Thanks to Red Metal, who runs Extra Life Reviews, one of the finest blogs about games and movies you are going to find out there, I have been tagged with a Mystery Blogger Award. In the past, whenever I was given one of those, I bookmarked them while telling myself I would get to replying to them later. Of course, I would then forget all about it for quite a bit, usually remembering I had questions to answer when creating the post did not make much sense anymore due to the elapsed time.
In a way, this one was not really different, since the tag happened about a month ago. But I will get to it anyway because answering these is fun. So, without further ado, here are the questions and answers.
1- What is the most unusual work you’ve ever experienced?
Perhaps I have been exposed to more unusual works since then, but this question automatically reminded me of watching The Tree of Life, the Terrence Malick movie, with a friend of mine. I think the context surrounding the whole experience made the movie weirder, because we simply did not go in expecting the unusual given we were just not familiar with the director’s style. My mother had gotten a couple of free tickets to one alternative movie theater in town, so since there was a lot of buzz regarding the film and the place was one of the only establishments in the city where it was being shown, we decided to go for it.
Needless to say, the peculiar philosophical ruminations of the movie threw us for a loop, and I am willing to bet the same applied to a lot of folks who were there with us, as many people just got up and left. We stayed until the end, and I will at least say that the movie had some pretty astonishing scenes in visual terms. Ever since that day, though, I have yet to watch another Malick film.
2- What is the best work you have experienced that no one else seems to know about?
Maybe I am cheating, as they are relatively known online, but I will go with The Kinks here. And since you are asking for a specific work, I will go with their most-revered album: “The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society”.
As many music aficionados know, The Kinks – at least during their peak years – were never able to find much success in the United States for a variety of reasons, especially due to the fact they were banned from playing in the country. Therefore, their popularity and quality never crossed the sea from United Kingdom.
Now, I don’t live in the United States. I live in Brazil. But since The Kinks didn’t cross British borders and made little impact in the American scene, that means they are virtually unknown around these parts even by lovers of rock music, as the local music market is strongly influenced by what goes on in the United States.
I, however, do my part to champion the name of the band here. I teach English and, whenever I am discussing British history and culture with students, I bring The Kinks’ tunes to the class. I have done so with “Victoria”, “Waterloo Sunset”, “Mr. Churchill Says”, and “Shangri-La”. In the process, I have been able to convert a handful of students to The Kinks’ camp. One of them even bought the band’s shirt one day.
3- If you could go back in time and go to the premiere of a classic film, which one would you choose?
I was going to say the original Star Wars, on account of how shocking watching all of that on a big screen must have been in 1977. But then I remembered “A Trip to the Moon”, by Georges Méliès. Going into a movie theater in 1902 and seeing that little film must have been even more mind-blowing.
4- If you decided to write fiction, which genre would you choose?
I doubt I would ever do that, as I lack the creativity for that kind of stuff, but I would try my hand at science-fiction. In my opinion, using futuristic or otherworldly settings to make comments on current society and its problems is brilliant, and doing it with a sufficiently light touch not to make the whole work feel awkward is a gift only a few have had. I certainly don’t have it, but it would be fun to try.
5- What is the most disappointingly predictable plot twist you’ve ever experienced?
It was absolutely the one from Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. I don’t remember exactly when the plot twist came to me, but I remember I knew what was going to happen quite soon. I watched it when I was staying at a friend’s house during the weekend, and she urged me to see it as she thought I was going to love it. Sadly, since I was able to see where the story was going, I ended up not sharing her excitement about the movie. To this day, whenever I see praise being directed towards Shutter Island, I wish I hadn’t seen the plot twist coming, because watching it land successfully must be one hell of an experience.
6- What do you consider to be the strangest title for a work?
I thought about two. The Horse’s Mouth, by Joyce Cary, as I could never figure out why he titled the book as such. And Vol. 4, by Black Sabbath, because I think it is odd to number the album when the previous ones were not given the same treatment. As far as I can remember, Ozzy Osbourne agrees with me on that one.
7- Where in a theater do you prefer to sit?
In the middle of the row whose height makes it be right in the middle of the screen. Sometimes I miscalculate, though.
8- Do you have any graphic novel/manga series you’re currently following?
I can’t say that has happened. I have honestly never followed any graphic novels or manga. I never really cared for the latter format. As for the former, some of them do appeal to me. I just never got hooked on one. A friend keeps pushing me towards reading The Walking Dead, though, as I started watching the TV show but dropped it when I thought it was getting boring.
9- When it comes to reviewing films, which do you feel are more effective – traditional, written reviews or video essays?
I think both of them can be equally effective. It depends on who is doing it. My personal preference, however, stands by the written format, but I know that the rest of the world probably disagrees with me on that regard, as videos are taking over. I barely watch any videos. When I am browsing the internet I am usually listening to music, so I always prefer to read instead.
10- What aspects of old-school game design do you wish would make a comeback?
I wish all contemporary games that rely heavily on maps – like Metroidvanias and open-world efforts – would have the option to turn off markers that direct you where to go, making them revert to the old-school lack of direction. I love the feeling of having to figure out what your next destination will be. I guess that is one of the reasons why I loved Hollow Knight so much. It refuses to tell you where you need to head to.
11 – What aspects of old-school game design are you glad went away?
The pairing of brutal difficulty with the absence or scarcity of checkpoints. That’s just torture to me.
I opted not to conclude this post by asking questions of my own. However, fully aware that I am going to end up tragically overlooking someone, I will give a nod to fellow bloggers who I admire and who create excellent content.