I am actually very, very seriously considering leaving America for this single reason (well, there are many, but this is the driving force). I don't have a lick of faith that our healthcare system will ever change. It's just too big a problem to solve.

Sometimes when I'm feeling masochistic I see how much retirement cash I've lost due to not being able to contribute to it because of health bills, and the results are...staggering. It's pretty much the difference between being able to retire, and not.

Taxes work. Who the fuck knew.

avatar wrote:

There's a paradox with cosmopolitanism The full spectrum includes: (1) "you can't come in unless you sign up to our values", all the way to, "welcome, do what you want, knock yourself out."

Am I correct in assuming that your usage of "cosmopolitanism" is essentially a euphemism for "liberal elitism?"

I think that "spectrum" is a lot simpler than you're making it: "Welcome, do what you want, knock yourself out, but don't hurt anyone."


(237 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Phantom Thread is awesome. I had the pleasure of seeing it played live to picture -- while sitting about 3 feet away from Greenwood and PTA. They smelled good.

Fantastic score, fantastic movie, and both don't get enough credit. I feel like they flew under the radar too much, so thanks for posting it.

I've personally dealt with the "mystery illness -> finally find an answer -> great, how the fuck am I going to pay for it?" thing far too often. It is infuriating to an absolutely insane degree. I would've talked about it if this thread were called "thread for being deeply, potentially fatalistically worn out about something," but I guess this is a good opportunity to. This pattern has robbed me of about 50 - 75% of my 20s (I'm 28 now) and definitely aged me beyond my years.

A short list of the highlights:

-Getting chronic prostatitis (yes, it's what it sounds like) at age 19, the youngest person ever in the world to be formally diagnosed with what is pretty much by definition an old guy's disease; and then spontaneously getting better, which also never happens; and then enduring being poked and prodded in places you really don't want to be poked and prodded for the rest of my college career by Harvard Med because I was a medical mystery. Was happy to do it in order to advance medical science and potentially help the poor soul who ends up in the same position, but man. Do not recommend. Needless to say, this kind of stuck a wrench in my love life for a few years. The long and short of the symptoms is that it felt like I was getting kicked in the balls, repeatedly, for about 15 months straight.

-Tendinosis (not -itis, which as most of you probably know means "inflammation," and usually acute; -osis means "deterioration," usually chronic and permanent) of many of my tendons. Most likely caused by Cipro, an antibiotic that you should never take unless your life literally depends upon it. This ruined my very promising guitar career, and is what caused me to pivot to composing.

-The years-long battle against various, strange symptoms (all of which Teague has been privy to -- I don't say this enough dude, but you are such a good friend, jesus christ), which after ~5 years I've finally nailed down to a combination of:
-a wheat allergy, which for a time I thought was IBS (annoying, but once you know it's easy to treat), and...
-sleep apnea (which caused me to clench my teeth at night, which caused me to develop +/- 7 separate tinnitus tones ringing in my ears 24/7, despite me being the most protective person about my ears that you will ever meet...figuring out that cause/effect chain took so fucking long). This one is a great example of "shit, how will I pay for this?" because insurance decides that it's either dental-based or...whatever the term would be, I guess "rest of the body and thus under the medical insurance umbrella-based," whenever it's convenient for them to not pay anything for my treatment (which has included things like MRI's to rule out brain tumors causing the tinnitus -- because, again, it's definitely not caused by loud noises, despite me being a musician). Tinnitus, too, is the only one of these issues that truly made me consider suicide. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. It's a prison in your own head that you can never, ever escape, but you will always worry about it getting worse. And there's zero hope of a cure or even treatment. Every doctor in the world will just tell you, "sorry that happened to you. Hope you can find a way to deal with it" at best, or at worst will say, "it won't kill you, get over it you big baby." In those moments I really had to resist the urge to get violent. Having someone smugly tell you to just fucking deal with it, asshole, when you had just considered taking a head-first dive off your third-story balcony the day before, just to get some fucking peace and quiet, is a tough pill to swallow.

-Incorrectly being diagnosed with ALS, and going through about two months of what I can only describe is the deepest, darkest place a person can go. I had to accept that I was going to die via the disease I had feared most since I discovered Jason Becker the guitarist back in my shredding days. And then I was ripped back to the living -- false alarm. That was over two years ago, and I've only recently begun to move past it. The funny thing is that this was the opposite of all my other medical issues, where even just finding or explaining what was going on was the tip of the iceberg; this was explained immediately, to the most extreme degree, incorrectly.

So, FP78, I feel you. Having to pull medicine kicking and screaming past the "I dunno, fuck your life I guess" phase and their tendency to treat symptoms instead of the cause (if I hear the bullshit "we're here to ease your suffering, not fix the problem, and that's what medicine is for" one more time...like, sure, I get it, but also fuck that entirely) is one of the most infuriating things a person can ever deal with. It's times like these you realize that the medical community is really just not all that advanced -- or not as advanced as we tend to think it is when we don't have to deal with it. Yes, I get that it's, like, the most difficult thing humans try to do. I don't mean to take away from anyone busting their asses their whole lives trying to help -- they're angels and we all owe them our gratitude. But it's depressing to realize that most medical advancements that we tend to think of as being examples of humanity's ingenuity and are representative of some steady and noble progress are, in fact, a few accidents where some dude ran into some, relatively speaking, extremely low-hanging fruit. It's like comparing Newtonian physics to quantum physics: realizing that Newtonian physics is low-hanging fruit doesn't take away from the ingenuity required to get there -- it just underlines how fucking far we have to go, and that as we get farther and farther into ___ field, the rate of progress inevitably slows down. It's a tough thing to accept.

Even worse, it's not like the doctors who say "there's nothing we can do" are lying. That's the other difficult pill to swallow: that sometimes there is nothing anyone can do, that you have been dealt a shit hand, say goodbye to your old life and try to have fun. It's easy to fall into victim-hood -- I know I did -- and to blow it up, to zoom out and see the injustices of the world, like all those terrible people who get great things without even deserving it -- let alone deserving, if anything, a fate in the opposite direction -- while you haven't done anything to deserve your fate. It's so easy to end up in a bad mental space, because all your justifications for being there are truthful. It's a hard place to leave, especially when, once you climb out, you're forced to go there again and again and again. It becomes comforting to a degree, which is the worst thing of all.

And on top of that, the absolutely broken system it all sits on top of. Inefficiency like you would not believe, all the wrong incentives in all the wrong directions, doctors operating on obsolete research who haven't updated their skill-sets since they were in medical school 30 years ago but won't listen to a single world of well-informed arguments simply because They Are The Doctor And You're Not (I realize I'm generalizing; I've been fortunate to have been treated by a handful of incredible doctors, but the road to finding them is paved with uncountable people who have absolutely no business doing this for a living). The entire medical system is absolutely broken from top to bottom, but the sad reality is that it's probably the best we can hope for, because no matter what, Difficult Problem + People = Complete Shit Storm.

I could go on and on, but anyone who's spent serious amounts of time dealing with medicine and hospitals and the whole thing knows exactly what I'm talking about. Sometimes I really thought about ending it all -- tinnitus was the worst of that, but I entertained the idea from time to time, tinnitus notwithstanding. Not because any of these problems in isolation was worth doing that -- they are, all things considered, not a huge deal. I'm fortunate to be a white guy in a rich country. Things could be so, so, so much worse.

But it was the frequency, wave after wave after wave, and the feeling that everything in the world had conspired to make it as difficult as possible to even find a single answer or even a single truly helpful person, let alone to solve it or even a reliable way to deal with it that doesn't itself bring along unacceptable unknowns (for example, the Cipro I took that most likely caused by tendinosis [and also peripheral neuropathy that causes pain to this day -- an extreme and totally atypical case of this is what caused the investigation that eventually led to the incorrect ALS diagnosis] was to treat the prostatitis -- it was a shot in the dark, given that there was no evidence of bacterial infection at all, but that's the unfortunate reality of chronic prostatitis). The apparent but completely unpredictable domino effect is exhausting. It turns you into a shadow of your former self, because day in and day out you're just dealing with this awful thing that you never asked for. You inevitably lean on some people too hard and they abandon you, and even though that's painful, you can't truthfully blame them -- they've seen how dark and difficult life can be through you, and they're a care-free 25 year old blessed with perfect health, and they're just not ready to go there yet, and they know that they too eventually will.

I've since found a way to deal with all of these issues (and more -- again, this was just the highlights) and for the first time since about when Obama was elected, I finally feel medically stable (he says as he knocks on all the wood in the world). Along the way I've basically cut out everything that isn't healthy, because why tempt fate? I'm basically done with sugar, can no longer eat wheat even if I want to, hardly have alcohol or any other drugs, take sleep very fucking seriously now, to the point that over the years I've inched away from being a film composer (doing this job and getting healthy sleep are mutually exclusive).

But shit, it changes you. It really does. I can honestly say that I'm a less fun person than I was ~a decade ago. I get angrier faster. Small setbacks are harder to take -- the small waves just remind me of the big ones. My resulting mental health issues ballooned to critical mass a couple years ago, so there's that (though, that too has been dealt with and is manageable, but is an ongoing issue).

I guess it's called growing up. Everyone has their shit, truly, but I got wave after wave of shit for years and years. There was so much, so frequently, all while trying to live up to my own ambitious ideal of myself, so at 28 I sort of fell like I'm looking back on a very, very long life. It's disorienting, but not necessarily a bad thing -- I feel like an old man who has woken up to find that he's gone back in time and is youthful again. I now truly see the value of health, and intend to keep as much of it as I can for as long as I can.

Apologies for the novel, but FP you hit on what I guess I am deeply, deeply worn out about. I'm so sorry you and your wife have to go through that. But there is still happiness to be found, even though it can be very hard to see. Let me know if you ever need to talk about it.


(79 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I would be forever in your debt!


(79 replies, posted in Off Topic)

So is that dope ass Verhoeven poster something one can buy?

At this point, I think it's safe to say that one cannot talk about TPM without eventually talking about what the filmmakers should have done. Every conversation about the movie inevitably ends up there.


(114 replies, posted in Episodes)

MartyJ wrote:

Rogue One's Cassian Andor is gonna get his own show.
https://www.starwars.com/news/cassian-a … -announced

...why? He was a non-character, with no discerning qualities, that was for some reason the co-lead.

The fact that Rogue One is getting spin-offs confirms that Star Wars has indeed become a zombie.


(237 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I'm so glad you dig her! She's incredible. Unfortunately music that really requires you to just sit and *listen,* not doing anything else, is often passed over nowadays. She seems to have retired for whatever reason -- maybe that one -- which is a shame, but at the same time it makes this album seem all the more precious. Her two other albums are great, but in a different way, and don't really approach the near holy quality of Life On Earth. It really feels like a high water mark, standing alone.

I forget -- when did I turn you on to her?

I was going to say the same thing. I totally agree with avatar's post, except for the Game of Thrones part. Good lord I hate that shit. I tried for, like, 5 seasons, and eventually had to admit that it's just The Walking Dead with ice walkers that don't do anything instead of walkers that don't do anything, and the occasional boob/penis.


Writhyn wrote:

Rogue One also felt way less "OMG LOOK AT THAT" in its pacing. Scenes played out nicely.

While this movie's pacing was better than TFA's, I still felt it was pretty bad--especially at the beginning. I appreciated that the movie took its time in a couple of spots, but overall it was still unbalanced and much of the exposition was either hurriedly over-explained or hurriedly under-explained.

Writhyn wrote:

I was looking forward to seeing Donnie Yen kick ass, and it was really cool to see the Force-aided Kung-Fu, especially after TFA so badly wasted the guys from The Raid.

See, but that character felt so wasted to me. It was a great opportunity to explore the post-Jedi world, but like so many things in this movie (and in so many others) it felt like a great idea on paper that was shoehorned into the script because one executive couldn't let it go. I feel that keeping all references to the Force (except for Vader) away from this movie, but showing the soldiers lamenting the fact that a Jedi would be mighty useful, would be far more effective and cleaner.

Writhyn wrote:

The blockade runner sequence was awesome. Watching those guys crash into the destroyer and then pushing it into the other and THEN the gate was amazing, and I really liked the unexpected solution to the problem. Instead of "Hey let's find the Gate's weak spot and hit it with a torpedo" it was "LET'S SMASH TWO FREAKING STAR DESTROYERS INTO THE WHOLE DAMN THING!" It was wonderful.

Agreed, was super awesome.

Writhyn wrote:

Finally, I can't tell you how happy it made me that everyone died at the end. I mean, it was sad. But as a story that's EXACTLY what needed to happen, and it was great. Poignant.

Agreed, but I felt they missed the obvious and most effective way to go about it: they know that the Death Star is going to destroy the planet, it's a race against time, and they just barely get the plans transmitted before they all die. We all in the audience would know that they succeed--that's the problem with prequels--but given how awesome it was to see a planet getting destroyed from the perspective of someone who's on said planet, I think that the tension would've still been extremely high.

Instead, we get a comparatively lethargic sequence where they get the plans off and still have time to kiss each other (can no movie be without a love story anymore? Especially between those two--they had zero chemistry the whole movie).

Not putting this in spoilers because why.

I can't believe that anyone would condone CGI Tarkin. It was firmly in the uncanny valley and the ethics of the whole thing are just so fucked.

If I had had a drink, I would've spit it out when he appeared--and stayed, for the whole movie, as a prominent character--on screen. Also, Leia looked awful and weird, like a ventriloquist doll. I think the ending would've been far stronger had she not been there, especially considering how awful her only line was. Having Organa hint at her was nice, hell even seeing her from the back was nice, but going full Charlie McCarthy with her was just insane.

Also, why weren't 3P0 and R2 on the blockade ship rather than on Yavin IV? It made no sense for them to be there and was pure, unadulterated, pointless fan service--something this movie had far too much of. I thought TFA was bad, but hollllly shit.

Vader brought the puns. But that is not that character, sorry guys. Seeing him mow people down was fantastic--needed more of that, to be honest--but having him quip like a Bond villain was too much. Also, sorry James but you don't quite have the crack in your voice anymore. I would've been okay with him being recast.

I missed John Williams. Also, why use the Skywalker theme anywhere in this movie. It's now the standard "ooo, epic moment!" theme in Star Wars.

I'm just so done with Disney's Blockbusters. They all feel like Avengers. Same uneven pacing, same unfocused tone, same underdeveloped exposition, same unnecessarily large casts with mostly undeveloped characters, same vaguely "epic" feeling cinematography, same blocky dialogue, same "funny moment" timing, usually followed shortly after by the same melodramatic moments.

CGI Tarkin is a fantastic metaphor for the entire rest of the film.


(248 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Missed you my friend.

Also, yes it's certainly not Pope's fault. He's undoubtedly a badass.

TechNoir wrote:

That clarifies it, thanks Alex. Considering Bill Pope shot both Spidey 2 and The Matrix, it was probably Raimi or someone else who wanted that look.

There definitely seems to be some warming filter at play in the first Spiderman at times (if not achieved in post), and when comparing to a more neutral, conventional look it's kind of obvious, and it does look like a soft, flat warm soap-y scene, shot through a red curtain. At times it looks like the negative doesn't have any contrast put back into it and was just left with the shadows open.

For fun I grabbed a PNG of what is probably the worst-looking scene I remember for the first one:


And here it is with some added contrast, and kind of neutralizing the warming filter:


Obviously your second pic is a quick and dirty mockup, but yeah, it's a much better direction and Spidey himself definitely looks quite a bit better. Which reminds me--I still love the suit from those movies. The Garfield one is certainly cool (also from terrible movies), but something about the Maguire suit just feels right.

First Matrix is definitely more tastefully done with the green. The sequels are just GREEN, but that may be a feature, not a bug--the Matrix was being "taken over" by Smith, so progressively intensifying the green-ness was a way to show that.

My problem with the Raimi Spiderman movies is pretty much identical to Brian's, so if you've listened to the podcast (which you should) I'm basically just repeating what he's said.

I don't wanna go on forever, but basically the movies are lit and colored like soap operas. Clearly they're going for a "real life with a bit of comic book pop," but for one reason or another it just doesn't take; instead, everyone looks like skin surrounded by primary colors, all lit with no shadows (or too many--either way, it's always unnatural). Maybe it's exacerbated by the fact that every line is written like it's being said by an alien trying to blend in.

I just can't stand those movies. Even the second one, which is apparently the "really good one," is awful IMO. There's more to it than the coloring/lighting/dialogue, though, which is beyond the scope of this thread.

Thing is, the "corrected" shot from The Other Guys also looks like shit. It looks precisely like the Raimi Spiderman movies.

I think the ideal is some place in between the two, but also, yeah, maybe not so much emphasis on the teal. The Dark Knight and The Matrix pulled off that look, but anything with Will Ferrell just shouldn't even go there.


(22 replies, posted in Creations)

Tokes. And. Stokes.

Regan wrote:

Speak for yourself. You fertile  bastard. *Pushes up glasses on nose*.

No kids here, intend to keep it that way.

I suggest you change that immediately, if not simply for Tim Curry's ridiculously amazing performance.

It's honestly kind of a dumb movie but it's fun as hell, so whatever.

Queefward wrote:

There are people who don't?

There are, but they are wrong.

Oh. My. God.

Guys, the Prequel Trilogy ended over ten years ago. When Episode III came out, I was just starting high school. I've now been out of college for three years.

To put it another way: When Episode III came out, we were in the middle of Bush's term. We're now almost done with Obama's. Look at how much has changed in the world.

We're three times farther from the end of the Prequel Trilogy as we are from the end of the Sequel Trilogy.

Many of you have probably gone from being virgins to married in the time since Episode III was released. You've had dogs from puppy to death since then. You maybe had kids when Episode III was released, and now they're starting to talk back to you.

Talking about the Prequel Trilogy is the movie equivalent of wearing your high school letter jacket past graduation.

Lucas literally spent less time making these shitty films than we've spent talking about them.

Movies of Prequel Trilogy quality have since been completely forgotten, and the only reason the Prequel Trilogy is still around is because of the Star Wars logo.

So can we move on, please?

I'm constantly surprised that people don't feel like they're in Groundhog Day once they start talking about the Prequels. I've seen and had all of these arguments too many times to count, and I'm sure you guys have too. If this were happening in real time, I could probably mouth along with you.

I hate to be the guy that's interrupting a supposedly spirited discussion, but good lord it's pretty telling when a thread entitled "Defend your most controversial film opinion" devolves into three pages of yet another way-too-in-depth discussion about the fucking Prequels.

TechNoir wrote:

For the sake of completion I noticed I didn't reply to this comment and I want to say thanks for the long write-up, we have a lot of points of agreement.


It rhymes.