I met Liam O’Brien under unusual circumstances.
I was the Lead Writer on Evolve but I think at a larger company the title would be something like Narrative Director or some such nonsense. Titles never really mattered to me. I just wanted to be the writer.
We weren’t happy with the dialog we were getting from the publisher and–to their credit–they worked to make us happy. They said “We’ll find you a new VO director.”
It was Thursday morning, December 4th 2015 and I was at home participating in a live AMA on reddit for our new game. I was at home because the AMA started early and it wasn’t the kind of thing you needed to be in the office to do.
Around 10am I get an instant message from my producer.
Bennett: “Liam’s here.”
Me: “Who’s Liam?”
Bennett: “I dunno.”
Bennett: “I think he’s our new VO director?”
Me: “Wait, what?”
Bennett: “I dunno man. He says he’s only here for like an hour. So….”
Me: “OMW!” (more…)
His body is disintegrating. He is not of this world, and the strain of being here is killing him. He is not like us. He is not one of us. He can do amazing things.
He has one chance to return to his people. If he can make it to the rendezvous coordinates at the appointed time, he will live. He will leave us, and return to the world he belongs in. If he fails, he dies. (more…)
The play, Macbeth, opens with three witches. “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” Great opening! Curtain rises and the first thing we see are three magical crones stirring a cauldron, babbling about prophecy. Fantastic hook for Shakespeare’s audience.
Justin Kurzel’s film of Macbeth opens with a funeral. A funeral never mentioned in the play, for a character that doesn’t exist in the play. A character Kurzel invented. Macbeth’s son. Died as a child, from a pox we later learn.
This is an important point, though I think it might be easy to miss, overlook amidst the lush and terrible beauty of Kurzel’s film. The first thing we see is a funeral, and then a war.
Originally written in 2007, posted here in response to this great video.
When I was 13, I went with a couple of friends to see Wargames, a movie about a possible, computer-created, nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union. The movie opens, starkly, with two US Air Force officers sitting in a control room down in a nuclear silo, when the order is given to launch their nukes. Each must turn a key in order to launch the nukes, but the older officer cannot bring himself to do it. The scene ends with the younger officer (apparently) shooting the older officer, because the older officer would not thoughtlessly carry out his orders.
This is a shocking and humorless opening, but a necessary one since the film is ultimately about the threat of global thermonuclear war between two superpowers. It needs an opening like that to hook you. Convince you of the stakes and the seriousness of the matter. When I was 13, this seemed chillingly real. It wasn’t just plausible, it felt inevitable. From between about 1983 to 1987, it seemed obvious to everyone I knew that sooner or later there was going to be a nuclear war between the US and USSR. There was nothing anyone could do about it, so you might as well enjoy yourself. (more…)
The shortest unit of time in the multiverse is the New York Second, defined as the period of time between the traffic lights turning green and the cab behind you honking.
To me, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is life-affirming. It’s fun, funny, dramatic, human, brisk, and full of heart. It’s nourishing. It is a vitamin for your soul.
So I’m always surprised to discover friends who not only don’t read the Disc, they have no idea it exists! Madness! I guess it’s a US/UK thing. For a while, before J.K. Rowling came along, 1% of all books sold in Britain were Discworld books. But he never exploded in America like I think he could have. Perhaps because of the America’s attitude toward his chosen genre. (more…)
My friends Zane and Jason and I gabble for 80 minutes about Mad Max and Age of Ultron.
Just three nerds, talking about two movies.
What is Fury Road about?
At one point in the film, the villain called Father and sometimes Dad, tries to kill Charlize Theron’s character, but stays his hand when one of the underwear models he’s kept as sex slaves puts her pregnant body and his unborn child between the literal and figurative father, and Theron’s surrogate mother.
If you’re still wondering what Fury Road is about, you have come to the wrong blog. (more…)
There are three moments in the series finale of Justified that reminded me of everything I’ve loved about the show. The brilliant writing and acting and characterization. Here at the end, we can talk about what we’ve always known about the show. That’s it’s exactly as much about Boyd as it is Raylan.
We’ve been working toward the final confrontation between Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder and Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens for six years. Crowder was originally meant to be a one-off bad guy back when the show was episodic. But once the producers (of whom Olyphant is one) saw what they had in Walton Goggins, the show became a serial. Each season had an arch-villain and a formula and when the formula was fresh, as it was in Season Two with the completely original Mags Bennett, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Walton Goggins is now one of my favorite actors.
If you’re in the mood for a melancholy, vaguely country-western song, go listen to this. It’s one of my favorite Queen songs. Beautiful, yearning.
This song is what Interstellar is about. Except this song is three minutes and thirty-eight seconds long, full of emotion and longing and I love it, while Interstellar is almost three hours long and so brutally insulting I wanted to punch Chris Nolan after only about ten minutes. (more…)
If you love movies, and you love writing, eventually you start writing about movies and if you get paid to do it, they call you a critic. But really all you are is someone who loves movies, and loves writing.
If they publish your reviews in the paper, people who don’t love movies start to read them and they get a weird, twisted sense of what you’re trying to do. They’re not writers, they’re not crazy in love with film. They’re just looking for a way to spend a pleasant afternoon So they think, when they read your stuff, that you are telling them what to think. That you think your opinion and experience is objective truth, which is ridiculous.
But you probably don’t give a shit what they think. You audience is other movie nuts like you. Your writing is part of a dialog all those people are having with each other all the time. You don’t care if those people agree with you, you’re interested in the back-and-forth, you love reading new perspectives on films you love. You love going back to movies you overlooked and seeing them from a new point of view. (more…)