Tag Archives: Featured

Mystery Men (1999)

A LOOK BACK AT A DUMB, IRREVERENT SUPER HERO FILM THAT REMAINS MY FAVORITE.

Man, 1999 was such a vibrant year for film. You had movies like Being John Malkovich, The Matrix, 10 Things I Hate About You, Office Space, American Pie Fight Club, The Mummy, and even Kubrick’s last film Eyes Wide Shut. A veritable cinematic feast, if you will. I can’t think of another time period that such an impact on my taste, humor, and sensibilities.

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Episode 19 – Just Hobbit Things

Hobbits love good food, questionable music and excessive drinking, just like most people! Plus, college is sort of dumb if you think about it.

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To have your question answered, email sam.wise.ath@gmail.com or call and leave a voicemail at (608)561-2755.


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THEME MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons

3.10: The Lepidopterists

This week on the podcast Bryan Dressel, Nicholas “pine fruit” Friedemann, and Mr. Graham “Strawberry” Mason talk about The Lepidopterists, the title of which is tougher to say than you might imagine. It’s also weirdly placed within the season given Tears of a Sea Cow and Now Museum – Now You Don’t. Still a super fun episode!

INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday


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BROK HOLLIDAY’S REVIEW

Kind of a complex story line in this one and a rare one not featuring doc and the boys, but its was a good change of the pace for the season.

4 out of 5

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Episode #266 – Couples Movie Night

Due to some timey-wimey scheduling conflicts and the convenient arrival of Valentine’s day we’re trying something a little different. It’s a Couples Movie Night episode featuring OG hosts Bryan and Chewie, each sharing a movie with each other and then talking about it. Chewie’s pick is Virtuosity, and Bryan’s pick is Titan A.E. It’s a shorter episode than you might be used to, but no less fun, and there’s speculation on whether or not Jonathan is a cuddler.

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Episode 18 – A Sam for a Sam

Boromir gets under everyone’s skin and Sam needs Sam to get her Sam on in this week’s episode.

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To have your question answered, email sam.wise.ath@gmail.com or call and leave a voicemail at (608)561-2755.


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Samantha: @samijane613
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THEME MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons

3.09: Now Museum – Now You Don’t!

This week on Venture Bros Bryan Dressel, Nick “A Whole Bushel of Grapes” Friedemann, and Graham “Raspberry” Mason talk about “Now Museum – Now You Don’t!” a fun little episode jammed in the middle of a two-parter. Kind of comes out of the blue, but it’s still a fun episode.

Note: there’s some issues with one of the mics in this episode, so apologies in advance.

INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday


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Cracking the Code of Video Game Adaptations

A LOOK AT FILM ADAPTATIONS OF VIDEO GAMES OVER THE YEARS TO SEE IF THERE’S ANY HOPE OF GETTING IT RIGHT.

Video games are all about audience participation; you have to take part in order for the game to progress. Part of why the medium is so successful is that the player is in control. Hollywood has tried to cash in on this phenomenon for years, with each movie or television show never quite capturing the magic of moving those animated pixels and polygons with the controller. With the release of content like Black Mirror Bandersnatch, and Minecraft Story Mode for the kids, the technology has allowed the viewer a greater degree of control, but is it enough? Has Hollywood cracked the code?

If you look at the history of video game adaptations none of them have been particularly successful, with quality ranging from mediocre to downright repulsive. The first of these adaptations was an animated TV show based on Pac-Man. The series lasted for 44 episodes over 2 seasons before being cancelled. The cartoon had little to do with the video game, which makes sense because it didn’t have much of a story to begin with. As time went on more and more animated adaptions of video games came out including a Super Mario cartoon, a Zelda cartoon, and even two Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons.

Hey, it’s Mario Mario and Luigi Mario!

The first feature film adaptation of a video game was Super Mario Bros, which released on the May 28th, 1993 and was both a critical and financial bomb. Despite some interesting visuals the film was a mess, with a ridiculous story, wooden acting, and CGI that was bad even for 1993. To make matters worse, it didn’t even look or feel like the video game it is supposedly based on. It’s like they took Demolition Man, Total Recall, Back to the Future Part II and Jurassic Park, put them all in a cheap blender and slapped whatever mush came out onto the screen. In the years that followed more video game adaptions would be released and each time they would do poorly from both critics and the box office. Some would turn a small profit whilst others would take huge losses. This was the case until 2001 with the release of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider revolutionized the video games industry. The first game was not only one of the earliest action adventure games to be produced using 3D graphics but it also had a plot and cinematic cutscenes. The protagonist was a smart, strong, and independent woman. This was a huge step not just for video games but for entertainment in general, so a movie adaptation was never too far off. They cast Angelina Jolie in the titular role, a move that turned her into the action star we know and love. Critics praised her performance but were less-than-impressed with the dull plot and the much too stylized action set pieces. Despite the poor critical response, the first Tomb Raider film made enough of a profit to produce a sequel; however, it wasn’t anywhere near as successful as the first film. It under-performed at the box office and even though the studio was interested in a third film in the series, Angelina Jolie was not. The next adaptation of Tomb Raider would not come out for another 15 years.

The problem with the Tomb Raider films was that they weren’t enough like the video games to please the die hard fans of the series and didn’t have enough action to satisfy an action-hungry audience. That would change with the release of the first Resident Evil movie in 2002, which would go on to become one of the most successful video game adaptations, spanning six films in total. Part of its charm was that it tried to weave in references to the games in creative ways. This was the first video game adaptation to try and capture a similar cinematography to the games they were based on. However, even with the little nods and attempts to replicate the look of the video games the film still didn’t quite capture the essence of the games. In the end it just felt like a flashy B-Movie. While that could have worked to the film’s advantage, the clunky dialogue and the lack of character development didn’t really help it.

Around this time, House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark emerged to ride the wave of Resident Evil’s success. Both of these films were directed by Uwe Boll, a man who would become synonymous with bad video game adaptations. Over five years he would direct seven video game adaptions, all of which would be negatively received by critics and audiences alike. Between 2003 and 2008 he directed 50% of all video game adaptions, none of which would make it past 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. They would all be financial failures. How he continued to get funding for these films was through a loophole in German tax laws, which has since been closed. He commented that at the time if you invested in a movie in Germany you got 50% back from the German Government. The films he pumped out had very little to do with the video games they were based on. He mainly used the games’ titles to generate interest, then did his own thing with the material.

Other films released during this five-year period included Hitman, Silent Hill, Doom, and Max Payne. None of the films did particularly well, nor were they well received by the fans of the video games they were based on. Whereas Hitman the game was all about stealth and precision kills, the film was produced as a flashy action romp. Combined with some miscast roles, a dull storyline, and blatant pandering, the film was practically stealth-killed on arrival. The 2005 Doom film was a particularly bad offender, having the film switch to a first-person perspective in the last act. The filmmakers had attempted to capture the feeling of the video game, but the problem was that watching a first-person shooter wasn’t nearly as exciting as playing one.

In the following years more and more video game adaptions would be released, most of them either sequels or remakes of existing films, and with the exception of the Resident Evil films each would perform worse than the originals financially. New adaptations failed to find an audience, one of the most egregious being the adaptation of the popular Tekken fighting game. It didn’t even make $1 million at the box office, and was one of the few films to achieve the 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Surprisingly, the adaptation of Prince of Persia did well at the box office. It was praised for its action, humor, and solid performances, although the casting of a Caucasian Jake Gyllenhaal as a Persian gained a fair degree of backlash.

The number of video game adaptions started to drop off; however, there were still further attempts find the next big hit. Each time the producers would state that their video game adaptation was “going to be different” and that it would succeed where the others failed. These promises started to attract A-list talent including Michael Fassbender, Dominic Cooper, Duncan Jones, Dwayne Johnson and Marion Cotillard. Despite talent interest, no one could prevail against this video game adaption curse.

There’s been talk of adapting Mass Effect, The Last of Us and Metal Gear Solid to film, but the truth is that not a single one of these adaptations would work. Mass Effect’s biggest appeal is that the experience is customized to your personal tastes. Who do you get smoochy with on the Normandy? Choice is yours! Are you better buds with Ashley or Kaiden? Again, you get to choose.

The problem with adapting a video game to film is that in doing so you immediately remove the most fun aspect of the medium: the ability to control the actions of the main character. The audience is no longer an active participant but a passive bystander to the action. The stories also get severely compressed in the adaptation to film, which means much of the character and world-building that players enjoy takes a back seat or gets dropped entirely, and it’s those elements that are foundational to the experience. The Last of Us in particular plays out like an 18-hour movie. I doubt you could cut it down to 10 hours let alone 2 hours without sacrificing much of what makes it pack the punch that it does.

Given the current rise of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. maybe these video game adaptations should bypass the big screen altogether and let their stories breathe in a much more flexible and customizable format.

Having said that I still think that video games will never truly make a successful leap from the console (or PC) to live action because there is no interactivity in the experience of watching a film or TV series. While they recently attempted this with Black Mirror Bandersnatch, it was still limited in the amount of interactivity available. For me video games will always be a separate entity to film due to how much more interaction they have as an entertainment medium, and because of this I cannot foresee any video game adaptation ever making for a good film. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong, but based on the last 26 years I won’t hold my breath.

Episode #265 – The Nun

This week on the podcast we decided to watch The Nun, and God help us for doing so. Special thanks to friend of the show Elliot Campos for coming to save us in our time of need and providing some levity to help us get through this awful mess of a movie.

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Episode 17 – The Sauronbowl Halftime Show

Sam talks about sweet victory being snatched from fans during the Superbowl and how to set healthy boundaries with our friends.

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To have your question answered, email sam.wise.ath@gmail.com or call and leave a voicemail at (608)561-2755.


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Instagrams to follow:

Samantha: @samijane613
Laddi: @saint_laddi
After the Hype: @athpodcast


THEME MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons

3.08: Tears of a Sea Cow

This week on the podcast Bryan Dressel, Nick “Apricot” Friedemann, and Graham “Plum” Mason talk about Tears of a Seacow, which starts out strong but kind of falters at the end. At least it’s stronger than the previous two episodes.

INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday


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BROK HOLLIDAY’S REVIEW

I think there are some good things from this episode, but it’s not one of my favorites. It might have been too Dermott heavy for my liking.

3 out of 5

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