Live-action film retrospective (2020)

What?! AK watches live-action films? Yeah, on occasion I do. I don’t watch too many of them anymore because I have such massive game and anime backlogs, both of which would take up several lifetimes to get through. However, I don’t have anything against live-action movies, despite what you might have thought from the total lack of anything about them on the site up until now.

So I thought, why not write an almost-end-of-year post looking back at that stuff? I just want to highlight the films I’ve watched this year that I liked or didn’t like. Each end of the spectrum from love to hate, both of which I felt strongly. As with my upcoming end-of-year game post, I’m not counting what films were released this year but rather what I saw this year. All three of them. But I found all three very memorable (though not always for good reasons; keep reading for more on that.)

Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

Here’s an opinion that won’t be surprising at all: I liked Parasite. This film depicts two families living in Seoul: the rich and very detached Parks and the impoverished Kims. The Kim family is extremely talented at conning others, though, and each of them, father, mother, son, and daughter, manages to lie and scheme their way into the service of the Park family as tutors and household servants.

The first half of the film plays out like a dark comedy, but the second half takes a turn that I won’t get into here — just watch the movie, because this is a solid recommendation. I know Best Picture winners at the Oscars are sometimes actually boring bullshit films, much like all those horribly dull novels you had to read in elementary school with the golden seals on the front (does anyone else know what I’m talking about here? Is this just an American thing?) But sometimes the Academy gets it right, and Parasite was one of those times. It’s also an example of social commentary in a movie that doesn’t feel way too basic, hamfisted, or preachy. Good stuff.

The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci, 2017)

I love history, and I love dark comedies when they’re done well, so I thought I’d like The Death of Stalin. And I did. This is a dramatized and sort of fictionalized account of the events following the death of the Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin. In the immediate aftermath of Stalin’s death by stroke in 1953, his lieutenants began jockeying for power, most notably the feared chief of secret police Lavrenti Beria — but if you know your history, you know who ended up on top.

Not that The Death of Stalin tells it straight. It condenses the real-life series of events that played out over several months into a matter of days, and obviously all the secret, scheming conversations between all these guys could only be guessed at. But this isn’t a documentary, and this kind of condensing/fictionalizing really works for a dark comedy like this.

The Death of Stalin is also all in English, which you could have guessed if you recognize the people on the poster, a set of British actors and Steve Buscemi. They’re all excellent, especially Buscemi, who takes one of the lead roles as Nikita Khrushchev. Another big recommendation.

Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014)

If you’ve read my extremely long-winded post on the visual novel Planetarian, you already know how I feel about this film. I watched Ex Machina because it had been on my list for a long time anyway, and I thought it might make an interesting contrast with Planetarian since they’re both speculative sci-fi dealing with human-AI relations. Red Metal’s review of the film wasn’t able to warn me off of it either (if you’re not following his site by the way, go do that: he goes into insane depth and insight in his film and game reviews.)

I should have listened to him, though, because Ex Machina sucked out loud, with one of the worst endings I’ve ever seen in a work of fiction. The premise is interesting, with a weird reclusive genius inviting one of his employees to his house in the wilderness to communicate with his newly developed advanced AI robot girl for testing purposes. The actors are also good, and the movie certainly looks nice with a lot of interesting settings and shots and all that (I’m no expert anyway, but it looked pretty good to me.)

However, the most important part of a film like this is the writing, and the writing was hot shit, with all its flaws exposed in the ending that I think was meant to be clever and thought-provoking but simply came off as bizarre and disconnected. I get into a lot more depth in the part of my linked piece where I contrast it with Planetarian, and of course Red Metal goes into far more depth in his review, so if you don’t mind being spoiled or have already seen Ex Machina and want to read these perspectives, feel free to check them out. I found the movie itself a waste of time, though. Most of the professional film press loved it, but they’re wrong. I know, opinions and everything, but my opinion is that this movie doesn’t deserve its accolades.

And that’s the whole list. Barely enough for a proper end-of-year retrospective. But again, I’m not a movie guy. There are plenty of great film reviewers and analysts around the community though, and I post their stuff sometimes in my monthly recaps, so I recommend looking up their excellent work. Next post, you can expect a return to the usual, whatever that means.

It may take a while, though, because I’m doing my absolute best to power through a couple of games before the year is out. So just know that if I’m away for a while, that’s what I’m doing (or else I’m being crushed by work, but what’s new.) Until then, happy Christmas or holidays or whatever, and all the best.

16 thoughts on “Live-action film retrospective (2020)

  1. Great little overviews and thoughts. I never saw Death of Stalin, but the other two. You hit the nail on the head. I have some further thoughts on Parasite but that would be a spoiler. It was a very well done movie. I could not praise it enough to my kids. (Meaning: I kept harping about the movie until they bowed down and watched it to get me to shut up.)

    • I can’t think of a favorite and most hated specifically, but I know there are certain groups of films or styles I like. I’ve really enjoyed all the stuff by Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino I’ve seen, so maybe a film like Goodfellas that has compelling characters and a tense plot to go along with its violence. Blood for its own sake is just boring.

      As for most hated, I sure hated Ex Machina a lot, so maybe it’s that one. I’ve definitely watched far worse films in terms of acting and technical quality — I did like those aspects of the movie after all, and I’ve seen garbage B-movies that couldn’t hope to reach that level.

      But in some sense I feel like that makes the experience that much worse, because it means all that talent was wasted. Even an interesting premise was ruined in my opinion. I’m fine with those garbage B-movies, and I get some weird enjoyment like a lot of other people from entertainingly bad movies like The Happening , The Room, that kind of stuff. But Ex Machina wasn’t just a zero — it was a negative, like a black hole sucking all the light around it in.

      Maybe that’s too dramatic, I don’t know. I’m not really one to talk about movies since I haven’t really seen that many, but these are my thoughts. I’d be interested to know yours as well if you feel like it.

  2. Thanks for the shout! Always appreciate it.

    I’ve mentioned many times in the past that confirmation bias is extremely detrimental to criticism. There are many highly flawed films (and, to a lesser extent, games) that have gotten a pass simply because the critics got behind the message.

    Parasite was absolutely not an example of that, though. Yeah, there was a backlash against the sheer hype it received (albeit to a much lesser extent than most cases; it still has an overall positive fan reception), but I find that, unlike most recent examples, I was completely unsympathetic to the backlash. I’ve recognized that a lack of validation of one’s beliefs can lead to just as many bad-faith arguments (look at the most vocal Disney detractors on YouTube for proof), and that’s the vibe I got from the backlash to Parasite; it was clear they didn’t like it because their own beliefs were being criticized and, despite their posturing, they are amazingly thin-skinned.

    I think what separates Parasite from most American attempts at getting its message across heavy-handedly is that it has an actual sense of humor about itself. American filmmakers today are like second-wave black metal musicians in that they take themselves way, way too seriously for their own good and won’t accept anything other than a fanbase of true believers who take themselves way, way too seriously for their own good. I don’t get that from Parasite. Plus, there’s the simple fact that Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won are excellent writers who would totally eat the likes of Rian Johnson, Lorene Scafaria, and late-period Paul Schrader for breakfast – and not even come close to reaching satiety. If American filmmakers loosened up a little and were interested in seeking an audience outside of true believers, they’d be terrifically effective at getting their messages across. As it stands, they have to face the reality that a majority of the “Best Director” awards in the 2010s went to filmmakers hailing from abroad. Really says a lot about where the actual talent is coming from, doesn’t it?

    I always find it confusing whenever people aren’t speaking the languages they’re supposed to be speaking in live-action works (it doesn’t really hit that weird note in animated works because it’s always dubbed – even in its native language). Even so, I really liked both Chernobyl and Jojo Rabbit, which both had that aspect about it, featuring English actors playing Russians and Germans respectively. I really need to check The Death of Stalin out. I didn’t get a chance to see it when it was in theaters (it is impossible to overstate how horrible of a year 2018 was for film distribution), so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it.

    And finally, there’s Ex Machina. It does have that Rian Johnson-esque energy of wanting to be different, but not having the talent required to pull it off. In fact, I think of Alex Garland as basically Rian Johnson 2.0 in that he tries so hard to be subversive, but ends up wrestling above his weight class, thus making a fool out of himself because subversive storytelling is the writing equivalent of playing on expert mode. While it’s hailed as one of its year’s hallmarks, I personally see it as a jump-the-shark moment for the indie scene, marking the moment when they had fallen ruinously behind other mediums and were condemned to cover ground other artists had sufficiently covered and not coming anywhere close to doing the concepts justice.

    And yes, it really has one of the most infuriating endings out there. It really stinks of that annoying 1990s edgelord vibe I got from The Last of Us Part II in how it seems to make the case that altruism and curiosity is for losers, and, because it doesn’t think through its implications, it comes across as deeply anti-intellectual. Granted, I can see why contemporary critics would like it based off of that, but it’s in complete opposition with what Mr. Garland was trying to do (or at least, I hope – if that was intentional, then we’ve got a bigger problem on our hands). Again, it’s a case of a group of filmmakers taking themselves way too seriously for their own good, and being light years behind creators in other mediums as a direct result.

    • Certainly!

      I saw a bit of that backlash, particularly the one fun video review of the guy frothing at the mouth about Parasite winning Best Picture that was going around. But I think you’re right about the difference between Parasite and many American films that try for those big social statements. Parasite definitely had that sense of humor, even extending somewhat into the later part of the movie with how absurd the situation got. Not so much by the end, maybe, but maybe there was some kind of contrast between those light and heavy elements working by that point.

      Certainly works a hell of a lot better than beating your audience over the head with your message. I’ve seen the same approach from a couple of European films as well. Maybe here in the US we’re just in too much of a fucked situation these days to not be heavyhanded in our art. Or maybe that’s just a copout. Probably it is.

      Usually that language disconnect bothers me too. It didn’t in Death of Stalin, maybe because it’s already a pretty absurd comedy. I get the same feeling from what I’ve seen of Jojo Rabbit. You make a good point about animation already being dubbed as well — we often think of anime in terms of subs vs. dubs, but I think that’s really more of a “did they get the characters right” issue, or “did they try to westernize it to the point that one of the characters calls onigiri jelly doughnuts.”

      I’m no expert, but it looks to me like filmmakers might have gotten lazy, and if so then critics have enabled that laziness. If Ex Machina was trying to advance the message “be careful of technology run rampant” or something similar, I think there are ways to make that work without going straight to that anti-curiosity, anti-intellectual path. Thinking about it again, Planetarian managed to tell the kind of story Alex Garland seems to have wanted to tell but in a much more nuanced and interesting way. But again, because it’s a visual novel, mainstream critics wouldn’t give a shit about it assuming they ever knew it existed — they even made a film adaptation, but I don’t know how much attention it got outside of the usual circles.

      The sexual aspect of Ex Machina is also a bit weird. There was that supremely scummy catfishing campaign, but even in the film itself I got the sense that we were supposed to be looking at Caleb’s attraction towards Ava critically as one of those “male gaze” sort of fixations — but then there were also scenes that seemed to accentuate Ava sexually somehow. Maybe it was just me, but it came off as ineffective if that was the intention. Without going into spoilers in this post, I find it pretty hard to blame Caleb too much for anything he did considering his situation anyway.

      • I never saw that video; I just knew of the backlash from secondhand sources, but as I said, it doesn’t seem to be as severe as some other examples we’ve seen. It’s pretty clear the detractors in this case have no real ammunition, so they’re just going after the film for its message.

        Yeeeeah, no. The tacit approval of Ex Machina’s marketing campaign and the general superiority complex of people such as Bob Chipman demonstrates that critics had a real hate-on for audiences well before 2016, which gave them a perfect copout for abandoning civility (or intellectualism, for that matter). Same goes for filmmakers; District 9 was one of the earliest examples I can think of wherein critics praised a film purely for its heavy-handed messages, and certainly not for its story, which can be snapped in half like a twig if you think about it (and, like both The Last Jedi and Knives Out, is swimming in a sea of unfortunate implications) – and that came out in 2009. Therefore, any critic or filmmaker using Trump and his fatalistically cynical cronies as an excuse for why we all need heavy-handed art is absolutely lying (at best, they are wildly misinformed).

        Film fans like to think that 2015 marked the end of a creative rut for American filmmakers, but that too is a lie. While the first half of the 2010s wasn’t a great period for films either, they were at least consistently decent and reasonably good at avoiding significant missteps. The latter half, on the other hand, did stand out more, but those films usually stood out for bad reasons. It saw a lot of mid-tier auteurs taking big chances, and only once in a blue moon did they pay off. It’s kind of like what happened in the 1960s once the Hays Code expired and the French New Wave was in full swing, but with people who aren’t nearly as ambitious or have interesting frames of reference. It was like giving the microphone to a talkative person who has nothing interesting to say.

        And there’s enough of a reason to condemn Ex Machina simply for its catfishing scheme, but the film itself is pretty dire. It’s actually the first A24 film I ever saw, and it was both a bad one to start with and a great indication as to what to expect out of them from that point onwards. The only films of theirs worth seeing are Moonlight, Good Time, The Farewell, and Waves. That may seem impressive, but that’s opposite eleven (or so) that were of middling or poor quality.

        I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but the way I see it, the indie film scene is basically where the indie game scene was at the beginning of the decade with products getting sold more by egotistical posturing than actual quality. That didn’t work for them because gaming doesn’t really have much of a need (or capacity) for that kind of behavior. What gaming likes is the ability to put one’s nose to the grindstone, so that results in a medium where the art has to speak for itself. Yeah, you get some old-fashioned critics such as Yahtzee and Bob Chipman lamenting that there are no auteurs in the medium, but considering that there are fantastic artistic statements made without the fulminations from blowhards such as Phil Fish, Jonathan Blow, or Neil Druckmann, I think it’s a small price to pay.

      • Yeah, you’re right that this started a while ago; certainly Ex Machina came out well before these rough times. Though it does seem as you suggest like the mess that started here in 2016 only allowed some writers, directors, and other creators to get even lazier — expressing the correct ideas became more important to some than the quality of the art itself. That doesn’t have to be the case; pushing artistic limits alone can act as a political statement (especially stuff like early 20th century surrealism, some of which fell afoul of dictators — I’m no expert, but it feels to me like those artists were taking actual risks and producing some interesting work on top of that.) But this artless approach we see praised by a lot of critics now just feels insulting to the audience.

        Going by your list, I haven’t seen any of A24’s really good stuff. I thought The Disaster Artist was all right, and certainly compared to Ex Machina it was a masterpiece, but I wouldn’t call it amazing either.

        I’m really happy that at least the indie game scene has rejected these prima donna types. Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow could act like jerks and talk nonsense for a while on the strength of Fez and Braid, but I think by the mid-2010s people had enough of their shit. It certainly helped that we ended up with better indie games at that point made by people who had some humility and class — I got the impression that games like Undertale, OneShot, VA-11 HALL-A, and Rakuen were made by people who didn’t care about aggrandizing themselves, but only about putting their art out there for people to find. If they have acted like jerks, anyway, I haven’t heard about it.

        Now hopefully Neil Druckmann and other more mainstream developers with shitty attitudes towards audience criticism will be called out, though it doesn’t look likely to happen anytime soon considering the accolades he, Naughty Dog, and TLOU2 have received from the game press even after they were criticized for having hellish crunch work conditions.

        Finally, I have to say that as much as Yahtzee has gotten on my nerves (the guy hates my favorite game genre for silly reasons in my opinion, but that’s more of a personal thing anyway) I truly don’t understand what the deal is with Bob Chipman. The guy is a total mystery to me.

      • It’s exactly as you say. Before, they’d at least have to try to disguise their lack of creativity, but 2016 wound up giving them the perfect out. And I also have to say that the general hostility film critics and filmmakers have towards their audience is an indication that they’re in desperate need of a reinvention to stay relevant because it really is the kind of thing I’d expect from a company moments away from filing Chapter 7. You know – the point where a company isn’t interested in doing well, but rather getting the blame off of themselves and onto anyone else. I can also imagine some blaming the pandemic for their problems, but again, it’s really more guilty of having sped up a downward spiral in process rather than having started it itself.

        Oops, you’re right – The Disaster Artist did manage to transcend the A24 formula and be legitimately good. But that’s still five good films versus eleven bad/middling films, and a lower than 50% success rate is not exactly something I would expect from a studio that universally praised. Fans were incensed that A24’s films weren’t nominated in 2019 or 2020, but 2018 was such an awful year for films that A24 didn’t really deserve praise for being only slightly better than the filmmakers who had no idea what they were doing. 2019, meanwhile, had the opposite thing going on in that A24 had to deal with people more than talented enough to keep them out of the running. Granted, it was a bit of a shame that neither The Farewell nor Waves got recognition, but unless they’re willing to make things people outside of their cult following would want to see, they better get used to coming back emptyhanded every year.

        As am I. I remember when I first started reviewing games, I didn’t understand the appeal of the indie scene. It was Papers, Please and Undertale that warmed me up to the indie scene because it was that indie ego that people such as Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow had that really made the whole scene unappealing. Those two have this really weird anti-charisma that could make the best ideas seem lamer than lame.

        I don’t think things are going to work out for Mr. Druckmann in the long term given that he managed to lose a significant portion of his audience and the reputation of his company has likely taken a turn for the worse. If they were having this much trouble attracting talent within the gaming industry when things were peachy for them, I can only imagine it’s going to be even tougher now that their reputation has been further marred. The key is that we, the audience, don’t enable him and his unethical business practices. I managed to do that in my own way; not only did I buy a used copy of The Last of Us Part II, I ended up selling it when I was done. A minor victory, I’ll admit, but a victory nonetheless. While I can see him sticking around for awhile, I can also see him completely blowing it. If he ever falls from grace, it is *not* going to be pretty.

        I have criticized Yahtzee in the past, but I will say that as stereotypically hipster as his opinions come across as, it does feel like he developed them honestly. I don’t believe that of Bob Chipman; you can always count on him to take the exact opposite stance of those he considers morally deficient – even if it winds up contradicting his earlier arguments. At first, I thought it odd that he praised The Rise of Skywalker because he and most of his fellow critics loved The Last Jedi for its subversive elements but hated its immediate follow-up. But then I realized that anti-Disney crowd hated it too (albeit for different reasons), so I can therefore believe he gave it an 8/10 (?!) purely to spite that crowd and to avoid admitting he totally bet on the wrong horse.

        Yahtzee is annoying, but at least he’s consistent. Plus, I have to say that after playing the original The Last of Us, I realized just how far ahead of the curve he was regarding Naughty Dog’s inefficient means of storytelling. We also have him to thank for helping me to realize just what goes into a good interactive story, so there’s that as well. Bob Chipman on the other hand? Completely useless.

      • The problems filmmakers are facing makes it a bit funny to me that some in the game sphere still want games to be more like films, instead of taking some of the good elements from film and using them to create something new and different. Which I feel is one of the reasons games have done so well as a medium the last few decades. But it seems like they still think about that Roger Ebert piece, even to this day. The film industry will certainly have to reinvent itself to stay relevant, but I hope they don’t just throw all the blame onto the pandemic.

        I should see a few of those other good A24 films. I wasn’t sure how much of my enjoyment of Disaster Artist just came out of seeing The Room and being a fan of horrible b-movies made in total earnest, but I think you’ve said you hadn’t seen The Room before watching it.

        I hope you’re right about Neil Druckmann. I imagine he might feel vindicated by those Game Awards wins a few days ago, but I don’t know anyone who actually gives a shit about the Game Awards beyond making fun of them or watching just to see a few anticipated announcements — people know that those are determined by the same journalists who gave The Last of Us Part II glowing reviews across the board anyway.

        But in the long run, it will certainly be the audience rather than the journalists who matter, so having contempt for the audience is always a bad idea. As you’ve described, film critics and filmmakers have this problem, and I can see the same thing happening to a lesser degree with game critics and developers, which is going to end up being not our problem but theirs. Especially when there’s both a vibrant indie game scene and a lot of trusted independent reviewers out there for the audience to turn to when they feel they’ve been misled or rejected.

        As for Yahtzee Croshaw and Bob Chipman, I get this feeling from certain reviewers/journalists that they set themselves and their views before the works they’re analyzing. Based on what I’ve heard from both of them, it feels like Yahtzee, for all his other faults, doesn’t really do that, whereas Chipman seems very much to do it. So I shouldn’t be unfair to Yahtzee either. I agree that he is consistent and seems to be honest in his opinions, which I can respect to some extent even in those annoying tendencies he has. Chipman, however — yeah, you said it perfectly.

      • Indeed. That’s why in my review of The Last of Us Part II, I pointed out that it makes no sense for game developers to take cues from films when the latter medium is in a major creative rut (not that it’s a widely acknowledged problem, granted, but still). It would be like taking writing lessons from Ayn Rand; you’d be worse off than if you flailed around randomly on a keyboard. It made some degree of sense back in 2007 when the pioneered the film-game approach with the original Uncharted because while the 2000s wasn’t really a good decade for films either, the fact that filmmaking had entered a dark age wasn’t really apparent until Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen dominated the summer box office in 2009. Nonetheless, it ended up being a terrible long-term strategy – especially in the latter half of the 2010s when we all learned the filmmakers had no idea what they were doing.

        I think the other thing is that The Disaster Artist was such a bizarre story already written for them that A24 probably couldn’t have messed it up if they tried. You really can’t make stuff like Tommy Wiseau or his backstage antics up. And no, I hadn’t seen The Room (or at least, not outside of YouTube clips and the Flash game), but I still enjoyed The Disaster Artist.

        Yeah, but considering that he was effectively competing against nothing and critics decided his game was one of the best ever made they got a chance to play it, I’m not impressed. It’s easy to win a gold medal when you don’t have competition to speak of, after all. At that point, you wouldn’t even need to be a good athlete – just good enough to get across the finish line. And indeed, I think it really says something that I didn’t even hear of the Game Awards show before you mentioned it; all those game award shows are the same – just lavishing attention to the AAA productions that aren’t hurting for it. It just further cements the venture that game critics don’t care about their own medium – that they sell their talents to the highest bidder rather than propping up the indie crowd and allowing new talents to flourish. Plus, there’s the fact that bad/unworthy films have won “Best Picture” or even a Palme d’Or in the past (i.e. Green Book and Blow-up), so it would stand to reason the gaming equivalent would eventually follow suit.

        I still think the film critics’ overwhelming praise of A24 is incredibly misguided, but I do admire that indie productions have to compete with AAA productions on equal footing in that medium. Their problem is that their indie artists aren’t creating interesting content – not that the awards circuits aren’t paying attention to them. The good news is that the gaming community seems to be very supportive of their own indie efforts, so I think the indie gaming scene will do well in the coming years without the press’s help (which many hardcore enthusiasts don’t take seriously in the first place).

        Admittedly, Yahtzee did let his biases get to him when he praised Spec Ops: The Line for deconstructing one of his most hated genres (the modern military shooter) despite the gameplay itself being both horrible and poorly designed (not to mention the story itself hasn’t aged well, but that’s another can of worms). Otherwise, while he does have biases and they have gotten in the way of a fair assessment, it’s usually limited to genres and Nintendo. An ideological bias, on the other hand, is not a problem he typically has. To wit, he’s a cynical person, yet he had absolutely none of the edgelord cynicism that The Last of Us or its sequel provided, correctly pointing out that whininess does not equate deep characterization (plus, I believe he has mentioned a similar disdain for Warhammer 40k, so his distaste for The Last of Us wasn’t an isolated incident). Conversely, he considered the unapologetically idealistic Undertale the best game of 2015 and he didn’t have problems praising Shovel Knight either. He also hasn’t generally been impressed with the walking simulator movement, correctly pointing out its shortcomings whereas his peers blindly praised it. This suggests he doesn’t really have the same lack of confidence in the medium’s artistic qualities other critics have.

  3. I’d heard of Death of Stalin, but have never watched it; I didn’t realize it was an Armando Iannucci movie. It makes sense though, looking at his other political satire in shows like The Thick of It or VEEP, which I really enjoyed. I may have to check that one out…

    • I haven’t seen those shows, but I get the idea especially from seeing bits from VEEP that it’s similar in that dark comedy feel. Yeah, I highly recommend Death of Stalin; just saw it on Netflix a few months ago, so it should probably still be there.

  4. Ahhhhhhh the mention of the gold seal books sure does bring a lot of bad memories flooding back in. So, I, at least know that experience, although I’m US based myself, so I don’t exactly prove that point.

    But yes, I’m not much of a movie guy either, but I too have heard that Parasite was very good and Ex Machina was very bad. And it doesn’t seem that Red Metal’s feelings of the films are misplaced, from how you describe it.

    • I’m happy to hear it wasn’t just me. I hope those awards are going to more interesting books these days — I’m positive some kids growing up in the 90s and back were put off of literature at an early age by that crap.

      Red Metal hit it on the head with his review for sure. And Parasite deserved the high praise it got as well, yeah.

  5. Pingback: December 2020 in Summary: Hindsight Is 2020 | Extra Life

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