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Must Be Getting Soft

There are many instances that I can recall where I gave my stepmom, Kim, a hard time when it came to depressing movies.  She just hated them.  Didn't matter how great the acting or cinematography was, if it was sad then she didn't see the point.  I, on the other hand, thought that sad endings were the best because they were "real."  And I'd be sure to give her a hard time whenever I saw her watch a cliché romcom with the most stereotypical ending possible.  It just didn't make sense to me.  They were on all accounts "bad movies" from the acting to the directing and especially to the story.  And she knew that and agreed but she watched them anyway.  "Why would anyone ever want to watch something that hits all these happy beats in the worst ways and has a stupid happy ending?"  Kim argued that life was already sad enough, she didn't need that in her movies.  At the time, I didn't really understand the concept.  Now I do.

Life is fucking sad.  People die and don't get to magically come back due to mysterious circumstances.  People go missing without a trace and their families are never given an ounce of closure.  Karma does not exist.  Good guys do not always get the bad guys and bad guys don't always go punished.  Life sucks.  So why would I want to focus on anything but the good?  I want to see a movie about a cancer patient overcoming their terminal illness.  I want to see a movie where they find the missing person and arrest the sonuvabitch who abducted them.  Hell, I don't WANT to see a good guy catch a bad guy, I NEED to see it.

I rarely watch anything that isn't comedy-related nowadays.  I've always had a love for comedy (with a recent obsession with stand-up) as it's just been my "go-to" for something to put on when I need something to fall asleep to, write to, or just mindlessly watch.  I become too invested in dramas and they effect my life too much.  The Red Wedding?  That shit wrecked me for days.  Felt like I had lost a relative.  Hell, I have a difficult time nowadays when it comes to watching any film drama.  Just the other day I put on Short Term 12 and had to shut it off during the first scene that even hinted at something bad going on.  I just couldn't handle it.  Kim was right, life is depressing enough.  Why would I use my escape as just another look at someone else's unhappiness?

Spoilers for Edge of Tomorrow

As a matter of fact, I recently had the ending of Tom Cruise's latest film, Edge of Tomorrow, spoiled for me via facebook.  At first I was a little annoyed that a key aspect was ruined for me.  "Oh hey, it's a super happy ending. Don't worry though, I'm not giving details so it's not a spoiler."  Fuck you, asshole.  Anyhoo, I saw the film despite that and I couldn't help but keep thinking "I'm so glad that this has a happy ending.  These characters have been put through fucking hell.  I don't want to see a sad ending."  And that was the moment I realized I was not even close to the same movie fan I once was.  I'm used to constantly rooting for the sadder ending.  Hell, in the horror genre, the sadder the better.

Does this mean that I won't ever appreciate a fantastically executed sad ending?  Of course not.  Se7en is still one of my favorite movies ever and The Mist is fucking brilliant.  Don't worry, I still like sad endings but I think the main difference is that I'll actually be rooting for the happy ending nowadays.  I'll be rooting for the survivor girl in whatever slasher I'm watching to make it to the end without the killer coming back.  I'll be hoping that Seth Rogen can totally land whichever out-of-his-league actress is involved with him in Apatow's latest.  Because I've realized that rooting for the sad ending isn't campaigning for artistic merit or wanting a real representation of life.  It's fucked up.

I think it's really just about growing up.  When I was in high school, watching a dark depressing film on something related outside to schooling, I could have an outsiders perspective.  As soon as films start taking you back to bad memories PTSD-style, then it's usually the time that they become harder to watch.  I know that's how it has been for me and while I haven't lost an appreciation for what I liked before, it could easily affect my viewing of anything else in the future.  Change in perspectives happen, I'm just not sure with me how much it's "I love happy endings" vs. "I hate sad endings" because neither is true.  However, if you make me really feel for your character and make them a deep, dimensional person, then yeah, like in life, I'm gonna root for the happy ending for them.  Because everyone deserves that.  And I'm not an asshole.

Or at least I try not to be.

Swayed Back By Nothing New

I used to play video games a lot when I was in high school.  Like, a fucking lot.  Some days I'd be putting 8 hours into a video game all the while going to school and having a social life.  Thankfully my social life transferred over into gaming.  Most of my best friends had Xbox Live and we'd voice chat on there for hours while we played.  It was just a part of growing up and being kids.  As you may remember, I recently wrote a blog post about my falling out of love with video games and so, after several suggestions from readers, I decided to see if it was just a phase, if I had finally "grown up" or if I just hate having fun. 

Someone suggested that I seek out games/genres that I had never really played before -- this meant J-RPG's and post-N64 Nintendo.  I tried some out and thought that all was lost because of my growing hatred while the controller was in my hand.  In fact, I think that I hated video games a little more after playing some of the newer Zelda and Final Fantasy games.  So I wanted to go an entirely different route -- revisit some of the older games that I sunk weeks and weeks, months and months, what felt like years and years into.  

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Halo: Reach.  Dear god do I love these games.  I really thought that I was just completely done with FPS' and that the genre had lost its appeal to me.  Not the case at all, if anything this has made me realize that it's the games themselves, not the type of game which has been turning me off.  Halo and COD4 are both FUN games, either epitomizing the series or the starting point for something new.  I'm sure I put more hours into Halo 2 and Halo 3 but I can't exactly play 2 online and 3 is in a deep, dark place in Michigan known as under my bed.  So Reach it was.  Now I'm sure that a lot of it is nostalgia.  I'm an extremely nostalgic person, sometimes to a fault, so this hits all the right notes.  The maps in both of these games are etched so hard into my memory that I can close my eyes and walk perfectly around them.  It's that bad.  So the cards were stacked in gamings favor for this and I must say, I think I may have been won back.

The recent announcement of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the rumored Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Collection and Gears of War Collection show that my hobby of gaming just may continue, but not in the way it did before.  These are the same games I've played before, just with some updated graphics and, sometimes, a new engine.  But that's really the point in my enjoyment of it.  I don't want to have to learn an entirely new game and maps.  If I did that, I wouldn't be playing a franchise game like either of these.  It's kind of sad, I remember my dad using the same reasoning for not wanting to play video games whenever I'd try to prod him into a game of Madden.  "It's too much work, I can't invest the time to be good."  At the time I just saw it as an old-person-response (my dad was like 35 at the time.  That's old to young me) and moved on.  Now I get it.

I've actually had several discussions with friends recently about the state of gaming.  I seem to be the only one not upset about the fact that all these games are being remade for Next-Gen.  They all claim that they want new content, not another remake.  Maybe if original content hadn't disappointed me so much for the past few years, then maybe I'd share their sentiment.  But unfortunately the state of gaming is sad one.  Games are constantly being released broken just because developers are able to release patches for them and so a release date is not the ultimate quality control for them.  Except it is to this gamer.  I'm sick of broken games being released just to make a deadline.  As soon as it trickled into my beloved Mass Effect series, I knew we were in for trouble.  Then the debacle known as Battlefield 4 happened and here we are -- hesitant at every release.  Will it be broken?  Will I even be able to play on Day One (*ahem*Titanfall).

The lying going on in the videogame industry is worse than ever.  E3 seems to just be an opportunity to promise original content that never ends up delivering.  I quite enjoy the recently released Watchdogs and it's one of my favorite games for Xbox One.  However, the graphics are not even a sliver of what we were promised when the game was first announced.  Hell, we were treated to "gameplay video" that looked like it was the future of gaming.  Cut to release and it looks about on par with Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V.  And yeah, in case you weren't aware, that was for LAST generation.  It's made it so I don't believe anything going on at E3.  The only thing I can trust is an update to my favorite from the past.  Kind of sad.

I suppose I'm just retreating into what's familiar due to the fact that I have no faith in original content.  I've been disappointed too many times.  I'm the type of person that learns from experience and as of this point in my life, I know that if it's not coming from Rockstar, then chances are 50/50 that it's going to suck. These upcoming remakes are not just that.  It's not like they're replacing voice actors and changing what we once knew.  This is a remastering of what I consider to be some of my favorite games of all time.  And they couldn't have come at a more pivotal times.  Who knows, given a little more time, I may have been forced to grow up.

As if.

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