Saturday, November 2, 2019

How the story of Star Wars changed over time

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

There is this weird thing going on regarding the main plot of Star Wars. And when I say "main plot", I mean the movies, just so we're clear on the whole "Extended Universe" nonsense. Look at the prequels, for example. Buckets full of abuse have been heaped on them for their storylines, some rightfully so ("I hate sand"), some less. Sean and I did a podcast about that back in the day (BLAH 57, to be precise). 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Dark Season 2 Guide to Germany

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look! 

On recommendation of my illustrious co-host, I watched the second season of Dark, and as with the first one, I'll provide you with a guide of miscellany about Germany as we go along. Given the time-sensitiveness of new shows on Netflix, I'll publish this one right now, so the next BLAP will be out at the beginning of August.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Disney's performative wokeness

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look! 

When "Captain Marvel" hit the cinemas, a debate - no, a fight, really - went into overdrive. The point of contention, it goes thusly: How badly does Disney pander to progressives and liberals in its movies? If you're a right-winger, the answer was clear. Disney is pushing an agenda, trying to brainwash its audiences, and it will not stand. If you're a progressive or liberal, a lot of it is just overblown, as Disney is - finally!  - attempting to represent society as it is.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Don't overinterpret the Behind-the-episode-pieces

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look! 

After every episode of "Game of Thrones" airs, HBO also releases a documentary of sorts, called "Inside the Episode", like you find as bonus material on practically every DVD or BlueRay. In it, the actors are interviewed, we get looks into the production process, people show how the sausage is being made. Prominently featured in all these videos are Benioff and Weiss, the show's creators, who explain the plot.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Once Upon An Insufferable Adaptation

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look! 
 
Back when Deadpool came out, way back when in 2016, it resonated with a lot of people. It made fun of the ubiquitous superhero genre, it was edgy, it was gory, it had a lot of humor. Many people took its self-parody and crowbar-style subtlety in strides and made it into a surprise hit. It was inevitable that it would be followed up by a sequel. 

My Star Wars pitches

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look! 
 
Now that Star Wars is officially on hiatus for...some period of time with...some part of the franchise, I want to take the opportunity and pitch some ideas for Star Wars movies. We know that the background for the decision to take a little break from theatrical releases lay in the disappointing performance of "Solo", a movie that was famously regarded as a bad idea by illustrious hosts of this here show even when it was announced. The other foray into movies independent from the main saga, "Rogue One", fared much better.

Rewatching Spiderman 2

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look! 

I watched a lot of YouTube videos lately analyzing Spiderman 2. Those things tend to be like stock markets and herd on the same topics for some reason, but the videos are good. That's not the point, though. I realized it's been 15 years since I watched the movie, so I decided to rewatch it. And it's been a weird experience.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The god of Black-and-White fallacies

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look! 
 
Thor Ragnarok poses a great example for the black-and-white fallacy. You might wonder what I'm talking about. What do logical fallacies and the construction of arguments have to do with that fun romp of a movie? Don't worry, I'll explain. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Why Kylo Ren is the best Star Wars villain of all time

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look! 
I'm going to take the fully objective and uncontroversial stance here. I think Kylo Ren is the best villain of any Star Wars movie. You can't really argue with that, so I will kindly take you through this process so you can arrive at the same conclusion. A service of your Boiled Leather Audio Popculture.
Before we arrive at this conclusion, let us take a look at the contenders. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My own experiences at gardening

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!

George R. R. Martin is famous for coining the terms "gardener" and "architect" to designate different approaches to storytelling (and also in some corners for the obscure fantasy saga "A Song of Ice and Fire"). I think these terms are just brillant, and rightfully reserve Martin the place in the pantheon of literature analysists that he has.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer analysis

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!  
 
The first trailer for Game of Thrones Season 8 dropped! It's THE FINAL SEASON (all in caps). So, naturally, it wants to be examined. Given the time-sensititive nature of this release, I'll do it today instead of in a week, so the next installment of these mini-essays (and, for only 1$ more, the audio version!) will come end of the month, before you're confused about the release schedule.
With that out of the way, into medias res! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Movie reviews lightning round

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look! 
 
I used the winter vacations for follow up on a few movies I hadn't seen yet that I had on my to-do list for quite a while. So, here is my list with short reviews in a lightning round! Maybe you'll find inspiration as well. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse review

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look! 
 
So, I went to the movies with my son and a friend of his (both six years old) and watched the new Spiderman movie. You know, the animated one. It got raving reviews, so I wanted to know whether it really is any good. And to take the major thing out of the way directly: oh boy yes, it's good. Like, really good. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Blue curtains

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!
 
There is a common joke about literature teachers going like this.
Author writes: "The curtains were blue."
Lit teacher says: "This reflects on the generally depressed state of the protagonist."
Author meant: "The curtains were blue."
Ha ha ha. Drum rolls. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Is it in the text?

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!
 
I remain consistently amazed by people who read "A Song of Ice and Fire" and clearly misunderstand the text. How can you, for example, read the saga and come away with the idea that Tywin is a role-model in how to govern or rule a family? The proofs for the opposite conclusion are right there in the text, and I could quote you a host of scenes in which is made entirely clear, from Tywin's stinking corpse to hill clans dying for "The Ned's" daughter. But PoorQuentyn is doing such a consistently good job with this that I'll let him earn the laurels for it. 

Why biopics suck even on the moon

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!
 
On the site "Birth Movies Death", there's an interesting review about the bioic "First Man", which covers Neill Armstrong's landing on the moon:

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The other side of northern badassery

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look! 

There's a thought that come to me randomly thinking about the part of "A Dance with Dragons" in which the greybeards of several northern houses join up mainly (though not exclusively) with Stannis. In the text, we get the explanation that, with winter looming, they go on what essentially is a suicide mission to relieve their communities of useless mouths. Instead of doing it as literal suicide, as seems common in the North (disguised as "going hunting"), they use their death wish to "taste Bolton blood on my lips" (there's an image for you). 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The intricacies of expanded universes

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look! 

I thought about expanded universes a bit staring at a T-Shirt of my son's, featuring a tryptychon of a stormtrooper, Captain Phasma, Finn and Kylo Ren. Captain Phasma, I came to realize, is a bit of an oddity in the new canon. So, let's wind back a bit to 2015, where the only thing in existence was "The Force Awakens", just before additional material was released.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you don't communicate your rules

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look
 
I like playing the X-COM games. In case you never heard of them, you're tasked with defeating an alien invasion that threatens the whole world, which has taken the sensible step of pooling all its resources into an organization that has around three squads of very good soldiers and can respond to exactly one crisis at a time because they have only one transport. When the aliens become stronger, your funds are cut. Exactly what you'd need to do in case of an invasion. It reminds one of the premise of Pacific Rim. 
 
Anyway, the games are round-based tactical strategy, which means you order around your squad on a tactical map where each soldier has certain actions he can perform and try to outsmart the aliens. Between missions, you research new tech and perform other more strategic tasks. It's good fun if you like that sort of thing. 
 
If you REALLY like that sort of thing, you install the "Long War" mod. It's a giant fan-made modification that blows up the length of your average campaign from the reasonable twenty-ish hours of the basegame to something around 80-120 hours. It also offers a wealth of new options in upgrades, skill trees, strategic choices, etc. And it's fiendishly difficult to boot. 
 
Now, you might say: "Stefan, don't be such a coward! Difficult games have their challenges, and I'm glad that there are games like this!" And sure, I can see that argument. But the Long War mod does have three problems that for me destroy what in theory I could really like. 
 
You will inevitably fail. This is ok, again, it's upposed to be difficult. The problem is that your failing happens around ten to thirty hours before you notice it. That means you can be forty hours into the game and only then realize that you fucked up thirty hours ago. 
 
The second problem ist that your failing comes in the form of a vicious cycle. One mistake, or simple bad luck, can start such a cycle that will lead you into an ever devolving drain of further failure with practically no chance to escape. That's bad. The same happens for the base game as well, but because that game doesn't suffer from problem number three, you usually notice your failing earlier and don't lose too much time. 
 
So, problem number three is the one I can't excuse. The other two you can file under "high difficulty", and if you like that, fine. The third, though, I don't accept. It's not communicating your rules clearly. 
 
The Long War mod does something quite a lot of more complex video games do (Paradox Interactive is another perpetrator here): it gives you a ton of interlocking systems that work quietely in the background that you can influence indirectly and which are HUGELY important. But the game doesn't explain to you how they work or how you can influence them OR THAT THEY'RE EVEN THERE. 
 
And that's not difficulty, that's just bad programming. You can essentially only play the Long War mod (or one of those Paradox monsters) when you open the fan-made Wiki in another window and permanently cross-reference it. Because it's not like that stuff would work randomly in the background, work as essentially a Fate putting down her weight on the scales of destiny. That's Darkest Dungeon, and you can do that, and it makes a game difficult, and that's ok. 
 
Long War and other games guilty of this sin simply outsource writing a good manual or tutorial to the community. And that's really, really not ok. 
 
And then, because these people hate you, there will be semi-regular updates that change whole features and variables, so you'd need to constantly start the learning process anew.
I'd really like to like Long War and other games like this. In theory, they're totally my thing. But Problem Number Three breaks them for me. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How to detect Wonder Woman's villain in his first scene

 
This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!
 
I'm discussing the identity of the villain of Wonder Woman, so spoilers.
 
Back when I was was watching Wonder Woman with my wife for the first time and Sir Patrick came on screen for the first time, I said aloud "He's the bad guy." My wife, who had watched the movie in cinema, was incredulous. "How do you know?" Today, I want to share the magical powers of ruining a movie with you.