surrealcouchuniverse

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin


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Comic Thoughts: Twelve (Marvel)

Twelve is a comic where twelve World War 2 heroes get frozen to sleep and wake up in the modern day. Here they have to adjust to modern life while the government hopes they act as heroes and show the world what heroes are meant to be. This is following events such as Civil War where heroes fight each other. Spoilers follow.

Tonally, I am not sure what this book is trying to say. The heroes come out, some come out and try to be heroes quite successfully. But then they just end up arguing amongst themselves. This isn’t helped by the bad guy being one of them (in fact the best of them, the Superman stand-in). And in order to drag out this mystery, a pretty weak deus-ex machine plot device is used.

Even the scenes of them trying to fit into the modern world, despite filling a big slot of the book, are not well handled. It is effective, however, in showing that there were things not always black-and-white even with the heroes of old. The rest is just the usual of change in police procedures, life on the wrong side of the road vs idealism, etc.

This book would have been better if there was a villain, perhaps a similar frozen villain. After criticising (in-story) all the hero vs hero stuff at the beginning, it devolves into a hero vs hero finale at the end.


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My Thoughts on Rude by Magic

Rude by Magic is a song that I don’t like. And it is funny because the main reasons I don’t like it is because of the story that it tries to tell as opposed to the music or the beat. The musicality of the song is quite nice and catchy in the normal pop-song style with the bridge, the breakdown, chorus and semi-rap-singing, but the story is just so stupid.

Basically, the song is about a guy who goes to a girl’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. He does this because he knows the dad is old-fashioned. However, as opposed to this being a technicality, the dad says he doesn’t like him and he can’t have his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The singer than goes on to complain about how the dad’s answer doesn’t matter to him. Which, at this point I ask, why even bother asking or singing the song about it? Half the chorus is about how he is pleading with the father to give permission, the other half is about how he doesn’t care what the father says and thinks he is being impolite/rude for not saying yes. And then he threatens to runaway with the fathers daughter (and not see them again) if he doesn’t give the blessing.

And the music video makes it even stupider. When he tries to dress up respectively to impress this old-fashioned man in a suit and tie, he decides to wear a beanie and bring his friends along. He looks stupid. This song’s lyrics are stupid. Which is a shame because, unfortunately, this beat was actually one of the more interesting beats on the radio at the time it was a hit.


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Why I Like The Rock vs Mankind “I Quit” Match from Royal Rumber 1999

The Rock and Mankind had allot of really good matches. However, the “I Quit” match from 1999 was one of my favourites. For those who don’t know, an “I Quit” match involves one of the wrestlers saying “I Quit” to lose the match. The reason I like the match so much isn’t because it was a spot-fest, but because it was such a good culmination of the story and the wrestlers personalities.

The main thing for a wrestling match is the face/heel dynamic. Here, it is very clear: The Rock is the up and coming heel with the backing of the corporate stable and the boss; Mankind is a plucky underdog wrestler who won the title through grit and determination after being cheated by The Rock and given a disadvantage (Mankind was in a match earlier in the night where the Rock interfered to beat up Mankind). As the match started, they fell into these face/heel. The Rock tried to cheap shot Mankind before the bell, but Mankind gained the upper hand.

This continued throughout the match. When The Rock started to gain some ascendency, he trash-talked the commentators allowing Mankind to gain the upper hand again. Whenever he was asked what he wanted to do, he had a smart response as opposed to Mankind’s more straightforward responses. The Rock was a cocky entertainer, but he was also a heel and this continued until the end of the match. This is when Mankind was handcuffed and Rock beat him with a chair, without even bothering to ask Mankind to quit.

And the Rock cheated to win. The hook of the match was if Mankind would quit, something fans never pictured him doing. His character was a deranged man who took massive bumps, but also the hero of the story. And heroes don’t submit or quit. The commentators did an excellent job of putting over The Rock, Mankind, the odds being stacked against Mankind and the brutality of the match. .

And this is why this is one of my favourite matches. There is allot more I could talk about, but they managed to walk a fine line successfully with still being true to there characters as well as the hero/villain dynamic, despite these seeming to be at odds with each other. It goes to show the talent of the wrestlers involved that, despite Rock being entertaining and Mankind being deranged, it was still clear who was the good and bad guys


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Gone Girl: The Book

Having recently finished the Gone Girl book (my first read book for 2015), I did really enjoy it. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the twist in the movie is well set up. The book plays around with the unreliable narrator by making both the husband and wife that the book is set around unreliable. Just when you thought that you were getting a handle on what was happening, it then proceeds to pull the rug out from underneath the reader with a major twist.

Gone Girl had no set hero or villain. In some ways, it was just 2 bad people and one just happened to be much worse when provoked. With no reliable narration happening from either viewpoint, it is always difficult to know what is going on. I would definitely recommend this as a good read to pass a couple of days and a book that you want to talk about.


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Top 5 Best, Worst, Disappointing and Surprising Movies.

So now that 2014 is done, it is time to see the top 6 best and worst movies that I saw this year (in no order). This year felt like it was a good movie year, but there was always the extremes to bring us back to earth. I have tried to avoid mentioning movies in more than 1 list, and have included the surprising and disappointing just to give a bit of variety (as Best and Worst seemed to write themselves). There are also movies I suspect would be here if I had seem them (Gone Girl, Divergent). So without further ado, here they are.

Best Movies:

Lego Movie- This movie is great. It has it’s own unique style and is awesome with an emotional punch at the end.
Captain America Winter Soldier- My favourite marvel movie so far featuring slick action and a great plot.
Raid 2- They took the first movie, somehow improved the action, and added in more story without making it worse.
How to Train Your Dragon 2- A near perfect sequel that only has one minor stumble.
Big Hero 6- In an animation heavy list, this stands out for just being fun but still having a good message.
John Wick- Keanu Reeves is back in a pure high-paced action movie that kicks butts and takes names.

Worst Movies:

Winters Tale- Literally a “what did I just watch” movie that is non-sensical.
Dracula Untold- Lets take a cool character and destroy him completely.
300 Rise of an Empire- The dissonances between the story, the action and the narrative make this movie a mess.
Transformers 4 Age of Extinction- One step forward with number 3, a massive leap backwards again.
Amazing Spiderman 2- I don’t think this movie had a point at all. Marginally better than the original, though.
Godzilla- A horrible movie that has about 5 minutes of Godzilla in it.

Disappointing Movies:

Sin City Dame to Kill For- For someone who loves the original, this movie completely misses the point.
Veronica Mars- As a fan of the original, this played out as more a plea for funding for a new series.
X-men Days of Future Past- Looked promising but a massive step back from First Class and X-men 2.
Hobbit Battle of Five Armies- This was the movie at which The Hobbit trilogy finally felt bloated.
Snowpiercer- All the pieces were there but just never grabbed me and I am not sure why. It just felt like a chore.
Hercules (with the Rock)- Generic action movie that removes all the fantastical elements of the myth.

Surprisingly Good Movies:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- Didn’t completely suck and was mostly entertaining.
Robocop- Once again, didn’t completely suck, although whenever it tried to be deep it looked very stupid.
Expendables 3- It finally felt like what it was meant to be at times, an action hero Avengers movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy- I expected this movie to fall over under its lore, but it kept up the pace.
Lucy- Started with a stupid premise and then made it all work thanks to slick writing.
Maze Runner- Although the ending let it down, it was surprisingly solid until then.

So I wonder what movies I am looking forward to the most in 2015 that do not star Ultron.


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Song Thoughts- Like I Can (Sam Smith)

I really like this song. To me, Sam Smith pretty much sing-yelling the chorus provides such a passionate contrast to the remainder, quiet moments in the song that it really grabs me. The only thing I didn’t like about the song was how it seemed to go through how much better he would be than all these other guys and why a woman should choose him.

Then I saw the music video and it all made sense and made me like this song so much more. The music video shows a bunch of well dressed men going around to clubs and trying to convince women to go out with them. And that pretty much sums up the song.

I am not sure if it was meant to be like this, but now I see it as an ‘anti-nice-guy’ song. It is a song pretty much mocking what all ‘nice-guys’ say about women that would be better off with them and how much better they are than all these other guys. And they do it without realising how much they look like all these other guys that don’t interest the women despite being nice to them.

And that is pretty much why I like the song now. Everytime I hear it, it reminds me that you have to be more than just ‘nice’ to stand out from all the other people around you.


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Learning Guitar

So I have been slowly learning guitar for a little over 1 month now. It is probably the most major skill I have learnt for quite a bit. So far it is quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I can only really practice at lunchtimes every second day. This means I only practice about 3 hours a week.

In order to master something, it is said that you need 10,000 hours. So at 4 hours a week, it will only take me 49 years to master guitar. And judging by the fact that it is going quite slowly (it isn’t something I am particularly talented in naturally), I don’t think I am going to take any shortcuts. This isn’t totally a bad thing for learning.

Learning a totally new skill (a musical instrument in this case) has reminded me that the best skills are learnt slowly through consistency. This also gives a much greater sense of satisfaction when the skill/song is mastered. I can feel myself getting better, and songs and music that felt impossible a couple of weeks ago is getting easier. And as I learn new skills, picking up new music and songs is also getting easier.

I only hope that I get more of a chance to practice in the future and I can stay consistent. Practicing guitar is also quite useful for relaxing and refocusing myself at lunchtimes. It is definitely not something I want to give up anytime soon.

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