While You Wait: Game of Thrones

Hello there, and welcome to a new thing. Not sure it it’ll be a recurring series, but if this gets a good response, then it might. Any way, hello everyone. With the final season of HBO megahit “Game of Thrones” arriving in less than two weeks, fan are eagerly anticipating it. But until then, some might be asking themselves what they could watch to tide them over until then. Well, I’m here to perhaps help with that in some regard, by giving you some personal recommendations for things that could maybe fill that void in some respect. And if you don’t give a shit about “Game of Thrones”, then you’ll at least have a few recommendations for things to experience. So let’s go.

This is While You Wait: Game of Thrones edition.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (New Line Cinema, 2001 – 2003)

This entry should come as no surprise in the slightest. Big, epic fantasy with a grandiose story, a stellar cast, and tons of detail in props and filmmaking. Look, I am aware that this and “Game of Thrones” are very different in tone… style… language… amount of tits, but still, can’t talk about relevant recommendations for a major fantasy thing without mentioning another one.

Westworld (HBO Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, 2016 – now)

While we’re talking about one major HBO series, we might as well talk about another one. “Westworld”, based on the 1973 film by Michael Crichton, is a series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and follows a theme park that is built up like a giant wild west world (Hence, “Westworld”). But as expected, things may or may not go awry (wouldn’t be a show otherwise). Let’s see, big sweeping story (check), A-list cast (check), Ramin Djawadi making music (check), budget higher than what any of us make in a year (check), violence (check), naked people (super check)… yeah, this has a shitload in common with “GoT”, so that’s why I recommend it.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks, 2011)

That’s right, there be video games on this list too. Released in 2011, “Skyrim” was the fifth mainline game in the “Elder Scrolls” series. In times of great political turmoil, you play as a character that almost gets executed, but gets “saved” by a giant dragon attacking the city that you’re in. And it doesn’t take long for you to find out that you’re Dragonborn, a mighty warrior destined to slay dragons and steal their souls. Political tensions, various factions doing their own shit within the kingdoms, epic fantasy, DRAGONS. Need I say more as to why a “Thrones” fan might want to play this? It’s not one of my favorites, but I still feel like it’s a good recommendation for fans of “GoT” who might want to get some game time in.

Berserk (OLM Inc, 1997 – 1998)

And now we move into something a bit older, but is a bit more of a recent watch for me. “Berserk” is a 1997 anime series based on a manga series of the same name by Kentaro Miura. It follows a highly capable swordsman named Guts as he joins a mercenary group called the Band of the Hawk, after its leader, Griffith, defeats Guts in combat. And so Guts, along with Griffith, and the other members of the group fight their way through the kingdom of Midland. And we do also get to see how Guts and Griffith’s actions affects the political climate in the kingdom, as well as how their bond evolves over the series. So it has both the big battles and political element of “GoT”, and it has the brutality of it… come to think of it, “Berserk” is probably even more brutal (and the series is allegedly very toned down compared to the original manga). Just a few details first… Skip episode one. I’m not kidding, skip it. It’s not even related to anything going on in the show, as it’s set after everything that happens. Maybe come back to it after finishing the other 24 episodes. And secondly, the ending (which I won’t fully spoil) has been a bit polarizing for people… and that’s all. Other than that, “Berserk” is great.

The Expanse (Alcon entertainment, 2016 – now)

So how do we go from high fantasy to sci-fi? Well, like in “Game of Thrones”, you can find a lot of political tension and character development in “The Expanse”. Set hundreds of years into the future, we follow various characters as they try to deal with their various situations while navigating the very dangerous political tensions between Earth and Mars. Need even more proof that this show is the “Game of Thrones” of sci-fi? It has been called the “Game of Thrones” of sci-fi by a fair amount of people. And I thank Amazon for picking it up after SyFy cancelled it.

Gladiator (Scott Free Productions, Univeral Pictures, 2000)

Epic battles, political intrigue (again), charismatic cast, big budget… do I really need to explain why Ridley Scott’s epic Oscar winner is one of the recommendations on this list? You all know why it is here.

The Dark Souls trilogy (FromSoftware, 2011 – 2016)

More video game goodness, and oh god, the traumatic flashbacks are rolling in. Admittedly I’ve only played the third game in the series, but based on my “enjoyment” of that, and the critical acclaim of the rest of the series, I feel confident in recommending them all. You play as a silent (not counting offs and ahs) protagonist who goes on quests that lead you across dark world where you’ll encounter strange creatures, interesting people, and pain… lots and lots of pain. It’s dark fantasy at it’s most bird-flipping. People love these games for their difficulty, and I do kind of appreciate the challenge from my playthrough(s) of the third game. Funnily enough, as I recommend this for “Thrones” reasons, these games take heavy inspiration from another thing on this list… that thing being “Berserk”.

The Revenant (Regency Enterprises, 21st Century Fox, 2015)

Ah yes, the 2015 movie that finally gave Leo his Oscar… and all it took was dragging himself through the dirt after getting his shit kicked in by a bear. Betrayal, brutality, cold, stellar acting, a gritty tone, these are things that make this movie good and also help make some of the “GoT” comparison a bit more valid.

The Godfather trilogy (Paramount Pictures, 1972 – 1990)

Now, how can I compare possible the most prolific gangster series of all time to one of the biggest tv shows of all time? Well, both are grand, sweeping, epic stories about family, legacy, and ruling over a kingdom of sorts. Some from an uncomfortable and pointy chair, and some in dark rooms in the mid-century United States. And yes, I am recommending all of them. The third movie is a huge step down from the first two, but it still has its moments.

Castlevania (Powerhouse Animation, Netflix, 2017 – now)

And for our final entry, let’s go a bit lighter. Don’t get me wrong, this show is dark, but at least it is allowed to get a bit over the top with its action. Based on the hit video game series, “Castlevania” follows Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), the last member of a long line of vampire hunters, as he reluctantly has to try to kill the king of all vampires… Dracula (Graham McTavish). Start with an epic fantasy, end with another. The animation is stellar, the plot engaging, and the characters very well realized. And to any stubborn people out there: This is a cartoon, not an anime. It may have some anime stylings, but it was entirely produced in the United States… so it’s a cartoon. But for those not stubborn: Watch this show, it’s great.

So those were some of my personal recommendations for those “Game of Thrones” fans wanting something to tide them over until April 14th, or maybe if something’s needed to fill the gap after the show ends. But I also ask of all of you, what other recommendations do you have that could fit this thing? Movie, show, book, game… any of them, I’m all ears.
Have a good one.

“Middle-earth: Shadow of War” Announcement Trailer

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. Hope you’re all having a good Tuesday. Let’s talk about a trailer that just came out.

So here we have a trailer for “Middle-earth: Shadow of War”, the sequel to 2014’s “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor”. To be honest, I never played “Shadow of Mordor”, but I’ve heard from a lot of people on the internet that it’s a really good game. So I will pick it up and play it at some point. But until then, here’s an explanation of the plot from “Shadow of Mordor” as I understand it. The game follows a ranger named Talion (Troy Baker) who dies and then gets resurrected by a Wraith, and then he goes off to murder a bunch of orcs or some shit. Again, I never played the game, so I don’t know the entire plot… just that first bit with Mr. Ranger-man dying and coming back to life. Anyhow, now we have a trailer for the sequel. And apparently there will be an epic fucking war. It’s hard to say what it will be about exactly, but I kind of like that. And sure, a pre-rendered CG trailer doesn’t exactly give us an image of what the game will be like, but it still looks awesome. Also, it does something that you don’t see in too many video game trailers… it gives us a release date for a gameplay reveal. Most game trailers go like “Here’s a CG trailer, get excited, you shits!” and then expects us to be patient and then also get surprised when some gameplay gets revealed. But the “Shadow of War” gameplay reveal is set for March of this year, so that’s cool. So I am actually kind of excited about this. “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” is set to be released on August 25th 2017.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited about “Shadow of War”? And what are your thoughts (if you played it) regarding “Shadow of Mordor”? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Discussion: Could something really be called “the best”?

The Best

Hello people. Time for another little discussion (Sidenote: Technically it is more of an opinion piece, but “Discussion” sounds better). The last one I did was on action movies and how they have gotten tame and that there are fewer awesome ones these days. Now we will have a look at something that has been on my mind for quite some time; can you really call a movie “the best”? So let’s stop screwing around, time to discuss!

Let’s first get something straight, by best I mean either “Best of all time” or “Best of that genre” or something in a similar fashion. This is something that has been boggling my mind after seeing a lot of websites and critics call certain movies “The Best of all time” and similar. Now while a lot of cases these things are based on their personal opinions and that’s fine. It’s just really strange to me why they would call their favorite movie “The Best Movie”. I mean, could something really be the best? Or is it something that people came up with to basically flip the bird to everyone and say “Fuck you, my opinion is the only opinion that matters”. And has there ever been anyone who has been right about that?

We of course have several movies that by many have been called “The best movie ever” such as “The Godfather” and “Citizen Kane”. And when you have so many people agreeing about something like that, it has to be correct, right? Not really! What we have are a lot of people who share one opinion about something… but you still have a large group of individuals who don’t agree with them. Considering there are so many different opinions on movies, I don’t think there could ever really be a “BEST MOVIE EVER!!!”. Now I haven’t seen “Citizen Kane”, but I do imagine that it still could be a good movie… but best movie ever? Same with “The Godfather” which I have in fact seen, and I agree that it is a great movie. Problem with calling a movie the “best movie ever” is that there will be more people disagreeing with you than you could imagine.

Now I might have a small idea why people call it “Best Movie Ever” and not “My Favorite Movie”; they are afraid to get personal in all of it. By calling it “best movie ever” they look more professional and that is why people look at critics with a lot more positivity than the regular people who talk about movies… like me. The critics try to sneakily get their opinions in while still sounding somewhat objective. The only people who can properly be credited as critics who dared to get their personal opinions on movies into their reviews are Gene Siskel (R.I.P) and Roger Ebert (R.I.P). On their old show “Siskel & Ebert” they had banter about what they thought about the movies and they really got into it personally and that is why they worked so well and have earned my respect. Unlike most other “critics” who talk like they are a fucking robot who got no opinion about anything.

“Well, you gotta have an opinion” – Vincent Vega, “Pulp Fiction” 1994.
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So what the hell am I trying to say? There is no such thing as “Best Ever”. Example: The Oscars every year pick out their choice for “Best Picture”, and while I have agreed with them a few times… they are still wrong. What I mean by that is that there will always be a ton of people disagreeing with that Oscar committee of old, white men. You can never get a perfect choice for “Best Picture” or any other category without pissing some people off. The same goes for those of you who make lists like “Top 10 Best Movies of *Insert year here*”. You call it the wrong fucking thing. Call it “My Top 10 Favorite Movies of *Insert year here*”. Saying “Best” is what makes you look like assholes who give no shit about the opinions of other people. Movies are incredibly subjective… hell, most forms of media (TV, Books, Music, Video Games, etc.) are based all around subjectivity. There can NEVER be any definitive choice for “Best of something”… EVER!

To sum it up quickly. Everything is so subjective, you can never pin any label to anything. “Best of something” “Worst of something”. Since subjectivity is the definitive factor in all of this then there can never a way of knowing what is the best of something or not. But if you’re gonna continue being an asshole about it then I think Wolverine has something to say;
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What are your opinions on the subject? Leave a comment and let me know, I love discussions. Aaaaand that’s it for me.

Have a good one!