IHAO on ... Twitch streaming and Super Mario Maker

I cannot in my life think of a game I have wanted more than Super Mario Maker.  There are games I have wanted a lot.  There are games I have paid a lot of money for.  Tabletop RPG games that I need for my collection.  Old school games for the systems I have that I love and refuse to get rid of.  Rare and hard to find board games.  But with all of those games, Super Mario Maker is the only game that has had me obsessing about owning it.  Marveling at the menu system in videos I am watching.  Yes, the menu system!  Have you seen it?  It is glorious.  Part youtube, part tumblr, part reddit, part Netflix.  It is absolutely perfect.  And it is a stupid menu.  With the best music!

I have found so many creators and youtubers and twitch-streamers that are putting out content just for me.  For idiots like me who are drooling over the ability to make your own levels, to play level others have made, homages to old games of the past, new crazy stupid levels like Panga's Pit.  Watch that video if you want to see the most dangerous and ridiculous level of Mario ever made.

I cannot wait to have this game.  Really, I can't.  I'm becoming increasingly annoying about it with my wife, which is really stupid of me, considering all the other things we have to buy and get ready for a big move to our first home in just over a month.  But I cannot help it.  Every single element of this game was made perfectly and specifically for me, and millions of other people are playing MY GAME before I get the chance.  I am scouring the internet to absorb as much as I can on youtube and twitch.  GameXplains, GhostRobo Jr, so many other guys that aren't good enough to mention by name, they all have me chomping at the "chain" as it were to own this game.

The joy I am getting from Super Mario Maker, just as a viewer and a dreamer, is out-shined by my love of Ptken.  Who is Ptken?  He is utter magic, and you need to watch him.  You need to sit in your living room with this man from across the globe and enjoy his tirades and laugh and wonderfully off-key and ridiculous greetings.  "HUH-llo!"  Honestly, of all the guys that I have watched since needing to cram my head full of this game I just do not have the money to own, Ptken is the absolute best.

I have watched him spend 40 lives on one lives on one level, and loved every second.  Yes, the level is crazy, but even better is Ptken's amazing commentary.  "I can do it-uh!" *dies* "...maybe."  I do not speak a lick of Mandarin, but I am promised that "[I] can speak English here."  And Ptken knows just enough curse words and phrases to make watching amazing.  As I watched, more and more people started to follow him, and he always answered with a wonderful "Sank you follow!" to every single one.  Watching him finally overcome that amazing level was glorious.  I didn't need to understand a lick of his language, and together we all enjoyed life and watched him succeed so he could finally stuff his face with food, as he was apparently starving himself until he beat that level.

Next is a level with a school theme, and a section has him listening to a made-in-game song.  He shushes everyone around, and we all listen to this awful song that a wandering goomba plays.  And once it finishes, there is a moment of silence, before a, "HUH?!?"  And then he dies.  And we have to do it again.  It is so amazingly enjoyable.  The level is utter insanity, and not because it is made by some Japanese fella and he is from Taiwan.  It is just insane, and all Ptken can say is what I say, "HUH?!"

A later level has everyone pissed and confused for Ptken that are watching as he is beset by troll-ish trap after troll-ish trap.  A helpful English speaker points that out to Ptken, who takes a moment and responds, in English, "I know ... but ... I finish it anyway."  And he finds a way to succeed through one stupid trap, only to be stuck with another one.  But he doesn't give up.  Just a string of "this is $#!+" and he continues.  And he does it.  And it is glorious.  I know it isn't anything any other streamer hasn't done, but something about Ptken makes it magical.  I feel his pain.  His genuine pain and genuine outrage.  But then he succeeds, with a resounding "Fah Que!"

The amazing commentary continues in later levels.  Throwing a shell into a chain chomp with a "hay-shotted!" had me cheering and laughing!  His "fah queues" and "sank you, Follows" and "lemme try" and "here we go" and "okay, dis wah E-Z" and singing and mroe "fah queues" ... He isn't an amazing player by any means ... ok I lied, he is.  That level I linked to above?  He's one of the like ... people who has beaten it.  Yeah.  He spends his time and beats his levels and enjoys the game.  He is an amazing streamer.  And man.  If I had to wager a guess.

Hours I am spending watching him play.  It is the absolutely best.  Great moments of joy.  Great pits of despair.  "Woo-hoo"-ing along with an Ashley skinned Mario in one level.  Squatting and dicking around to the music as he waits for stupid bloopers to go away.  Plenty of "Whuh duh HAIL?!"s and "Sank you, Follow!"s.  Everyone in the chat, cheering him on and spamming "EZ!" when he beats a level, no matter how long it takes.  We have to demoralize the level as a sacrifice to Ptken!  And to a game that I cry at night because I do not own.




Well golly, everyone.  It has been a bit.

I never wanted to abandon IHAO.  I love the name, I have put a lot of effort into the blog, and I love what I've done.  But for awhile, it became a huge chore to find things I wanted to talk about.  Reviews are good.  Requests are good.  But I wanted to do more.  And every time I tried something new, I was thrilled.  I love doing the Q&As, especially the really good, thinky questions.  I love sharing things and talking about them, like Sentai and the playlists.  I love writing new ideas and thinking critically, like with some of the wrestling articles and the new ending to Alien I wrote.  And I want to do that more.

So here's the deal.  I Have an Opinion is going to evolve.  I will be writing as I am inspired.  And what inspires me?  Sometimes it'll be a review for a movie I've watched.  Sometimes it'll be a playlist that I came upon for fun.  But mostly, I want to turn to everyone that reads this.  I love answering your questions and thinking deeply.  So I want to do that more.

So here's the deal.  Leave comments.  Here, on facebook, wherever you can.  And I will whenever I see one I want to write about, answer the question.  What kinds of questions?  Things you want to know my opinions on.  Entertainment of all kinds.  And I'm happy to move into the next level of doing I Have an Opinion.  If things go well, who knows.  Patreon, a podcast, there are a lot of options for the future.  I know for a fact that I will be doing NaNoWriMo, and probably sharing that here.  So that'll be cool.

So yeah... see you in the future.



Where has IHAO been?

Well goodness, hello everyone.  It has been quite awhile since ... Goodness, the end of January.  I had so many big things planned, like a Mordecai review, a love song playlist, Wrestlemania review, getting a Patreon started, Oscar reactions, and a bunch of other things.  So where have I been?  Lemme tell ya ...

Dee-di-loo, dee-di-loo, dee-di-loo ...

Imagine if you will a small town in Georgia.  Ok, it isn't that small, as the Atlanta Olympics so many years ago brought in a huge amount of traffic and tourism, which is silly that there is still such a large amount of that.  We are basically a suburb of Atlanta, though with a 45 minute travel time to the big city, so I suppose we ... aren't.  Anyway.

In my little not-so-little town, there is a local theatre.  A community theatre.  One in which I am pretty active.  I've acted in a handful of shows, about one a season, and for the past three years I've also directed a show each year.  On top of that, we have an in-house comedy improv group that performed almost-monthly and rehearses weekly.  I also teach an improv comedy class for youths, which is cool, and something I've been looking into expanding.  Anyway, I did all of that pretty normally without much disruption to IHAO.  Really, I had gotten into a pretty good groove.  A friend and I reconnected and started doing weekly films, which only helped the site and our friendship, which is cool (friendship isn't an easy thing for me, for whatever reason ... I'll talk about that some time, too, since I'm blogging for whatever stupid reason right now).  I'm also a house-husband, which is the best thing about my life, really, since my wife is so flippin' successful in her field (she's a clinical therapist).  I'm not a great house-husband, but I like to clean for the most part and I like to cook a whole heap, so it works pretty well.  Normally.

All in all, busy, but not overly so.  Though it got cranked up starting in January.  First came 12 Angry Men.  I suspect you know the story: a group of twelve jurors have to decide the guilt or innocence of a young boy convicted of murdering his father.  I played Juror #7, the guy who just wants out.  It was a nice experience, with a good group of actors.  And I was able to really do something with my character, really think about what was driving him, really push myself and the audience.  It is not a thing I normally get to do as an actor, being a fat guy that tends towards self-deprecation and humor as a defense mechanism.  It was a real good experience, and by itself would not have been much more difficult than what I was already doing.

At the same time, and before, and after, I was directing American Buffalo, the next show in that space at the theatre.  It is an amazing show, and we are currently halfway through the run, which is why I can finally breathe again.  The show has had some barriers and difficulties, like losing time because of losing an actor, and having to rehearse basically every night of the week every week until we opened last Thursday.  But golly, is it a great show.  Of the three shows I've directed, two of them have been able to capture my vision, which is awesome, and puts me above the curve.

Between 6 hours rehearsals, running around doing prep before hand, set building, costume finding, publicity concerns, and a million other things, we also had our improv group.  My favorite misconception of improv means that there is no prep.  That's just crazy.  Improv is not the same as a play, certainly.  Improv is much more like a sport, as my roommates and I have been postulating, which requires practice, running through techniques that make the show better, and improving those improv-ing muscles.  Of course, it couldn't just be that though, as we had some shake-ups at the theatre of the local power structure.  Resign-ings, promotions, quitiing, money-issues, publicity problems, all sorts of things.

I also should point out that all this work is unpaid.  That doesn't make a difference mind you, but it does take its toll.  When I'm rehearsing, I'm not cooking, which means we are spending money eating out.  Also, because of time crunches, we are eating worse because we have to eat fast.  Add to this above cocktail of scheduling, stress, and hardwork: depression, ADHD, insomnia, and the small amount of free-time activites I try to have in roleplaying games and board gaming, loneliness, food poisoning, sinuses from the changing seasons ... Well, I spiraled.

In this metaphorical gif, I get to be Emma Stone.  So ... you know ... that's a plus.

It has been a long almost three months, is what I'm saying.

What does all this mean for IHAO, which was finally starting to get on a roll?  I don't know.  But I felt like I really needed to share SOMETHING.  I'm the kind of guy who needs to talk out his feelings to stop ... feeling them.  Well, stop holding on to them.  And that's what I'm doing.

Once things start to get more constant, IHAO will as well, I'm sure.  And I have some other cool stuff lined up soon, plus all the neato summer movies coming.  So, see you folks soon.  More than likely.



IHAO on ... Galavant season 1

ABC has been doing a pretty cool thing.  You see, television is changing as a medium to broadcast entertainment.  With Netflix and the increase in DVD sales, but mostly Netflix, television channels need to produce content not only more often, but more efficiently to keep the audience tuning in.  But there has been no way to improve the actual amount of time it takes to make an episode of a television show: roughly 7 days for a complicated 30 minute show and 9 or 10 days for an hour-long show.  Yeah, look at those numbers.  Simple math let's you know that they have to start airing things before they are done filming an entire season.  On top of that, human decency means that there are times when those actors, grips, props guys, producers and the like all get time off, like Christmas.  Add in scheduling conflicts and random accidents, making a television show becomes a much larger endeavor.

So, like I said, ABC has been doing a pretty cool thing.  They have been creating short-run shows, with smaller episode orders, to fill in the gaps of broadcasting when their regular shows have to take the breaks in broadcasting that are inevitable.  Agent Carter is the post-WW2 super-spy Marvel show that filled the gap of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  But considering I just cannot get into Agents of SHIELD, I also didn't really give Agent Carter much of a thought.  But I have heard good things.  Wait, I'm getting off track.

So, as I've said a few times before, ABC has been doing that pretty cool thing.  And even cooler, their big show Once Upon a Time had to take a break, so they brought together a super talented group of people to make a short 8-episode musical comedy miniseries show, Galavant!  Hit the music!

See what I did there?

Galavant is a musical, made by everyone involved that made Disney's Tangled, except it is a tongue-in-cheek live action comedy.  It is ... pretty good.  Good enough that I wanted to talk about it with all of you folks.  The characters are all interesting, the performances are all fun, the sets are amazing, the costuming mostly great, and the story is classic.  It is one of my favorite things to talk about, actually, when it comes to how "silliness" affects narrative.  There are a few ways to do it.  There's to have a silly premise and then treat everything as seriously as you can, despite the silly, which I have really loved in One Piece.  Then there's having a serious premise, which then some silly things can happen but you stay true to your goals, which is how I like to run roleplaying games.  Then there's Galavant, which takes the piss right on the whole binary concept I just made up and goes straight down the middle.  The characters are all thought out and serious, except thy are ridiculous and silly.  The plot is a great fantasy plot, except some of the details are just ridiculous.  The musical nature of the show leads to comedic songs all the way through and meta-jokes, like asking when someone learned how to dance after a number, but then there's other moments of just straight drama.

Galavant is not going to be for everyone, mostly because it doesn't do one things straight through.  It enjoys every element it can have.  Serious songs, silly songs, important character beats, ridiculous ones, they are all mixed in.  And with that mixed bag, I would absolutely call Galavant a mixed bag.  I enjoyed quite a bit of it, and then I found myself going "meh" for bits of it.  Especially some of the songs, as they tend to always shoot for joke songs, and I really would like there to be a non-joke song every once in awhile so that I could just hear these good actors sing.

So why should you be excited for it?  Because it is a cool new way of thinking about television!  It is higher quality programming with a smaller episode order that is used as a win-win between bigger shows, but in fact is way better than the bigger show that surrounds it.  Once Upon a Time looks fake and CGI-y all the time, and the acting is so ponderous and heavy that it gets bogged down.  Galavant is able to do most of the same tropes, with better sets and costumes AND actors, with an amazing team, but it is a quarter of the length, so you can enjoy it and be done with it.  On top of that, the season finale absolutely shows that ABC is planning to give its audience even more, which is only a good thing in my book.

I would say give it a shot.  At 30 minutes and episode, and only 8 episodes, even if you don't care for a small part of it, it'll be over quickly, and you can move on to great other things.  Me, I'm excited.  Rutger Hauer, Vinnie Jones, that guy from Frankenstein's Army, two hot chicks, Magnitude, and the only good thing from Psych, all working together to make something with the guys who made Tangled, the last Disney musical.



IHAO on ... The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

I have not been watching enough movies recently.  Part of that is because I'm acting in a play for the first time in a few years.  Part of it is because I'm also directing a play.  Part of it is because of watching animes like Fate/Zero and One Piece.  Part of it is depression and insomnia, the cocktail I'll never be rid of.  But MOSTLY it is because I've been playing The Binding of Isaac.


The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is an updated version of the original Binding of Isaac.  It is a Rogue-like birds-eye dungeon crawling adventure game.  Or ... let me try it like this.  It is like those SNES and Gameboy Legend of Zelda games, if it was just dungeons, and the dungeons were randomly created every time you played, with 100x the items, secrets, specials, and other stuff.  It has a bunch of hidden characters, a branching final dungeon system, and is just ... phenomenal.

How phenomenal?  Here, let me explain it like this.  I bought the game a little before Christmas, on the day it came out.  I put 300 hours into it, then had a huge bug problem that erased every ounce of gameplay I had.  So I started over, and am now farther than I was in half the time.  The game has a bit of chance, but is mostly a skilled video game.  It is a solo experience, but it creates stories to share with friends that play the game.  It has insane secrets that make for huge accomplishments when you do find and unlock them.  And better than all that, it is fun.  You are a poor naked kid, shooting his tears at all the monstrosities in his basement as he climbs deeper and deeper into his Alice in Wonderland on an acid trip hell, fighting flesh bags, sentient poops, ghosts, skeletons, and carries around the remains of his beloved pets and stuff he found in his crazy mother's purse as she tries to kill him because God told her to!

The game does have a major problem, though.  And that is the bug I mentioned above.  The game was plagued by bugs and huge glitches for the first month it was out.  It's why I haven't talked about it until now.  Because those bugs and glitches were a HUGE problem.  But enough time has passed that they are all fixed, and I absolutely feel I can recommend the game now!

It has easily become one of my favorite games, and with a really good run only taking around 25 minutes, it is a great time waster and brain-rester, which is a thing a depressed, ADHD, insomnia like myself needs.  I swear, I play a little between each article or each chore, just to keep my brain working and focused.  I cannot recommend the game enough.  Go buy it on Steam right now, it is only $15 bucks, and considering I've put 454 hours into it, that means it is absolutely worth the price.


IHAO on ... LootCrate and MeUndies (and other subscription services)

I really enjoy shopping.  Shopping for others, weighing options and watching sales for me, looking for deals, looking about stores ready to find a hard to find item.  In college, my friends and I were all super close to an enormous flea market and we basically went at least once a month, if not every weekend.  My amazon wishlist is ridiculously long, and I maintain it and prioritize it and everything.  I just love that stuff.  Why did I say all that?  I needed a segue paragraph to get into what I actually wanted to talk about ... which you already saw as the title of the article ... which means I kind of just wasted time ... *ahem*

LootCrate is awesome.  My wonderful wife got me a subscription for Christmas, and the january box just came in.  If you are unaware, the idea behind Lootcrate is you subscribe to their service, and each month they put together a "goodie bag" of nerdy stuff and send it to your door.  Every month has a different theme, but they always try to deliver an awesome box.  The Christmas box I actually ended up divvying up as gifts to other people, but the January box blew me away.  A cool t-shirt, a super cool tie, some sunglasses, a weird little Dr. Mario/Dr. Who/toy mash-up thing, a comic book, a notebook thing, it was just filled with great stuff.  On top of that, the presentation itself is amazing.  The box can be folded inside out to have an awesome grey and orange (my favorite colors!) old school NES for your little toy to play on.  I have him sitting up on top of bookshelf, gun in hand, presiding over the living room like a video game sheriff.

What do you mean this is an excuse to show off other stuff I collect, like rare Labyrinth books and Ravenloft stuff?  :D

I am a big fan of LootCrate.  But more than LootCrate itself, I am enamored with the subscription model of buying stuff that is popping up.  NatureBox is a heathy snack site I've been looking into for awhile now that does subscriptions of good snacks.  They have a huge variety, you pick what you like, and they send it.  But unlike LootCrate, you can also micromanage your order.  Didn't like that Pineapple Cashew Curry something or other?  Then you can for next month get something different from their frankly enormous menu.

I also just got my first order from MeUndies.  I have only made one New Years resolution that ever lasted, and that was to never wear boring socks again.  I love colorful fun socks.  Well, MeUndies has awesome socks, ON SUBSCRIPTION!  So I bought my first pair, then signed up for subscription, where you get one unique pair a month.  But even better than NatureBox and LootCrate, if you don't like the socks for the month, just say "skip it" and it doesn't cancel your subscription, you just skip that month!  EVEN BETTER, they sent me a free snapback and a letter thanking me for joining and being part of their "family."  Yeah, it is marketing, but it is totally marketing that worked for me.  My wife and I decided to try the underwear as well on subscription, and they are fabulous as well.  The quality is amazing.

Even better than all that, if you guys want it cheaper, I can do that too!  MeUndies has made life even easier and I can get you a big ole 20% off!  Let me know and I'll hook you up, cuz!

I'm super excited about this model.  I love the ones I'm involved in, and want to look into more.  These kinds of subscription services are great for companies, and even better for us as consumers.  Take a look, and if you want cool socks and underwear, I'll give you that hook up!


IHAO on ... Horns

Joe Hill is a writer I've enjoyed for quite awhile.  Locke and Key is a comic book I could not put down and loved getting until my local comic shop screwed up my order and got me behind and missing pieces.  I'll eventually fix it.  In the back of one such comic of Locke and Key, Joe Hill put a few chapters of his book "Horns."  It was awesome.  I've been excited about it for a long time.  Then I found out about the film version, and I got more excited!  And I finally got it on blu ray after it never came around my town for a cinema release, and ...

Street Sharks drum roll ...

It is fantastic!  It is super super duper good.  With a few minor problems objectively and one really really petty subjective problem, it is absolutely a great film, and probably would have made my list of Best movies of 2014 if I had been able to see it then.  Luckily, is a frontrunner for this year instead!

Horns is a fantasy thriller about a depressed and downtrodden Ig, a young man who is seemingly wrongly charged with the murder of his long-time girlfriend.  The entire town hates him, telling him to go to hell.  Also, he wakes up with horns growing out of his head.  And things just start going weirder, a little darker, a little funnier, and a lot more thrillingly.

Horns revels in its characters, its actors, and its story.  It is an emotionally powerful narrative with awesome actors like Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple, and a truly edge of your seat mystery, all brought to a fever pitch because of all the imagery and actual demonic powers happening.  The film has a very familiar narrative format, probably because Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King and the two of them have an incredible way of stringing a narrative together.  Better than all of that, Alexander Aja, the director, does an amazing job with really pushing what a film can do.  He uses amazing visuals, awesome camera work, and breakneck pacing to crank this film to 11.  I mean, truly amazing visuals.  The makeup work is just phenomenal.  Probably the best makeup work I've seen in a film in years.

The film is mostly flawless.  There are very few female characters, and most of them we only hear their dark and dirty secrets which wouldn't paint any character favorably, and in fact it doesn't beyond a small handful.  And the treatment of its lead female for the purpose of plot could possibly really hurt some folks who are sensitive to women being "fridged."  I understand the problem, but don't personally think it hurts things in this film.  Much like the Bechdel test, women being fridged is not a quality problem, but a litmus test that shows a larger problem in writing.  There are stories that need to be told and can be told when unfortunate things happen to people, and love and revenge and murder are all thrilling story components.  But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fridging.  Also, I'm being purposefully obtuse about that wording just in case it is a little too spoilery for some.
This was the best fridge gif I could find.  Also, link here for learning more about women in fridges.

The other objective problem is that there are CGI snakes, and sometimes, the layering is pretty lazy.  Like, they are clearly fake snakes.  And ... yup, that's it.  That's all the negatives I have from a filmmaking perspective.  And they are completely negligable, in my opinion, because of the ride and performances this film gives us.  The film is a DEEP film, with lots to sift through and a whole lot of amazing shots, effects, and symbolism, but none of it so in your face to ruin the experience.

I have one incredibly lame subjective problem that is not a problem, but I figured I'd share it: this film has a real pulpy feel to it.  It is a dark, thrilling fantasy murder mystery.  And there is some awesome nudity and emotional stuff (that is not a phrase I thought I'd write, huh) as well as satire and comic stuff as well as action, just ... so so much great stuff.  And ... the emotional stuff didn't quite get me.  I've become a softy, and the film didn't make me cry.  Yeah, my only other negative is that this awesome movie didn't make me cry.  Shut up, me.

Grade: A++


IHAO on ... the Royal Rumble 2015

I ... I ... I am at a loss for words.  My emotions are ...

Ok, let me first talk about the party we had.  9 people, plus my wife and I, came together to party for the Rumble.  It is my favorite PPV of the year, and we have a small betting pool we do where we all draft numbers and then we earn money based on the winner, the most eliminations, and the "Bushwacker" or lasted the shortest amount of time award.  We all had snacks and we all had a good time as a party.  The best part was having new watchers come, as well as my dad, who was a hit with everyone because he is funny.

What about the PPV?  How were the matches?  They were all pretty much crap, with an even crappier Rumble with an even CRAPPIER ultimate decision.  And there was a pretty enjoyable Championship match.  Let's ... ugh, let's dig into each of these pretty quickly.  Gifs are from wrasslormonkey, go check him out.


The Ascension were awesome in NXT.  They had this amazing prestige, power, and presence.  They had an awesome moveset and an awesome attitude.  They worked hard, even in little reactions.  They also got brought up to the main roster.  And were immediately mocked by JBL, humiliated by Legends, and then had this match versus the New Age Outlaws where the legends run rough all over the Ascension, they were not allowed to do any of their normal awesome offense and instead just did restholds and got beat up, and then we are supposed to forgive it because of a poorly rushed Fall of Man.  Ugh.


A tag team championship match, featuring a non-team and the most boring faces in the company.  The match itself was fine.  Acceptable.  And that is the best thing I can say about it.  Uninteresting, unmemorable, a waste of time, but acceptable.  Oh, and hey, watch one of the Usos botch the stupid Uso-spot that is in every damned Uso match.


I am a defender of women's wrestling in the WWE.  I spent much of last year defending Paige and the Bellas, pointing out how good their matches were, how hard they were working, all of that.  So let's start this new year by having a terrible tag team match.  An eight minute long match that they messed up basic tag team rules, botched some crazy spots, everyone came out looking worse for being in it, and ended in confusion.

Yup, that's a ... sitout hair-pull drop-toe neckbreaker.  Totally.  Look at Brie's face.  She is pissed at Natalya, super duper pissed.  And she should be, because Natalya is the one who messed up every single spot in this match.  She messed up a tag, she messed up this spot, she messed up every spot.  Paige worked hard, Nikki worked hard, Brie worked hard, and it didn't matter, because this match was trash.

That is what you deserve, Nattie.  At least in a year and 8 months we'll see a Total Divas episode about this.  *eye roll*


Cena hit the AA so many times, the joke at the party was to keep going up the alphabet, where Cena ended at GG, which means "good game" online, which is a funny coincidence and why I remember it.

This match was pretty fun.  In retrospect, it was really good in fact.  But that is only after putting it against the terrible Rumble match to follow.  Lesnar and Rollins worked real hard.  Cena was Cena.  The match built to some enjoyable nearfalls, and the final sequences were pretty good.  I was certain Rollins was going to win, but Lesnar pulled it out after taking an amazing hit from a big elbow through the table.


This Rumble match was ... ok, here's a metaphor that is absolutely a great way to explain it.  All of us watching this match was like all of us eating gross ice cream.  The recipe is ice cream, and we all had a hilarious time eating it with each other ... but at the end of the night, you have disgusting ice cream in your belly and feel like complete crap.

This match is terrible.  Every single decision made in this match is the worst possible one.  The fans clamor for the company to hear them, and are constantly barraged with a real life heel president who says "you'll like what I give you!"  Roman Reigns is shoved down our throats, choking us as fans, and ruining him.  The booes once Daniel Bryan is eliminated super early in the match is almost deafening.  Once Roman comes out, it is even worse.  Once he wins, even the Rock, who was brought in as a "surprise" to help try to get Roman over with the fans ... well, look at his reaction to the booes once Roman wins:

The highlights of this match were the two legends.  Bubba Ray is back, which is cool, and I hope he sticks around.  And DDP showed up, which is awesome.

I feel cheated when the faces I'm rooting for as a fan were all embarrassed and destroyed.  A first time viewer heard the reaction and asked me "so, do they not listen to the fans when they make their decisions?" and I answer the very humbling and sad answer "basically, yeah, the fans are ignored."  He shook his head and couldn't understand how a company works like that.

The hashtag #CancelWWENetwork trended for a long time after the Rumble.  Lots of people showed screenshots of their cancellations.  I ALMOST want to cancel myself, but NXT and these reviews keep me around.  The Miz, surprisingly, reacted the perfect way for this terrible, terrible PPV, featuring one of the worst Rumble matches I've ever seen:


IHAO on ... Boyhood

This is the second in my series of Best Picture nominee reviews for the 87th Academy Awards, the first being Birdman, or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.  A little backstory, since this movie actually has some: this movie took 12 years to film.  It actually films in semi-real time a story about a child, and his growing up.  Actors signed up and worked for 12 years in short stints, including our lead little kid actor.  It is a huge stunt, and something that absolutely needs to be watched.  So let's dig in.

*turns on the blu ray*

*turns off the blu ray ... almost three hours later*


Roll credits.

Boyhood.  A film that took 12 years to make.  12 years to write this script.  12 years to come up with a story that was worth watching.  Instead, we get a drama about all the moments that are just about people talking about the moments that were worth watching.  Why show a divorce when you can hear people talk about it after they are emotionally over it?  Why show a kid excited about a scholarship when you can just have him talk to a random NPC out-of-nowhere character we only see in this scene to talk about it?  Why show a kid having a hard time with classes and homework when you can just have random characters show up and telling him that he is doing bad at turning in his homework and such?  Why have plot when you can have conveniences and coincidences?  There are multiple scenes where characters talk about things that happened in this kid's life that WE DO NOT GET TO SEE!  WHY NOT?  WHY DO WE JUST GET LIP SERVICE INSTEAD OF REAL FILMMAKING AND STORYTELLING?!

I do not want to disregard the gamble and the work put into this film.  Filming for 12 years, making decisions on the fly, having to cast your actors at a young age and hope they continue to do well all throughout.  And I won't even say that the gambles didn't pay off, with Ethan Hawke getting his big resurgence recently.  But I cannot say this is a good movie.  It isn't a bad movie, or even an average movie.  But it is not a good movie.  It fails to be about anything that mattes.  It is like watching a fake documentary about uninteresting people.  It is just people talking about things that happened between cuts in the lives of these fake people.  There is only one sequence that kind of has anything actually happening, and that is the end of the "first act" if I can even call it that.  What a novel approach to filmmaking, film a bunch of idiots doing nothing, talking about nothing ... well, not talking, more like mumbling.

I cannot understand how a film that's only achievement is that it took a super-long time to make, had no final script, and barely does anything beyond just being a movie.  It doesn't strive to do anything but an exercise in filmmaking.  It doesn't succeed at anything it tries to do, it merely accomplishes them.  It isn't hard to be perfectly in "period" when it was shot in order over 12 years.  It isn't hard to show a child grow up when he literally does that and you don't have to work for it or do any filmmaking, clever writing, or make up.  This movie just wastes time, showing its theoretical exercise as some huge technical achievement, and people act like it is.

I am mad that so many people are talking about how amazing this film is, when it isn't!  It is nothing.  It is the lack of art.  It is an exercise.  Even I was bamboozled by it in this very review!  I was all "this movie isn't mediocre, it is good, it really is!" and then I list all the terrible problems.  All the details that prove that statement.  This film will be remember as an exercise, and completely forgotten outside of that.  I do not, cannot, and will not recommend this middle of the road, boring, LONG AS HELL, talk-fest that does nothing of value.

Grade: C-


IHAO on ... Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher is not a Best Picture nominee, but it is a best actor, best supporting actor, and a best director nominee, so I figured I should give it a watch.  Plus, I was intrigued.  The real life story is super interesting, I love wrestling as you folks reading may well know, but I also loved amateur wrestling.  I was in my high school wrestling team for ... a few months?  I only quit because the coach at the time told me I had to pick, wrestling, or all the other extracurriculars I was doing.  So I picked choir, theatre, academic bowl, and everything else.  Anyway, let's talk about the movie.

I don't think it's very good.  It is really slowly paced, the plot is kind of obtuse, and while all the acting and music and shots are good, some great in fact, the wrong stuff is being talked about.  Let's talk about the plot.  It is the story of the Schultz brothers and their dealings with John E. du Pont.  There is a lot of information in the real world about it, but this is a fictionalized, condensed version of the whole encounter.  I normally do not care for spoilers, but I can say that the movie deals with ... uh ... ok, so I can't say that.

That's one of the biggest problems with the movie.  I did not think it did a good job of actually telling the story.  We see some bits and pieces of things that happen, but none of what it means is conveyed in film.  I suppose the film is kind of about ownership and being a prisoner and maybe some homosexual stuff and a little bit of betrayal, but not really, and ... ugh.  The film has a good atmosphere that lasts way too long and ends up being a burden instead of a bonus.  The film is so thick and so long and so "audience, figure this out all on your own" that it just becomes this big goopy thick mess of ... nothing.  Oh, better metaphor, it is like oatmeal.  Really thick, pasty oatmeal like my wife likes to eat it.  There are bits of wonderful fruit in there, like the actors, or small scenes that are really emotional, but you have to eat heaping spoonfuls of grey, lifeless, flavorless gunk to get to those good tasting bits, which only make up probably a tenth of the film, if not less.

The Academy's reaction to stupid oatmeal movie.

Let's talk about the acting.  Steve Carrel does ... ok.  Mark Ruffalo does ... Ruffalo-y.  And Channing Tatum knocks the ball out of the park.  So of course, he is the only that isn't nominated, which is a huge disservice to him.  He has so many scenes he does so well in.  And the others ... they just don't.

This movie feels like it was a script written to be about DuPont.  Then the real Mark Schultz got involved, as a producer and as a consultant, so some extra focus got put on the Mark Schultz character Channing Tatum played.  Then they found they had a GREAT actor doing an INCREDIBLE job, so they edited more of him into the film.  And they were right, the Schultz stuff was the great stuff in the movie.  But the original script was about du Pont, so the film and the director forced it to stay on that path, even though that is a disservice to the fantastic acting of Channing Tatum.

Channing, if you for some reason are reading this, I think you were robbed.  You did awesome.  And you are becoming a favorite actor of mine.  Keep making movies, even crappy ones, and keep working as hard as you seem to be.  I'll keep buying tickets.

All of that said, this movie is still above average.  It has a bunch of great components, it just focuses on the wrong bits and is a terrible slog to get through.  It is on the low end of a B, but it is still a B.

Grade: B