Friday, December 12, 2014

The Plan Worked Like A Charm

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I am a big fan of movies – the good kind, of course. I love movies that arouse feelings and emotions instead of logic to convey its story (Donnie Darko, 2001: A Space Odyssey), those with ordinary stories delivered in an extraordinary fashion (Good Will Hunting), or those that are simply indescribably good (Me And You And Everyone We Know). Okay, so I have an acquired taste. So rape me.

So, why the hell do I find myself wearing a smile after watching The Game Plan on the first day of its release here in cinemas?

For one, this cliché Hollywood movie is far removed from the films I usually watch. Everything in The Gameplan reeks of cutesy, family-oriented crap that Disney is known for. In fact, I compare this movie to Jersey Girl by Kevin Smith: both almost run with the same storyline, and both are sappy and saccharine in their delivery.

However, although I didn’t like Jersey Girl (sorry sunrisehotgun – To redeem myself, Mallrats is a fucking classic), I found myself laughing at how Joe Kingman (Rock) clumsily reacts to situations handled by parents, something that he is not at the start of the film. I enjoyed the gradual change that Kingman underwent after his 8-year-old daughter arrived at his apartment and lived with him for a while.

For me, a great film is a depiction of human experiences through the lens, and whether the film is a slapstick comedy or a heavy-hearted drama, they should capture the complexities that make our lives very interesting, to say the least. And while The Gameplan is far from being worthy of an Oscars, it’s simply a darn fun escape from all the pomposity of a purpose-driven life. It’s all about letting go and have the movie take you to familiar, but refreshing, territory.

Yep, their Plan caught me by surprise, unfortunately.

Post originally published at The Geek Revolution on November 11, 2007.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Silver Lining in Guitar Hero

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I mentioned in my previous post how Guitar Hero isn’t really heroic at all. Although I won’t take away its fun gameplay that makes it so damn addictive, gamers are better off playing a real Gibson SG Les Paul or a Fender Stratocaster in a heartbeat. Not only will people get the joy of playing their favorites tunes, but they get a more rewarding experience of spending hours, days, and even months mastering a composition of complex proportions (Dragonforce, for instance).

However, there are times when playing Guitar Hero is better than performing in front of a live audience. Believe me, performing on-stage feels like shit sometimes.

I guess it comes to no surprise that I play the guitar. After all, bitching about Guitar Hero without being able to play the instrument would really be stupid on my part, don’t you think?

arch enemy, guitar, guitar freaks, guitar hero, in flames, metal music, ps3, rock music, video game console, Video Games, wii, xbox 360For those interested, I play metal music (think Arch Enemy and In Flames, only lamer and less talented) using an Ibanez Jem Jr. through an effects chain in this order: Boss MT-2, Boston CH-1, Behringer GDI21, and Boss DD-3. It’s a pretty simple setup that helps me produce that high-gain, bottom-heavy sound that I want, although I would kill for an Ibanez TS-9. Oh, the sweetness of rich tones!

Playing for a band has its ups and downs. At best, performing in front of an audience feels like going outside your corporeal self and finally coming to terms with the Prime Mover. It also doesn’t hurt when the audiences roar and applaud every after song we play, especially in music festivals.
Still, I’ve always seen myself at the lowly guitarist, as I am far from being a great one, which I hope to become someday. For that reason, such a mindset allows me aspire for betterment, both in improving the sound I produce and getting more proficient with my technique. Fortunately, regular practice and immersion with the ins and outs of playing guitar have helped me improve my performance when playing with the band. I mean, it really SHOULD improve my playing.

However, there are times when there’s nothing I can do but simply SUCK during our gigs, which happens to be one of the downs in performing for an audience. It’s happened to me lots of times, and it’s crazy embarrassing, especially when the bands before have flattened out the loud with their pummeling jackhammer sound.

Our last gig was, at the very least, crappy. I was all over the place, in a very bad way – missed notes here, miffed riffs there. One of the Geek Revolution resident writers the_emoticon was there to witness all in its painful glory, and if weren’t for the free beers he got along with the entrance fee, he would have been slashing himself “down the road, not across the street.” Although I could simply use template excuses like “we didn’t play with the other lead guitarist on board” or “I was using a different guitar at that time,” I simply won’t because that would be gayer than Richard Simmons sucking on schublig.

It took me a full hour to get over that scandalous showing, which is why Guitar Hero holds this certain advantage. Even though you fuck up and screw over your notes, you can repeat the song after the games asks you to continue, and not only could people care less, but you wouldn’t have to risk your ego in the process. Unlike during gigs, when you fuck up your performance, you just fucked it up, brother. No way out from that one. So for those playing Guitar Hero with a passion, more power to you.

I’ll end my rant there and continue my process of not sucking in playing guitar.

Post originally published at The Geek Revolution on November 4, 2007.