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Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Crowning Moments Of Awesome

In Film, Literature, Television on August 20, 2009 at 12:44 AM

As defined by the website www.tvtropes.org, a Crowning Moment of Awesome is best described as:

“The moment when a fictional character does something for which they will be remembered forever, winning for them the eternal loyalty of fans.”

And it was at this website that I found myself escaping from my hours of boredom, looking up what I deemed to be Crowning Moments of Awesome and seeing if they were indeed cataloged by what I would declare as the most comprehensive compendium of such moments.

As I searched through the website and was reminded of the various CMOA that I have experienced throughout my years as a reader/movie-watcher/tv-gazer, I realized that these instances really make or break a movie/book/show for me. It’s these small instances of, for lack of a better word, awesomeness, that have made the works that they are a part of so memorable in my mind.

Off the top of my head one example that comes to mind is Gladiator, when Russel Crowe removes his helmet and reveals that he is still very much alive to Commodus’ dismay and declares:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Just re-reading this quote gave me a shiver accompanied by fleeting goose bumps. It is one of those movie moments that will stay strong in my head, even as most of the other parts of the movie fall into obscurity.

Another legendary moment is in The Princess Bride when Inigo Montoya finally faces the six-fingered man, repeating the lines, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.” A moment that will be forever rise above other scenes, bronzed in an awesome glory.

Sometimes, however, a movie cannot elicit any memories of a CMOA. Some movies have but a few, some might have multitudes,  and some movies could be said just to be one giant CMOA coalesced from many smaller CMOA, such as the 300 holding strong against their titanic Persian foe.  After reading this article and looking through the numerous examples, I discover that a well placed CMOA is the #1 thing I look for in a movie. The first half of a movie can be shit for all I care as long as it somehow can pull a glorified CMOA from its ass, obliterating all the other detritus from memory.

My favorite CMOA of all time would have to be the end of the last episode from the anime series “Cowboy Bebop” (one of the few anime shows that I can stand to watch). The character “Spike Spiegel,” whom has illustrated various amounts of badassery throughout the series and has become one of my top 5 fictional characters, ends the series with such an amazing “bang” that I will never tire of watching the episode again and again. I do not want to divulge what specifically it is that he does due to the nominal chance of ruining it for someone who might plan to watch it someday, but I can say that it is indeed a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Read the rest of this entry »

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Read This… If You Love Reading

In Literature on May 27, 2009 at 12:51 AM

[Editor’s Note: This post, by Matt Minski, is a direct response to a post written a few days ago by fellow TIAW contributor the skeptic. Here is the original post: Read This… If You Hate Reading.]

Being one who would classify himself as an avid reader, I felt it was necessary to write a response post to the Skeptic’s article that rallied anti-readers. This isn’t a post to bash the anti-reading points that Skeptic laid out, just one to illuminate the other side that was left in the dark.

I can understand how someone in this day and age would hate reading. First off it’s rather time consuming, it comes off as rather bland compared to the current array of entertainment formats, and being assigned various (sometimes shiteous) readings throughout our academic careers, surely doesn’t foster any love for the medium.

However. for whatever reason, for as long as I can remember, I have never been without a book in progress. I tend to derive more fulfillment out of text than I do any other medium. I was always puzzled when fellow classmates would ask, “What are you reading for?” I mean, “What are you reading?” seems more apt, but “What are you reading for?” I never quite understood the rationale there.

Now I don’t think that one person is any better for reading a book, I just think that books are an excellent means to provide additional insights to whatever you might be interested in. Not that a movie, TV show, or any other medium can’t give you knowledge. A book is just another looking glass in which to see information. It also has the potential to be a much more intimate experience, as with autobiographies, it doesn’t get more genuine than reading it straight from the author’s brain.

Sadly, I also happen to be one of those douches that will naively chime, “the book was much better than the movie” when the topic of an adaptation is at hand. But alas, I can’t bring myself to keep quiet. A book just provides so very much more than a movie can in most scenarios that I can’t help but wonder why more people don’t take part in it. A book doesn’t have amazing visuals or epic soundtracks but the sheer investment it takes is a reward all its own.

For instance, I started reading Harry Potter in 8th grade and I finished the series my junior year of college when the final book hit. That’s somewhere in the ballpark of eight years to follow a story. And it is that attachment, like a scrumptious tumor embedded deep at the stem of your imagination, seeping sweet, sweet nectar into your blood stream over the years, that keeps me coming back.

Another reason that I tend to prefer books more than other mediums is that the artist’s vision is usually not compromised as it is with movies. With movies being such a lucrative industry with millions of dollars being flown around, there are many people with power (read: money) that are trying to steer a movie into what they deem as success. With a book, you have the author’s untainted creation, straight from their brain. Take Alan Moore for example, his stories (Watchmen, V For Vendetta) are brilliant, but when in the hands of Hollywood you get a very watered down version of the original. I mean I loved both of those movies but the source material has a depth to it that very few movies can hope to reach. It’s like having a mighty steer toned down into beef flavored bouillon cubes.

It saddens me that books seem to be a dying medium (keep fighting the good fight Kindle!) but it also turns out to be a great treat when I meet those rare folks who share similar tastes. I can’t help but get all antsy in my pantsy when I meet someone that shares the same love for George R. R Martin’s epic “A Song of Ice and Fire” as I do.

I don’t look down on non-readers, I just think it’s a pity that people will section themselves off from a medium that has so much to offer because they are stifled from an early age by societies general disdain of reading for pleasure. Well, I suppose that isn’t fair to say, but goddamnit it’s a tragedy to miss out on some of the books out there.

Much in the same format as the Skeptic I feel it pertinent to leave off with a quote that has been circulating around my brain and one that I feel sums up my opinion on reading.

To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.

You can’t experience every awesome thing all the time in your short lifetime but books are just one of the tools along the way that can lend a hand in between.

Read This… If You Hate Reading

In Literature on May 20, 2009 at 2:18 AM

You know what? I hate reading. Yeah I said it. And as much as I hate reading, I hate reading about people reading. There was an article in “The Republican,” Springfield’s finest newspaper, today written by some 8th grade overachiever who was singing the praises of reading. First of all, reading ain’t all its cracked up to be. People make the association that just because a kid has his nose in a book that they are far and above kids who… aren’t.

When I see a child, or anybody for that matter, reading a book I think one of three things: 1. The kid has no friends and is crying out for someone to hang out with. 2. The kid is brown nosing or attempting to appear more intellectual. 3. They are following a trend that no one knows how got started (Twilight, Potter, Joel Osteen).

Do we realize how ridiculous this is? Just because someone is reading a book doesn’t mean that they’re going to be the next Niles Bohr, especially if it’s about vampire love triangles (or whatever the hell Twilight is about). Is someone strong just because they are in the gym? Is someone stylish just because they shop at Hollister? Is someone from Alabama just because they listen to Kenny Chesney? No. So kids are certainly not advancing themselves just because they are reading rather than watching TV or anything else.

I (the_skeptic) am known as somewhat of a Renaissance Man. I obtained my knowledge not from the pages of a book but from years of absorbing information from all places. In 3rd grade a teacher was talking about musicians and if anyone in the class knew a famous violin company. I said “Stradivarius,” much to her amazement. And do you know where I heard it? The Three Stooges episode “Disorder in the Court.” But enough about me.

My little overachieving friend at the Republican built her argument on the notion that reading has something for everyone, which it does. But so do video games, and movies, and department stores, so I don’t really see the correlation. If it’s that using your imagination to paint the pictures to go with someone else’s words, spare me. Everyone interprets every piece of art differently. Some people will tell you Will Ferrell is really funny, others won’t. It’s just like reading, some people like 1,000 page novels about wizards and full page articles about how people dress up and wait outside for the book to be released, some people like Dilbert. To each his own.

I will leave you with this my loyal followers (because I clearly can’t say readers after all this). This is my favorite quote of all-time, and it came from a big, burly mechanic on the old TV show Monster Garage.

“I like to spend my time doing the things that people write books about.”

Now that’s the most profound thing I’ve READ in a long time.