Category Archives: Social

The Gender Swapping Thing…

Now let me get this out of the way from the start: I love women. I really do. Most of them smell nice; and a lot of them look pretty good too. Women are, generally speaking, nicer people to be around than men are. It’s just a fact. Sure, there are some women out there who are bitches; but there are just as many men out there who are bastards. So let’s not get caught up in that whole discussion.

That being said… I’m fed up with Hollywood feeling that it’s necessary to remake or reimagine old ideas and franchises that starred men, just because there’s a widespread belief that it’s necessary to do the same thing with women.

No. It isn’t.

Equality is a good thing – of course it is; it’s silly to argue otherwise – and women should absolutely have the same opportunities that men have, but that’s a separate discussion for a different day. This is about the fascination Hollywood has had over the last few years of taking properties that used men in the leading roles, and simply sticking women in there… without any story-related reason to do so. It seems as though that is what constitutes a good idea these days.

I am on record as being generally ambivalent to remakes in the first place, and I believe they are often just a cash grab to trade off the back of the original iteration, but I especially don’t enjoy those in which the only thought of the production team is: let’s do this exact same story, but with women this time. How is that any good?

Spoiler: it’s not.

This rant comes as The Hustle is released – a con-artist comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson; two actresses I have enjoyed in other movies, so I have no axe to grind with them. The thing is, The Hustle is a remake of the Michael Caine and Steve Martin con-artist comedy from 1988 called Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which, although far from the most celebrated entry in either of their ouevres, is considered to be a good movie. And I happen to like it quite a bit.

I have not seen The Hustle and I don’t intend to do so any time soon either, so feel free to consider this as an entirely biased breakdown. And yes, for all you clever clogs out there, I am aware that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is itself a revision of the sixties movie Bedtime Story, but as I have previously accepted, there are always exceptions.

The one saving grace is that The Hustle is currently being fed to the wolves by the critics so I suppose I’m happy about that, because if these films continue to be lambasted then perhaps the public will begin to lose interest and there will be a time in the not too distant future when we don’t have to put up with these thoughtless travesties.

Earlier this year What Men Want was released; last year we had a role reversal in Overboard; and a couple of years before that there was the much maligned Ghostbusters (a movie that was always fighting an uphill battle). I’ve heard rumblings of a Splash remake too (yes, with a merman), and even an all female version of Lord of the Flies.

Seriously? It’s just too much.

If you give me a worthy movie I promise I’ll go with it every time, but I don’t see any of these standing the test of time.

And before you ask – no, I don’t want to see a Pretty Man, in which Zac Efron plays a low-rent streetwalker purchased by rich business woman Sandra Bullock for a few days of conversation; or a sitcom about four geriatric men talking about life over cheesecake called The Golden Boys.

Advertisements

Console Memories: Sega Mega CD…

The Mega CD was, strictly speaking, not a console at all. It was a fairly cumbersome attachment for the Mega Drive that was released in Britain in 1993. It was notable however, not only because it was larger than the bloody console it was an addition to, but also because it was the first mainstream video game system to boast CD storage, and therefore… offer deeper and more graphically intense games than ever before. Well, that was the theory anyway.

maxresdefaultMy Sega love was intense and unshakeable at this time, but the Mega CD was the turning point for me. Games like old-fashioned arcade-shooter Sol-Feace didn’t dazzle me the way those on my prevous consoles had. Perhaps, at seventeen years old, I had already become jaded with video games. They were yesterday’s news for me and I had started to think about girls and wonder why they only looked at me when they wanted something from a high shelf in the supermarket.

Cobra_Command_256pxDon’t misunderstand me: I enjoyed my time with the Mega CD, but I only owned a few games for the machine. Cobra Command was one of those games. I actuallly think it came bundled in with the system, because it’s not the kind of thing I would have bought. It’s an on-rails shooter in which you pilot a helicopter, so you really just have to point and press the button before the bad guys get you. At the time it was one of the best looking things out there. It looked fantastic, and I had a lot of fun with it.

case_front-640x504The most controversial game in the life cycle of the Mega CD was Night Trap. It utilised full motion video (albeit grainy and sometimes indistinct) at a time when that fad was beginning to take over. I had the game, and the outcry was (typically) overblown and unjustified, but the notoriety probably helped to sell about half of the peripherals that were bought. The most frightening thing about it was the fact that Dana Plato of Diff’rent Strokes fame was the protagonist.

I also remember having Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective and Sewer Shark. Both of those were also FMV-heavy games. It seemed like every second title back then was jumping on that particular bandwagon. It’s a form of entertainment that has largely disappeared, but for those couple of years at the start of the nineties, it was all the rage. It wasn’t my thing though, and I couldn’t get into it.

For that reason… the Mega CD was the last Sega system I ever purchased.

I Can’t Weight…

The Girlfriend© and I have finally found a holiday destination for later this year. In September, as suggested in a previous post, we are heading for Croatia. It’s booked, so that gives me five months to lose some weight.

Impending holidays are often the motivation some people need to shed a few pounds, and I’m going to use the same (fairly) arbitrary tactic to lose a few of my own. Whatever makes it happen, eh?

They say that happiness can expand the waistline, so I guess with every pro there’s a con… but they also say that depression can do the same. Of course, this all makes it seem that the people who say these things are just covering their bases. Suffice to say, I’ll throw myself into the former camp, and blame The Girlfriend© for making me happy.

But seriously… I’m tired of my shirts being a little too tight, and I don’t enjoy not knowing if my jeans are going to fit me before I take them off the hanger. I’m tired of making excuses.

Most of us could stand to drop down a dress size or two, and this is my pledge to do just that.

So… five months, five stone? Probably not, but there’s no point aiming for the fence when you know you want to knock the ball clean out of the stadium.

Console Memories: Sega Mega Drive…

81ekbocoxal984513762.jpg

After the many hours of enjoyment I had squeezed from the Master System as a console virgin, I upgraded to Sega’s follow-up machine, the Mega Drive, in 1991. The Mega Drive was more powerful than its predecessor, and looked a whole lot better under the living room television as well.

It was the 16-bit era, at the height of the console wars being fought between Sega and Nintendo, and I was ready for something that would blow me away. I had started getting into monthly video game magazines at this time as well, and everything I read told me the Mega Drive was going to revolutionise the world. Granted, I was buying official Sega magazines, but you know…

Phantasy_Star_IIBy this time I was earning my own money delivering papers before and after school, so being able to buy games without having to rely on my parents was a major bonus. I bought Phantasy Star II in 1992 for the hefty sum of £54.99 – expensive even by today’s money – but with inflation that amazingly comes in at just under £112. I can safely say that is the most expensive game I have ever purchased.

mega-drive-sonic-the-hedgehog-11186849813.jpg

Sonic the Hedgehog was a massive hit for the system, and was the thrust of the machine’s early advertising campaign as it attempted to compete with Nintendo. I played that game to death, and all these years later the soundtrack is still bouncing around in my head.

landstalker+-+the+treasures+of+king+nole+(europe)-image729740632..jpg

My only memory of my dad playing a video game with me is Landstalker – an isometric role-playing game. I have a photo of us together, huddled in front of the TV, along with a vague recollection of moving boxes in the game, but I can’t remember any more than that. Perhaps there is a deep-seated psychological or paternal bonding reason for my fondness for the system that goes beyond just the enjoyment I found with the games themselves.

89304-shining-in-the-darkness-genesis-front-cover28073906.jpg

But without question, my favourite game from this era was Shining in the Darkness – a role-playing dungeon-crawler that stole a lot of my teenage time. It was crudely drawn, poorly animated, and it didn’t have a great story, but I loved it just the same. It was probably the title that got me interested in that video game genre, because I played a lot of similar games in subsequent years.

Other favourites of that era include the Michael Jackson endorsed platformer, Moonwalker; strategy game, Mega-Lo-Mania; and Sword of Vermilion, another role-playing game, that – like Phantasy Star II – also came with a massive one hundred page-plus hint book.

This wasn’t my final Sega console, but it was the one I enjoyed the most, and probably the one I had the longest.

Still Just a Young Thing…

According to the notification I got from WordPress this morning, today is my seventh anniversary of using the service. I didn’t realise it had been so long. Before I started on here I ran a blog with Blogger for several years – a service which is still going today, but one that I felt I had outgrown. Looking back, I guess I don’t do anything here that I wasn’t doing over there, but the functionality of WordPress suits my needs a little better.

In seven years I have made 356 posts, which is an average of about one a week. I have had over 19,000 views, which is made up of 6,500 different visitors. And I have (at the time of writing this) 134 followers. Now, how many of those actually check this place out when I post something is unknown, but it’s nice to have an audience of any size.

The numbers are not a lot by any measure, except perhaps the measure of someone who hasn’t been paying too much attention to that kind of thing. The narcissist in me would like more traffic on these pages, but at the same time I understand that only happens if I post things that others are interested in reading. That part is on me.

Anyway, happy seventh birthday to me. Here’s to making this next year a great one.

What’s So Good About Friday?…

Today is Good Friday, although I’m not really sure why it’s called that. Are Christians actually marking the day that Jesus was murdered? This is the guy who their entire marketing and advertising campaign revolves around. He’s the one who brings people in. Without him, there is no Christianity. They should be a little more respectful and mourning his passing as a god in their field.

Oh, wait…

But not only do they mark the day every year; it’s treated as a celebration. It’s Good Friday. It’s right there in the name. It’s not called Memorial Friday or Remembrance Friday, which would make sense, because if the day is being noted to remember Jesus, and to denounce his premature death (which it surely is), shouldn’t it be a sombre affair?

I know religion can be confusing, but I am missing the logic. Is it supposed to be ironic – as in, we know it’s actually a really shit Friday, but that doesn’t look good on a calendar? I doubt it: the church is not known for its self-deprecating sense of humour.

If you follow the script, Jesus was going about his business when he was captured by the Romans and summarily executed. Sounds like a pretty rubbish day to me. And whilst nailing me to a cross and watching me bleed out may be some people’s idea of a good time, I would like to think that most of those who care about me (yes, there are a few) would be saddened by the grisly nature of my denouement.

The same should be the case for Jesus, whose only real crime was his David Blaine style trick of turning water into wine without considering the social implications of any minors in the crowd drinking the alcohol that he had provided. Next thing Jesus knows, he’s been nabbed by one of Pilate’s guys and there’s a halo of thorns on his head. Now, if he had spent time mastering a good escape trick, rather than messing around with the loaves and the fishes, perhaps he would have been all right.

The kids are off school on Good Friday, and it’s a weekend of chocolate eggs and cute little bunnies for them, so they probably think it’s quite a good day, but I doubt that the Christian Church was thinking of that when the day was given holiday status.

Likewise, I’m sure supermarket managers and corner store owners love it too, because as they have correctly pointed out; Jesus not only died for our sins, but also so that we could spend far too much money on sweet treats.

All right, rant over. Now get back to that terrible Easter weekend television.