Tag Archives: YouTube

Sex, Beer Pong, and Xenomorphs: Monday Musings on How Fincher’s Failure is Superior to Scott’s (Recent Commercial) Success

Have you ever noticed how beer pong and xenomorphs have a lot in common?

I was at a friend’s party yesterday and was for the first time in my life one of the more experienced beer pong players in the room. This is not to imply that I am good, but simply that I have played more often than some of my other friends in attendance last night. While explaining the rules to one of our rookie pals, the host explained how when the ball rolls around the rim of a cup she, as a woman, can blow into the cup to attempt to remove it, while he, as a man, must finger it out with a flick. I elaborated this with a comparison that he, being a fellow movie buff – and one of the few I have met who is more experienced in that than myself – would understand. I explained that beer pong, like the Alien franchise, is rife with sexual themes, and that the blowing and fingering are drinking game counterparts to oral sex and digital penetration. It may not be as subtle or artistic in beer pong as it is in Alien, but sex is symbolized in both.

But I didn’t come here to talk about beer pong. I mean, sure I could regale you with the tale of how I won a round of four-on-four civil war when I was the lone man against three others, yet that is probably not what you want to read about. Unless maybe… no? Okay, I’ll move on to the main event for today. Yes, instead of a focus on the finer points of beer pong from me, I offer to you an excellent video essay on the Alien movies from someone else. In particular, the video I have included is the latest in a series from the YouTube channel The Long Take where main man Rafael breaks down Alien 3 (I’m not doing the “cubed” notation thing). Previously, he analyzed the first two films in the series, but this recently released review is unique in that it covers the film that marked the point where the franchise started to falter.

Generally speaking, Alien 3 is not a good movie. It is instead the epitome of a film ruined by studio interference, as well as a testament to the skill of David Fincher, who became so frustrated with Fox Pictures that he practically begged for his name to be removed from the director credit of the first film he was hired to direct! As we know now, things turned out okay for Fincher (can’t wait for that Mindhunter season two!), and while financially xenomorphs still bring home some bacon, the quality of each film that followed Fincher’s (or rather what became of the film he tried to make) has deteriorated. Even with Ridley Scott at the helm of the franchise he masterfully started and made his cinematic name with, the latest round of Alien movies have been pretty sub-par, if not God awful. However, God and awful are major themes that are worth looking at in the movie that we got with Fincher’s first directing effort. Simultaneously, we get to see the promising rise of a (then) young director as the film traces the tragic fall of its protagonist and philosophy. Unfortunately, it resulted in the disappointing fall from grace of an astoundingly promising franchise that had hit so well with its first two efforts as so few have. Nevertheless, there is much done right with Alien 3 and you can learn about it here:

 

Thanks for reading and watching! I highly recommend The Long Take’s takes on Alien and Aliens too if you’re interested. I also recommend returning here next week for more out of this world fun (it’ll be about anticipation for Star Wars). As always, send me any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

11 days to go,

Alex

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The Magical Mystery Tour is Waiting to Take You Away

Last week I discussed how J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was what stirred my interest in reading books and the impact it continued to have on me as I grew alongside the characters. I also mentioned how Harry and his time at Hogwarts was my first foray into fantasy literature, but it has not been my last. The natural next step was turn to the OG of modern fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien, and I did when I read The Hobbit for my freshman English class in high school. I loved it and vowed to someday read its larger and more famous continuation The Lord of the Rings, and I accomplished this near the end of my college career. I loved it so much that it instantly became my favorite book and I ran out and bought the movie trilogy on blu-ray. I even went so far as to develop my own version that takes place in the real world and features my school friends and I striving to save our university from an evil politician who wants to turn it into an open-air shopping complex with a large CVWal-Rite drugstore in the middle of campus. I meticulously matched my friends, associates, and enemies to the assembly of characters in the book and began writing in the three volume style Tolkien utilized. Taking my favorite parts of the book and movies, I formed an enormous outline and wrote many major sections of it. I have not written any more of it for some time now, but I finished a little over half of it, which while certainly condensed from the original text and screenplays, is about 150 pages worth.

The short version is that I really like The Lord of the Rings. But I’m not here to talk about Middle Earth today as that was the second volume of my trifecta of fantasy which has followed a nice mature progression. Where Harry Potter was my initial step into fantasy and covered teenage life better than anything else I know, Tolkien’s works, especially The Lord of the Rings introduced me to a larger world that was heavily influenced by his own love of language and experiences in war. Rowling’s world was my elementary fantasy education, and Tolkien my high school and college, which helped prepare me for my graduate level fantasy that combines the young growth of Potter with the brutal conflict of Tolkien and amplifies them to a degree that makes you shout aloud, “no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOOOOOO!” as you read along in horror that this character will join the countless others who died before him or her in grisly fashion. I am referring to, of course, the wacky world of Westeros and Essos created by George R.R. Martin as the setting for his masterful Song of Ice and Fire book series.

Thus far there have been five books published in the long (looooooooooooong) running series with two more on the way. Filled with intrigue, political and literal backstabbing, and so, so much death, they are some of the best books I’ve ever read.

There are other books pertaining to the lore of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond written by Martin, as well as many more pieces of Ice an Fire related merchandise, however those all pale in comparison to the massively popular television series Game of Thrones that brings the stories to vibrant life with top notch set and costume design and cinematic effects, not to mention some terrific acting and choreography. Oh, and there is also some really good directing, and of course writing, including an episode a season from G-Mart himself. The show has been going on for six seasons now and recently dropped the extended trailer for the upcoming Season 7 due out later this month on July 16.

This is exciting for any Ice and Fire fan as the show has firmly caught up and gone past the reach of the most recent book, A Dance with Dragons. We got a lot of totally new things last season, but we are in completely uncharted territory now, and given the slow-working pace of Martin’s book writing we can safely expect the TV series to wrap up before the release of the next book, The Winds of Winter. George, if you want to Rick and Morty us and just drop The Winds of Winter into bookstores on the eve of Season 7, I would not be hurt; quite the opposite, actually.

I did not start into Martin’s fantastical take on the War of the Roses until well after its show’s popularity soared like Balerion the Black Dread. About three years ago, I was hanging out with a couple of friends from work who lived together. Their combined surprise that I had never turned a page or watched a scene of Martin’s masterwork led to one lending me the first book, A Game of Thrones, and the other lending me Season 1 of the show. I read the book first and then watched Season 1 and then begged for more. My book friend lent me the second story, A Clash of Kings, and I tore through it like the Mountain through a horse that has displeased him. Another friend provided me with Season 2, and I went online and ordered my own set of books and started into book three, A Storm of Swords, my favorite of the books so far. I kept up this trend of reading at least a book ahead of each season until I was in the same spot as my friend who first got me charging into this tale like a Dothraki bloodrider. We watched the whole of Season 6 together with only minimal insight into what may happen based on what from the books had not been yet touched upon in the show.

There is still some speculation as to what may be in store for those still living, especially in regard to those who are not, and one of the best outlets for any Ice and Fire intel is Alt Shift X’s YouTube channel that breaks down theories as wild as the Free Folk north of the Wall, some of which are quite intriguing and may be on to something. He and his team of Thrones experts look at the books and show (and now trailers) to discern what’s happening in Westeros and what may happen next, and a few of the theories they have delved into have been confirmed by occurrences in last season. Additionally, last season was extensively covered as it was almost entirely new material in the narrative, and Alt Shift X broke down each episode. Don’t be scared away by the length of the videos (all are about 10-20 mins) as each do a excellent job of laying out all the necessary information and leave you wanting more. If you’re an Ice and Fire fan, I invite you to check this channel out. Even if you’re not all caught up or are just starting into this fantastical fiction each video’s title lists which books and seasons it’s subject touches upon so you can avoid ruining what’s to come, for as is oft said, the Internet is dark and full of spoilers.

I’m pretty darned stoked for the new season of Game of Thrones, and I know I’m not the only one. This show and the book series it draws inspiration from have become incredibly big on a global scale with millions of watchers on the couch biting their nails in nervous anticipation of who might will die next. With completely new territory to explore, it doesn’t get much better than this. We are truly lucky to have Season 7 coming our way in just a couple of weeks. The only way I could be more excited for a show is if… oh holy shit. Wubba Lubba What WHAT!?!

I’m not going to move anything but my eyeballs on Sunday nights this summer.

Thanks for reading! Please send any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com. Sail on back here next week for more fantasy and adventure, or whatever else I feel like writing about; I don’t know what I’m going to be feeling over the next week.

Bonkers,

Alex

Thug Lit

I didn’t choose the Thug Notes; the Thug Notes chose me. Okay, I clicked on the sidebar of recommended videos on YouTube, but that didn’t sound as gangster.

Today, I’ll be writing an appreciation of one of my favorite sources of internet entertainment that also teaches me a thing or two. What started as a preferred procrastination venue quickly turned into a notify-me-every-time-they-upload-a-new-video scenario. I’m talking about the YouTube channel, Wisecrack, and my admiration for two of their brilliant segments. Previously, I have discussed and included some videos from what served as my introduction to the site, the series called Earthling Cinema. Hosted by the thickly-eyebrowed Garyx Wormuloid, Earthling Cinema frequently delves into the “Hidden Meaning” of films by studying the influences of the film and filmmakers, the source material (if there is any), and the philosophical questions pondered by the film as a whole, all the while making humorous quips that riff the film and pop culture. Earthling Cinema is unique in that it views the films it analyzes from the perspective of an intelligent alien race in the far off future who routinely dig up “artifacts” of long-gone Earth civilization in the form of movies of all sorts.

Earthling Cinema continues to churn out some great videos that you can find here.

Garyx and the gang in a galaxy far, far away were the ones who first turned my attention in the direction of Wisecrack, however, a large part of my frequent revisitation is the mad knowledge dropped on all those books we had assigned in high school by the series, Thug Notes, a street smart look at the themes and ideas behind some of the most well-known titles you probably watched the wrong movie version of instead of reading. Whether or not you did read and understand novels and stories like 1984 or Hamlet is not a problem, because the one and only Sparky Sweets, Ph.D. is going to tell it like it is in terms a rags-to-riches rapper would normally use in conversation. Thug Notes is the Cliff Notes we deserve, with detailed summary and analysis in every episode. Starting with a gangsta take on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in 2013, Thug Notes has snowballed into a force of educated internet critique appropriately sporting the motto, “Classic Literature. Original Gangster.”

Now I don’t consider myself to be an incredibly well-read balla, but thanks to my high school reading list, and occasionally my own interest, I have read my fair share of the stories Sparky has thus far laid down the word for, such as:

As well as:

Julius Caesar

Dune

The Grapes of Wrath

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Oedipus the King – the Valentine’s Day episode

Dante’s Inferno

The Crucible

Macbeth

Heart of Darkness

Frankenstein

The Scarlet Letter

The Odyssey

Animal Farm

Beowulf

Fahrenheit 451

Of Mice and Men

The Hobbit

Hamlet

The Catcher in the Rye

Lord of the Flies

There is also an interesting influence from a tale in the The Brothers Karamazov in the film The Dark Knight that Sparky explains as only he can.

You can find the complete playlist of all Thug Notes videos here.

Thanks for reading and watching! I hope you enjoy Thug Notes‘ take on these classic stories as much as I do. Be sure to check out the rest for yourself, and while you’re at it, explore the rest of Wisecrack’s channel especially Earthling Cinema. Anyone interested in philosophy should peruse their 8-Bit Philosophy and The Philosophy of series. My interest in their work started with their critique of cinema, but clearly they have much more to offer! As always, send comments, questions, and requests to monotrememadness@gmail.com or simply drop them down below. Roll on back here next week for some mo’ happening humor and knowledge, or at least a paltry attempt at it.

Peace!

Alex