Nicolas Cage and The Descent Into Madness

Obligatory attention to the fact that I haven’t posted in what is close to a millennia.

Okay, since that is now over with, lets get to it.

Since the end of last year I decided to start a quest to watch every movie that has Nicolas Cage in it (This does exclude documentaries).

So far this has been an absolute joyride. Nicolas Cage is accused of overacting (what some would consider to be bad acting), and it is absolutely true. In most of the movies he is in he is absolutely electrifying to watch.

I would argue that he isn’t a bad actor and recently he has been in a lot of direct to DVD movies that wouldn’t have even been glanced at had he not been a part of them.

I just wanted to go through some quick synopses of some of the movies that I have seen so far.

Color Out Of Space (2019)

Color Out Of Space is a book by HP Lovecraft and it features one simple concept. What if an alien invaded a secluded farmstead? What if that alien really had no intentions or purpose and was just a color?

The movie is full of a bright purple and is an absolute thrill to watch. Nicolas Cage very quickly loses his sanity along with the rest of his family.

Kill Chain (2019)

I had the pleasure of watching this in 4k in my living room. Did that enhance the experience at all? Probably not.

Kill Chain does the classic trope of starting the movie near the end and then flashing back to how it all began. Nic Cage didn’t have the movies full screen time, but he did have the climactic end to it. The movie is just a bunch of hits all tied together (quite literally a Kill Chain).

Guarding Tess (1994)

Guarding Tess follows Nic Cage as the secret service bodyguard to a former first lady. He is mentally abused by her until he wants to leave and then decides to stay because of Stockholm syndrome. I’m dumbing the plot down a lot, but this synopsis holds a lot of weight.

Vampire’s Kiss (1988)

You Don't Say? | Know Your Meme

The best way to describe Vampire’s Kiss is if somebody gave Christian Bale’s American Psycho a smaller budget and then proceeded to tell the screenwriters to “sprinkle in a couple of jokes.”

It was a fantastic movie to watch, but in the “Wow what am I watching?” sort of way.

Amos and Andrew (1993)

The premise of this movie is that a wealthy black man (played by Samuel L. Jackson) moves into a nice home and while he is getting moved in his bigoted white neighbors think he is a robber (since they didn’t know their old neighbors moved out).

What ensues is the police shooting at him while he is in his home, and then realizing their mistake and in an attempt to save face send a criminal (Nicolas Cage) in so that they can shift the blame. It is… a movie.

I don’t know if this movie aged well because in some ways it still seems relevant or aged poorly because it is almost distasteful how jokey they are about the subject while it is still such a hot topic today.

And finally…

Rage (2014)

*Spoiler warning if you don’t want to read ahead*

Nicolas Cage’s daughter gets… taken. With no Liam Neeson in sight Nicolas Cage fills the role….

And then his daughter dies.

So Nicolas Cage starts falling into a more John Wick/Equalizer role and starts dismantling the local mafias and gangs. Every single person that might have had any incentive at all to kidnap and kill his daughter.

And for the big finale, it is revealed she is killed because his daughter and her friends had found his guns and decided to disobey the rules of gun safety and accidentally shot and killed the daughter.

For an action hero, you really need to lock up your guns.

I have seen plenty of more Nicolas Cage movies and I still have a lot more to watch. I just wanted to update the blog as well as talk about the fun to watch Nicolas Cage movies that I have been watching.

Obligatory sentence that I will try to post more often.

You are beautiful and I hope you have a good week.

Raiding a Regular Ol’ Tomb

Just recently I watched the Tomb Raider movie. There will be some spoilers about both the first of the latest Tomb Raider reboot games and the movie.

The movie was based on the first of the reboot games that have been released in the Tomb Raider franchise.

I don’t remember if I have talked about the Tomb Raider game franchise but I joined on the latest reboot of the franchise. And I have enjoyed it pretty well.

The games have a pretty interesting storyline, fun gameplay mechanics, and a solid upgrade system. If I haven’t talked about upgrade systems, there will be a post about it another time.

The plot of these games follow Lara Croft as she goes from a somewhat regular person with a crazy inheritance and archaeologist dad to being a… Tomb Raider.

Silliness aside though, the first game of the reboot is Lara gaining fighting and exploration experience as she fights her way through Trinity, an evil organization that is trying to rule the world by finding powerful supernatural artifacts.

The first of the reboot is about landing on an island where a powerful sorceress queen was laid to rest. It is in the middle of the most destructive currents and storms around called the Devil’s Triangle.

Throughout the game you find out that this sorceress queen is the reason the currents and weather won’t let anyone leave the island, and at the end when they finally lay her soul to rest then everything calms down and they can leave.

I just think that this is a solid story, I really like the supernatural elements of it. It was enjoyable to play through and explore the island to find out the different facets of the queen and her people and other expedition crews who have failed to get to her.

With all of the supernatural elements in account it makes sense that it took Trinity so long to find the tomb and even get through the tomb.

But the movie was different. It was still good, but not as good as it could have been.

The movie took the same major plot. Lara goes to an island, finds Trinity, opens tomb, finds the queen’s body, resolve plot.

But they just completely shied away from all of the supernatural aspect, and it felt like that was some of the glue that held the plot together.

For some reason Trinity, even though it is a powerful shadow organization with nearly unlimited resources, has been looking for the tomb on this island for years upon years.

Trinity can easily dispatch helicopters to the island at anytime, as shown at the end of the movie, and yet the people there seem to be at a lack of manpower or assistance given to the main antagonist to find this tomb.

The queen wasn’t some super powerful sorceress, instead she just carried a deadly plague and sealed herself away.

It was a strange decision to take out the supernatural, and I don’t really understand it.

To me this is like if Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant, and then they opened it and were just like,”Oh, cool, it’s a golden box.”

Trinity as an organization is super cool when you realize that they might have these crazy magic super weapons or they are trying to get their hands on philosopher’s stones or they are trying to resurrect a sorcerer queen. That is an active threat that has insanely costly potential.

An organization that finds things that abide by the laws of nature in old tombs is far less threatening. This is especially true when you start factoring in how incompetent they have to be to fail at finding a tomb on a small to mid-sized island for at least a dozen years.

They announced a new Tomb Raider movie, and I’ll probably watch and put my review of it here. I’m curious to see what they do in lieu of the supernatural.

VGHS, Yu-Gi-Oh and the Games With No Rules

Hello all who read this blog, you beautiful, beautiful people.

I probably have said this before on this blog, but I read manga and watch anime. I also watch YouTube and enjoy the variety of content that is available.

Well, I was reading Yu-Gi-Oh the other day, and aside from it being more psychotic than the anime, I also realized that Yu-Gi-Oh truly gets a bad rap for a reason that I think is a little unfair.

Yu-Gi-Oh is very impressive because it not only has an anime, a manga, multiple video games, and large amounts of merchandising, but it also has an entire card game that is still relevant and highly structured.

This is where the problem lies. The Yu-Gi-Oh Manga started in 1997 and the card game started in 1999. The anime (not counting the questionable and spooky season 0) started in 2001, and 2002 for America.

By the time young kiddos started watching reruns on Saturday mornings the trading card game had been solidified. The rules are now known by every youngster in the land.

So when the show starts introducing the card game it becomes apparent that every character in the show has no clue what the actual rules are.

And it drives people crazy. Rules of the official card game being broken left and right. Somehow the zones that people play in affect the card abilities. Some cards can now be shrouded by darkness with other cards revealing them.

This is the most nonsensical amount of blatant rule breaking that could ever be in a show.

And it makes most people angry.

But most people don’t understand that the actual plot came way before the card game.

I’ve talked about shifting my frame of reference on this blog before, and I brought up how much I love Banjo and Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. I feel like this works the same way.

Once I realized that the manga was just trying to tell a story through a story within the story that took the form of a card game I realized that it was doing a very good job of it.

The card game doesn’t exist as a card game in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe it exists as a medium for the story to propagate through.

Another notable example of this is a web-series on YouTube called VGHS, by far one of my favorite web-series of all time.

It follows the story of a FPS gamer boy named Brian D who, by random fluke, gets his way into VGHS, the prestigious Video Game High School.

What’s great about VGHS is that they never describe the game more than what is needed for the plot to advance.

One could argue that the scenes where they are being depicted “in the game” are too lifelike when you consider that they are canonically just wielding a mouse and keyboard. You would probably win that argument.

But that’s the great part about VGHS, there isn’t an FPS like the game they are describing. They aren’t saying we play Call of Duty like this. They are saying we have a game that is similar enough to Call of Duty for all of our audience to recognize, but with enough expressiveness and flexibility to move a dramatic plot through.

Every game shown in VGHS doesn’t exist to follow rules, because it never makes strict rules that could be broken.

The same thing with Yu-Gi-Oh, they first show a card game, and then they have a couple of rules to setup the premise, which they follow! The rest of the story is exactly that, a weird fluff meant to move a plot.

Yu-Gi-Oh didn’t mean to break rules, they just wanted a card game that people could relate to and understand while still having an emotional investment in.

Weekend at Bernie’s 2 Would Have Been the Perfect Movie Except For One Thing. Bernie’s Already Dead.

So my friends and I watched Weekend at Bernie’s 2.

That’s right. The critically acclaimed Weekend at Bernie’s has a sequel. You might be thinking, “How?” and that’s and a good question.

Weekend at Bernie’s ends with Bernie going to the morgue. The mob fumbling to kill an already dead Bernie. And the “calm and rational” character getting the girl.

And that is realistically where it should end.

But… They decided to make another. And Bernie actually gets a more prominent role in it.

Weekend at Bernie’s ends with Bernie’s fraudulent 2mill still not being accounted for. So what does the psychopath character convince the “calm and rational” person to do?

If you answered: Get the body out of the morgue to deliver him to his safety deposit box in the Virgin Islands. Then you would be correct.

And if the story was that simple then it wouldn’t be much of a story.

So for the twist: Other people who want Bernie’s money use the power of Voodoo to bring Bernie back to life and tell them where the money is at.

The voodoo spell fails though and doesn’t become a True Resurrection (D&D don’t sue me). It becomes a partial resurrection where Bernie is only alive when he listens to music.

This gives the actor who plays Bernie a much more prominent role than in the first movie. And lt’s him do a lot of dancing.

The dance move that you might have heard of called the Bernie has its roots in this series.

So the movie is more of the same, where one character is psychotically willing to disturb the dead for a good cash payout and the “calm and rational” character tries to feign reluctance about the whole plan.

It is a great movie and really does a good job at pairing with Weekend at Bernie’s. 9/10

Board Games and Boxes

I’ve played a lot of board games. I have noted that on this blog plenty of times.

A couple of nights ago my friends and I played a new board game. At the end of it we packaged up the game, as all board games do.

This time though we made note of how easy it was to pack up the box… Comparatively.

And we got to thinking about good and bad box designs, and how could we objectively (subjectively as best as possible) score these boxes.

We talked about straight box design. This led to games like Betrayal at House on the Hill scoring very low, which is one that I expected.

Betrayal is a game that has dozens upon dozens of tokens and only provides a simple box with no bags, this is bad box design.

Then we talked about Chutes and Ladders, and one of my friends brought up the point that the box isn’t great. It is pretty much just a 1 chamber cardboard box with no bags.

Another one of my friends brought up that the Chutes and Ladders box is perfect, for the complexity of the game the box is very suitable.

And then I realized that you can think of box design and quality as a ratio of box design over game complexity.

This means a game like chutes and ladders has a game complexity of 1 (out of 10) and the box, being a simple cardboard box has a score of 1. The ratio becomes 1:1 or 10 out of 10.

For a game like betrayal the game complexity is pretty much a 10/10 for tokens and pieces. For the box quality it is about a 2/10. The ratio then becomes 2/10 which is really low.

I really like this scale and I like trying to get a rating for every new board game I play. Every new board game that I review on here I’ll add my rating.

Have a great week!

Transitioning to a virtual mini-golf themed blog

Sorry to startle my readers, but one day (not today though) I think it would be hilarious to become a virtual mini-golf themed blog.

Let me explain what kicked this all of first and then I’ll explain my half-baked half-joking plan.

I started playing a new virtual mini-golf game on my phone.

And it’s pretty good.

It’s called Golf Battle, and in terms of mini-golf games I would rate it somewhat highly.

When I talk about my criteria I’m really looking at a couple of things:

  • Physics – This isn’t about whether it makes sense physically. This is about whether it makes sense in the context of the game. If the game is consistent with itself and all of the colliders are predictable then it is pretty good.
  • Controls – This goes hand in hand with physics but needs to be addressed separately. The controls need to intuitively sync up with the physics. If you don’t know how hard you are going to hit the ball after playing for 15 minutes because the scale used isn’t good, then it doesn’t have good controls.
  • Challenge and course complexity – Technically 2 different things, but they tie well together. If it is too easy then is it really worth playing in the long term? If it is too hard is it worth the frustration? A good game will have a variety of courses that address different ways of thinking about the course and the angles.
  • Multiplayer – Can I be in a lobby with other human beings. This isn’t a strict requirement because a good mini-golf game can be single player, I just know that it is fun to play golf with my friends.
  • Fun little customizations – This is just about being more than a standard white golf ball. Can I have a cool design or wear a sombrero?

Let’s talk about one of the best: Gmod Tower Mini-golf.

Gmod Tower Mini-golf had consistent physics – I knew where the ball was going to go and how hard it was going to hit walls and bounce, and how much force it would take to get up a slope or across a gorge.

Good controls – Tower Mini-golf had a power meter that literally had the words power on it. That is very concise. With this for example: I can remember that for this hole I went to the o in power and redo that same move every time.

Challenge and course complexity – 18 hole courses, every hole is unique and asks to solve a different problem. Most holes have some way of getting a hole in 1, and multiple holes have ways of getting albatrosses at the very least.

Multiplayer – Tower had a lobby full of people with voice chat and text chat all playing mini-golf together. There was also a scoreboard that shows who was doing the best for that game.

Fun little customizations – When I was talking about wearing a sombrero I was really just referencing this game.

Gmod tower is pretty much my perfect vision for an online mini-golf game.

Now let’s talk about Golf Battle.

In terms of physics it is solid I know what to expect most of the time I navigate the terrain. The only gripe I have is that jumping off of a ramp or something usually is hit or miss. They don’t feel like they scale properly with distance or power.

In terms of controls, there isn’t an option to zoom or move the camera up or down, only around the ball. Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going.

In terms of complexity and challenge, it feels like most of the holes are done in a set amount of moves, and no matter what strategy you come up with you might only be able to shave off a stroke. More on challenge in a little bit.

In terms of fun little customizations, this game is wonderful. There are so many colors of balls, and trail effects, and hole completion effects that the game looks great and lets you be an individual.

Now onto multiplayer. This game messes up… in some sense.

Unlike a lot of golf based video games, Golf Battle has taken the liberty of removing par, or the course set amount of moves it should take you to complete a hole if you know what you are doing. In a multiplayer game where you compete against each other it makes sense, and that is exactly what Golf Battle is.

The problem with this is that to enter a game, which is a 3 hole course, it costs some gold (in game currency) to enter. There are 6 players in a game and if you get the top 3 you get your money back. This is where the problem is.

As you play the game you gain experience points and the game starts assigning you to more experienced players. Since the complexity of the game doesn’t let you shave off more than 1 (if even that) for each hole, this means that for games against more experienced players the goal becomes who can play the perfect game the fastest, since speed is the tie breaker.

And this is how you lose all your gold. Even if you played a perfect game, you can lose all of your entrance money, because 3 other people also played the perfect game, but faster. The game will actually punish you even though you played the course without any missed strokes.

This is where Gmod Tower shined. It would reward you money based off of the course par, and not based on other players. But, it would still show you the scoreboard so you could see how well you fared against other players.

If Golf Battle had a system where you get your money back based on how well you did on the course, but then gave you money above and beyond that based on whether or not you were in the top 3 it would be a great system.

But because that is not the way the Golf Battle system is the game becomes unplayable after a couple of hours of playing.

And this all sparked my curiosity. There have got to be hundreds of virtual mini-golf games. I think it is finally time for me to try to play as many as I can. Although I can’t do it right now, I plan on some time in the future streaming and blogging about virtual mini-golf games.

When I do, this will becomes a mini-golf themed blog.

Welcome to Garibaldi

Bonk

Jazz Fusion

Since I have been young I have been a chaotic youth.

I was diagnosed with ADHD and there was a lot of times that I just needed a lot of stimulus.

If you met me now, you might have never thought that, most people assume I am just a very chill guy and always have been. I am chill now in spite of my youth, not because of my youth.

That said, plenty of things carry over mentally, and one of those things is that I like really bizarre rhythms and sounds. I didn’t realize that as a child, but it is clear to me nowadays. Anytime I hear an interesting new sound or composition I really enjoy it.

When I was young I liked the Beatles. This isn’t weird or individualistic of me. I am not the only one who really liked the Beatles, there are so so so many young people who do.

Rant Begin.

There are so many young people who believe they are enlightened for listening to older music and not this stupid (c)rap stuff. These are probably the only people who actually make me cringe. Sidenote: If you say you like everything but country and rap, you are also probably wrong.

Rant End.

But this isn’t about people who think they are born in the wrong generation. This is about young Maxwell who listened to Magical Mystery Tour more than any other Beatles album that he had.

I didn’t understand it at the time. I had listened to Rubber Soul, Abbey Road, Let it be, Revolver, Sergeant Pepper, and while all of these are great albums, they did not stand up against Magical Mystery Tour. I loved Magical Mystery Tour, with its extensive use of synthesizer and sound effects.

And then I listened to a lot of indie rock. This was alright. I did that for a couple of years, the years between Intermediate School and High School.

And then in Middle School something cool happened, Pandora came out, and my musical diversity skyrocketed.

From one band that I knew called Surrogate I somehow found another staple of my musical appetite, The Sea and Cake. I also found StarFlyer 59 which I would go on to actually appreciate in college. But Sea and Cake really got things clicking in my brain.

They aren’t a weird band by any means, they are (according to wikipedia) an indie rock band with jazz influence. They just kind of jam and it was the first music that I really couldn’t understand the lyrics to, and really just enjoyed the sound of the band itself.

From there I somehow found my way to math rock, whose only goal is to shove as many beats into a bar as possible and break as many musical conventions as possible.

Oops, now I’m listening to New Wave, and wait, that isn’t a bad thing. New Wave is great because it is full of synthesizer and weird sound effects and usually a lot is going on.

And then I found what would become my bread and butter.

Art of Noise.

I talked about this band at (some) length in one of my first blog posts. They were an 80’s electronic band that would just sample things. They sampled a lot of things and every song had something interesting and new going on in it.

At this point I almost couldn’t hear new music because it wasn’t gimmicky enough.

Then I got to college and it is much of the same. Until recently.

Recently I found Jazz Fusion and it is everything that I could want.

It has funky light rock melodies, and weird, weird synthesizer, and everyone is just jamming and going at it.

And that is only if you do Classic Jazz Fusion where they fuse the funkiness of jazz with the classic style of rock. This can go way beyond.

Of my favorite fusion artists:

Herbie Hancock – Literally a classic, a description won’t do him any justice. Headhunters is one of the most amazing albums, I used to climb a stairmaster and listen to it on repeat. Only good memories.

Return to Forever (featuring Chick Corea) – I assume these guys are also a classic, but I have listened to them a whole lot recently. They have an album called The Romantic Warrior, and they are able to get jazz, rock, and medieval melodies all to match up. It’s a masterpiece.

Jan Hammer – Oh Yeah! That’s all I got to say…. No seriously, ‘Oh Yeah!’ is the title of one of his albums and it is definitely high in the most hectic of fusions. It’s wonderful.

Guru – Alright, you caught me, this isn’t funky funky jazz rock. This is Jazz Hip Hop. If you ever listened to hip hop and thought, “Know what would be good? If there was professional jazz musicians backing up this rapper.” Then this is the guy for you. He released 2 volumes of what he called Jazzmatazz and I highly suggest you look them up.

That’s all I got to say, I’m on a jazz fusion kick, and it is one of the best musical phases I have experienced. When I saw La-La Land and part of the premise was that some people don’t like jazz I almost vomited.

And with that disgusting hyperbole, I’m signing off. Take it easy.


Garry’s Mod and the Mini-golf Masters

So, I’ve played plenty and plenty of video games. My steam profile says that my most played game ever is Counter Strike: Global Offensive. I don’t know if that is truly my most played game of all time because I don’t know my game times from my console play

(If we counted console play it might be that Far Cry 2 or Fallout New Vegas or Oblivion would shine as top dogs (even more possible, Call of Duty: Black Ops could also be in the running))

I have also dumped a considerable amount of time in RuneScape so it’s possible that it has the most Maxwell Hours (totally legit units) dumped into it.

My most played game on Steam or in life is not important to this story though. What is more important is what Steam considers to be my second most played game of all time, Garry’s Mod, or what everyone else in the biz calls it, Gmod.

Garry’s Mod is a game where… well… there isn’t inherently a game in it. All it is is a Source engine sandbox. Much like Minecraft you can get in a server or play alone and all you can do is spawn in objects or move them around and interact with them.

There is no story.

There is no objective (inherently).

There is no end to what can be done in it.

And so, once more like Minecraft, people made servers with mods and plugins, and got different game modes to work.

Of the popular ones are:

DarkRP- I don’t have much experience with this, so I won’t say much for it. I just know there are tons of great stories on the internet about it.

Murder – One person has a knife and wants to murder everyone. One person has a gun and wants to kill the murderer. Everybody else just tries to stay alive and collect pieces around the map to obtain more guns. It’s a super fun game and no matter the role is worthwhile.

Prop Hunt – The objective is simple, there are a team of props and a team of seekers. The props hide as garbage around a map while the seekers try to find an eliminate them. It was simple and it was fun, but it never felt satisfying to hide in plain sight, or to hide in general. Overall I didn’t sink that much time into this game mode (but I did watch a bunch of YouTube videos of people playing it that I thought was hilarious).

Trouble in Terrorist Town – I have a love-hate relationship with TTT. First, the premise is much the same as Murder. There are a couple of traitors who are trying to kill everyone. There are a couple of detectives with some abilities to scope out traitors. Everyone else is trying to kill the traitors and defend themselves. It’s a fun and if everyone plays the game as intended it can make some really interesting gameplay.

The problem with TTT is there are a lot of people who play the game and just start shooting people. They might not be a traitor, but they will still kill people who are innocent. This fundamentally breaks the game. So what a lot of servers do is enforce a strict set of rules to stop people from griefing (the term for doing not good things in general, basically).

Problems arise with these rule sets though. I’ve played tens of hours on servers where the game wasn’t Trouble in Terrorist Town, but rather Lawbreaking in Lawyer Land. People will report players for anything, assuming they are breaking the rule. Then the people who get reported more than likely get banned.

One fundamental rule is that you can’t shoot someone until you see them commit a “traitorous act” (See article V subsection 4). This is reasonable as a rule until you realize that traitors can’t tell if you saw them commit a traitorous act. I have seen so so so so so many cases of traitors getting people banned because they thought that they were killed on a whim and not because they saw the traitor commit a crime.

When I play a multiplayer game, I don’t think of fun as constantly checking a rule book to see if I can get someone banned

And finally the best server that ever was.

Gmod Tower. There are a couple of servers still on Gmod that are like this beauty, but nothing that comes close.

Gmod Tower was a game mode where you had an avatar and an apartment.

You could watch YouTube with random internet strangers. You could play chess and trivia with random internet strangers. You could deck out your apartment. You could get a watermelon pet that rolls behind you and emotes all of the time. You could gamble in the casino. You could play a variety of mini-games that would net you money to buy stuff for your apartment.

Best of all, the mini-games were all very, very good. And the best of the mini-games was mini-golf.

I love mini-golf. In real life. As a video game. As a game within a video game. As a mini-game within a game. As a mini-game inside of a game mode of a video game. All forms of mini-golf are great.

And I wasn’t the only one who thought this. Gmod Tower mini-golf was very well made. It was fair. It was fun. It had the right amount of challenge.

And the best part was it was filled with a lobby of full of people who were all very passionate about this mini-game and being the best at it.

Do you know how absurd that is? Think about it. This wasn’t your regular group of zealous mini-golf enthusiasts. This was a group of people who logged into a video game to log into a specific server to play one specific game mode on that server. And that was all they did. And I was one of them.

I don’t have any regrets playing Gmod Tower mini-golf. Hearing random people scream on the internet about mini-golf filled my heart with absolute joy. Hearing people brag, and cry, and laugh, and blast their mics with hip hop music, and play low quality static-filled meme sound bites all to the sound of relaxing mini-golf is easily one of the funniest experiences of my entire life.

Chuck and the Child of Destiny

Gather around boys and girls, it’s trope analysis time. And by analysis, I mean rant.

There is a little show that is one of my favorite shows of all time and it goes by the name of Chuck.

Super spoilers ahead.

The synopsis of Chuck is that a nerdy dropout from Stanford who is now working at the Nerd Herd (Geek Squad) in Buy More (Best Buy). He has no discernible future and then one day he receives an e-mail from his ex-bestfriend. This e-mail contains all of the intel from all the intelligence agencies ever in a nice sublimal message format.

Chuck opens up this e-mail and then knows pretty much everything about anyone whenever the story calls for it.

Now Chuck is an asset for the CIA and NSA and helps them stop terror from happening.

And this is great.

Random guy, no future, stumbles upon greatness. In my book, this is grounds for a great story.

And that’s season 1

From there it gets discovered that his dad was a spy and his mom was a spy and his ex-bestfriend who was a spy also knew his spy mom and dad.

And his mom and dad planned for him to be a living government computer.

And all of this is feels like an after though.

Chuck is a great show with a lot of humor and cheesily great action writing, but this sort of child of destiny syndrome really irks me.

I am okay with child of destiny plotlines. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion you are a prisoner destined to save the kingdom, this is one of my favorite games of all time. Child of destiny plotlines are great, the idea that no matter what happens to the main character they are destined for greatness.

My problem is when a show adds the plot afterwards. It cheapens the power of luck.

Supernatural is another great example. Two brothers go on a quest to find their father. They are supernatural hunters, people who hunt all sorts of mythical beings. They learned this from their father (who learned from one other person), who went on a hunt for all mythical beings after their mother died to a demon.

This was an awesome dynamic, the idea that there is approximately 3-4 people who even know of the existence of mythical beings.

And then as the seasons went on it was discovered that they were both reincarnations of angels and demons. And their mom was a hunter, and all of their mom’s family were hunters. And there are whole swathes of hunters around the US. There are bars of people dedicated for supernatural hunters.

This is ridiculous. The idea of two brothers using their own hardened savvy to eliminate swarms of demons is awesome. The idea that they were destined from birth to do anything really just cheapens the blow in my opinion.

These shows are great and I still watched all of Chuck and probably about 6 seasons of supernatural. All I’m saying is that shows that don’t have to resort to saying that this was all planned from the start win huge props in my book.