’24’ Still Holds Up 21 Years Later

Currently watching 24 and realized, despite me rewatching the seasons off and on throughout the years, the series still holds up.

The show originally aired in November 2001. I hadn’t realized until now how close this show aired to the events of 911 and how the first season, or in 24 term, Day 1 could be a little nerve wrecking to viewers back then. Times may be different now, so I wonder how people would react to a show with a first season about terrorism airing so close after a tragedy. Back then, I remember people were welcoming of the show because the nation was angry and wanted to see terrorist get their butts kicked by Jack Bauer. I wish I could remember the reaction to the first season, but there was so much going on in the world at that time. I think was 24 was recognized right away, but didn’t start to generate mainstream attention until later seasons.

The iconic clock didn’t get it’s signature sound effect until Day 2 and I forgot Terry received the first silent clock at the end of Day 1. If you’re a 24 fan, you know what the silent clock means. The clock was so simple, but recognizable. If you see an image of the clock, you immediately know it’s the 24 clock. If you only hear the sound, you know what it is. Also want to point out the phone ringtone at CTU became a popular ringtone for cellphones. The fact that events happened in “real time” was always interesting to me as it provided a sense of urgency and a timeframe despite knowing the entire season was 24 hours.

The incorporation of the split-screens with the clock provided context as to what everyone was doing at that moment. Sometimes there was so much going on at any given point, we had to be reminded via split-screen of that particular storyline. It usually acted as a reminder before and after commercial breaks. Even an episode of The Simpsons used the 24 format.

24 left us with some wonderful meme moments. Whenever something was happening in the world, viewers of the series would respond, “We need Jack Bauer,” or “Where is Jack Bauer when we need him?” Bauer was known as the unorthodox protagonist who would get the job done in 24 hours. He was also known to tally quite the kill count per season. Fans noted Bauer killed 309 people during nine seasons with the highest kill count of 52 in Day 6.

Bauer was known for saying “damn it” so much that college students watched each episode weekly and took a shot each time the phrase was uttered. According to a tally, the phrase was said 145 times in the series with Day 4 and Day 7 pulling in the highest total of 20 each. Kiefer Sutherland became aware of the drinking game and would purposely add a few more “damn it” phrases to mess with the college kids. I’m tempted to play this game as I was under the legal drinking age to actively participate. All I need is a buddy.

I think Day 2, 4, and 5 were my favorites. Day 1 wasn’t bad, but viewing in retrospect, it was to establish the heart of Bauer and partially why he became so ruthless. Some of the character bickering in Day 1 comes off as petty, but I didn’t notice during first viewing. Despite 24 having an audience and mainstream media coverage, Day 5 is when I remember entertainment news checking in on 24 weekly. This is the same season that won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Dramatic Series. The talk at the time was the assassination of President David Palmer and Michelle Dessler. Two key characters from the start of the series and close allies to Bauer. To start the season premiere with a bang was shocking to many fans. Even my mother, who didn’t watch all of the shows, was shocked at how sudden the events happened, but laughed at the reaction of fans due to our disbelief. The only other shocker I can think of is Day 6 when Bauer shot Curtis in the neck and a nuke went off soon after. I swear, 24 was an action soap opera.

I can’t talk about Bauer without mentioning his ride or die people Chloe and Tony. Chloe was there for him to the end while Tony did snap slightly after losing Michelle. These two consistently broke the rules to allow Bauer to operate in the dark. They were confident he’d get the job done by any means to justify their choices. Realistically, Chloe and Tony should have been fired a few times.

Kim Bauer… dear gosh this character was stupid, annoying, and a waste of screen time. If you edit Kim out of each season she appeared, the story wouldn’t change. You’d make some minor tweaks, but she wasn’t needed at any point. Kim was that unwanted side character you had to deal with in order to get XP. Even when she worked at CTU for a season, anyone could have taken her place. Kim’s character wasn’t well written and overstayed her welcome. Eventually, she did vanish, but they could have cut her out after Day 1.

24: Legacy wasn’t horrible, but it struggled to find its identity in 12 episodes. It was riding on the back of the original series and had a lot of pressure to succeed. I think fans didn’t latch on because Kiefer Sutherland is 24 and that show is nothing without Jack Bauer. Bauer carried the world on his shoulders and we watched him make tough decisions to save the country, the president, his family, and friends countless times. I don’t think FOX was confident in 24: Legacy as it didn’t have the standard 24 episodes like it’s predecessor, but that also could have been a sign of the times when it came to shorter seasons.

In the end, I can rewatch 24 anytime. It’s one of few shows that can hold my attention despite viewing the episodes multiple times throughout the years. There has been talk of rebooting or brining the remaining cast back for a new 24 series. This is one of those franchises that is best left alone. In today’s world of hypersensitive people, I don’t think it would get away with half of what they showed years ago. 24 should remain untouched.

Forgot to mention, when you watch the earlier seasons of 24, the Los Angeles air quality was horrible. There as a constant fog. I’m not sure if the camera they used had an orange/yellowish filter on it or if Los Angeles simply looked like the dusty wild west.

Dune 2021: Quick Spoiler Free Review

My knowledge of the Dune series, on a scale from 0-10, is a four. I’ve never read the books but knew there were different houses, politics, and spice was something everyone wanted. This knowledge is due to a summary I read when I discovered Dune (2021) was an anticipated film.

Continue reading “Dune 2021: Quick Spoiler Free Review”

Squid Game Review: That Was Unexpected

I saw the Netflix trailer for Squid Game a month ago and figured I’d check it out. Initially thought it was a movie, but discovered it was a nine-episode season. First thought, “Ah man, I don’t feel like getting into a series. Pass!” Nine hours later… didn’t regret a thing, but I have so many questions.

Little backstory if you haven’t watched and please note, this post will contain major spoilers.

Continue reading “Squid Game Review: That Was Unexpected”
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Expectations are Low But Please Be Good! | Mortal Kombat (2021)

I’m creating more YouTube videos and figured why not talk about the recent Mortal Kombat (2021) trailer. I’m a fan of the franchise and really, really hope the film does well.

It’s my first video on this channel and I’ll definitely do more. If you want to listen to me ramble, here’s the video. 😀

Valorant’s Closed Beta is a Success, but for How Long?

Valorant burst onto the scene with record-breaking viewership.

Valorant’s closed beta surged in popularity faster than anyone could have predicted. The hyper-competitive game is the perfect recipe for niche gamers moving away from multiplayer battle royales. 

Valorant skyrocketed to the top of the Twitch chart. It surpassed 1.7 million peak viewers breaking the record set by 2019 League of Legends World Championships Finals. Within the last seven days, the closed beta has accumulated over 103 million views. Gaming lifestyle company, 100 Thieves, recently held the first Valorant invitational tournament one week after its beta release. The eight-team event featured popular streamers including Shroud, Timthetatman, DrDisrespect, Ninja, and Summit1g. With this much success, can Riot Games’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch hybrid maintain its momentum?

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Photo Credit: PC Gamer

Despite Valorant dominating the number one Twitch slot, some veteran streamers have questioned if Valorant is watchable. Veteran streamer Jaryd ‘Summit1g’ Lazar shared his opinion stating, “I think the abilities are going to be its [Valorant’s] undoing. If I’m being 100% honest, I think from a viewer’s perspective – I was thinking about while playing…it’s very slow and bland and [has] these stupid and boring chokepoints.”

Veteran streamers play an important role in the first impressions of a game. If they feel a game is bland and won’t help them maintain viewers, they’ll no longer stream it and move on to their favorites or the next big game. Many lower-tier streamers tend to follow the wave of veterans to grow their channels.

The official game won’t come out for months but, according to Twitch Tracker, there has been a dip in viewership despite more Twitch channels streaming the game. 

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The drop in viewers may be due to big streamers with high viewership streaming Valorant for the first week and gradually decreasing their playtime. On April 14, Riot expanded its closed beta access which accounts for the increased channels beginning on the 15th. 

Valorant’s record-breaking exposure has made it a success, but the true achievement will be measured in downloads, revenue, and players’ frequency. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, released in 2012, currently has over 1.1 million players on Steam. Its peak player spike of 1.3 million occurred this month at the same time as Valorant’s beta release. Valorant will need a strong player base to maintain its current dominance. 

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Photo Credit: Newsweek

Valorant’s lead producer, Anna Donlon, and game director, Joe Ziegler are monitoring beta feedback and making additional changes going into launch. There’s no word on additional levels, characters, guns, and abilities, but they’re undoubtedly coming. With the possibility of overexposure, Valorant’s creators will have to release fresh content throughout the beta until launch or go on hiatus and release updates periodically. The last thing Riot Games wants is Valorant to become stale before its official release.

The long-term prospects of Valorant are unclear. It has the potential for greatness, but only time will tell if it has the staying power of the games it’s borrowing from.
 

‘After’: The Dangers of Lust and Idolized Fictional Romance

Should We Really Be Excited About After We Collided?

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship shouldn’t be admired as ideal love.

After follows college freshman Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) as she meets and is swept into a whirlwind of lust over tattooed British bad boy Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). The film is adapted from Anna Todd’s enormously popular After series, based on her Harry Styles fan-fiction. The series has racked up 1.5 billion views on Wattpad and sold 15 million print copies. 

After masks the problematic dynamics of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship under a blanket of passion. They aren’t #relationshipgoals or #couplegoals, yet die-hard fans of the fiction are obsessed with the pair. 

Tessa and Hardin’s attraction to one another stems from the concept of “opposites attract.” This form of lust can be dangerous, as it’s idealized and can blind individuals to some obvious reasons they should not pursue a relationship with a potential partner. Many people are attracted to the “bad boy” in hopes of proving they can get the guy, play therapist, and mold them to their liking. Some simply love the extreme highs and lows of the relationship as if it’s a drug and they need their daily fix.  

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Hardin has a lot of emotional baggage due to his upbringing with his father. If you’ve read the fan-fiction, you’ll recognize that his fluctuating emotions are going to be psychological torture and exhausting for Tessa. The film didn’t include all of the arguments the pair had in the Wattpad and novels, including Hardin wanting Tessa to stay away from basically everyone in her life and only sees him. He is often nasty and disrespectful towards her and admits that he’s “just an a**hole.” 

When you’re young and inexperienced in love, Hardin’s behavior is easily dismissable, as it’s viewed as him being emotional or even romantic because he wants Tessa all for himself. But that’s not the truth. A lover should never attempt to dictate their partner’s life. That’s obsessive, manipulation, controlling, and mental abuse – and it isn’t cute.

Hardin displays his emotions by breaking glass and punching walls. In the novel, Tessa describes one instance where she thinks Hardin will slap her. This behavior is dangerous, and its magnitude is unpredictable. If you’re in a relationship and fear your lover will hit you, you need to end that relationship for your safety and sanity. 

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Anna Todd – Photo Credit: BBC

While writing After, Anna Todd told Refinery29 she was upset with how Hardin treated Tessa and didn’t want them together, “I was like, ‘He should just be alone forever and be miserable.’” Todd added, “I don’t know if I wanted them to end up together. I just wrote it, and they had to be.” 

Does the pair have to live happily ever after? No, but since this is fiction, fan service is required. The problem is, people invest in these characters as if they’re real and start to seek a Hardin of their own. Therein lies the danger of someone assuming the turmoil in their relationship is normal – because Tessa and Hardin went through the same thing.  

The one thing After gets right is that young love is complicated by naivety and driven by hormones. We can’t blame every bad decision on hormones, but they can contribute to illogical decisions that make you wonder what exactly you were thinking later.

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Let’s not forget Tessa had a boyfriend named Noah. The writers made their relationship seem vanilla so fans could obsess over Tessa and Hardin getting together and dismiss the fact that Tessa cheated on Noah…TWICE. If things were reversed and Noah cheated on Tessa for a bad girl, would he be considered a jerk? If so, what does that make Tessa? Or did fans see Tessa leveling up so cheating on Noah wasn’t a big deal? This double standard is ideal for another discussion.

The sequel, After We Collided, will be released in 2020. If you haven’t read the fan-fiction, from the sound of the title, you know more drama is coming.

**A freelance movie review completed for Wishbone.**

Bloodshot: You Get What You’d Expect From a Vin Diesel Movie

**Spoilers! This movie is basically Riddick losing his memory, getting injected with nanites, and living as Dominic Toretto as a soldier in an alternate timeline.**

**This review is based on the movie. I’ve never read the comics.**

Bloodshot is an adaptation of Valiant Comics’ fictional superhero created by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton. The film was originally released in theaters, but due to social distancing, the film was released on-demand.

Without going into a full summary, Bloodshot is about a soldier, named Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), who is killed after witnessing the murder of his wife Gina. He awakens in the Project Rising Spirit (P.R.S.) facility with a newly constructed body filled with nanomachines. These nanomachines give him regenerative abilities, cyberkinesis, strength, and endurance. He sets out to find the man who murdered his wife. Typical revenge story.

Bloodshot had mediocre action that the filmmakers tried to enhance with prolonged slow-motion and digital effects. The plot and character archetypes were predictable and you don’t care who survives.

You’d be ready to turn the movie off until the plot revealed everything you were introduced about Garrison was a false memory. P.R.S. programmed the same scenario with different people killing him and his wife so he would seek revenge against that person. Good twist, but they didn’t do enough with it. Garrison did talk to the real Gina and discovered they hadn’t seen each other in five years. That’s all we learned about his past.

How did Garrison originally die? How long has he been getting his mind repeatedly wiped? How many people has he killed? Who was he before P.R.S.? Based on the simulation they implanted, he had approximately 48 hours worth of memories. There were three additional enhanced soldiers in the facility playing along with the constant memory wipes of Garrison. Were their memories wiped too and implanted with a new identity or was it just Garrison?  None of this was brought up, but maybe that’s why the tagline is, “You don’t need a past to have a future.”

Bloodshot isn’t horrible. It’s a tolerable movie you watch when you have nothing else to do or you want to disconnect from the world and don’t feel like using your brain. Bloodshot had potential. It just bypassed character development and dove into subpar action and comedy with very little substance.

After 100 minutes, you’d have watched a movie about an indestructible man that kills two men based on false memories and later kills the scientist, the real antagonist, for lying to him. The end.

 

 

 

 

Split/Second: One of the Best Underrated Racing Games

While searching through Gamestop a few years ago, I discovered Split/Second. I knew nothing about the game, but the sales associate said it’s worth the buy. I popped the game into my PS3 and instantly fell in love.

As a driver in Split/Second, you’re part of a reality TV stunt show. Your goal is to destroy your competitors by activating powerplays. These powerplays would destroy buildings, roads, and cause other massive explosions. Just try not to wreck yourself. Yes, I’ve done it several times. Split/Second is one game that made me curse way more than I should have while playing a video game. It was a combination of joyful frustration and laughs.

Split/Second was released in May 2010 but flew under the radar until years after its release. I don’t remember when I purchased it, but I estimate around 2013. The intense racing game eventually gained a cult following and petitions for a sequel to be made. Unfortunately, the developing company, Black Rock Studio, went out of business soon after Split/Second’s release. The game ended on a cliffhanger that fans may never get answers to.

I created this video years ago when I first started using Premiere Pro. The first half features my gameplay. Just watching it makes me want to play and beat the game for the third time. It will always be a favorite and no racing game has come close.

 

 

 

Fast & Furious 9: The Franchise Has Lost Its Mind

I just saw the Fast & Furious 9 trailer.

OK. OK. OK. I won’t lie. I’ve seen EVERY Fast and Furious movie. I’ve enjoyed the franchise, but I’m not in denial that they have lost their minds after Fast 5.  This franchise hit a point where they have to up the ante with each film. The franchise switched from racers who were thieves to who knows what they are now.

I’ve never expected quality to come from the franchise, but their logic left the room a minimum of three films ago.

Maybe when Dom caught Letty in mid-air as she flew off the tank was the moment the franchise lost its mind.

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After this moment, we had the neverending airport runway scene which Vulture calculated to be 28 miles long if it were to happen in real life.

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In Furious 7, we had Dom and Brian in a car crashing through two skyscrapers. The Fate of the Furious had a couple of laughable scenes that included the entire final racing battle on the ice.

So here we are with the Fast & Furious 9 trailer doing some crazy ish again.

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A car is coming towards, looks like Dom, while he’s on the side of a car. He should die, but knowing this franchise, he’ll slip right in the passenger window as it flips over.

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This reminds me of Deadpool 2 when the Juggernaut punched through.

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Deadpool 2

There’s a car driving across a bridge that’s collapsing and riding along just fine because disregard logic and gravity.

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This shows Dom driving towards the same cliff, but without the bridge. What does this franchise do? They have him crash into a post with a cable that conveniently latches on to the tire, swings them around, gains tension, and will probably swing them to the other side with a perfect landing.

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Yes, I may be assuming, but I’ve seen EVERY movie and I’m quite sure I’m right. Oh and one more thing. Han is back.

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I won’t even question how the heck he’s back because out of everything I’ve shown you, his appearance made the most logical sense and the film hasn’t even explained it to me yet.

Keeping it real with anyone reading this, I’ll probably pre-game (get tipsy), get a ticket for this movie, grab a beer at the theater bar, maintain my buzz throughout the film, and have a good laugh. Fast & Furious 9 comes out May 22.