Ready Player One: Tribute to the gamers

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Before I start off

I’d like to warn the reader that I may reveal certain plot-lines and give away accidental spoilers but I will try to contain the geeky over-explaining-me on a leash as I want to just light up a flame that might make you want to see the film or better yet to read the book. Okay, enough of the introductory, let us delve into the world of Ready Player One shall we?

The main dude in Ready Player One
Wade Watts

Synopsis
Ready Player One is a dystopian/sci-fi flick set in 2045 about a world in a state of apocalyptic decay. Due to food shortages and the current depleting availability of fossil fuels most of the population finds themselves in poverty.

Our main protagonist Wade Watts, which sounds like the secret identity of a super-hero, finds himself in Columbus, Ohio where he resides in the “Stacks” which is a ghetto of stacked houses.
The world as we know it has been in a state of turmoil riddled with crime, poverty and addiction.
Addiction to what you might ask? Video games my dude, but not just any video-game.

In Ready Player One, most people on earth by this time are “living” in this Virtual Reality game called the OASIS. At face-value, the OASIS is a gamer’s Utopian dream come to reality. It has everything that anybody from the gaming community could possibly want, with its open world Role-Play setting combined with many other game genres at your disposal, you can look how you want to look and play whatever you want.

There is also an abundance of 80’s pop-culture references as the creator of the OASIS James Halliday grew up in that era.
There was also a lot of 80’s bangers playing throughout the movie, which was a divine treat on itself. I mean they played George Michael in there so, I was pretty much in awe of this movie already by that time in the flick.

IOI Stormtroopers
“Sixers”

 

After we got acquainted with the leading character and his best friend “Aech” , we are introduced to the bad guys or should I say Company.
IOI (AYE-OH-AYE) is a company ran by the white version of Ajit Pai, Mr. Nolan Sorrento. It must be hard when your last name is a car model.
They are corporate sleaze-bags that have an army of players called “Sixers” as none of them utilize a username but a 6 number combination instead.

Anyway, IOI is basically Electronic Arts if they ever got too big and if there ever was an OASIS in the real world, can you imagine the micro-transactions taking place in the future? Thanks for the heads up Ready Player One.

All of these parties are in search of a digital Easter-egg (An Easter-egg is a hidden piece of work or message that developers leave in a game.) that James Halliday left behind. Finding this Easter-egg will award you Halliday’s immense fortune and control over the OASIS.
As you can probably imagine, the story is a classic case of David and Goliath. IOI wants to acquire the OASIS for reasons of profit and power, while our heroes want it for the sake of the community.

Gamer-Culture criticism and Social “Issues”
The movie depicts gamer-culture quite well. I wouldn’t say perfect, as they left out a lot of toxicity that comes with the gaming community. The occasional exchange of racist insults and the unapologetic banter that comes with the perks of anonymity is big factor as to why people think gamers are Nazis. The fact of the matter is that most gamers say things they would not dream of saying in real-life, because they’d get smacked by Chad and Tyrone who do not take too kindly to that kind of talk.

I read an article written by some loser named Alfie Brown of The Guardian that stated that Ready Player One “portrays video gamers at their worst”.

Destroyer of fun
Alfie Brown

The writer continued:
it’s fraught with gender problems, reverence for elitism, and a right-wing endorsement of the importance of culture over political and economic conditions. As such, the celebrated director is showing the worst side of gamer culture.”

I can tell that he never gets invited to party-chats and probably sports a man-bun or some other nu-male trend. Or he might be handsome and he’s just virtue-signaling… like most hypocrites nowadays.

Link in the meme for the complete article.

First of all, why must you bring politics into this?
You have to be pretty boring to be thinking that kind of stuff while watching a sci-fi movie or any movie in general. It’s not as if they put Ben Shapiro front and center for us to gaze out while he expounds his ideologies on us all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some undertones of Anti-Establishment philosophies in the story of Ready Player One, which is in my opinion a pretty normal storyline.
If a big organization like IOI wants to seize control and force its agenda upon us without giving us another option, as it infringes on our way of life and is a very BAD thing… get it together Alfie.
Also, Ready Player One has a multi-ethnic cast, has a woman in probably the funniest role of the movie in my opinion and they have actually covered up the toxicity of gaming-culture to appeal to a mass audience.

The bigger picture
Politics aside, people have also criticized the movie for not being as dark and heavy-hitting as the book. Where the movie is a tad more light-hearted and even more playful at times, I understand as to why Steven Spielberg and the writers would do that, as they want kids to be a part of it.

Passing the torch
Parzival “Wade Watts” and The avatar of James Halliday.

Given the gargantuan success of “Fortnite”, the gamers of Generation Z are amongst the most lucrative of customers. Having a little brother myself who is an avid gamer and became everything I wanted him to be as a gamer, this story and movie was tailor-made for the people like him and me.

Lastly, I think this particular story that Ready Player One brings forward is one that makes all of the “out-of-place” children of the world rejoice.
Watching the movie was a treat for the eyes. Picking out the references of all the video games I played myself was in itself quite nostalgic as well. I loved this movie and sure do hope that you will too!

Go to listen to some Hall and Oates now or something.

The Room 2018: So bad that it is good

The Room 2018

The Room? What’s that?
– Everyone

Tommy Wiseau

If you were friends with any of the hipsters or the out-of-place-people in high school around the early/late 2000’s. you might have noticed that they had an interesting yet unquestionably obscure taste in music or movies.
After they were done introducing you to the sounds of Joy Division, The Smiths, and other alternative 80’s bands. After the music the hipster clan would start with the movies, starting off slow with the likes of ‘Juno’, ‘Garden State’ or ‘the perks of being a wallflower’.
Then one fateful day or night, one of your overtly irony-loving buddies suggests to the group to watch a comedy, but no one is in the mood for a crude Adam Sandler or Kevin Hart flick so one of them excitedly blurts out: “Have you guys seen ‘The Room’?”.
After that same person expounds the lore of everything behind The Room. From it being the worst movie ever made to describing Tommy Wiseau’s acting. You all decide to watch it.

As the movie begins and the first lines of dialogue from “The Room” ring off so does the first waves of laughter.
After watching that rather god-awful yet unintentionally comedic display of cult cinema you start to develop a sort of allure for it that you cannot explain.

You were exposed to one of Hollywood’s most incoherent and critically panned cult films… And oddly enough you like it a lot. You even started to research the actors, the budget, the mad-semi-genius-but-kind-of-weird-yet-fascinating Tommy Wiseau and of course, you have been practicing the “Oh, hi Mark” line in full Wiseau accent of course.
So it begs the question, was that a magnificent piece of art or complete and utter manure?

What a story Mark!
– Johnny

The Room 2018The story behind The Room is one told many times over in Hollywood, but with better acting and superior special effects. The story told by Tommy Wiseau is the basic ‘Man caught in the middle of something’ story arc. Since the story is not all too important or riveting, I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you… I mean it is not as if the story was written by Aaron Sorkin.
The story is about Johnny who is your standard issue American everyman that saves his money and is universally loved by everyone. Johnny has it all, his future wife Lisa, a good paying job as a banker and a trusty best friend named Mark.

As the story progresses, it turns out that Lisa is cheating on Johnny with his best friend Mark. After the over the top sex scenes with music that will make you want to stick two sharpened nr.2 pencils in your ears, things get kind of sad for good ol’ Johnny.

Lisa starts to spread rumors that Johnny hit her while denouncing him to her mother, who has cancer… but “That’s not really important to the story.” (As said by Tommy Wiseau himself)

The story then finds Tommy confronting Mark about the cheating and affronted him by telling him “You are not good, you are just a chicken” while flapping his arms and making chicken noises.
To wrap up the entire movie it just involves Johnny’s dramatic and yet extremely satisfying suicide…

Well wasn’t that one of the most Oscar-worthy plots you ever read?

Clearly not, but the genius comes in the way Tommy speaks and the mannerisms of the actors throughout this movie. I mean the behavior of the way that the characters acted is not the way an actual human-being would act.
To quote Tom Bissell the co-author of ‘The Disaster Artist’ (the book that reveals the events that took place during filming of The Room and is now a movie by James Franco) “It was as if this movie was written by an alien that never saw a movie before but had movies thoroughly explained to him”.  I could
not have said it better myself.

I like acting better than anything else, but, you know, directing’s good.
– Tommy Wiseau

The Room 2018
Golden Globes: James Franco Plans to Bring ‘The Room’ Director Tommy Wiseau to the Ceremony

Tommy Wiseau, he gets way more flack than he deserves sometimes. I mean so what if he looks like Dracula’s cousin? I would still love to meet him and have a non-‘The Room’-esque conversation with him.  Sometimes I wonder if he was simply playing himself in The Room.
Tommy Wiseau is known for saying some weird twaddle as my British peers would say. For starters, he once said that because of ‘The Room’ the crime rate in the U.S lowered down, on account that people were too busy watching his film. Now that’s my kind of guy.
Oh and he hates farts, with a brutal passion as he once flipped out on the set of ‘The Room’ because he suspected that someone farted in between takes. I don’t think anybody likes it when someone cuts the cheese. Yet Tommy loathes it so much that he openly requested the crew members to not do it and that it is “Disgusting and unnecessary”.

Besides the weird stuff, Tommy is a true American patriot, probably more patriotic than most Americans currently living in the United States. He has a profound love for America’s culture and pop-culture icons varying from Elvis to James Dean.

The man even took 5 minutes of silence alongside the entire cast of The Room during the one year anniversary of 9/11 and then began to chant USA over and over.
Oh, Tommy, it seems that you truly are from New Orleans.

The Room 2018
Tommy Wiseau and fans at live The Room event in Los Angeles (2010) – PopOptiq

The Room in 2018

Fans around the world still flock to theaters to catch a sold-out showing of The Room.
That sounds rather poetic considering the movie flopped on a major scale during its initial release which lasted around two weeks.
The popularity today has pretty much sky-rocketed considering that James Franco just directed and released the semi-autobiographical flick ‘The Disaster Artist’ about a month ago. The cult following derives from the fact that even though ‘The Room’ has the production value of pond scum and the writing prowess of Tyler Perry. It still manages to get an immense amount of laughs.

To categorize ‘The Room’  as a comedy wouldn’t be completely accurate as you have to be kind of mentally deficient to be able to watch those horrible sex scenes without cringing and tolerate the crappy dialogue from hell, but that’s what makes it such a sleeper hit of a movie. The fact that it makes you feel normal. Because you are reminded of the fact that you share the same breath of air as Tommy Wiseau.

All and all Tommy gave us a gift that keeps on giving and will keep on giving until future generations decide to ban The Room. In Johnny’s words: “If a lot of people loved each other the world would be a better place to live.

Top 5 Super Bowl Half-Time shows of all-time

As February kicks off, we common folk look forward to our second month of 2018.
Of course, Valentine’s Day is the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of February, especially if you’re single and morbidly depressed with no love conquests on the horizon or if you’re stuck in that pesky ol’ friend zone. For those who are unfortunate enough to be experiencing what I just wrote… Have no fear, we are not in a leap year and February will be over sooner than you think. For the rest of us and the sports universe, in particular, we have Super Bowl LII to look forward to! (52 for the non-Romans). Now without getting into statistical detail on the game, players, how the Eagles suffered through the road to the Super Bowl with countless injuries while still achieving clutch wins, the Patriots’ cheating controversy or Tom Brady…

No, I will be having none of that and I think most of the European readers just blew a sigh of thankful relief. The title, of course, is about the greatest Half-Time shows throughout history and also about what to expect with the current one to be performed by every 2000’s high school girl’s crush and the ever so brilliant Justin Timberlake. Since there has been more than a few Half-time shows ranging from Tom Petty to Beyoncé, the way I will be rating them is on how much impact it had in the United States whether it be during a time of turmoil or simply to commemorate recent achievements, the visual spectacle of the event and of course the quality of the performance itself. Bear in mind that it has been a most difficult task to work out which performance would take the number one spot as each act have their own merit. Without further a ‘do here are the top 5 Super Bowl Half-Time Shows of all time.

Bruce Springsteen (2009)

Number 5

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, 2009 – Photos – NY Daily News

Is there anyone alive out there?!

How could I not put The Boss on the list? Bruce Springsteen and the E-street band are probably the embodiment of working-class America and they certainly gave a show worthy of everyone in the United States regardless of your class back in 2009.

It all started with Bruce pointing at the camera while commanding the people back home to “Step away from the guacamole dip, put the chicken fingers down and turn your television ALL THE WAY UP!” as he kicked off the first song ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-out’ following  up with the fan-favorite ‘Born to run’ with a medley of ‘working on a dream’ and to wrap it up he finished with ‘Glory Days’ from one of his most successful albums ‘Born in the USA’.

In classic Springsteen fashion, his show did not contain many light shows, over-the-top mechanical figures that can shoot fire out of their mouths or even a ton of pop-stars on stage, no it was a miniature Springsteen concert. The show simply had two things that made it one of the best in Super Bowl history: 1. Passion and 2.  Unapologetic Rock N’ Roll. The show also had a whole lot of Bruce Springsteen and his classic sense of humor that sure did generate some laughs in the stadium as it did at home.

To this day it is hard to find anyone who can match his everyman bravado or his heart for showmanship which is why I rank Bruce at number 5.

Beyonce (2013)

Number 4

Beyonce performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl 2013 football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Baby it’s you! You’re the one I love!

No matter if you are part of the BeyHive (Actual name of the fan-base, I would never stoop so low to use such a horrible pun) or not. You know her name and you probably know at least one of her chart topping hits from ‘Single Ladies’, ‘Halo’ and ‘Formation’. Now just to be clear, I am not on the Queen-Bey train like most people, but I will admit she is one hell of a performer with fierce (get it) attitude to add and back in 2013 at her Super Bowl Half-Time performance. I realized why she receives such high acclaim and is frequently compared to the top pop-stars of all time.

Her performance started up with her singing a medley of ‘Love on top’ while her silhouette casts upon ascending fog as the color of the lighting switches to purple and then finally the lights turn on. As Beyoncé struts ahead to the sound of ‘Crazy in love’… The crowd goes wild. After the wonderfully upbeat ‘End of time’ performance that shook up the entire stadium, she then went in front of a wide LED screen where she continued to show off her amazing dance and choreographic ability while the visuals on the screen blew our everyone’s minds away.

Getting to the pinnacle moment of the show where she reveals that Destiny’s Child (her former group) is joining her onstage. After the performance of ‘Single Ladies’ by the entire group, Beyoncé then interludes to ‘Halo’, her final song of the evening that pulled our heartstrings… I mean let’s be honest that song is a guilty pleasure (even to me) and Beyoncé had to nab a spot on this list for the performance that she displayed throughout the Super Bowl Half-Time performance. She definitely runs the world when it comes to stage presence!

U2 (2002)

Number 3

U2, 2002 – Photos – NY Daily News

Put some soul in the world!

Before anything, U2 is my favorite band but that isn’t the reason why they are on this list. (or why they aren’t number 1)
The 36th Super Bowl took place in New Orleans and was the first Super Bowl after the events that took place on 9/11. The United States was in a state of turmoil, so much so that no one wanted to be at major events where possible attacks may happen. It was because of this the Irish rock band U2 decided to throw a touching tribute during the Half Time show to all the victims of 9/11 and their surviving family members. U2’s Super Bowl Half Time started out with their 2001 hit ‘Beautiful Day’ from their album ‘All that you can’t leave behind’.

After the clatter of the applause slowly began to die down, a synthesizer note rang out indicating the beginning of the song ‘MLK’ (A song Bono wrote for Dr. Martin Luther King), as Bono starts off the first verse, a giant screen drops down projecting the names of all the victims of 9/11 and the song interludes in to their fan-favorite tune ‘Where the streets have no name’.

At the end of the set Bono reveals an American Flag sown within his inner jacket and the crowd loses it completely, this was without a doubt one of the most tear-jerking Half-Time shows in history.
We commend you U2!
(Also the Patriots won, big Irony there!)

Michael Jackson (1993)

Number 2

Michael Jackson during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 1993. Photos – NY Daily News

Heal the world

How can we forget The King of Pop himself? (And the fact that OJ Simpson was there too on the field)

Just to start off, I would like to say that Michael Jackson basically redefined what a Super Bowl Half-Time show was. He was one of the first pop-stars to have been able to perform at the Super Bowl Half-Time show and of course, it is MJ. I mean, have you seen his concerts? They are the epitome of what ‘extravaganza’ is supposed to mean, but enough praise, let’s get to it.

Michael basically launched on the stage and stood there for about a 2 minutes posing and not flinching a muscle before he proceeded to jump into his hit songs and an eclectic display of his unmatched dance moves.
After ‘Black or White’ MJ then went on to a medley of ‘We are the world’. He then gave out a heartfelt speech about making sure that we take care of our world and make sure that no child should suffer on this earth. The show then closes with his humanitarian anthem ‘Heal the world’ joined onstage by children of different nationalities. The king was truly one of the greats within his craft and is dearly missed by the millions of die-hard MJ fans.

Prince (2007)

Number 1

Prince Performs “Purple Rain” During Downpour Super Bowl 2007 Halftime Show

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life!

I know what you are thinking, how can I possibly put Prince at number 1 and not Michael Jackson…

Well for starters, go ahead and watch the show. It was pouring gallons and gallons of rain that day and it did not tamper with  Prince’s outstanding showmanship whatsoever. His show consisted mostly of cover songs. You could see that he had no intention of remotely promoting himself and he was pretty much having fun regardless of the heavy rainfall. During the performance, a lot of people were worried about his four live guitars having technical difficulties on stage and the two dancers accompanying him on stage. Against all odds, Prince still managed to rock out ‘All along the watchtower’ and ‘Best of you’ (by the foo fighters) while stunning the stadium with his impeccable guitar solos and passionate high-tenor vocals.
The real magic of this Super Bowl Half-Time show came at the final song of his set. ‘Purple Rain’ was played in the rain and led to an exhilarating crescendo at the end of the night consisting of fireworks and the iconic Solo that accompanied his legendary Anthem.
Heaven must be filled with amazing festivals.

Timberlake at Super Bowl LII

Now that we’ve established that Prince holds the throne. We can focus on the next Super Bowl Half-time show that includes Justin Timberlake. What can we expect? (Except that he’ll be bringing sexy back). Personally I would love to see a return to the ‘Futuresex/lovesounds’ era kind of theme but also including his most recent hits of course. What we are likely to get though I cannot say,but Timberlake has gone in a different direction music wise. You can hear some country roots in his newest song ‘Say Something’ which some have taken rather negatively, but eh haters gonna hate… What I can guarantee though is that we will definitely be entertained this coming Super Bowl Half-Time show. Super Bowl 52 will be held at the US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis and will be showcasing the New England Patriots Versus the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday February 4th.