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Messages - honk

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Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Democracy Is Overrated
« on: December 07, 2021, 08:58:33 PM »
There is no possible scenario in which any kind of "test" to see who should be allowed to vote and who shouldn't be wouldn't promptly be manipulated and abused by the people in charge of said tests to only allow their preferred voters in.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: December 04, 2021, 04:51:47 AM »
Oh, come on, can you honestly say I'm wrong? There are some stories in which Conan is an absolute cock. "The God in the Bowl," for instance. Conan maims multiple innocent guardsmen in that one. You know that's just not cool. And I haven't even seen the Conan movie with Momoa in it. Maybe I should watch it and report back.
I meant more in that it seems like you don't quite get Conan or if you do get it then you don't like it but I do kinda think you miss the point a bit.

His prose is overly ponderous and self-serious, he had an annoying tendency to repeat basic plots over and over, his racism certainly hasn't aged well, and Conan himself often comes across as just plain unlikable. Still, there's plenty of great fantasy out there that owes a lot to his influence. I like to think that Conan walked so that Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser could run.

Conan is great because he reads a bit like a demigod/hero from old mythologies. Complete with self-serious and repeating basic plots. Conan is definitely highly unlikeable at times but that's what makes him fantastic. He's such an arrogant, violent, hypermasculine caricature and that's what makes him fun.

But I'm sure you'll hate Momoa as Conan as well even though he's actually perfect for the role. The rest of the movie has its downsides but I would have been thrilled to get a Conan series with Momoa.

This is a valid interpretation of Conan, but saying that it's "the point" of the character as if that was Howard's intent is highly questionable. I don't believe that Howard intended Conan to be a "caricature" or a character viewed ironically at all, and judging by the contents of the many letters Howard wrote, Conan seemed to embody many of his own sincere beliefs about the importance of physical strength, the inherent corruption of society, and the merits of adhering to personal morals rather than official laws. And the stories themselves explicitly state that Conan is a charismatic, compelling figure whom people are naturally drawn to follow, which is how he ends up as the leader of so many mercenary bands and eventually a king. It's a little hard to square that description with the Conan we directly see when so much of his dialogue is just boorish threats and insults.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: December 04, 2021, 04:03:54 AM »

In a gritty cyberpunk future where advanced VR gaming is the biggest industry in the world, you are a game detective, or "gamedec" who investigates and infiltrates virtual worlds at the behest of your clients. Gameplay-wise, this is an isometric CRPG where you interact with the environment by examining objects, talking to NPCs, and in general gathering information to solve the mysteries you're presented with. The clues you gather are listed in a "deduction" feature of the menu where you can then make conclusions about the evidence so far, which then leads you to the next part of the mystery. It's a great setup, but I will say that from what I've seen, it doesn't really matter if the deductions you make are right or wrong. You're guided on to the next stage of the case and given all the same information you would have been regardless. That's pretty disappointing, and I think that this is exactly the kind of game (as opposed to a big mainstream AAA title) that could afford to have real consequences for messing up investigations and coming to the wrong conclusions. Still, the mysteries are still pretty fun to think through and solve, even if it's for only the first time you play through them.

There's also a major twist near the end of the game that dramatically changes everything about the story so far, and I didn't care for it. To the game's credit, it's not a complete ass-pull. There are some clues hidden in the story and the background lore that foreshadow it, and it's nowhere near as bad as the shitty "It was all just a dream/hallucination" cop-out, but it still felt like the rug was being pulled out from under me. The twist also means that this is yet another video game where the final act is radically different to the rest of the game, and also far weaker. In this case, it drops the investigative elements entirely and just becomes a regular point-and-click adventure. I don't understand why some devs pull this kind of stunt. If I'm playing a game and I'm nearing the end, it's a pretty safe bet that I'm enjoying the game for what it is. Why change key elements of the gameplay so late in the game? Why fix what isn't broken?

Setting that aside, solving cases as a cyberpunk video game detective is fun, I like the pulpy overarching story everything builds up to (at least until the unnecessary twist), and there's some clever satire of current trends in modern games in the portrayal of these fictional game worlds, or even in just the lore text files you can read. There's an aggressively monetized freemium farming sim, a Star Citizen parody that mocks that game's relentless selling of digital spaceships coupled with its never-ending development, an edgelord adult game where you rack up points by killing people or having sex with them, and still others. There's a lot to like in this game, and while it's not for everyone, I'm glad I experienced it.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Rama Does Acting
« on: December 04, 2021, 02:36:44 AM »
Well, you're no Jason Momoa, but I think you did pretty well. The smug insincerity in particular feels spot-on.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: December 01, 2021, 06:33:25 AM »
I never said any of that.  I dont think anything should be overlooked, but not every scene is there to be mined for emotional and dramatic importance either. Some scenes have very simple purposes, and do not require as much from the performers.

If a scene is being acted at all, then it should be acted well. Not acted more, acted well. In my view, Momoa's acting in that scene - and in pretty much every non-action scene he was in - was poor not because he didn't act more, but because he didn't act well. I don't think I can put it any more simply than that. I don't drop my standards for any scenes when I watch a movie, and with this movie in particular, I never needed to, because every main actor aside from Momoa gave a great performance in every scene. Even when it wasn't an especially dramatic scene. Even when they were delivering exposition.

Your characterization of Momoa as "half-hearted" is not something you could ever substantiate so you may want to drop it.  You don't get offers for work like he gets if you are dogging it.

Nothing about calling Momoa's performance half-hearted suggests that he himself is overall a lazy or apathetic person, but nevertheless, Momoa's usual line delivery is by its very nature low-effort, because his laid-back, easygoing persona is part of his charm. I don't think it's good acting, but it's clearly popular, and that's why he's had the success he's had.

Also, if you think characters having varying emotional depth is handwaving then you may want to go back and have a look at fictional characters again because it's just a fact.

Of course, but in this case, it's just coming up as an after-the-fact rationalization of a poor performance. If Duncan in particular is meant to be emotionally shallow, the logical question to ask is why, and an answer of "because otherwise it means Momoa would have given a bad performance" isn't good enough. Characteristics are there to serve the story, and they can and should be excised if they aren't doing that. So why does Duncan smirk his way through his report with the same energy he'd give off if he were asking his buddies to meet him at the local bar for drinks? Is it for comedic effect? No. Duncan clearly isn't taking anything that happened to him seriously, but there's nothing about his report that's particularly ha-ha funny. Is it meant to provide a contrast with the more serious characters he's making his report to? No. Those characters don't really respond or show any particular reaction to Duncan's demeanor. Is it meant to provide a contrast with Stilgar's subsequent appearance? Also no. Stilgar does clash with the other characters, but it doesn't really have anything to do with how Duncan presented his report. In short, I don't believe that Duncan is simply meant to be emotionally shallow, and I certainly don't believe that he was ever intended to be the dudebro Momoa portrayed him as until Momoa ended up in the role. The end result is that we have a bad actor giving a bad performance in a room surrounded by great actors giving great performances.

Welp, I have absolutely no desire to ever read your opinions on fantasy if that's how you feel about Conan.

And it definitely makes sense why you dislike Jason Momoa.

Oh, come on, can you honestly say I'm wrong? There are some stories in which Conan is an absolute cock. "The God in the Bowl," for instance. Conan maims multiple innocent guardsmen in that one. You know that's just not cool. And I haven't even seen the Conan movie with Momoa in it. Maybe I should watch it and report back.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: December 01, 2021, 03:54:30 AM »
He did a lot of scenes in Game of Thrones without speaking where he conveyed a lot about his relationship with Danerys. It’s not easy and he pulled it off really well. Momoa is an actor who made his mark by portraying parts with physicality and has shown chops in that, seen clearly in his fight scenes.

Fair enough. Momoa is very physically capable and excels in action scenes.

Exposition should be dealt with quickly and efficiently. Which he did. That’s about as effective as it gets. Honestly, you don’t really want exposition to be drawn out in any way because it’s not written for any purpose than delivering information. I still got the sense that he respected and awed by the Fremen. There is zero need to add dramatic content to this scene. The movie already has a pretty heavy handed tone.


You are trying to make a scene that wasn’t written. The scene is a reunion where stories are shared. It’s meant to be light hearted, which is why Brolin also makes “dudebro” jokes. Duncan talks about how legit the Fremen are and they move on. The part you want in this scene is in the scene with Bardem. Why double down? There is already too much material to get through, being precious by trying to add dramatic heft to every scene would bog it down.

It’s also worth noting that not all characters should have deep emotional lives. The actors are trying to portray authentic people in extraordinary circumstances and within that you will find people who are emotionally shallow.

I couldn't possibly disagree more with all of this. Every scene in a movie is important. Every scene should be done to the best of everyone's abilities. Every actor should give the best performance they can. I fundamentally do not believe that lame dialogue should be overlooked on the grounds that it's just exposition and a necessary evil, or that a dull scene should be shrugged off because it's just setting the stage for what's to follow, or that a halfhearted performance should be handwaved away because hey, maybe that character is just emotionally shallow, nothing to see here, move along. The film is the sum of its parts, both good and bad. Every line of dialogue, every scene, every character, and every performance are what make the film. If a certain scene feels it like it's only there because it has to be, and it's just something that you want to get over with quickly, then the movie has a problem.

I find it interesting that you accuse Momoa of this but never mention Bautista. His portrayal didn’t exhibit a ton of range; I don’t think it needed to and Bautista doesn’t even have the charisma of someone like Momoa.

Bautista has hardly a minute of screen time and only one or two lines, so his performance barely registered with me. But while Bautista isn't a particularly good actor either, he at least tries to give the appropriate performance for whatever role he's in. For better or worse, he doesn't just play essentially the same character every time.

Greetings, fellow generic fantasy fan.
How dare you. Robert E Howard created the character in 1932. Show some fucking respect.

I appropriated "generic fantasy" from Rushy a long time ago and now use it as a term of endearment. I have great respect for Howard as a pioneer of early heroic fantasy/sword and sorcery. One of these days I'm going to write a big post in the books thread where I talk about various fantasy writers from the early twentieth century and how Tolkien was not in fact the first author to write - or even achieve great success from - fantasy. Howard definitely has a place there, although I have to say on a personal note that I find him to be one of the least interesting of the early fantasists. His prose is overly ponderous and self-serious, he had an annoying tendency to repeat basic plots over and over, his racism certainly hasn't aged well, and Conan himself often comes across as just plain unlikable. Still, there's plenty of great fantasy out there that owes a lot to his influence. I like to think that Conan walked so that Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser could run.

He sounds like a dudebro.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Terrible Political Memes
« on: November 30, 2021, 05:14:17 AM »

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: November 30, 2021, 05:06:27 AM »
He’s not a poor actor

Well, this is where we disagree. Momoa is a likable screen presence, but his acting ability could be described most generously as very limited. This really isn't an especially controversial opinion. Momoa's looks and charisma are what made him the star he is today, not his dramatic chops.

A good actor would not make a meal of a scene of exposition...Momoa was there to pass on some information, not win an Oscar. He understood that and Villeneuve understood that, so you got a simple scene with some of Momoa’s charisma, which you don’t like because it’s too “dude bro” which doesn’t mean much

If something is worth doing, then it's worth doing well. Even if it's just exposition. I'm not saying that Momoa should have chewed the scenery or tried to make the whole scene about himself the way that someone like Jared Leto would have done. I'm simply saying that he could have effectively acted as he recited his lines of exposition, rather than remaining firmly in Momoa-mode (Moamode?).

it wasn’t the introduction to the Fremen, that was in Paul’s visions, and Villeneuve rightly saved the impact of the Fremen for Javier Bardems scene with Duke Atreiades, show don’t tell.

Okay, so this reads as a little contradictory to me, but I'll just ignore that - Paul's hazy visions of a couple of Fremen standing in front of him holding bloody knives was hardly a real introduction to the Fremen, and I think that a good performance from Momoa would have made Stilgar's subsequent introduction resonate more. It's interesting that you mention "show, don't tell," because that's the basic gist of what I think would have improved the scene. Effective nonverbal acting from Momoa would show us how impressed he is by the Fremen and how deeply he's come to respect them, instead of just having to rely on dialogue to tell us how impressed he is by the Fremen and how deeply he's come to respect them.

Like the Conan the Barbarian reboot. He actually did a fantastic job as Conan but I don't think people liked it because he didn't have the same cheese ball energy Arnold had. However, he was actually a MUCH better Conan and I say that as someone who has read almost all of the original Conan stories.

Greetings, fellow generic fantasy fan.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: November 30, 2021, 01:14:51 AM »
His expression and tone did change.

I feel like you're taking what I said out of context with a reply like this. I'm aware that Momoa's expression and tone changed during the scene, as indicated by my criticism of Momoa smirking and chuckling his way through the report with his usual dudebro nonchalance. When I said that "his tone of voice could have changed, his expression could have shifted somewhat," I was talking about what a good actor would do to convey the emotions or feelings his mission brought up in him. The contrast was with Momoa handling the scene like he's just chilling with his friends, not with Momoa showing no emotion whatsoever and reciting his lines robotically.

Why are you so butthurt? Go watch an actual bad movie.

I don't know why you'd think I'm butthurt about any of this. I enjoyed the movie a lot and simply criticized Momoa for being a poor actor whose performance was the film's low point. I even conceded that Momoa's fans would almost certainly like his role, given that it's Momoa doing his usual Momoa thing.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: November 29, 2021, 10:14:33 PM »
I don't know, seems kinda in character to not emote that much. Just because you don't like his lanes doesn't mean he's awful. And I remember thinking it was obvious how much he respected the Fremens after his report. Sounds like a personal hang up tbh

Of course it's personal, seeing how Momoa is inexplicably a huge star despite his lack of any real acting talent. As I said, if you like Momoa, then you'll like him here. He once more does his usual Momoa shtick, which I guess is exactly what his fans want from him.

Ah yes, elite military personnel and their emotional field reports. Makes total sense.

Oh, please. There is nothing even remotely professional, realistic, or sensible about Momoa's character. His entire role is filtered through his dudebro persona, and this scene is no different. He grins and chuckles his way through the whole thing, giving off the exact same energy he would if he were telling his buddies about a wild night he spent drinking. And yes, I think he should have been conveying some emotions or feelings about what he experienced. Not that he should have broken down weeping, but his tone of voice could have changed, his expression could have shifted somewhat, and the like. A good actor would have done those things, and not only would it have been perfectly realistic, it would have made the scene - our first real introduction to the Fremen, remember - considerably stronger.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: November 29, 2021, 02:48:45 AM »
Momoa can't emote. Well, he can show anger, but not much else. The scene where he reports on his scouting mission is the worst part. There are so many feelings he should be conveying at that moment - awe at the size and scale of the Fremen civilization, unease at his brush with death, admiration or envy of the Fremen's skill in combat - but instead he just casually smirks his way through every line. It's terrible. And that's my real issue with Momoa's acting. It's less that his characters are largely the same at their core and more that they all stay in the two lanes Momoa is comfortable with - yelling and fighting in action scenes and casual dudebro nonchalance in all other scenes.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: November 28, 2021, 04:29:47 AM »
Dune was good. Jason Momoa was great.

Yes, I'm sure that fans of Momoa eager to see him once again play himself will enjoy his role.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: November 26, 2021, 06:06:06 AM »
Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021)

This is really good. It looks fantastic, has a great sense of size and scale, and even Hans Zimmer's soundtrack has a unique, stylish feel to it, rather than the generic "BWAAAAA" droning so much of his output seems to be defined by lately. It also has an amazing cast full of some really talented actors - and also Jason Momoa. I can only assume that Momoa was hired because they really wanted to slap another big name on the poster and he was the highest-profile actor being considered, because he is awful in this. Nowhere near as bad as Jared Leto's atrocious performance in Blade Runner 2049, to be fair, but still bad enough to be the worst part of the movie. Momoa simply can't act. Every line from him is delivered in the same nonchalant dudebro tone of voice and accompanied by the same shit-eating grin. Maybe this bothers me more than it does most other people, but his presence was a major distraction. The rest of the cast melted into their roles, but Jason Momoa playing Jason Momoa stood out and shattered my immersion every time he appeared on the screen.

I've always believed that idea of an armed citizenry defending liberty from our federal government was an absolutely delusional redneck fantasy. I need the federal government to have resources and weaponry to defend us from powerful nation states all over the world. I want a government that can defend us from extremist terror groups with technology and intelligence.

Our government is not going to fall to a bunch of bumpkins with hand guns and hunting rifles!

A determined population is more than capable of resisting an occupying army, even one with far superior technology. America's recent military failures in the Middle East are strong evidence of this. By the same token, though, it's not the possession of the weapons guaranteed by the Second Amendment that allows them to fight back. It's more a question of their resourcefulness and determination.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: November 19, 2021, 09:58:32 PM »
Unless the 2024 democratic ticket is devoid of both Biden and Harris it's likely we're in for another 4 years of the Donald.

There is a virtually 0% chance that Trump wins ever again.

What makes you think that? The Republican nomination for 2024 is his if he wants it, and if he runs again, I'd say he has a very good chance of winning.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: November 15, 2021, 08:08:37 PM »
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021)

Easily the best MCU production in years - right up until the last twenty minutes or so, when the hero's compelling struggle against his villainous father (masterfully played by Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung - his performance is by far the best part of the movie) is abruptly shoved aside in favor of an incomprehensible CGI clusterfuck in which big blobs of CGI smash against each other so that the heroes can save the world or something. And it had been going so well. I loved almost everything up to that point. It all felt so cool and unique, with the emphasis on fantastical martial arts clearly inspired by wire fu films. And then right at the climax, all that stuff which was working so well is quickly thrown out the window and we get to see the exact same capeshit "destroy the big CGI thing" cliché we've already seen a million times. Why? Why was this necessary? Why did it have to be a big ugly CGI thing yet again?

Also, this isn't really a major problem with the movie or anything, but Marvel's approach to empowering its female characters is really, really bad. I'm not an anti-feminist or anything like that, far from it, but this weird thing they've been doing over the past few years where they have characters just shilling how awesome the female characters are, or have the female characters themselves condescendingly putting down the males and telling them smugly how much better than them they are just isn't how you do it. It's bad writing, and it's bad representation. Shang-Chi is another example of this annoying tendency, with the movie going to great pains to emphasize how totally badass and successful the hero's sister is and how she's a better martial artist than any man despite being entirely self-taught (Yeah, did you know that you can just teach yourself martial arts? That's totally how it works!). Textually, the character has a genuinely poignant arc about how she feels broken and betrayed by how her brother abandoned her years ago, and her struggle to come to terms with that. But that implies that she has vulnerability, and any vulnerability the character is meant to have is drowned out by the movie's furious chest-beating about how awesome Captain Girlboss is.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: November 12, 2021, 11:02:35 PM »

Trump's words aren't being twisted or taken out of context. He explicitly defended people who were specifically yelling to hang his own VP for not falsely declaring Trump the real winner. And people still support this egomaniac.

Famous last words of child rapist Rosenbaum before he died: "shoot me, nigga!" He wasn't black, by the way. So Rittenhouse killed a racist rapist that was attacking him. How sad, how horrible, society is so much worse off because of this. Where's the justice? lmao.

You know that none of this is relevant to the case at hand. Rosenbaum clearly wasn't trying to rape anyone or commit a hate crime. Murder trials are not settled on the question of "but was the victim a good person tho."

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: October 25, 2021, 08:49:00 PM »
No Time to Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2021)

Not as bad as Quantum of Solace or Spectre, but nowhere near as good as Casino Royale or Skyfall. Like the two weaker movies I just mentioned, No Time to Die is obsessed with continuity between the movies and constantly expositing about how the plot of one leads to the plot of another. This focus on continuity rather than solid, standalone storytelling was a major flaw with those movies, and it's a major flaw with this one too. Léa Seydoux is still a boring love interest sharing no chemistry with Craig, and I can only assume that she was brought back because of this franchise's all-important continuity - hey, if she just disappeared between movies, that would be a "plot hole," and then all the nerdbro "critics" on YouTube would get super mad! Rami Malek brings absolutely nothing to his role as a villain, and that was honestly a real surprise to me as well as a disappointment. He's little more than a silly accent and a scarred face.

There are a few positives, thankfully. Fukunaga is a great director with a good eye for action, Craig gives it his all with probably his best performance as Bond, and they've set up a really nice supporting cast for the future of this franchise that I'd love to see come back. But for the love of God, I am begging, I am pleading - stop worrying about the fucking continuity. Just make a fun standalone action/adventure movie in which Bond saves the world and meets a new lady friend. Do that every few years, and everyone will be happy.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Cancel culture
« on: October 24, 2021, 02:48:34 AM »
I feel like the OP has things a little backwards. The decision to "cancel" a public figure by deplatforming them, cutting ties with them, or otherwise professionally shunning them, is always going to rest with the studios, publishers, and other corporations that have the power to do so. It's not something that can be achieved by general consensus on Twitter. Netflix chose to stand by Chappelle and his material. WB and JK Rowling's publisher chose to stand by her. They absolutely could have chosen to "cancel" them instead, and that wouldn't have been any more definitive proof of the almighty power of cancel culture than the fact that they didn't is definitive proof of its impotence. Conversely, Hollywood could have chosen to not cancel people like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. They would have been harshly criticized and possibly faced boycotts for it, which is probably why they didn't do it, but they could have done it, and I have no doubt that at least Weinstein (and quite possibly Spacey too) could have weathered the storm and continued his career. Another great example is Mel Gibson. Hollywood blacklisted him back in 2006, long before online outrage took the form it holds now, and was only welcomed back into the fold after several years of exile. Cancel culture is not something that happens to studios and other corporations, it's something they choose to actively do or not do.

Shane Gillis is a bizarre example to bring up as evidence of the ineffectiveness of cancel culture. I'd say he was pretty effectively canceled when he lost his role on SNL and with it his shot at mainstream success. Of course he wasn't going to delete his podcast out of shame and retire from comedy altogether as a result, and I think it's a little silly to imply that's a metric to measure whether or not someone has been canceled. And regarding Michael Richards, let's be real - his career in film and television more or less began and ended with Seinfeld. The incident with his racist tirade wasn't notable because it marked the end of his career, it was notable because it was the first time anyone had heard of him in the years since the end of that show. He's either got the worst agent in Hollywood, or, as I suspect is more likely, he's simply chosen to leave film and television behind and focus on small-time local comedy.

And speaking of comedy, I believe that we as a society have reached a point where mocking and belittling marginalized groups publicly is no longer considered acceptable, and that's not a bad thing. The idea of changing societal standards is also not a new one. A hundred years ago, comedy acts frequently involved blackface and open, overt racism. I'm sure if those comedians were still around today, they would call us oversensitive for not considering their acts to be acceptable, just like aging comedians today call modern audiences oversensitive for pushing back on their acts ridiculing people for being gay, trans, or having a foreign accent when they used to perform them with no backlash for so long before.

If the standard for what's considered harmful to trans people is this low then entertainers will most likely just never talk about them publicly. That sort of dehumanization seems to me like it would be harmful to that community.

Yes, I'm sure that trans people would be horrified if entertainers stopped talking about them publicly.

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