Just an update on
the 2010s Retrospectives blog series here: I’ve written a whole lot
of these posts by now, with topics ranging all over the spectrum and
posts as short as a couple paragraphs or as long as three or four
thousand words. It’s been a really fun time, and I’ve gotten to
reflect on things I’m not sure I ever would have remembered had I not
been trying to think about various 2010s-related topics.
As for the whole
project, I’d say we are well past the halfway point by now. For all
the topics I would like to cover, there aren’t too many huge ones I’m
still missing out on. So there will be another few months of posts,
but we will soon finally be able to put the 2010s to rest (albeit
several months into the new decade).
I want to make
more of the “Best of the Decade” articles about my favorite media
from the past ten years, but those posts take extraordinarily long to
make compared to the ones that cover a single topic. If I get the
time and gumption to finish more, they will probably come closer to
the end of the whole series.
And one last
thing… While I’m really writing these mostly for the fun of having
a strange, public diary of sorts to look back on one day, I am
obviously always glad when people find and read through these posts.
However, the site stats tell me most of these posts so far have only
single-digit views, which is a bit disheartening. If you have the
time, please share some of these posts with other people! I’d love to
have more readers and especially more commenters as well.
It is perhaps
fitting that, ten years after starting my first blog, my latest one
gets just about the same number of views per post. Fitting, but maybe
a bit sad as well.
The case of terrible January
dump movies, file #407.
It is well-known movie lore that every January sees the release of a half-dozen or more horrible, wretched, vile movies that studios greenlit, financed, and then realized had absolutely no business being heaved onto the people of the world outside of contractual obligations.
So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, starting Fire Emblem: Three Houses about three months later than everyone else because I had to promise someone else I wouldn’t start until finishing a long-procrastinated-on novel manuscript. Game’s pretty good so far, way too few battles for my liking, but I’m still really enjoying the characters and the potential of all the systems. The story’s kinda dumb and I’m mad that I’m a blank slate self-insert character, but hey, it’s still Fire Emblem.
Probably one of the most clear, visually striking ways to show the difference between the 2000s and 2010s is to juxtapose the Ultimate Marvel comic line between its beginning and its ending:
What started out as a fresh re-imagining of Marvel’s continuity-mired, aging superhero world in the 21st century became itself a continuity-mired mess, one that, once the Marvel Studios movies themselves became a fresh re-imagining of Marvel in the 21st century, became so obsolete that the entire universe was destroyed in a crossover event.
July 16th, 2015, a terrorist attack happened less than five miles
was sitting at home, doing whatever. Who even knows. Then the news
came in that a deranged man shot up an military recruitment building
in Chattanooga. Then he got in his car, drove to a Navy Reserve
center, and shot it up as well.
5 people died, and two were injured. The man wasn’t ISIS, but he had been influenced by jihadi propaganda on the internet, as well as mental health and drug abuse problems. Right here, where I lived, where I never even considered the possibility of something like this happening, some depraved being went on a rampage committed a mass shooting.
Y’all remember that time Nintendo really fucked up bad? I’m talking when the Nintendo 3DS first came out in the spring of 2011. There were no launch games worth talking about, no game to sell the system to gamers, to casual audiences, or even to kids. The 3D gimmick was really neat, but no game truly showed it off in any notable way, much less anything that made it essential for gameplay. As the follow-up to the best-selling handheld gaming system of all-time, Nintendo really ruined things.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a good movie that worked as a nice prequel to a classic film franchise while also standing alone as a sci-fi monkey drama.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a great movie that kicked everything up a notch and went into far greater emotional depths while being a true blockbuster experience as well. However, it worked so well partially because of how standalone it was from its predecessor. The human cast does not return, and our cast from the original have character arcs independent of those they had in the original movie.
This opening scene, then, acts as a bridge between those movies, but also as its own standalone art piece of a pandemic growing and human society collapsing. The peaceful globe-spinning graphics mixed with the increased panic of the archival footage makes for an unnerving intro that firmly sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Sequels do these sorts of “recap the previous movie” intros all the time, but rarely do they succeed on an artistic level all their own. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is special.
My Netflix account was erased
in December. Gone, wiped out, completely reset to zero.
It had been almost exactly ten years since my family began using Netflix. When we first started using Xbox Live in January 2010, achieved by rigging a 100-foot ethernet cable across two rooms into the router box, its main use almost immediately became streaming Netflix. Sure, Halo 3 and Inside Xbox were important in our household, but the Xbox 360’s primary purpose was to stream movies and TV shows.
There was a brief time where, due to confusing and failed life plans as a result of my tenuous position as an alternate for the JET Program, I was a NEET from July to November 2018. And because of that, for three months, I was getting no income, but I was also living rent-free with my parents and infinite free time… My dreams of being a Full-Time Writer came true. If I was going to be a NEET, I was going to be a NEET who accomplished great things…!!!
Then I got called to fulfill a position in the JET Program after all at the end of October and that all disappeared immediately. But I had set all of these lofty goals for myself… I really was gonna make this writing thing work… But, yeah, I definitely chose to actually make money doing a job I like instead of risking getting buried in accumulating debt.
Listen, I’m not about to attempt to explain this movie to you because you won’t believe me even if I did. I’ll just say that Night is Short, Walk on Girl is a bonkers film, probably Masaaki Yuasa’s best work yet, and absolutely one of the most visually excellent films of the 2010s. Cinematic maximalism.
Also, can we just stop and reflect on just how prolific Masaaki Yuasa has been in the past ten years? He started off with a bang with The Tatami Galaxy in 2010, then two more series, Ping Pong in 2014 and Devilman Crybaby in 2018, plus the brand-new Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! that started just this January. Then he has released THREE theatrical films–Night is Short plus Lu Over the Wall and Ride Your Wave (which premieres in the U.S. next month in a one-night event; go see it!). Add in all the other weird stuff he’s been going and you have one of the most productive men in the realm of animation. And all of it is great, somehow. Let’s hope he keeps this up in the 20s!