I see dumb people

As usual, the haters are out in droves.

M. Night Shyamalan haters, of course—as expected. But, also, surprisingly, and until now, unbeknownst to me, Will and Jaden Smith haters, too. Yes, there are Smith haters out there. Apparently there are people who just hate Will Smith's success. That, and/or the fact that he's been using his success as an actor to try and support his son's own aspirations.

I say haters, because it shows. Those are not simply the usual run of the mill critics one would expect from reviewers who might have disliked a film, for such or such reason, that they'd then proceed to explain. Those are just outright mean spirited attacks of a very very personal nature.

Like this one, for instance:

What a thoughtlessly abusive thing to say, don't you think?

I mean, who writes stuff like that?

Or this:

Clearly, those are the reviews of people with an axe to grind.

And an agenda.

Ah, here is that soundbite again:

Apparently, the general audience doesn't seem to agree with the critics, which goes to show that, despite their best concerted efforts, critics cannot fool all of the people all of the time, I guess.
The film also did earn a B grade CinemaScore surveyed from the general audience. (Under CinemaScore, while a C grade would have been the equivalent of a failing grade, a B grade signals general satisfaction.)

One cannot help but feel like there is some kind of an unspoken war out there. And like in any war, a propaganda campaign going on, in which some of these critics came out and early to try and influence opinion and define the movie before anyone else did. Defining your opponent before they have a chance to define themselves has always been a brutal part of politics in Washington, as in Hollywood.

The methods are the same.

And in Hollywood just as in Washington, the propagandists and the astroturfers are recognizable by their use of the same "talking points."

Their language betrays their true intent.

Or their wishful thinking:

And their bad faith.

There have been, to that regard, some amazing attempts at taring the film by association with Scientology (I am not exactly sure why; I don't think that either M. Night Shyamalan, or Will or Jaden Smith are Scientologists) by referring to the plot as L. Ron Hubbard-ish. Mostly so, it would appear, for the tag-line (and plot development centered around that theme): "Danger is real, fear is a choice."

Which, is kind of astounding, if you think about it, as the first thing that more typically pops to most people's mind, reading the tag line, is actually Frank Herbert's rather famous quote from his popular visionary sci-fi's supreme masterpiece, Dune:

But then again no one ever claimed Peter Travers is the brightest light on the totem pole.

Fortunately, some people, with more than two brain cells to rub together, like Matt Zoller Seitz for Rogerebert.com (hereunder), do get it:

For yet another welcome nondiscriminatory review of the movie, I do also recommend: Shyamalan's Impersonal Declaration Of Competence, by Scott Mendelson, at Forbes.

I did go and see After Earth (I tend to make up my own mind about what movies I think I ought to go see, and I usually don't let the critics dictate to me what these movies ought to be or not, or whose "once promising career" ought to be terminated or not - thank you very much), and, I, for one, happened to have found it a quite enjoyable and thoroughly immersive experience (i.e. I had a good time! And, for what it's worth, I thought that Jaden was brilliantly directed in the role of  Katai.) But that's just me. I have yet to see a M. Night Shyamalan's movie I didn't like. And yes, I did love Lady In The Water.

I think the world could use more directors like Shyamalan.

Diversity is a good thing.

I don't expect everyone to enjoy the same things as I do, or to like the same movies I do—and neither should you.

Give After Earth a chance, you might like it.

Either way, I say kudos to Will Smith for even attempting something like this. It takes some courage. He must have known what the critics would be like.



It's only Saturday, and the smear campaign has already moved on in earnest to the other side of the pond:

The nature of some of the comments (I took a snapshot of this one, in particular, before it possibly gets deleted by the moderator), does raise some questions about some latent natural jealousy with regard with what some will see, no doubt, as the privileged position Jaden finds himself in, as the son of Will Smith (witness Manola Targis's acerbic review for the New York Times), BUT ALSO, and I must say that the thought had not occurred to me until I read that comment, some rampant racism (the comment speaks for itself).

When all is said and done, one cannot help but wonder.

Is this what this is really coming down to, here?

Jealousy and covert racism?

Age of Wonders III to be released this coming autumn

The PC games market seems to be booming again, fueled
by hard core gamers, digital distribution and a creative
indie scene. PC seems really the place where it’s happening
now, so it’s great to be back with Age of Wonders during
these times!

—Q&A with Lennart Sas @ Matchsticks For My Eyes

From your lips to the ears of the spirits of AoW, Lennart.

The last installment in the series (currently available at GOG.com) is a tough act to follow; this new development sounds like it has a lot of potential, though. I am most certainly looking forward to this.

Only Margherita feel like a holiday

Hey, I didn't totally suck!

And I have a trophy to prove it.

OK, it says "turkey" on it. A bowling lingo for three strikes in a row. That's what it's called—or so they assured me.

I think they were just trying to make me feel better about myself.

My average is in the 80s. I’d be glad if I could scrape 100. Still, it's a clear improvement from last time, when most of my balls were ending in the gutter.

Thank you to all of you who helped me—you know who you are.

And, most of all, thank you to Wayne Webb and Lisa Wagner:

I mean it. Thank you, guys.

I couldn't have done it without you!

Là-bas au Connemara

On dit que la vie
C'est une folie
Et que la folie
Ça se danse