Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – The Interview

It’s impossible to talk about The Interview without touching on the controversy surrounding it. The real life Kim Jong-un threatened repercussions if the film was released. Other people promised “9/11-style terror” to theaters that showed it. Sony itself was hacked and pulled the movie in the face of danger. Celebrities and the press jumped right down their throat as a response. But after all that, the movie where Seth Rogen and James Franco try to assassinate Kim Jong-un got its Christmas release. And… it’s pretty much Pineapple Express on steroids and with a bit more bite. But seeing as I liked Pineapple Express, I mean that in a good way.

In a way, the film’s reputation and infamy have outgrown it to the point where its quality and proposed offensiveness can’t possibly live up to the notoriety. Rogen and Franco aren’t two douchebags who get drunk one day and decide to assassinate North Korea’s dictator, but a TV personality and his producer who get roped into the CIA’s assassination plot because the two happened to get a rare interview with the target. Even then, the movie is smart enough to say, “Um, you can’t just take the guy out and expect everything to just solve itself.” That’s part of what makes the movie interesting, being smart and stupid at the same time (stupid in that Seth Rogen movies seem contractually obligated to have a certain amount of bodily humor). Oddly enough, they were even smart enough to give Kim Jong-un a three-dimensional portrayal rather than just make him a mustache-twirling scumbag. I don’t see this as trying to say that everyone has good in them and should be given a chance, but that even guys who do horrible things can still come off as nice and amicable. I think that’s a lesson that a lot of people could take to heart.

Admittedly, through the first part of the movie, I honestly thought the jokes were mostly just okay and that James Franco’s character was a little insufferable. But in the later part of the movie, everything kicked into overdrive. I had at least a laugh a minute, and the character actually wound up having something of an arc. Some people have a problem with the fact that they made a comedy about killing a person who’s still alive, but I had none. When someone treats their people as bad as Kimmy does, I have no problem sticking it to them any way I can. Also, I don’t recall anyone having a problem back when South Park killed the still-living Saddam Hussein and turned him into Satan’s gay lover.

Really, it comes down to this: Did you enjoy Pineapple Express or This Is The End? If so, then you’ll like this in all its raunchy glory. Is it propaganda? Yes, but it’s done right and has the know-how to portray the North Korean people as the victims of a powerful force and who don’t need another government to intervene to save them. If you’re sick of Seth Rogen comedies, this might not do much for you. But if you’re into that sort of thing, give it a look and enjoy the uncomfortable laughs.

Posted under Reel Snippets

The Gaming Witch Trials

When I was still passionate about Ronin’s Rants, I was going to widen my scope from TV to include internet original content, my reasoning being that the internet is becoming a new form of art and media distribution. From there, I would eventually do a video critiquing Anita Sarkeesian; it’s not because I disagree with what she stands for in the long run, but because she represents a brand of feminism that, on the whole, gives the movement a bad name. The fact that she has made huge errors in her research certainly makes things worse. Today, however, even if I were still doing the show, I would officially put that idea in the bin forever, due to recent disturbing events.

There exists a game developer named Brianna Wu, who developed a relatively unheard of but well-received mobile game called Revolution 60. Recently, she has fled her home with her husband after a slew of death threats were launched at her on Twitter, included one that posted her home address. This would normally be just horrible, but the fact that has happened to other women in the gaming community recently turns this into something downright disgusting. Wu now joins Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian herself in a group of women that has undergone the same harassment and left their home for fear of safety. I don’t know how many others there are, but here’s how I look at it: once is a case of misanthropic asshole, twice is a disturbing fluke, but three times is a trend, one that I had seriously hoped we as a people had grown above by now.

Earlier in the year, in the wake of Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest, there came to light a post from one of her jilted ex-boyfriends. He claimed that Zoe had been cheating on him with other people, including a game journalist covering the game. Suddenly, accusations were flying about how Zoe slept with the journalist to get a good review, bringing up questions about journalistic integrity and nepotism in the gaming community. Firefly alumni Adam Baldwin discussed the matter and coined it #GamerGate. Backlash ensued, but there were two strange things about it. First off, said journalist was not reviewing the game, but simply mentioned it, so any existing bias would be minimal. Second, it was Zoe who received the majority of the backlash, not the journalist boyfriend.

Since then, the whole thing has turned into a shitstorm and became sort of a haven for a lot of the more vitriolic attackers. Recently, something even more disturbing has come to light. Apparently, the post that incited #GamerGate, made by the ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni, was actually spiced up to add fuel to the fire, meaning the inciting incident of the movement’s existence was based on a spin story. In short #GamerGate is the video game equivalent of FOX News or the Tea Party, an organization/movement spawned from hype and lies that they have bought into, full stop.

At this point, the hashtag #StopGamerGate2014 is in full swing, supported by countless game developers, game studios like Naughty Dog, and celebrities like Seth Rogen. Cracked even did an article about how #GamerGate just makes the human race look bad. #GamerGate is now destined to forever live in infamy. Whatever goal they were trying to accomplish has been obliterated by the people that make threats while invoking their name.

Let’s pretend for a moment that feminists are the rage-filled bags of hot air that their detractors say they are. They still would not deserve attacks against their privacy and threats against their lives. Wu and Quinn weren’t even championing a feminist cause like Sarkeesian was. They were simply creating games they felt passionate about and apparently that was enough to piss people off. The pretense is gone. These are attacks fueled by misogyny. And I’m not talking about the dollar-store kind of misogyny that Frank Miller or the remake of The Wicker Man pedal out, I’m talking about misogyny in its original definition: “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.”

To bring it back home, I will never be Anita Sarkeesian’s biggest fan. I find the flaws in her research astounding, her unwillingness to give credit to the people she takes footage and art from insulting, what she thinks passes for anti-feminism at times head-slapping, and I just find her an all-around terrible feminist. But I will still not go forward with my critique video of her, even if Ronin’s Rants comes back to life. Why? Because I refuse to let the points in that video become ammo for the people launching these sick attacks. I am not willing to let my name be associated with these people or my words be repurposed by them to justify their death threats. Some people may say that I don’t have control of that, but I disagree. This is the internet, where the interaction between creator and audience has never been closer. If Anita and I have a face-to-face confrontation, I will tell her these things myself so that there is no miscommunication about it. But I will not allow myself to give power to the hateful aggressors in this hateful witch-hunt.

Posted under Musings

Reel Snippet – Neighbors

Neighbors has some entertaining laughs, but overall left me feeling very uncomfortable. The setup has some openings for a very zany comedy, but starts taking some dark turns and even though it’s still played for laughs, it’s hard to root for either side because each of them has done their share of reprehensible things that should have gotten them arrested. On top of that, it’s wildly inconsistent with its characterization, particularly with Zac Efron, whose character starts out as reasonably likable and even the more sympathetic party before taking a dive into outright villainy. The other side isn’t much better, being petty at best and instigators at worst. All in all, it’s hard to believe that either side got the ending it deserved. Like I said, there are some good laughs, but if either side had acted remotely intelligently, there wouldn’t have been a movie, so it’s really nothing to write home about. Even though that’s technically what I’m doing right now.

Posted under Reel Snippets

Reel Snippets – This Is The End

This Is The End is a movie that really shouldn’t have worked, yet had me doubled over laughing for the entire film. The idea of a bunch of Hollywood actors playing exaggerated versions of themselves as a band of survivors in the Biblical Apocalypse sounds like something that should fall flat on its face, but it surprisingly carries the whole way through, in part because the actors look like they’re having a ball making it. To say more would risk spoiling some hilarious scenes, so I’ll give you some brief non-spoiler comedic highlights: Jonah Hill’s shtick as the nicest guy in the world, Jason Siegel lampooning his own role on How I Met Your Mother, Michael Cera as an unapologetic sex and cocaine addict, anything that Craig Robinson does, the fake trailer for Pineapple Express 2, and EVERYTHING involving Emma Watson. So if you’re into getting some unapologetically raunchy and ridiculous comedy with a surprising amount of heart, catch it in theaters while you can. That said, approach with caution if you’re allergic to the Backstreet Boys because you’ll have that stuck in your head after you’re done.

Posted under Reel Snippets

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