Perception of Truth: Carcetti’s Speech

The Wire is arguably the greatest television show of all time. I haven’t seen enough classic television shows to give a definitive answer on that. The Wire never talked down to its audience and expected them to pay attention. Its messages were subtle. So subtle that at times the show’s messages could sail over the heads of its small, but dedicated audience.

How the audience perceives the message of scene is an important thing for a writer or director to consider when constructing a scene. The scene below is meant to show that Tommy Carcetti is no better than any other politician. He gives a long speech on how the city needs to be harder on the drugs-trafficking taking over the city. Carcetti’s words are passionate but lacking in substance. He offers no real solutions to the struggle of the people in Baltimore.

On the commentary for this episode, David Simon says that the performance of Aidan Gillen and the push-in of the camera imply truth to the audience. Aidan is so genuine in the fire behind his words that people don’t play attention to what he’s saying. Simon states that the push-in was done to show that this is Carcetti’s moment. This is where he becomes mayoral in the eyes of the people. He inspires people with the same words that have failed them in the past.

Simon commented that this showed that politics was more about the visuals rather than the words being spoken. Success in politics is about coming across as fitting for the position through your poise and articulation in debates. The content of your speech is secondary.

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My Cold Shower

My second-favorite scene (My Finale’s ending montage beats this out) from one of my favorite shows, Scrubs. This was so heart-wrenching at the time. I’m glad JD and Elliot ended up together in the end. But at the time, I’ll admit I teared up. It was one manly tear.

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The Impossible Task of Comparing Movies.

Movies are discussed and broken down by everyone who watches them. This always leads to the inevitable statement that “This movie is better than that movie” I’ve seen a lot of this in the discussion of two movies, Marvel’s The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

I’ve read so many articles, comments, and discussion threads comparing the two films. I’ve heard the argument that Nolan’s Batman Franchise aren’t just superhero movie like The Avengers and that’s what makes them better. There is a deeper meaning behind the explosions in The Dark Knight Rises than The Avengers. The realism and lack of CGI makes them better films. I’ve read about how The Avengers stays closer to the spirit of the comics and that’s what makes it better. It doesn’t try to pretend that it isn’t a superhero and that’s what makes it better.

The fans of both movies have been going at it for months. They’ve both been trying to find an objective way to prove the superiority of the film that they enjoyed more. Can such a thing be done? Can you say for sure that a movie is objectively better than another one? Opinions are subjective, so how does one prove their opinion right?

What is an objective way to settle which movie is better? Is it by comparing the amount of money made? Both movies have had success at the box office. The Avengers has made a lot more money than The Dark Knight Rises. Although The Dark Knight Rises was not available in 3D and had a shooting on its premiere night thus hurting its potential to make money. Besides if you try to settle which movie is better by comparing the amount of money made, Avatar becomes the best movie ever. That just doesn’t seem right.

How else can you compare them objectively? The consensus of those who reviewed them?

I’ve looked at the Rotten Tomatoes of both movies. It appears here that The Avengers has won. More reviewers found that Avengers was good. At a glance, it appears that The Avengers is the superior film. However when I take a look at another review aggregating site MetaCritic, things look a bit different.

I’m not certain which site holds more weight in the argument. From what I can tell, there is no objective way to prove which of these movies is superior. The discussion is just two sides holding their chosen position and not budging. In the end, a lot of discussion comparing things end this way. Nothing is accomplished. People enter the discussion with their position and exit it with the same position. Why do people feel the need to discuss things when they know they’ll never change their mind or the mind of the person that they’re talking to? It’s a pointless struggle.

Like everything else in life.

Daenerys, Daenerys, Oh Why Daenerys?

[Spoiler Alert]

The Game of Thrones has really caught my eye . I’ve taken quite a liking to it. The world that the characters live in is cruel and bleak. It’s a very bloody dreary world. The morality of the characters isn’t black and white. It’s one dark murky shade of grey. The characters never feel safe. At any moment, they could just die a horrible death. I love it. It’s a show I have to marathon watch.

There’s just one problem. Everyone in the show’s world is connected. The show shows the different perspectives of characters whose fates are intertwined. There’s just one character who is isolated from the rest of them. Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, is far away in a distant land.

MOTHER OF DRAGONS

Her perspective isn’t intertwined like the others. I understand why her perspective is used in the show, but I still don’t like it. I just want her segments to be over with so I can get to other characters who interact with each other. There is a large battle scene towards the end of the second season. So many characters’ fates depend on this battle. Many plotlines coverage at this point. Even those who aren’t in the area, they have a distant connection and will be directly affected by the outcome of the battle. Not Daenerys. Win or lose, the battle didn’t matter to her. She has no connection with any of the other characters.

At the same time the large battle was happening, she was searching for her dragons. I didn’t care for her scenes after the battle. I wanted to see what happened to everyone after the battle not watch her get her dragons back. There is another isolated character, John Snow. I like his scenes because he has a connection with the other characters. He used to be with everyone and then he left to go to the Wall. The other characters mention him. There’s an inner  conflict of him trying to go back on his vows and help his family.  He also fights zombies which is more entertaining than Daenerys’s plotline.

Daenerys is also the only character who I feel is safe and will never die. Her storyline and character arc during the first season was phenomenal.It’s unfortunate that the characters that kept her part of the story entertaining ended up dying by the end of the first season. If Drago or her brother had survived, I wouldn’t have any gripes. I had hope for her this season since I thought she was going to meet up with the other characters. She didn’t.

She’s also whiny and entitled. I might just start skipping her parts next season.

Five Things I Want To See on TV, In a Book, or In a Movie Theater

In his book The Anatomy of Story, John Truby talks about the path to becoming a master storyteller. His first step is about developing the premise of your story. Truby states that nine of ten writers fail at this stage. I’d like to not be a part of those nine so I’m going to try out this exercise he suggests to do.

“Write down your wish list, a list of everything you would like to see up on the screen, in a book, or at the theater.” I’ll just do five. Otherwise this blog entry would go on and on and on.

An animated movie that removes the stigma from animation in the West

Animation can go to so many places that life action can’t. If you look at an animation like Miyazaki’s Spirited Away or Looney Tunes, these are worlds that wouldn’t work with live action at all or not nearly as well. Animation can exaggerate the rules of real life and get away with it. It’s another art form.

However it is limited because of the stigma that it appeals to children or can only be used for comedy. Pixar films are the closest to meeting this desire. but they are still seen as children’s films. I would love to see an animated movie that is not a comedy nor a family film. It’s possible that I haven’t looked hard enough and this movie does exist. If not, I would love to see this on the big screen.

A pedophile protagonist

This is a weird one but ever since I watched Hard Candy, a film with pedophile protagonist who is tortured and humilated, I’ve been wanting to see that sort of protagonist taken a different way. Can you get the audience to get behind a pedophile? They have to be the hardest people to have empathy for. You would have to be a great writer to make the audience feel sorry for a pedophile. It’s also very taboo in nearly every culture. It seems like an impossible task. I’d like to see this done in a book, or in a movie theater.

Decay/Evolution of Superhero’s morals

Batman doesn’t kill. Spider-man doesn’t. What would it take to push these guys over the edge? I know there have been plenty of Batman stories about this sort of thing, but I don’t think he ever actually snaps (Killing Joke is ambiguous). Whenever a hero finds themselves in a situation that would require them compromise their morals to solve their problem, they always find another way out. I’d like to read a story where they have no choice but to kill someone and they have to deal with it.  Whenever someone asks, “Why doesn’t Batman just kill the Joker?”, a person always brings up the slippery slope argument that Batman will then start killing all his villains. I’d like to see a story about this slippery slope.

The thing that really prompted this was the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang spends the episode contemplating killing the Fire Lord. He is opposed to it because of his morals, but he has to do it to bring balance back to the world. Then he finds a lion turtle that gives him the special power to not have to deal with that dilemma.

Mike Haggar as a protagonist

Mike Haggar is a former professional wrestler who becomes the mayor of his city. He then decides to beat up crime with his own fists. His fighting style is over the top. I’d love to watch a show about him just breaking people.

The Other Side of the Prophecy

Countless stories have been told involving prophecies and chosen ones. It sure would suck to be on the other side of a prophecy. Imagine being a ruthless tyrant and you find out that some 14 year old kid is going to kill you. Or what if you weren’t a ruthless tyrant and you found that out? What if you’re just a regular king who’s good at his job and don’t deserve one of these things? What would you do? Try to kill the kid? Find another way? Can you talk your way out of a prophecy? That would be a fun story to read. Or better yet write.