The Incredible Hulk is not a precision instrument!
I've been feeling strong enough to go back to work this week. I worked two and a half days (fortunately getting the major project that had been hanging over me checked in) and am now ready to lie down for basically sixty hours. Yeah, I'm not running at one hundred percent again just yet. It doesn't help, of course, that every time I turn around at the office I run into somebody who's "just getting over" the bug of the week, or who cheerfully comments that their kids are all horribly sick. Thanks, guys, I haven't been out of work enough days this month. September's not over -- we can still go for the big ten!
...Ahem. Anyway, during my infirmary or whatever I have consumed various items of media which I will list in no particular order.
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. I've had a hankerin' for some open world breaky smashy action lately and this game was talked up a lot back in the Original XBox days, so I picked it up for all of $3. Aside from the somewhat ugly Original XBox era graphics, it was kinda fun, but... I could tell almost immediately that this was the sort of game that I would play right up until I ran into something frustrating, then I'd stop, eject the disk, possibly swear loudly, and never play it again. So I played it up until a mission where HULK was supposed to SMASH some convoys of trucks. The last truck made it to the exit line at the same instant I did. I followed it through the tunnel to another area where the truck was completely helpless and indefensible, and it would have been easy for HULK to SMASH, but the screen faded to black and the mission was failed -- but gee, I could start it over from the very, very beginning! At that point I stopped, ejected the disk, swore loudly, and will never play it again. And so it goes.
Though I will say that this game made me come up with the snarky subject line of this post in reaction to some of the bonus levels, so it's not all bad.
Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. It's a giant fantasy doorstop from the author of Mistborn -- his first novel, as I discovered. I'm not much of a fantasy reader, normally; I only decided to give Sanderson a try since I've been listening to and enjoying the Writing Excuses podcast he participates in. But Mistborn was pretty good, and as it turns out Elantris was just fine as well. Unusually for a giant fantasy doorstop, the story really just takes off from the first page in a super-efficient way; ten pages in and the two protagonists are introduced and you have a fair idea of what they're up against. The book then moves along at a very nice clip and comes to a satisfying conclusion a jillion pages later. It's a little rough in spots as befits a first novel, but still, I was happy with it. I'll have to read some more of Sanderson's stuff.
Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops. Nonfiction, just what it sounds like. From this book I learned that most of the major expensive cinematic disasters that Hollywood has inflicted on us came about due to a) incompetent executives pouring resources into their pet ideas, b) out-of-control projects that didn't get canned because of all the money that had already been wasted on them, and c) the fact that the actors were constantly drunk, stoned, crazy, having extramarital affairs with each other, and being deranged prima donnas on set. c) seems to be the biggest constant in the book, in fact; IIRC, the only actor who comes off at all well is Clint Eastwood in The Chase, where he played a character who doesn't interact with the rest of the cast much and so spent the entire shoot hanging out with the second unit guys in the Pacific Northwest. The rest are an almost shockingly pathological bunch of freaks. It, uh, kind of makes me wonder why we as a society pay attention to anything most actors have to say about politics or science.
Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax. I've gotten through most of the Cinematic Titanic episodes now, except for the last one (Blood of the Vampire). The quality of the riffing is consistently high, but some of the movies -- Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks in particular -- are so astonishingly painful that it can be hard to push through. Still, it's a great time and I'll keep buyin' 'em if they keep makin' 'em. Along similar lines, I quite enjoyed the Matrix: Reloaded RiffTrax. Phew... In retrospect, that movie wasn't really very good, was it? Hugo Weaving as Smith was still awesome, and the Burly Brawl and the freeway chase were still cool, but... eh... yeah. Wow. Lot of problems with that movie. (Ooh! Matrix: Revolutions RiffTrax incoming!)