Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Comic Book Movies

This is the trailer for the next comic book movie coming out soon. Wolverine is about one of the fan favorites of the Marvel universe, and is played by Hugh Jackman, formerly of the other X-Men movies.

Comic book movies make a ton of money. Most recently The Dark Knight raked in $533,345,358. A full list of how much comic book movies make can be found here. This is another case of the media perpetuating the adolesence in men. Why grow up when as an "adult" I can go watch a movie like Iron Man and still have fun? These are comic book heros and stories that I grew up on. If the story is still being told, then in a sense my youth hasn't ended yet.

Apart from being a great escape from reality, why do you think comic book movies appeal to young men so much? Your thoughts please.

Viral Marketing

Ok. I'm really excited about the new Terminator movie coming out. I really hope that it's at a reasonable rating so I don't have to freak out about it too much. Growing up I LOVED Terminator 2, and though Terminator 3 was kind of a flop, I still liked the concept of a Terminator.

This is totally a throw-back to everyone guy's youth. Check out the stinking sweet trailer.

Cool right? Now here's the other neat part of it. In anticipation of this movie, a few websites have popped up to advertise it. First site was Skynet Research (if you'll remember, that's the name of the computer system that goes completly out of control and takes over everything.) But not only that, now there's the "resistance" blog to the machine uprising as well.

I thought about it, but this kind of marketing and appealing to "geeky" but stinking coolness is a possible career choice. Someone is actually out there getting paid to come up with things like this. Someone is getting paid to appeal to the inner youth that still likes robots and explosions.

Some Advice

At the most recent 179th Semi Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Steve Snow of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke about “getting on with life.” I thought it was a fitting talk. The text of it isn’t out yet but the audio is available here.

Below are some of the points that he made in his talk. Basically these points are how to “get on with life.”

Schooling is a milestone of change and we are often scared to move from a previous status.

Follow the prophets—steady pragmatic advice. In a time of change, the prophets always know the way.

Keep an Eternal Prospective—Change is part of God’s plan.

Have faith—faith and doubt cannot exist at the same time.

Be of good cheer—God has not forsaken us.

Yes, it is practical advice and it’s good for dealing with stasis generally speaking. But how does this apply to each of us? That’s where it takes a lot of thought. Here are some of my thoughts on the advice given. I'm sure each of you will have a different perspective on it than mine.

Follow the prophets—The leaders of our church have always encouraged us to get as much education as possible. I want to keep going in school. I don’t think I could really be happy with just undergrad work.

Keep an eternal perspective—This is just a small part of my life. But at the same time, the choice I make now will have a huge impact on my life. No pressure.

Have faith—things will work out in the end. They always do. Whatever it is I choose to do (when I finally HAVE to make those choices) I’m sure I’ll be able to do it.

Be of good cheer—Yeah the economy sucks right now, but everything will work out in the end right? I hope so.

The Cure

If we're going to be talking about video games, we need to talk about Evercrack. Better known as Everquest, this game was the former face of video game addiction. Now it's cousin World of Warcraft is poster boy for video game addiction.

The thing that I liked about Final Fantasy and other video games is that that there is a definite beginning, middle, and end. Once you finish the game, you don't have to keep playing and playing and playing because there's nothing left to play.

The problem with the above mentioned two games is that there is no storyline. No storyline means no beginning, middle or end. None of those means endless playing. The creators created a universe and let the player run loose in it, meeting other gamers and creating small quests for them to do, but quests that have no real enriching experience. People get addicted to these adventures however.

I've always stayed away from Multiplayer games because of its addicting aspect and the lack of story. No story, no structure. No structure, no hope.

Well there is hope found at this link.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Old Argument

Let’s face it. There are a hundred different opinions on the video game war.
Some people think video games encourage violence in youth, and others say that there is no effect on children.

You know, to me that’s a debate for parents with children. I played video games growing up, and played some violent ones as well, and I turned out ok. I’m not about to go grab a machine gun and try and rob a bank. I’m not an addict with no concept of reality or social skills. I enjoy the occasional game, and I love just playing and getting out of reality for a while.

Experts think that one of the reasons why delayed adolescence is a growing trend is because of things like the media and videogames. I can see where they are coming from. Some of these games like the Final Fantasy series and the Metal Gear Solid series draw their audience in and make them part of a intricate storyline that rivals movies. So people like movies. Today’s generation of game is like a movie on steroids. It’s more intense, the characters are controllable, and it’s fully immersive.

When you’re inside a game you don’t have to be part of society. You’re part of something greater. You’re saving the world from certain destruction at the hands of crazy terrorists or something even worse.

Delayed adolescence combined with video games can lead to disastrous social retardation. It takes a bad problem and makes it worse. But in terms of helping a person fill a sense of accomplishment it may be a great end. Yes, it may not be as rewarding as one of “life’s milestones” but these are small problems that can be fixed.


Monday, April 6, 2009

The Fountain

I recently watched The Fountain (2006) and I’ve been absolutely obsessed with it. Some of the deeper running themes of the movie coincide with the theme of this blog so I’m going to do a short review on it.

Ok there are spoilers here. Read on at your own peril.

In each of the three parallel stories the main character is resistant to change, in fact in the other “present” and “future” storylines, it is more than just resistance but rather downright refusal to accept change. Tom, in the present, does not want his wife to die and ignores the breakthrough research in using the bark of the tree in favor of finding a cure for his wife’s cancer. When it is revealed that that bark can actually reverse the effects of her tumor, it is already too late. Tom still refuses to let go of his wife and even at the point of the funeral stating, “Death is a disease, it's like any other. And there's a cure. A cure - and I will find it.” This quote is significant because it’s indicative of his stasis. He won’t let go of his dead wife or accept her death and so works to find a cure for death—eternal life. It’s interesting to note that during this quest to end death, Tom never finishes the book (the past storyline) that his wife asked him to finish.

The future storyline represents the stasis in all of us brought to an extreme level. Tom has been floating through space with a tree (representative of his wife) for the past thousand years. They’re travelling to the nebula Xiabalba for her rebirth. But as the course of the story enfolds, the tree dies and he is forced to look back at the events of his life with her and how he never finished the book.

I want to say here that I feel that the book is a symbol of the things we know we should do but we don’t do. For Tom to finish the book, Tom would have to “grow up” and let go of his wife finally because he would have to accept that she’s gone and he has to move on without her. But because he’s comfortable with her, comfortable with her memory, and strangely comfortable with his own pain in her loss, he never wants to let go of her.

This is reflective of one of the larger themes in this blog. What is trapping us from moving on? I think each of us that are part of this trend of delayed adolescence are being held back by some kind of “book” we won’t finish writing. Walking around today on campus, I realized I’m too comfortable here. I don’t want to graduate yet because I’m a little wary of the outside world and its terrible economy.

Your thoughts? Discuss here.


I attended the National Undergraduate Literature Conference this past weekend. It was an interesting experience, and I'm glad I could see where we as a school measure up with everyone else in the nation.

One thing that stood out to me though was in one of the lit criticisms the presenter commented on stagnation and stasis. Stagnation and stasis? That sounded familiar. I remembered then that some of the Victorian writers like Tennyson wrote largely on the topic. TS Eliot in "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock" discusses paralysis in great length. This theme is as much a part of our society today as it was in their time.

We live in a society that is constantly on the edge of some new kind of change. Whether it's moral decline or a new president, or a falling economy, something is about to change our society. One of the responses to this change I think is to do nothing. Enter the 20 something year old young man refusing to grow up. But if authors of the past have written about this kind of paralysis and stasis before, should we look at their literature for an answer to our problems now?

Can "J Alfred Prufrock" be an effective commentary/solution to our present stasis? Your thoughts.