't want to oversell it, especially considering one of the last movies I reviewed contained some of the best action sequences I've ever seen, but I was still pretty impressed with how the action was handled in this. A lot of it looked like it was filmed practically, with several long takes of people running through the scenery and even genuinely exciting car/motorcycle chases through bustling streets. Some of the setups for these scenes lent themselves to unique and visually memorable shots, especially Morgan's final grand encounter. An early shootout ends with a wide shot of the room in a complete bloody mess, and I admired the filmmakers for setting all of that up just for one effective shot. Again, it's not gonna compete with the likes of Fallout, but I honestly think that if she wanted to make straight-up action films, Susanna Fogel has a lot of potential. I'd surely love to see more female directors in that genre.

Spydump2 by BluJayPlayer

I was also surprised by how serious the film could get at points. You do legitimately feel the danger the characters are in and there's a pretty decent level of tension to several scenes, even when jokes are being thrown out. One scene even had me actually a little uncomfortable. It doesn't go crazy far in that regard, but a little farther than I was expecting.

Lastly, the film's pacing is uneven. The first act of the movie progresses pretty quickly, surprising me with how fast it got to certain events I had seen in the trailer. However, as the film continued, the pacing seemed to just get slower and slower, and that made the film feel longer than it actually was. I never got bored with it, as there was always a good laugh or some solid action to keep me invested, but I did feel a little restless as we approached the third act.

I'm a little surprised by the underwhelming reception that The Spy Who Dumped Me is getting, with only a 5.1/10 average rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It's not a fantastic comedy, but I still think that it's a very good time, with a lot of laughs, a fair amount of heart, and some surprisingly excellent action that can rival some straight-up action films. I would definitely say it's worth checking out.

My Rating: 7.5/10




(I own none of the images used for this review.)
(This review may not be copied or reused without my explicit permission and credit.)
MOVIE REVIEW:
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS


So I've seen two documentaries in theaters this year. Funny how the first one was an uplifting, heartwarming, and all around feel-good experience and the other is … um … not.

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Three Identical Strangers is a documentary film from Tim Wardle. It tells the true story of three triplets who were adopted by separate families at an early age, and are reunited in at the age of nineteen. They celebrate their reunion and share their story with the world. However, investigations soon ensue regarding the true nature of their upbringing, and that's when the film takes a much more serious turn. I'll try to give away as little as possible in that regard, as I feel that this film is best enjoyed on a first viewing when you go in completely blind. I did, and as a result I got a very disarming, shocking look at a story that really is almost too bizarre and crazy to believe.

If I was not told that the events depicted were true, I would absolutely believe this to be a fictional story, as in a work of fiction that was chosen to be made in documentary format to make it feel all the more real. It is indeed true, however, and it is downright chilling. It's something that you would expect to see in some science fiction drama or something, and the documentary succeeds in getting that weird and unsettling nature of what happened across.

The story itself raises a lot of questions regarding the nature of how we came to be. It also can translate to a number of other concerns we often have, such as free will, how fate defines us, and most of all the question of nature vs. nurture and how intertwined they are. The last few minutes in particular are guaranteed to have many audience members, myself included, questioning the very nature of how they came to be, even if only for a little while. And I will be honest, for one second I genuinely had the thought that maybe my life isn't what I thought it was. I quickly brushed that thought off, but for me to even have it at all is really damn impressive on the movie's part. It really got under my skin.

Threestrangers1 by BluJayPlayer

A lot of the impact rests on the interview segments of the brothers themselves. I completely commend them on agreeing to have their story be told, and for sitting down and sharing their experiences for all of us to see. You can clearly see the emotions going through their eyes as their history, both the good and the bad, comes back to them. It couldn't have been easy for them to share some of the unsettling and even tragic events that occurred.

I was surprised by just how many of the people involved in what happened participated in the interview portions. Every point of view is able to get their thoughts in, even those whom are not shown in the most flattering light. Almost all insights, perspectives, and opinions are exposed and shared, and every word that is said contributes something valuable.

The editing of this documentary is flawless. Both the pre-existing songs picked and the original score perfectly match the feel of each situation and segment of the brothers' lives, and the archived footage from years ago blends seamlessly with what I assume to be footage recorded solely for the film (such as a scene of one of the brothers doing research). And as the film goes along, it does a very good job at transitioning from the lighter, more inspirational elements of the story to the darker angle that slowly rears its head.

Threestrangers2 by BluJayPlayer

What I possibly loved the most about this movie, however, is how it chooses to reveal all of the information to us. Specifically, it tells us of what happened in roughly the same order they themselves found out about it; however, it's frequently doing so in a way that drops subtle hints and bits of information that initially seem to be just unusual or coincidental, but sure enough come back into play for an even bigger revelation. There was one coincidence in particular that I immediately found odd, and I had a gut feeling that it would come back in to play later on. And sure enough, it does. It puts you in the position of those who had to figure everything out while at the same time making it all feel like one cohesive picture from the start.

I feel that this documentary wholly succeeded in everything it set out to do, perhaps even more. I can't think of anything that would need improvement or any real flaw I have with it. It takes a story that I'm sure not a lot of people knew about, and presents it to us in a way that not only makes it feel huge, but also creeps its way under your skin and leaves you with questions that, while you've maybe had before, now have new, unnerving perspectives to go off of. I don't know how many theaters are still showing this - it's been out for many weeks and even then I could only see it in an indie theater - but if you can catch it either there or rent it when that option becomes available, definitely check it out.

My Rating: 10/10

I know it may look like I'm just handing out perfect 10s willy-nilly, considering I just gave Mission: Impossible - Fallout one as well. But again, I can't think of a single major thing about this movie that I feel was off or needed improvement. Granted, it's probably easier to make a documentary than a high-budget action movie, but my rules for ratings still stand.




(I own none of the images used for this review.)
(This review may not be copied or reused without my explicit permission and credit.)
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS (MOVIE REVIEW)
I saw this movie several weeks ago, and just now am getting a review out. Better late than never, right? Here's my review of Three Identical Strangers!

As always, thanks for reading! :) (Smile) 
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As much as I love reviewing new releases of movies, I've been recently wanting to branch out and do various other kinds of work. Some could be silly, some more thought-provoking, but they would all expand beyond the current wheelhouse I've established. So, here is a list of the many ideas that have popped into my head recently, as well as some working titles that I came up with hastily and with little thought or creativity. I figure I'll let you take a look at them and tell me which ones appear the most interesting or enjoyable. Note there are a few ideas here that I don't think have a strong possibility of actually happening, for varying reasons. It's just whatever popped into my mind. Some ideas may end up overlapping with each other as well. Also, if I come up with anything else, I'll update this entry with the new idea.



Debunking

I would bring up an article, video, etc. that I personally have strong disagreements with, usually on a topic that's been building up inside me, and counter and debunk it - while still trying to respect the author, of course.


Hold Up!

Where I revisit something from my childhood, or maybe just something I saw once five to ten years ago, and ask if it can still hold up and be enjoyed through my newer, adult eyes.


Damn, Childhood! You Scary!

Where I point out unfortunate implications and darker realizations I've had about certain shows and movies from my childhood. This won't be me theorizing or stretching to make a point ala Game Theory.


New Minority Report or Finally Watched

These are the first two "series" I've done, yet I have been neglecting them lately. I just haven't managed to fit them in at the moment. I hope to fix that soon, because I have more to say for both.


Top 10 Lists

I love Top 10 lists, so of course I'd want to make some of my own. They could be about any range of topics, such as Top 10 Songs I Like That No One Else Does, Top 10 Scary Moments From My Childhood, etc.


TV/Online Episode Recaps

Pretty much exactly what it sounds like, me writing recaps on episodes of some television and online programming. Additionally, I've kind of fallen out of the loop regarding television and Netflix. For whatever reason I just can't bring myself to sit down and plow through hours upon hours of a show. If I were to do a recap of each episode of a show to share my thoughts, maybe that incentive would come to me. There are quite a few that look intriguing. It could also extend to online shows, on which I am more caught up.


General opinion pieces

These could be anything, really. Right now the one I want to do the most revolves around hostile fan culture and my fascination (read: disgust) with it.


Memes

I always get a kick out of a good meme, demotivational poster, etc., so maybe I'd want to make my own silly little things.


MeMeMe

This would be an interactive thing. I'd post a photo or GIF that I consider meme-worthy, have all of you submit your best captions for it, and then read and share my thoughts on all of them in a journal entry.


Fan Work Reviews

Another interactive segment. In this case, I'd look at various samples of your work that you submit to me, and provide honest feedback. I'd be open to looking at something that is outside of my familiarity or comfort zone.


RiffTime (or a Finally Watched of a bad movie)

I try to avoid movies that don't look good to me. But in doing so, I wonder if I'm missing out on something that I should be watching just to see for myself how bad things can get. After all, lessons can be learned from them regarding how not to make a movie. Plus it could test my riffing abilities, or maybe lead to one of those unpopular opinion thingy-s if I end up not hating the movie.


Trying To Understand

I find myself unable to grasp the appeal of many genres or classes of media. So, I'd expose myself to some of the most acclaimed works in said genres and try to get myself into them. I already know that the two things I'd probably do first are hip-hop or anime.


Obscurities

Sometimes I come across little gems that very few people seem familiar with. This would simply be me talking about them and recommending them.


What're Kids Into These Days?

For the most part, I haven't been keeping up with modern entertainment aimed at younger audiences, such as Steven Universe, Adventure Time, etc. I'd be watching and giving my thoughts on them. This one is much less likely to happen due to time constraints, but who knows?


BluJay The Songbird / Music Reviews

I recently made a list of the music I've been listening to the most so far in 2018. Not only would I continue to update that list, but I'd share my thoughts in more detail through reviews, recommendations, or even links to my Spotify playlists.

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:iconjoyofcrimeart:
JoyofCrimeArt Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the llama! XD
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:iconblujayplayer:
BluJayPlayer Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018
Sure thing!
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:iconjoyofcrimeart:
JoyofCrimeArt Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
XD
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:iconnukid101:
Nukid101 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018
Happy birthday bro!
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:iconjoyofcrimeart:
JoyofCrimeArt Featured By Owner Edited Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday! XD
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:iconblujayplayer:
BluJayPlayer Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018
Thank you! :) (Smile) 
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:iconjoyofcrimeart:
JoyofCrimeArt Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome! 
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:iconscholarly-cimmerian:
Scholarly-Cimmerian Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018
Happy birthday, friend!
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:iconthe-doctor-w:
The-Doctor-W Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Happy Birthday! 
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:iconjpbelow:
jpbelow Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hope you have something special planned for it, and I hope it goes wonderfully for you!
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