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Writer’s Block Ended: Constantine Revisited

August 22, 2010 Entertainment 1 Comment

Image: Constantine cover art. Copyright Warner Bros.

I must apologize, both to our readers and the rest of the staff at here shufflingdead.com. I’ve been really slacking these days. My Movie Maundering article is now two weeks late. I’ve even got two started right now, but I just can’t seal the deal. I have been trying to figure out why I just couldn’t get into reviewing another movie, but now I understand: I didn’t fully and completely proclaim my hatred of Constantine, my last review. It’s been tearing me up inside without me even knowing. But luckily, a half bottle of wine and some quiet have allowed me to discover this prolific problem, and I am about to settle in to rectify the situation. Strap in, boys and girls.
This movie left me with a feeling of senseless rage. Absolutely nothing about it was good.

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Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

August 16, 2010 Entertainment No Comments

Image: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World poster. Copyright Universal Pictures.

Dear nerdlingers, have I got a movie for you. Ever dreamed of a film directed by the genius behind Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead based on an indie comic about 20-something slackerdom and filled with video game references both obvious and subtle? It may sound too goddamn awesome to exist in the same universe as Twilight: Eclipse, but such a thing is real, and it’s called Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It is sad indeed that I needed to tell you that, but not many of you seemed to notice. The film only grossed $10.6 million in its opening weekend. Let me try to convince you why it deserves so, so much more.

I’ll try to avoid spoiling too many of the specific video game winks and nods which exist within Scott Pilgrim, but hear this: the film opens with music ripped straight from Link to the Past. If your Nintendo nerd boners haven’t reached full mast yet, then consider this: Scott plays the bassline from Final Fantasy II.

Video game influence doesn’t just show up in the thrill provided by easy references. The story of Scott Pilgrim is told with the frantic, illogical logic of games. The movie’s pacing rapidly accelerates when Scott finds out he must battle his way through the seven evil exes of his new love interest, Ramona Flowers. No real explanation is given as to why this is the case. Even less of one is given for the remarkable powers most of the characters in the movie possess (like wielding flaming pixelated swords and traveling via sub-space). All of this is in glorious homage to the games which inspire the film, where fun holds significantly more value than adherence to reality.

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Since When Is “Sex” A Bad Word?

July 31, 2010 Society 1 Comment

When it’s on the radio, apparently. As a Canadian citizen, I have the ability to enjoy music on the radio. 91.7 The Bounce pipes in the American Top 40 on weekends, hosted by the ever-irritating Ryan Seacrest. One of the recent hits that’s been on the AT40, as well as frequently played on The Bounce during the week, is Jerimih’s Birthday Sex. It’s a catchy tune, and the phrase “birthday sex” is repeated many times in the song. It is not edited during regular play on The Bounce, but on the AT40, “sex” is replaced by a “shhh”.

I wasn’t aware that sex was a word to be equated with the worst of the worst. It is now one of those words that nobody dares to play during daytime television and anywhere on the radio. It’s among the ranks of fuck, shit, cunt, cock and the like. At least on Canadian stations, they still play hell, damn and sometimes even an ass slips through. And since so many songs give rather graphic descriptions of sexual acts that don’t get censored, and different words for the act are allowed, why is the kibosh being put on “sex”? Especially from a nation that is drenched in sexual imagery, anyway?
Listening to 102.3 Now! Radio, in one of Hedley’s big hits, Cha-Ching, the word “lesbians” is censored. This really boggles my mind. To me, that seems like blatant discrimination.

Maybe it’s just my Canadian liberalism clouding my judgment. After all, Jay-Z’s new song, I Just Wanna Love U, contains the lyrics “gimme that funk, that sweet, that nasty, that gushy stuff”. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to think of what that is most likely referring to. Yet that line is never censored. For all the sex, drugs and violence that are depicted on TV, condom and male enhancement supplements advertised on the radio, you’d think they’d ease up at least on regular, everyday English words.


Don’t Worry Folks… Harry Potter Still Rocks

Part I: According to Fanfiction.net,
Harry Potter Still Rocks

Guilty secret: I read fan fiction.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of it. Fan fictions, affectionately known as fan fics, are basically self-explanatory. It’s “new” works of fiction written by fans of certain literature. Hence, fan fiction. The stories are based on the characters and environments in the original work. I liken it to music, where musicians regularly cover each others’ work to create something new and different, but made from the same base. For example, a Harry Potter fan fiction may contain a plot where Lily leaves a letter for Harry to read in the future, confessing that Severus Snape is actually his father, not James Potter. Or a Lord of the Rings fan fiction may revolve around a complicated romance between Legolas and Aragorn. Anything can happen. In fact, some fan fics can get pretty smutty, spelling out the romantic and lusty scenes we all envision between our favourite pairings that never actually get published. Or even acknowledged by the author, depending.

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Games in Review #4 – Super Mario RPG

July 23, 2010 Games No Comments

Welcome back to Games In Review. Today, we’ll be reaching way back into my childhood to the ol’ SNES days and reviewing Super Mario RPG.

Story

The game starts out like any other Mario game: the Princess is missing, and it looks like Bowser is up to his old tricks again. After a bit of investigating, however, we discover that the true culprit behind all of the goings on is a villain named Smithy, a smith, who has somehow managed to put a stop order on all the wishes in the stars. If he isn’t stopped, nobody’s wishes will ever come true again…

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