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The Path That Few Have Trod Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "iamerik771" journal:

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October 31st, 2012
06:06 pm

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Goodbye so soon... and isn't this a crime?
Hey, all!

Well, it's been quite a while since my last post... I regret to say I've kinda lost the LJ bug. However, I've started a new blog on Blogspot. You can check it out here if you want to follow my continuing adventures/rambling.

Oh, and Happy Halloween to you all! ^_^

~ I.A.E.

Current Location: School
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: "This Is Halloween"
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June 7th, 2011
06:25 am

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"The Dark Knight Rises" - Some Things I'd Like to See
As I'm sure every Batman fan knows, "The Dark Knight Rises" will be coming out next year, finishing out Christopher Nolan's epic saga. When the film is released (and even before then), there are a few things I'd like to see that don't really have to do with the content of the film itself, but would still be pretty nice. Here are a few of them.Collapse )


What are your thoughts? Be sure to leave your comments.

Your obedient servant,
I.A.E.

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: "Harvey Two-Face" - "The Dark Knight" film soundtrack
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April 14th, 2011
04:18 pm

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"The Hobbit" Begins!


I am so excited. SQUEE!


Your obedient servant,
I.A.E.

Current Location: HCC
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: "Concerning Hobbits," from the "LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring" soundtrack
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April 7th, 2011
06:58 am

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Reviewing Righteousness?
I'm a big fan of movie review sites and TV shows. I find well-written reviews to be very entertaining and sometimes genuinely enlightening to read. And few things amuse me more than a critic delivering a well-deserved bashing to an epically bad movie. But one thing that irks me sometimes, even in pieces by critics who I consider to generally be very good, is when a critic lambastes a film for what he or she sees as an immoral message within it. There is, naturally, a difference between saying "I didn't like the film's message" and saying "this film was wrong to have this message." Reviews, after all, are inherently subjective; also, as films are considered to be art, they have just as much right to take on controversial points of view as any other art form.

Now, of course, there are several movie review websites dedicated to looking at how movies measure up to the moral codes of specific religions -- I know there are a lot out there for various denominations of Fundamentalist Christians (and the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church was once very much in the business of blacklisting films they found offensive, so there's certainly some historical precedent), and though I haven't been bothered to seek them out, I'm willing to bet there are such pages for other religions as well. For reviewers from those sites, of course, their entire shtick is to look at whether movies are promoting what they consider to be good [insert religion here] messages.

Professional film critics who write for newspapers or host TV shows, on the other hand, have to at least give the impression of being more objective. There's an interesting question to be raised here about how much of an "editorial" and how much of a theoretically objective "article" a review should be. Should a film critic allow his or her moral views to color a film review? In my view, it's kind of a silly question -- all of us do it to some extent, whether we're aware of it or not. I doubt I could review Hitler's Mein Kampf objectively, for example. But I'd argue that there is a line to be drawn -- should we give A Clockwork Orange a bad review because the main character spends much of the story killing and raping people for fun? Should we rate The Godfather poorly because the story deals with mafia culture? Some would say yes, but I'd disagree for a number of reasons.

There are other issues, as well. Most would agree that a work of fiction that clearly advocates violence, prejudice, sexual abuse, and things like that would be pretty reprehensible, but where do we draw the line? I'm a pacifist, but that certainly doesn't mean I'm opposed to violence in movies and other fiction, especially when it has a point beyond shock value. My feeling is that as long as reprehensible acts aren't being overtly advocated or portrayed as being anything other than what they are, I can accept them. This is a difficult tightrope to walk, I know -- most action films seem to glorify violence and justify that by portraying violence against "the bad guys" as a good thing. Aren't they, then, advocating violence as the best way to solve problems? In the end, I doubt I or anyone else could really be qualified to answer that.

Even Roger Ebert, who I consider to be one of the best living film critics, occasionally falls into the trap of letting his moral views determine how he rates films with difficult subject matter as well. For example, his moral outrage at violence committed by and against a pre-teen girl in Kick-Ass overshadowed pretty much everything else in his review, to the point where he implied that anyone who liked the film or the graphic novels it was based on (which he admitted to never having read) was likely a sociopath. He tends to be more careful about this than some others, though -- there are a few critics (who will go unnamed here) who seem like they simply can't handle moral ambiguity in films. They don't like it when the villain's argument makes even a modicum of sense, or when the protagonist isn't a paragon of virtue.

Let's look at a specific genre as an example: superhero films. The superhero genre in all different forms of media it has appeared in has been evolving; many of the earliest such tales in comic books were simple black-and-white morality plays where the clean-cut hero fought the dastardly villain. Superman was always good and Lex Luthor was always evil; there was no need to question it. Eventually, though, the genre grew up. Though at the start of the Vietnam War, most of the heroes sided with the U.S. government in support of the war, the writers soon realized that many in their target audience were part of the anti-war counterculture. Thus, the superheroes began to take a long, hard look inward. Old standards of good and evil were revealed as perhaps not as pure as originally thought -- we learned that superheroes could be racist, or be addicted to drugs, or disagree with each other and their home country's government about what was truly right. Evildoers like Lex Luthor and the Penguin were elected to public office, and the mighty superheroes were powerless to intervene because of the very laws they had devoted their lives to protecting. In the 1980s, we had even darker and more morally ambiguous stories exemplified by Watchmen, which featured "heroes" who could be sociopathic, apathetic, or even willing to kill thousands of innocent people for what they saw as "the greater good."

Similarly, superhero movies have matured over the years. While early ones like the movie serial versions of Superman and Adam West's Batman of the '60s were lighthearted adventures, recent films have been willing to go darker and more complex. Recent entries like the film adaptation of Watchmen (which was a pretty faithful take on the graphic novel) and The Dark Knight have, in the view of many, permanently redefined the superhero film. Some critics seem to have a hard time accepting the shades of gray present in those and other recent superhero films, and some parents who still think "costumed crimefighters" equals "movie for kids" make errors in film choices that will undoubtedly lead to therapy bills for their young children somewhere down the road. Movie ratings exist for a reason, people.

So what do I think of all this? Well, certainly, I think it's a good thing that films and other media over the years have become more mature and willing to tackle darker concepts. I also find it encouraging that, in general, audiences seem to have been receptive to this idea that films have "grown up." While I sympathize with parents who worry that their children might end up being exposed to such things too early, I have little sympathy for critics and audience members who insist on treating adult viewers as children, or on pretending that they themselves still are. If movies are to be considered an art form, we have to acknowledge that sometimes, they may contain ideas or points of view that make us uncomfortable. There are certainly enough ways of researching films ahead of time that, if one wished, it would be possible to only see films that fit one's own perspective and worldview... but to do so, in my view, negates the purpose of consuming art. That would be the ultimate tragedy that could result from film critics relying too much on their personal moral views when evaluating movies.

Your obedient servant,
I.A.E.

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: "The Little Things" - "Wanted" soundtrack
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February 13th, 2011
10:55 am

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"The Dark Knight Rises" - Ending a Saga?
Christopher Nolan's reimagining of Batman on screen has been extremely popular and well-received by comic book fans, film critics, and the general public. A combination of great writing, superb acting, and a brilliant, contemporary take on the classic hero have made 2005's Batman Begins and its 2008 sequel The Dark Knight two of the best and most popular superhero films of all time. Now, Nolan and his cast and crew are working on The Dark Knight Rises (abbreviated by some fans as "TDKR"), which Nolan says will be the final film in the series and is due to be released next summer. Two apparent villains have been cast, and many fans have weighed in on what they think of the villains picked and the actors chosen to play them. Here are my two cents on the recent news and continuing rumors about The Dark Knight Rises.Collapse )

Your obedient servant,
I.A.E.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: "When We Are Kings" - Frank Wildhorn's "The Count of Monte Cristo"
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January 5th, 2011
05:53 pm

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A Decade (plus one) In Review – Movies
Greetings, all, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fun New Year's Eve/Day celebration, and that this year will be a fun and prosperous one. But in addition to looking forward, the new year also gives us an opportunity to look back at what came before.

In the spirit of retrospection, I thought that rather than my (semi-) typical "year in review" post listing my top ten favorites on the silver screen for 2010 (or even 2009, which I missed for some unknown reason), I would look back at some of my favorite and least favorite films, franchises, and trends in filmmaking since the new millennium began. A "top ten" (or even "top fifty") list for the decade would be pretty much impossible for me to do, so I'll just name some that really stood out to me one way or the other. So first, let's take a look at My Favorites of the '00s On Screen!Collapse )

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05:52 pm

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Those of you who think you're a bit too cheerful now after having read that last essay can bring yourselves down a little with... My Biggest Bummers of the '00s.Collapse )

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05:52 pm

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Sufficiently depressed? To help balance you out, here are some Middle-of-the-Road Trends of the '00s.Collapse )


As an aside, I don't think of the '00s as a "good" or "bad" decade for movies; like any other decade, there were some fantastic films and some awful ones. We must remember, for example, that the 1980s gave us such masterpieces as Amadeus, Gandhi, and The Empire Strikes Back . . . but that decade was also responsible for Ishtar. The '00s had some great films, some awful ones, and the rest which were somewhere in between. The 2010s and every decade to follow will continue in that trend, and so I'll continue to be there with my popcorn and dark chocolate M&Ms. ^_^

Your obedient servant,
I.A.E.

Current Location: Home Sweet HCC
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: "Johanna" (act 2), "Sweeney Todd" movie soundtrack
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April 29th, 2010
09:34 am

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A PSA about the Special Election
The campaign for the 1st Congressional District's special election here in Hawai‘i is officially underway, and out of the ten declared candidates, three frontrunners have emerged: State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D), former Congressional Representative Ed Case (D), and City Councilman Charles Djou (R). Though I live in the 2nd Congressional District and thus can't vote in this election, I'm very interested to see the results of this race to fill Rep. Neil Abercrombie's seat as he runs for Governor.

Personally, I'm supporting Hanabusa -- although I don't agree with everything she's done during her tenure in the State Senate, I support the majority of her views on policy and think she'd be the most worthy successor to Rep. Abercrombie. However, I'm going to do something unusual for a bit and defend her opponent, former Rep. Ed Case, from arguments against him that, in my view, have nothing to do with his policy or how he would perform if he became a Congressman once again.

In 2006, then-Representative Case resigned from his seat in order to run for the U.S. Senate against the incumbent, Senator Daniel Akaka. He lost the Democratic nomination. Now, I like Sen. Akaka, and although I couldn't vote in the primary (since I turned 18 a few weeks afterward), I supported him . . . but most of the arguments I heard against Case weren't about his positions on the issues. Instead, many commentators in the local media (as well as regular citizens) went after Case because he dared to run against an older and very popular Senator before it was "his turn" to try for the job. His challenge was seen as being motivated more by ego than by an honest desire to make positive change.

I don't know Case or Akaka personally -- I've only met each of them once during a school trip -- so I can't really comment on what kinds of people they really are or whether they may or may not have hidden agendas. What's apparent to me, though, is that in Hawai‘i, we seem to prefer it when politicians "know their place" and defer to their "higher-ups." Though we love young, idealistic political mavericks, we won't put them in positions of real power and influence until they've grown older and become part of the establishment. Only rarely have we ever allowed an incumbent to be unseated by a challenger. Ed Case dared to try to change that system, and although I disagree with his political views, I can respect his courage in making the attempt.

During the lead-in to the current election, there was an article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin saying that our other Senator, Daniel Inouye, was endorsing Colleen Hanabusa. The article said that perhaps this was out of a desire to "punish" Case. For anyone who doesn't know, Sen. Inouye, a World War II veteran, has been representing Hawai‘i on a national level since before we were a state, and he's served in the U.S. Senate since 1963. That makes him the second senior-most Senator currently serving.

Because of his political influence, popularity, and resources, Sen. Inouye certainly has the right and the ability to endorse any candidate he likes. If his endorsement of Hanabusa is simply because he agrees with her positions on the issues or because he acknowledges her ability to get things done, I'm all for it. But if it's meant to "punish" Case for running against Sen. Akaka four years ago, then that's just petty and wrong. The Democratic Party heads in Washington have also endorsed Hanabusa, but they've made it clear that it's because of her voting record compared to that of Case, so that's fine. (The attack ads they've run in her favor, though, may be hurting rather than helping her cause.) In fact, aside from that article about Sen. Inouye, I haven't seen the "revenge" angle against Case being brought up, and I'm thankful for that.

So anyway, I'm posting this to encourage everyone in District 1 to vote in this special election. The registration deadline has passed, but everyone who is registered must go out and make their voices heard. Whoever you vote for, though, make sure you're supporting them for the important reasons -- don't choose a candidate based on things like age, gender, ethnicity, or political grudge matches. Instead, get educated about what the candidates stand for and vote for the person you truly believe will do the best job for our state and our nation. The people of Hawai‘i will thank you.

Current Location: HCC
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Nada
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December 22nd, 2009
10:18 am

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Dark Knight of the White House
Because this is a long and somewhat rambling post, I decided to do yet another cut!Collapse )

Your obedient servant,
I.A.E.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: "Introduce A Little Anarchy" from the "Dark Knight" soundtrack
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