"KEEP BUSTIN'."

World War Z

tn_worldwarzI don’t want to say I’m a zombie fan. I mean, George Romero’s first three LIVING DEAD movies are some of my all time favorite movies. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is a classic. Fulci’s ZOMBI 2 is pretty good.  I keep watching The Walking Dead. And there’ve been other ones I’ve enjoyed. But I mean, it goes without saying that this particular type of monster has gotten overexposed. I do not envy whichever poor bastard decides to do a book chronicling all the zombie movies, and has to watch every imagination-free piece of shit that’s come along in the last ten years or so. Don’t make any more zombie movies for a couple ten years, you guys. You wore ’em out. I’m sick of fuckin hearing about em.

But it’s true, I do like a good one, and I was open to Brad Pitt’s blockbuster-budgeted zombie epic because it’s an approach that hasn’t been tried before. Previous zombie movies are low budget and intimate (a good thing). In NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD Romero re-invented ghouls, but more importantly he came up with this dramatic situation with disagreeing strangers holed up in a farmhouse together. Even as he made the sequels and his budgets and ambition got bigger he centered his stories in confined locations: the mall, the underground military base, the gated community. A group of characters stranded somewhere during an apocalypse, waiting desperately for word from other parts of the world, hoping there’s some place that’s safe, or someone who knows what to do. But there never is. The status quo is never restored. This type of story started as a budget necessity but it became a dramatic strength. It’s what the genre has always been about.

mp_worldwarzSo it’s weird to do a $200 million zombie movie with the hero traveling from the U.S. to South Korea to Israel to Wales seeing massive devastation and working on behalf of the U.N. to try to find a solution. But why not try it? See what happens. Well, what happens is a weird hybrid, a watchable mixed bag, a semi-enjoyable semi-failure. More of an interesting case than a good movie. But not bad.

The big ass budget allows us to see things we’ve never seen in a zombie movie before: overhead shots of mass chaos, crowds of thousands being overrun by zombies. Huge effects sequences (a zombie attack on a commercial jet leads to a hole blown in the side of the plane and people being sucked out, then the plane crashing). In the craziest scene (unfortunately burned in the trailer) a digital mob of jaw-snapping, hyper-active zombies pile on top of each other to build a ladder up a massive wall protecting Israel. That’s something we couldn’t’ve seen in the Romero movies, or the 28 DAYS LATER ones (yeah, I know, it’s an infection not a resurrection – leave me alone) or The Walking Dead. And it’s a weird fuckin idea, not something I would’ve thought of or expected to see before. I give ’em credit for that scene.

(Anybody ever read that Clive Barker short story “In the Hills, the Cities“? That would make a crazy fuckin movie. They could almost do it now.)

On the other hand, the budget forces us to not see things that we sort of need to see in a zombie movie, specifically blood and guts. Romero had so much in DAWN OF THE DEAD he had to forget about an R-rating and release it unrated. But with a budget like that WORLD WAR Z has to cut to below an R to have any chance of not losing gigantic amounts of corporate money, and ladies and gentleman here is your zombie movie where some material might be inappropriate for children but only if they’re under 13.

I’m not saying they have to follow the zombie movie tradition of upping the ante on spilled intestines, but a massive worldwide catastrophe doesn’t have the same impact when it’s this clean. John McClane bled more in the first DIE HARD than the entire human race does in this apocalypse. The threat is carnivorous but the camera moves away from them every time they bite. It feels sanitized.

Romero’s productions were independent, of course, made with his friends who made commercials together as The Latent Image. He and John Russo wrote it together, cast local stage actors and filmed in locations they had access to. WORLD WAR Z is produced by its star, Brad Pitt. Inspired by the book by Max Brooks, the script went through drafts by J. Michael Straczynski and Matthew Michael Carnahan, then when they’d shot the movie they decided it didn’t work and hired Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof to add new scenes at the beginning and ditch and replace the entire third act. And at some point Christopher McQuarrie did an uncredited pass too. Maybe others. They threw an army of experts at this thing.

(About the book: I know everybody loves it, but I couldn’t finish it. You know I hate fake interviews in non-comedy fake documentaries, and to see that shit in book form is even worse. I just kept thinking “Cool idea. Get back to me when you write a story about it.” So that’s why I got no complaints about this as an adaptation. Some of you probly do.)

One weakness of alot of the modern zombie pictures, they don’t have any memorable zombies. Maybe it’s because they move fast, you don’t get a chance to get a look at them and it’s not like you’re gonna get to sit and chat with them over lunch so you never feel like you know them. Here I guess I remember a couple zombies in the WHO lab but otherwise I can’t remember any of them. They’ve got a traditional look but not particularly distinguished.

Maybe all the good zombies were in the part they cut out. According to this article the original last act had the plane landing safely in Moscow, where Pitt is drafted into a Russian army of zombie-hunters, leads a platoon in a huge battle in Red Square, discovers the zombies have a weakness for the cold and then escapes back to the U.S. where as it ends he plans to cross the country to track down his wife and get her back from a soldier who has claimed her as his own. Weird, but potentially epic. The finished film, ironically, makes things intimate, in a limited location, like the Romero movies. Pitt is at a World Health Organization lab and he has to get through hallways full of zombies to get access to a vault. It’s the most effective part of the movie and the part that could’ve been done for under a million if they wanted to. In other words they decided the way to fix this movie was to abandon the whole reason to make it in the first place.

Results of big budget zombie movie experiment: negative

But I enjoyed watching it well enough. Pitt is good, and the drama of him having to be separated from his family to try to save everybody is effective. I really like the way it establishes the scarcity of space on this ship, the family’s appreciation for it, and the threat of them (or others) losing their right to be there. It shows zombies as a disaster like in other movies but there’s a little bit more of a system left in place, authorities trying to do something.

I also like his idea of how to beat the zombies, an idea that seems to make sense, that I haven’t seen before, and that thankfully is left as a hopeful note instead of a solution. I know that’s for sequel potential but it also follows Romero’s no-restoring-the-status-quo rule. Pitt completes his mission and he returns to his family. His work here is done. He’s a WWZ veteran. Let him have some shore leave.

Speaking of veterans, director Marc Forster is a veteran of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, and now it needs to be said: Mr. Forster, do not ever direct another movie that has an action scene in it. This is not your calling. You’re fuckin up, pal. Some people just weren’t meant to do some things. It’s okay, just do one where people talk to each other. This movie does a great (I AM LEGEND-esque) setup of these people in their everyday routine when the shit goes down, it builds all this tension and then BAM! Something in traffic. They’re following a truck. Something happens to them. Sounds exciting, whatever it is.

At times the camera operators seem to be acting like they think it’s real zombies and it’s more important to jump out of the way and not get bit than to do their fucking job of pointing the camera at the fucking thing that we’re gonna pay money to watch. It’s not the worst example of this type of filming, but it’s bad enough to let the air out of most of the big action parts. I’m not surprised to read that part of the reason they ditched the entire last act of the movie that they spent millions of dollars on was that it took place at night and the way they shot it nobody knew what the fuck was going on. Maybe more studios should start doing that.

Anyway, I like what they’re going for. I give ’em points for trying.

(Points have no cash value.)


This entry was posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 1:43 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

122 Responses to “World War Z”

  1. I never read WORLD WAR Z, but Max Brooks’ other book, THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE and I had the same feelings about it as you. It started pretty cool, I appreciated the idea of writing a straight faced fake analysis of Zombies and several incidents with them, but around the third chapter I just became annoyed with it. The joke got old and I never finished it.

  2. Yeah, I think “semi-enjoyable semi-failure” sums her up. I was really on board with it until it suddenly became something different. Even though I could buy it from a realistic perspective (I imagine being in the zombie apocalypse would probably make you say “hey, maybe I should fuckin’ try something else”), but from a filmatic standpoint, it was kind of a let down. I’d rather see that bonkers original ending because it’s at least totally crazy compared to the safe, familiar thing they went with.

  3. the PG-13 rating killed my interest, I mean who ever heard of a PG-13 zombie movie? it sounds like an oxymoron

    when the fuck did it all of a sudden become written in law that once a movie has a certain budget it just can’t, no matter what, not even once, be fucking R rated? does no one remember Terminator 2? you’re telling me that it’s so bad that not even a ZOMBIE MOVIE can be R rated if it has a high budget? that’s ABSURD, Hollywood, when did you become so Goddamned retarded? what the fuck’s going on over there? it’s out of control

    and the irony of it is all these teens supposedly kept away by R ratings can just go home watch real videos of beheadings or God know what on the internet, but oh Lord, don’t let them see an R rated movie, God forbid

    *deep breath* anyway, I love the Max Brooks books, wish he would write another book (zombie related or not), disappointed that the movie has little to do with the book other than the title, but I don’t understand why the “documentary” angle of the book turned you off Vern, all it really amounts to is characters narrating their own stories, something seen in many books

    you really should give the World War Z book another shot

  4. To be honest, I wonder why zombies seem to be the only monsters where people just won’t accept a PG-13 rating. I don’t wanna pull ye olde “gore isn’t scary” card, because one of the scariest movies I know is Carpenter’s THE THING and the gore has a lot to do with it, but do we really NEED close ups of flesh eating and gut ripping? Shouldn’t it be already enough to create suspense out of the situation, that you are surrounded by an unstoppable force that only wants to kill you?

  5. CJ, it doesn’t have to be a bloodbath, but a zombie movie where a zombie is not once shown biting anyone is just some lame, watered down bullshit

    for some horror genres, yeah, blood is a requirement, it’s like a PG-13 slasher movie, what’s the point?

    by the way, does anyone other than me remember the fact that the whole zombie craze of the modern day was single handily started by 28 DAYS LATER?

  6. I had to stop reading halfway through the review to come post this comment. In the Hills, the Cities is possibly my favorite piece of fiction of any kind. I’m not sure I’d ever want to see it on a screen, but what a fantastic short story.

  7. This is a disaster film, and I generally don’t like disaster movies because they usually end up being mayhem porn and that bores me. But I enjoyed WWZ as the rare enjoyable disaster film because it had some nice setpieces (zombies on an airplane was genius), visuals (as absurd as it was, I liked that flashflood scene in Israel) and interesting ideas (for example, I thought that moment of Pitt on the rooftop edge when he thought he was infected was clever.)

    My crowd also laughed at some of the zombie facial tics, especially at the 3rd act. I especially giggled at that zombie who’s going “chomp! chomp!” with his head swinging back then biting just reminded me of a beaver or chicken or something.

    Brett G. – See I think they made the right call with the ending. Among other things, I just don’t think the gender politics would’ve played well. (An ending where Pitt has to cross oceans and continents just to get his woman back! I’ll pass.) You know just because your ending is “more grim” doesn’t necessarily make it better. For a blockbuster thriller like this, I think the new ending works better. Besides it gets across the same basic dramatic effect of the original 3rd act: Humans finally win a battle over the zombies.

    Vern, Griff – I hate to be an asshole regarding comments by both of you talking about a blood-less zombie movie because to a degree I agree with your points, but I must bring this up……you guys have seen the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Right? Where’s the blood in that one?

    Yes NOTLD mops the floor with WWZ as a film, and I do like my blood and guts in a zombie film, but its not necessarily a dealbreaker for me. In fact the lack of blood in general reminded me of a 1960s (and earlier) horror film in how sterile it is in that regard. I do agree with Griff about the lack of non-comedy rated R blockbusters. What a sad development.

    Honestly WWZ as a movie really reminded me of George Pal’s WAR OF THE WORLDS movie where allegedly you have a protagonist scientist/whatever you follow as he tries to stop these doomsday threat, but really he’s just the connective tissue between the scenes of destruction. Of course I’m the only local who remembers or gives a shit about that movie, so go figure.

    Also did anybody else’s crowd *SPOILERS!!!!!* laugh when Pitt drank that Pepsi? That’ll do pig, that’ll do. *SPOILERS!!!!!*

  8. And yet, you can have biting and blood in a PG-13 movie. Just not as much as in an R rated movie.

  9. Even though I went in not expecting this to be the book at all, I still walked away feeling the movie was a bit of a damp squib. I was hopeful the movie was settling into a groove during the Korea sequence, which I actually dug quite a bit. James Badge Dale and David Morse added some gravitas and scene chewing that, and the flashback at least alluded to how a more literal interpretation of the book could have gone.

    Instead, there’s more giant CG masses, an effect that I’m frankly getting numb to. Like Vern, I was looking forward to a zombie flick on such a large scale. Alas, when your script fails to put anyone you care about in the path of those bloated CG swarms, it’s hard to care. And that ending, while at least having some actual physical zombies in it, suffered from an extreme case of characters being morons. Israeli Vasquez going needlessly goes full rambo despite knowing that loud doesn’t = good news with zombies. And Brad’s seemingly unable to hold onto a weapon for more then a minute or two without just dropping it somewhere… just because?

    Ah well.

    Sorry that this turned into a bit of a rant hah. As an aside, has anyone listened to the World War Z audiobook here? To tie in with the movie, they recently released an unabridged version of it packed with loads more acting talent then what’s on display in the movie. Given the transcribed tape nature of the book, the audiobook really does feel like the definitive World War Z IMO

  10. The defintive WWZ is…..WWZ the book.

  11. What is its Action Comprehensibility Rating, though?

  12. RRA: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD has zombies munching on flesh, it has zombies gathering around a body like lions tearing open its intestines, it has this of course:

    http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/wp-content/uploads/Night-of-the-Living-Dead-mom-is-dead.jpg

    and plenty of other blood. It’s from 1968 and takes place on a farm and has several times over more graphic violence than this movie where literally millions of people are supposed to be getting muched by high speed zombies. Like I said in the review, I’m not saying it needs to top DAY OF THE DEAD or that there aren’t artful ways to keep violence off screen. But a movie showing devastation on this scale but with almost no blood (particularly in a pseudo-realistic handheld style) just feels false. Like a Katrina movie with no mud.

    One irony I forgot to note in the review is that The Walking Dead (not to mention non-zombie shows like Hannibal and the CSIs and what not) show more gore on a weekly basis on basic cable and even network television. It’s weird that TV restrictions get looser as movies get more conservative.

  13. When it was released, there was no one alive who praised NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD for its tasteful restraint. At the time, it was considered the ne plus ultra of gore, but the impact of its violent has been blunted by decades of far bloodier fare, so its the atmosphere and tension that stand out for modern audiences. But it was still trying to be as gory as the standards of the period would allow. It’s a lot gorier than TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, a movie that’s supposedly a nonstop splatterfest.

  14. I’ll bet you anything the Bluray will feature a unrated version with more blood and gore. It’s a standard hedge for films coveting the big box office while also wanting to ensure legs once the DVDs hit. Now, will it be reeeeeaaaaaallllly gory? I doubt it. But it’ll be interesting to see.

    As for the book, I’m an unabashed fan. That being said, I so get why Vern doesn’t like it. For me it’s the best at what it does, but what it does isn’t very deep. It’s a first rate supermarket paperback, and I mean that without being condescending or glib. What I love is that it’s a fantastic transmission mechanism for a host of wonderful ideas that until its publication went unexplored. The zombie genre had been running on the “find a safe place, fortify a safe place, and lose a safe place” fumes for decades. WWZ came in and bust that formula wide open, and if nothing else I’d like to see filmmakers take some chances and explore the more unique aspects of the book (underwater zombies fighting submarines, astronauts in space reporting realtime info to survivors, etc.) along with its centrally positive message; we will regroup, we will retake, we will survive. Man, no one had ever said that in one of these before. And let’s face it, Brook’s post-zombie civilization plays as almost wish fulfillment for the green earth, pro-sustainability Whole Foods crowd. The chapter where former Hollywood execs find deep satisfaction in sweeping chimneys is pretty interesting and amusing.

    I will offer one note of pushback: the book is not jokey in a wink-wink meta sense. While the Zombie survival guide is tongue and cheek (and in fact suffers from that, since I feel Brooks wanted to offer it seriously too, only to be dissuaded by his publisher) WWZ plays the scenario deathly straight. I could type more, but if you’re interested in how Brooks approaches his material this article is very revealing:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/magazine/max-brooks-is-not-kidding-about-the-zombie-apocalypse.html?pagewanted=all

    On a parting note, I do think the book’s more ardent fans get it in trouble by tossing around the phrase “literary masterpiece.” This makes people compare it to similarly disassociated narratives (for example, AS I LAY DYING) and it of course comes off as wanting. In WWZ narrators’ voices are more or less uniform, because again, it’s the ideas that are being conveyed that matter more than any one character or plot. In the end it is what it is, but every Halloween it’s exactly what I need.

  15. I would give this movie an ACR of 2.

  16. That’s what I’d give it too. To reiterate the ACR policy, I only want to do it for new straightahead action movies. It’s not something I want to have in my head every time I watch a movie, but want to provide it as a service to action fans who have to deal with this incomprehensibility trend. This could change but for now a movie like WORLD WAR Z where action is not a primary reason for somebody to see the movie won’t get a rating from me.

  17. Really turned off by the PG13 rating and the apparent use of only the book’s title. It’s not even that I hold the book in some sort special place. I enjoyed the book well enough. When I heard they were adapting it, I was shocked and definitely interested in seeing how they could pull that off… And then… Turns out they couldn’t. They just kept the title. Personally, I think the book could have worked well in a one season cable series of 10-12 episodes, like HBO does with its WWII stuff or the BBC does with a lot of shows. (Come to think of it, BBC did a zombie series from the POV of a reality tv cast and crew that followed that model of episodes). Anyway, I feel like the was a waste of what could have been a really interesting adaptation.

    And as Vern mentioned, shows like Hannibal and the Walking Dead really push the envelope of gore and it doesn’t seem to hurt their audience. Hell, with the Walking Dead’s ratings the way they are, AMC could probably put the tv equivalent of a $200 million dollar budget into it and profit (they won’t though because AMC is notoriously cheap). Even non-horror tv shows like Justified and Breaking Bad aren’t afraid to show an arm get cut off or a pile of partially dissolved human remains. Granted these shows are all TV-MA, but still.

    Personally, I think a huge part of the rise in both the popularity and overall quality of cable television is because television execs seem to embrace edgy material, even if it’s relatively expensive (I’m sure Game of Thrones’ budget is huge), whereas film execs seem to be afraid of that dreaded R rating. This seems tame even for a PG13 on top of that.

    Anyway, long story short… I think they should have renamed this and at least thrown a little bit of dyed corn syrup in there. Oh well.

  18. Oh yeah. And great catch on “In the Hills, the Cities”. Haven’t read that crazy story in years!

  19. I enjoyed this a lot. I’m fine with gore, but I truly didn’t miss it here. I viewed it more as a pandemic disaster action film than a traditional horror film. It’s about the speed and implacability with which the pandemic spreads and engulfs things, and the race against time to find some way to halt or reverse it. The zombie motif is a cool backdrop and good gimmick, and this movie certainly has elements of the conventional zombie flick. But overall, it’s not the traditional zombie flick focus on trying to merely survive these intimate, horrifying close zombie combat encounters. It’s about this frenetic globetrotting quest. So, for me it works that the zombies are typically show en masse as an aggregate anthill or swarm. That’s the film’s perspective: these aren’t brain-hungry monsters out eat you, they’re a hive with a coordinated biological imperative to propagate the disease as fully and rapidly as possible. So why does the latter call for a bunch of gore?

    Likewise, I think it was a great choice the way that initial outbreak in Philadelphia scene plays out. Your disoriented, trying to see or infer just precisely what is going on, and for a good while, it’s happening too fast, and things are too chaotic for you to do so. I thought the sense of confusion was very effective in putting you in the middle of it.

    This was substantially more satisfying than MoS or Trek (the other two theatrical releases I’ve caught this summer).

  20. The movie went through several permutations, we hear, and it shows. Weird details like the nursery rhyme that explains how long it takes you to become infected, voiced over the action itself. It worked for me. The prologue was really cool and had me immediately immersed in the film’s world.

    There is a lot to commend here (SPOILERS):

    -Introducing the possibly tired stereotype of the scientist who is going to figure shit out, only to unceremoniously kill him off seconds later. I was completely shocked.

    -RRA cited the scene where Pitt almost has to kill himself on the edge of the roof. Everybody figures out what he’s doing while he’s counting off, and you feel the waves of dawning comprehension break across the audience. Awesome.

    -Unusual to see a zombie movie not only primarily take place from the gov’t’s perspective, but not just do it to show the government as another institution that immediately fails to adequately respond to the problem. (An argument could be made for 28 Weeks I suppose).

    -Follows the classic Jurassic Parkian formula of the quiet, more intimate 3rd act suspense sequence that wisely doesn’t try to top the 2nd act spectacle.

    -Way to think on your feet, hacking of the Israeli soldier’s hand without a moment of hesitation. I holy-shitted.

    And I have to say I didn’t feel that the lack of gore detracted from the film in any way. There is a shit ton of gore happening JUST OFF CAMERA in the film. Like, just beyond the frame. If you are reading a book, all that shit is left to your imagination, where it is no less vivid. Why shouldn’t a film be able to have the same effect? It felt like the film’s cheeky way of getting to have its cake and eat it too: they might have had the corporate assholes breathing down their necks, but they were on our side deep down.

    Christ guys, I must be going soft in my old age. The summer’s movie season is treating me awfully better than most. Hopefully Guillermo won’t break my heart tonight.

  21. RE: People talking about PG-13 and lack of gore in WWZ.

    It wasn’t the lack of gore that bothered me, it was the way they shot several scenes involving off-camera gore. Specifically when Pitt treats the woman’s wound on the plane, and that moment in the hallway when his weapon is stuck in a dead zombie and he’s trying to pull it out as another zombie rushes at him. Both those scenes ended up feeling stilted and incomplete because the way they were shot, with everything bloody off camera, came off as awkward and deflating. It pulled the intensity and punch out of those moments altogether by making you fill in the blanks in your head. That was my biggest issue.

  22. j6, I can see that argument, but I wasn’t distracted in those scenes. I wasn’t thinking damn it, show me her bloody stump. I still followed what was happening, and it felt like a consistent aesthetic. Even if there was some hard-r director’s cut, I’m not convinced if would improve the film. I suspect if would detract.

  23. I felt that the qualities that bothered J6 and Skani worked in the film’s favor. I would recommend somebody on the fence because of the PG-13 to see the film with an open mind and judge for themselves.

    My feeling is that I’ve seen the Guinea Pig films, I’ve seen Dead Alive, I don’t NEED to see the gore. I know what movie gore looks like.

    Think about it in terms of tits. You can watch people fucking with ease thanks to the internet, but actually showing it doesn’t automatically make a sex scene sexy.

  24. Something I want to ask people who have read the book (apologies if this gets too long-winded):

    I was visiting my retired folks in Florida when I was reading this book. I had it with me on my father’s porch when he saw it and asked what I was reading. My father has a long history of top-level law enforcement in his past, and now that he’s retired he loves reading about and watching stuff in regards to war, terrorism, history of law enforcement and crime, etc. So I imagine he was intrigued by the “world war” designation.

    I tried to explain to him, “Well, it’s a first-hand account of a global war where people have to deal with a zo-” I kept talking beyond that, but I felt like my father immediately lost interest. He didn’t say anything, but I could feel his sudden contempt. It’s as if he was saying, zombies are not real, we have enough great books and stories about real history and war, combat, etc. When I finished telling him the synopsis, he asked me, without being particularly interested in the answer, “Why are you reading that?”

    I immediately felt so little, so minor, and I couldn’t go on reading the rest of the book. It’s such a textured, serious read, but about zombies? We all love zombie movies and zombie stories, but let’s face it, they’re silly at best, stupid at worst. I just felt like the cold stare of my father, and all those years of arresting criminals and terrorists, came weighing down on me, and I felt so dumb for reading something so dedicated and so serious-minded about a topic so trivial.

    Good review, btw, Vern. This has been rental-at-best for me since the start. Glad you took Marc Forster to task. That guy… I just can’t.

  25. old people don’t understand the zombie genre? (forgive me for assuming your dad’s old) why should that be surprising and why should you care? I think it also has to do with the fact that older people view books as being a much more serious minded media, not something you can read purely for entertainment’s sake (IE you should only read non-fiction books about history or whatever), so a book about zombies probably sounds like putting on a Broadway musical about Spiderman to them (hey, wait a minute), but that’s something the Harry Potter generation certainly has no problem with

    I’m lucky though, I can make my 49 year old dad laugh with Return of The Living Dead quotes though and he saw the original Dawn of The Dead in theaters

  26. I can relate to Gabe’s predicament. I can’t get over caring about my parents’ opinions towards the media I absorb. My dad’s a classical musician who went through a *phase* of actually expressing an interest in whatever edgy bullshit I was listening to as a teenager, but he quickly realized that he didn’t really have the interest/stomach for it…but I still find myself wondering whether something would meet his approval, or having imaginary discussions/arguments with him over a piece of music in my head.

    I differ from Gabe in that I just assume that I’m right, and that my dad is just a narrow minded asshole who can’t appreciate the brilliant tunes I crank.

  27. Guys, I’m about your dads ages, give or take a few years, and I’m offended (I’m not really, but it’s fun to say). Just because your dads have “grown up” the stereotypical way, don’t judge all us old timers by their standards. Action movies are action movies and rock ‘n roll is rock ‘n roll. If a person is straight and boring at 45-50 he was most likely boring at 15-20.

  28. But lots of people like it harder when they are young. They grow up listening to Coltrane and then resort to Kenny G.

  29. I really liked the film until the third act. The ending sequence just lands with a muffled thud.

    Sure, the rest of the film was bloodless, and none of the characters had any personality beyond their name and profession. But it was a big budget, large scale zombie apocalypse with waves and waves of the undead. I’ve never seen a thing like that executed with such a big brush on a broad canvas with lots of money to burn. It really felt fresh and new. And with the breakneck pace, I was completely into the film. It was an exciting ride…

    Until the third act. With the rewrites and reshoots, they end up skulking around in generic looking hallways. It’s not that it wasn’t passably directed, but it completely ditched the only unique thing the film had going for it, and resorted to doing the same thing every other low budget zombie film has done countless times before. And has done a lot better, I might add.

    No matter what dumb shit the original idea was or how they decided to fix the film, the ending still should have been a large scale crowd pleaser. Go for broke, put that money on the screen and keep delivering something I’ve never seen in any other zombie movie. But it didn’t, so it kind of sucked the air out of the entire film and left me hugely disappointed.

  30. Jareth Cutestory

    July 12th, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Ideally, the gore isn’t an end in itself, but rather a contributing element to the overall tone of a film. MARTRYS comes to mind: it was pretty gross, but more importantly, the gore lent a kind of credibility to the brutality and bleakness of the film’s vision. without the gore, MARTYRS wouldn’t have been as uncompromising.

    But gore doesn’t just require a certain versimilitude at the bleak end of the spectrum: Sam Raimi’s best stuff wouldn’t be nearly as funny without the ludicrous amounts of guts.

    I’m a less-is-more kind of guy – I think the sequence on Hollywood Blvd in INLAND EMPIRE is more disturbing than Jason or Freddie – but I think the measured execution of gore can be a beautiful thing.

  31. I have to agree 100% with Vern on the book. I forced myself to finish that thing, but it was a slog. It’s an interesting idea, but Max Brook is a terrible writer. He’s trying to mimic the style of an interview, but he doesn’t know how to write in the manner that people speak. He also has no sense of narrative. Each chapter just kind of moves along without a driving story. It’s essentially a list of things that happen to these characters. And his attempts at “satire” are laughably bad. The chapter about the celebrities holding themselves up in a safe house was just awful. I have no clue why that book gets so much love and attention. And I only started to get interested in World War Z: The Movie when I heard they were pretty much ditching the book.

  32. Isn’t THE WALKING DEAD rated TV-14 though? Why is there such a wide difference between what they can show on that and in PG-13 movies?

    Yes, let’s give zombies a rest. Admittedly though it’s not a genre I gravitate to a lot, so I’m not as burned out and there’s still some good things that come out of it, such as in the recent video game THE LAST OF US, which is really more of a general survival horror-post apocalypse genre where the humans are as much of a threat as the infected(not zombies, but humans who are in various stages of being taken over by a mutated fungus that controls their brain and turns them into aggressive monsters) and it’s very inspired by THE ROAD in it’s bleakness.

  33. Stu – How would you rank THE LAST OF US? I have never had a chance to play it yet and won´t for another month or two. Is it as good as they say?

  34. Stu, I gotta admit that I don’t know shit about American TV ratings, yet a few months ago some parental watchgroup blasted AMC for giving WALKING DEAD such a low rating, which suggests to me that the channels give the ratings out by themself.

  35. I don’t think TV ratings apply for THE WALKING DEAD in the US since it’s a cable show. By the definition of being an opt-in type system, you’d be required to be over a legal limit to view any cable programming – or have parental consent – so the shows themselves don’t need to be rated. Or at least I don’t think they do.

    Over here in Finland, they’re pretty blase about content these days. Dicks, tits and violence are okay if you just air them after 10pm. They give ratings to each program, but they’re for parents, not for stopping certain material to air on regular TV (apart from the after 10pm thing). The only thing you need to have a subscription channel to see content-wise is hardcore porn. Or, you know, the Internet.

    So THE WALKING DEAD airs on a regular broadcast channel over here without anyone raising any fuss over it.

    The current system is a result of a backlash after 80’s and 90’s when TV channels actively censored shows and movies. Shit was ruthlessly cut to be aired on TV. No dubbing or trying to get alternate TV only takes – if it was deemed bad, it was gone. The old TV version of ROBOCOP I taped on VHS was borderline incomprehensible.

    The rise of DVD and later the Internet created a complete fuck you attitude towards broadcast TV, and they were forced to adapt. Same with cinema. Everything we get and are shown is uncut. And here we are.

  36. Shoot- I’ve been bandying about the word “masterpiece” to destribe TLOU. Both as a game and a story it’s great stuff.

  37. I talked about it here a few times, but on German TV, nudity and foul language are no problem for any time of the day. Yet when shown in the early morning or afternoon, a comparibly harmless movie like TRANSFORMERS, that has a “12” rating over here (the same that THE BIG LEBOWSKI has) is often shown with all hints at violence and “scary” scenes, sometimes even just an explosion where nobody gets hurt on screen, edited out.

    Interesting enough, recently the digital Pay TV had some problems with TWD (and SPARTACUS) too. Usually both shows were shown uncut (with an “18” rating and thanks to its digital format, you had to enter a PIN code to unblock the program.), but the recent seasons were victims of pretty heavy censorship. (Although in case of TWD it was often stuff that I didn’t notice, until I read about it the next day.)

  38. I lived in Germany for a hot second. I clearly remember seeing a commercial for butter that featured full-frontal nudity. It was revelatory, in that I’d never realized butter was such a hard sell.

  39. Shit man, the first tits I ever saw, were in a deodorant commercial over here! :D

  40. nick’s gravatar fits the tone of his comment perfectly

  41. oh you Europeans, so comfortable with nudity…

  42. You can laugh, Griff, but I think the big question is why you Americans are so uncomfortable with it? Each week THE WALKING DEAD reaches new levels of violence, but even the zombies are properly dressed. That’s laughable.

  43. pegs – It’s Puritan bullshit plain and simple. Sexuality is something to be ashamed of, sinful, taboo, etc.

  44. Come to Europe! We have less money or jobs than your country, but at least we got tits galore!

  45. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    July 13th, 2013 at 4:41 am

    Sorry I came to this talkback so late, I couldn’t get to my computer for all the tits.

  46. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    July 13th, 2013 at 4:42 am

    And what the fuck has happened to my gravatar picture?

  47. I liked WWZ. Or, at least, didn’t hate it. It was fine. I agree with a lot of the positive things people say here. It’s not a great film, but it works as a disaster movie. I also liked Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, though, and think these two share some of the same feelings.

    As far as gore goes, wasn’t all the gore bits in NotLD during more “montage” like scenes that bridge scenes of drama? It definitely helps to set the stage for what is at stake, but I think the gore in that movie is much more different than later Dead films for more than just the quantity of the gore. Since WWZ is a disaster film and it does a good job of setting up the stakes (extinction!) I don’t mind its lack of gore. I also didn’t mind Unbreakable’s lack of super hero costume, and that’s my favorite super hero movie.

    Shoot, I played The Last of Us. It’s OK. I’m not much of a video game guy, but it seemed to follow the trend of being very light on game play and just as an excuse to tell a story. It isn’t that the game play is bad, it’s not I guess, it’s just never challenging or tactical, nor exciting. It isn’t Half Life 2 or whatever. The story for the Last of Us is OK, but nothing great. The game play is better than Bioshock Infinite’s, but the story isn’t as engaging. I think the Telltale Walking Dead game is better than The Last of Us in every way, especially since they both are just the most basic of games designed to tell stories.

    I like zombie stories, though. I think they tap into something deep within our society: how we are all largely impotent to affect any actual change and only by tearing down society can we have the capacity to do anything that really matters. I don’t watch Transformers 3 or Pacific Rim and put myself into the movie or story, but I imagine we all think of ourselves as a survivor for a zombie movie. Unless it’s the Walking Dead, in which case I’d rather just not even bother because fuck that show and all the characters in it.

  48. this is really off topic, but it’s a subject that I find really fascinating, so forgive me for going off on a long winded tangent (it is the internet, after all)

    the American attitude about sex is thus, we love it, can’t get enough of it etc, but it’s something to be kept out of the spotlight, behind the scenes, behind closed doors, it’s the out of the way, secluded and rare nude beach as opposed to typical beaches of Europe where nobody cares if a woman chooses to go topless (where on most beaches in America a woman would be carted off to jail if she did that), it’s the Playboy magazine behind the counter at the gas station, it’s sexual content all but disappearing from movies but flooding the internet, it’s this weird unspoken agreement that sex should be the elephant in the room, never fully acknowledged

    there was a period in the 60’s and 70’s when Americans became far more open minded about sex, but we’ve regressed since then and here’s what’s weird, we only KEEP regressing as time goes on, becoming more and more puritanical, not less

    I mean, here’s a few examples, America was becoming far more conservative in the 80’s, right? but that was still a time of movies like PORKY’S, where you saw several completely naked women in one scene, when was the last time you saw something like that in a mainstream movie? the AMERICAN PIE flicks of the late 90’s and early 2000’s had nudity, but only toplessness, now nudity has disappeared entirely from comedies (unless it’s male and played for laughs, nudity is now meant to gross you out, to disgust you, not titillate you)

    and then we have one of the most absurd events in American history, the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” Janet Jackson had at the 2004 Super Bowl, laws had to be written all because one nipple was viewable for a split second on TV, Jonathan Swift couldn’t have come up with something so ridiculous

    I have some theories as to why this is, while it’s true that America has a strong cultural foundation of puritanical Christianity, it goes beyond just that, nobody gives a fuck about offending Christians anymore, for better or worse Christianity has little influence on modern American culture

    no, I think there’s two main reasons, one is political correctness, feminists have succeeded in selling the idea that nudity is degrading to women, in fact, that pretty much any blatantly sexualized depiction of women that would appeal to men is degrading and sexist (look for example the huge feminist backlash against depictions of female characters in video games), male sexuality is sexist, stop being men you men, it’s sexist

    but anyway, that’s another topic, point is, anything that’s not in the political correctness wheelhouse is going to be banished from the mainstream culture, no questions asked

    secondly, I don’t think sex simply fits in the corporate, locked down, DRM, NSA phone tapping, Big Brother esque America of the modern day, sex by it’s very nature is wild and untamed, it’s passion burning away rules and laws, that’s why the Church suppressed it and that’s why modern America suppresses it, it’s a means of control, in other words, sex = freedom, modern America = getting less free by the day, after all, didn’t Orwell’s Oceania suppress sex too?

    so oh sure, you can have your porn, on the internet, safe inside the house locked up behind closed doors, but don’t dare bring it out into public because free love may start giving people some funny ideas about freedom and we can’t have that or else the terrorists win

  49. that was meant as a response to pegsman, by the way

  50. – Griff

    I think that the lack of sex and nudity in movies are mostly a question of money. Sex and nudity are so accessible today, that a movie with nudity makes less money than a pg-13 movie. If you wanna see a certain actor naked, you can probably find them on the internet in a matter of seconds. A naked actor in a movie certainly won`t sell more tickets nowadays.

    I`m really confused about the new so-called puriantism. It´s a hot potato in Europe as well; one of the big discussions in my country this summer has been public breastfeeding. It used to be quite common that women could sit in a cafe and breastfeed their baby, but now the cafe-owners gets complaints from other guests. But on the other hand, is the most celebrities in my country young people who get drunk and fuck on public television in different reality-tv-shows.

    Shit, I don`t know how to connect this topic to zombies either. Oh, wait…. Yeah, somebody should make a big budget wwz-like remake of Shivers, where a virus turns most of the worlds population into brainless and horny sex-freaks. Who wouldn`t wanna watch a movie called World War Sex.

  51. “Shoot, I played The Last of Us. It’s OK. I’m not much of a video game guy, but it seemed to follow the trend of being very light on game play and just as an excuse to tell a story. It isn’t that the game play is bad, it’s not I guess, it’s just never challenging or tactical, nor exciting. ”
    Not challenging or tactical? So you didn’t think the Winter section massively depowers you and put you into a situation where you had to be really careful about how you progressed? Never mind the whole game forces you to always think about how you tackle a situation and pretty much makes stealth the most ideal way to go if possible.

  52. Sure, you played using stealth. But I never felt like I was making any choices: I knew how to play and what manner of playing would worked, and I just did it. Since I didn’t feel like I made choices of how to play, in a tactical sense, and that the game didn’t offer much in the way of challenge from any twitch based gameplay I did not feel like it was challenging or very rewarding. Like Bioshock Infinite I took most of the game as an obstacle to get to the next part of the story or world.

  53. dna – sure, money is a factor, but it’s also a sign of larger cultural trends, I just don’t think that it’s a coincidence that as America has gotten less free, sex has increasingly been hidden

  54. oh, I forgot to mention something, it’s also Apple banning any porn related apps, now why would they do that? it’s obviously not to “protect the children” since it’s children that make their shit in the first place and it goes without saying that it’s not for Religious reasons

    then why then? because porn just doesn’t jibe with their turtle neck sweater image, they don’t want to scare off their old people audience by making them think the internet is nothing but a series of ass n titties

  55. There are obviously elements of puritanism in our culture, but they’re losing. Yes, there is a violence-is-more-okay-than-sex hypocrisy in our censorship, especially on TV. But the aggressive sexualization of women and girls in pop culture grows with every generation and porn is more accessible than at any time in history.

    The issue with gore and WORLD WAR Z is mathematical. Movies with budgets that big simply have to be PG-13 or lower if they want a mathematical possibility of making back the money. R-rated movies can still be successful like in the old days, but probly not with a $200 million budget.

  56. How much are the TAKEN movies made for? Because it’s pretty ridiculous that movies supposedly about adult subject matter(sex trafficking, violent crime gangs, revenge) have to be made PG-13, while if you want to watch the uncut version LIKE AN ADULT, you have to wait for the DVD release.

  57. I seem to have a magical super power of being able to read Marc Forster’s action scenes. I’ve written about QUANTUM OF SOLACE before so I won’t go into it again. I got the same feeling in WWZ that I knew where his editing was going. Examples: In Israel, a medium shot of a zombie horde cuts to a long shot of the zombie horde and it flows. The corner soldier pulls his grenade. Next shot, the alleyway scaffolding is collapsing under the explosion. I’ll even give him that a truck comes out of nowhere because that’s the character’s point of view, but from then on I got how they were following it and where they were going.

    I do think some of the dramatic moments are likely attributed to Forster. Pitt counting the seconds to see if he’d turn on the roof ledge was fucking monumental. All visual, we didn’t need to be explained what he was worried about. It still has third act problems, like this global epic suddenly slows down to this intimate old school confined space. Maybe we’ll get to see the original third act on the DVD.

    I’m honestly okay with bashing the visual style because I want all movies to be shot clearly. But if there are any Paul Greengrass defenders around, I would like to know what makes the BOURNE sequels any better. I even find ULTIMATUM incomprehensible. It just works in spite of itself.

  58. I have no interest in this movie whatsoever and now that i know that Lindelof contributed to the scrip, my apathy turned into complete desinterest, if not avertion.

  59. what would you guys say are some underrated zombie movies?

    in my opinion, the most underrated zombie movie ever made would the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, I do in fact, consider it to be better than the original or at least a very worth remake

    there’s a few interesting things to note, outside of DEAD ALIVE/BRAINDEAD it’s the only zombie movie of note for the entire 1990’s and it’s got that GREAT late 80’s/early 90’s look that’s just perfect for horror (see also: JACOB’S LADDER/CANDYMAN), it’s the only zombie ever to have that look of that time

    plus, it’s got Tony Todd as Ben!

    why, considering the zombie obsession of the modern day, the NOTLD remake is pretty much forgotten is beyond me

  60. Because the original NotLD is so, so much better.

    I don’t hate the remake or anything, but it lacks all the meaning and emotional punch of the original. The original has that great Twilight Zone esque ending that is really upsetting and has weight to it. The remake is just a decent zombie siege movie.

    Most underrated would probably be the original NotLD. Not because it isn’t well regarded, it is, but because it is just that good. I like it more than Dawn and Day. It’s just one of the best American films made.

  61. The first half-hour of the NotLD remake is great. Tense and actually scary. It loses steam once they get into the house, and I’ll never quite forgive it for being Tom Savini’s one directorial effort and skimping on the gore effects. But I agree, Griff, it’s underrated. Because of the time it came out it’s got a different vibe than other zombie movies.

  62. Mr. Majestyk – in Savini’s defense I think a certain amount of gore was skimped in post at the behest of the MPAA.

  63. It’s banned in Germany anyway.

  64. Griff – “there’s a few interesting things to note, outside of DEAD ALIVE/BRAINDEAD it’s the only zombie movie of note for the entire 1990′s”

    Not in my eyes it isn’t. Movies like CEMETEREY MAN and BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR are more notable and interesting 90’s zombie movies than NOTLD 1990 ever was. The one cool thing about NOTLD though was that it was a pretty conventional zombie movie compared to the movies I mentioned or stuff like BRAINDEAD and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 which is more like a twisted zombie precursor to TWILIGHT. So that made it kind of refreshing. I do enjoy it but it’s nowhere close to being better than the original though. Sorry.

  65. World War Z is an okay disaster film but a complete failure as a zombie/horror film.

    Tom Savini’s NOTLD remake holds up well for me, I don’t necessarily prefer it too the original; however, 15+ years ago when introducing friends to the dead trilogy I had no regrets about showing the remake(the original being harder to track down on vhs in my hood).

    Vern – I don’t want to continue diverting this thread away from Brad Pitts mediocore film, but I have to address this, no disrespect to your dojo.

    Griff – Feminists have not sold anyone the notion that sex is wrong/bad/unnatural in fact that is some straight up ignorant shit you’re talking. Women have every right to be disappointed in the the way they are depicted in video games/comics/nerd culture;sometimes a woman wants to project/roleplay as a badass with a Vag and realistic proportions and not as your wank fantasy dude.

    Furthermore; when you state that Men are inherently sexist by nature, and require depictions of Women to consistently fulfill our unrealistic ideal of beauty, and any attempt to change or subvert these unrealistic standards is infringing on our enjoyment in playing videogames, reading comics and watching movies, you make us all sound like sad, pudgy, pale little twentysomething virgins, trolling away life in our parents basement. That’s you brah, that ain’t me.

    As a straight man, who enjoys the nerdier things in life here’s some helpful hints;

    Either get a job in manual labor, or make friends with steel dude; most (nerd)women don’t have the unrealistic ideals of beauty that their male counterparts do. but they do have some standards(as should you), albeit realistic ones. If you want to meet those standards turn some of that pudge into muscle

    Start checking out Gamer Girl forums, learn why these ladies are pissed off by the way
    they are represented in Nerd culture; don’t argue with them, don’t play devils advocate, just try learning
    their side of the argument before you act like they are robbing you of something you somehow require/deserve.
    Engage these ladies in debate, try and learn what they love about video games etc. maybe make some friends. Quit acting like an entitled Manchild, stop jerking off so much and try and experience what people may refer to as real life.

  66. “Furthermore; when you state that Men are inherently sexist by nature”

    I was being sarcastic, deriding the idea that all men are sexist by nature

  67. which is something a lot of feminists seem to believe, in my opinion

  68. “or make friends with steel dude”

    what exactly is this supposed to mean? are you telling me to kill myself? well fuck you buddy

  69. also, what’s with all the assumptions? sad, pudgy, pale little twentysomething virgin? yeah, fuck you too

  70. Griff – making friends with steel or iron is working out, not eating lead. Iapologize deeply if that is what you inferred.

  71. ok, there’s so many “kill yourself” insults thrown around on the internet that its hard to tell which is which

    but I still take offense at all the negative assumptions, any time a guy says even one little negative thing about feminism he’s instantly labeled as just being a lonely nerd? that cheapens the whole argument

  72. Griff: Windows was weirdly harsh in singling you out, but pulling out a sex-hating, straw-man feminist isn’t helping. There’s no “argument” here.

  73. Griff – you consistently make pretty interesting and honest posts. I think your opinions in film are intelligent and consistent; however, you also consistently complain about the disappearance of nudity in films, I understand dude, I dig pretty actresses getting naked.
    st don’t act like your being robbed when they don’t. You are a white male, we’re the most privileged people on earth, when women are pissed off about the way their
    Represented, it’s not for you to act like their wrong.

  74. I just don’t think feminism is a flawless philosophy that must never be questioned or challenged and certain things like Anita Sarkeesian making off with a cool 150,000 dollars by playing the “OMG sexism in games!” card just….bug me, to be honest

    I also have a problem with the debate over female characters seeming to boil down to what they’re wearing and how much versus anything about the characters themselves, friggin’ Bella Swan is a more offensive character than any scantily clad video game heroine

    and on top of that, what has been the biggest cause of women having negative body images leading to eating disorders? it’s not video games, it’s magazines aimed at women, men don’t like rail thin women and yet that’s what all these magazines present as being desirable to their female readership

    feminists do raise some good points, they just tend to go after the wrong targets, in my opinion

  75. Griff: There is no “card”, sexism is rife in video games, and the fact that you chose to focus on how much money Sarkeesian raised on Kickstarter and NOT the horrific torrent of abuse she suffered as a result says it all, don’t you think?

    Shit, I love video games, it’s a medium I’m really passionate about and excited for, but if gamers are going to go apeshit over even the mildest of critical scrunity, then it’s clearly not ready to grow up.

  76. it’s the internet, of course she got a horrific torrent of abuse, that doesn’t make it right but it doesn’t mean anything either, other than the fact that people tend to be assholes on the internet (which should not be news to anybody)

  77. Griff – you misconstrued my earlier post to “make friends with steel” as a veiled suggestion for suicide, that probably made you feel like shit. How do you think fucking thousands of explicit demands to do just that,threats and invasion of her privacy felt? Amanda Sarkseesian received all that because she dare explore those tropes. She received a couple thousand dollars for her original project, people donated her 150,000 because of what stupid fucks said about her on the internet. People didn’t give two shits on the subject until nerds really showed what sad little fucks they could be. They pretty much put that money in her pocket.

    Griff – I tend to single you out because I like you and you almost remind _me if my much younger self, so I get disappointed when you say stupid shit. No one is suggesting that the heroine from the Twighlight series is a better role model for women, Women want to be more than just badass fuck dolls and sad sad damsels in distress.

  78. you being a member of this site, you’re someone I respect, but suicide insults from thousands of anonymous jackasses is something to be ignored, it’s the internet, it’s not a nice place, if that sort of thing can’t just be water off a duck’s back for you then you have no business making yourself a target for that kind of vitriol in the first place

    it reminds me of that guy canceling Fez 2 because someone was mean to him on Twitter, I mean come on…

  79. Letting a bunch of sexist, bullying assholes off the hook by saying “it’s the internet, what did she expect?” is some real pathetic, victim-blaming bullshit. You’re better than that, Griff. I mean, “making herself a target”, what the hell?

  80. it’s not letting it off the hook, it sucks, but Jesus, it’s the fucking internet, what do you expect? people to NOT to be assholes? you’re living in a fantasy land if you think a feminist can espouse her opinions and NOT get any vicious attacks

    any website with a large number of rules, like Twitter or what have you, it’s guaranteed to draw crowds of assholes if there’s a controversial topic at hand, it’s as sure as death and taxes

    she made 150,000 for NOTHING, excuse me while I play the world’s biggest violin for her because people are being MEAN on the internet! stop the presses!

  81. *any website with a large number of members

  82. shit, I meant world’s SMALLEST violin

  83. I’ll be honest, the biggest problem in the sexism debate are in my opinion the two different camps a.k.a. “Men” and “Women”.We can all agree that sexism is bad and is one of the many things that shouldn’t exist anymore in 2013, but I think the one thing that really stops the progress are that everybody always seems to fight only for his own team.

    Instead of working together and saying: “Yeah, let’s end sexism on both sides” it always ends with “Shut up, we are the bigger victims”, which is especially weird because I thought the whole feminism and masculinism movements were partly about NOT painting themself as victims.

    Face it, both men and women have it bad in our society. Women who fight for the rights of their gender are automatically labeled men-hating “Feminazis”, while men who do the same are labelled Macho pigs who want women back in the kitchen. Women get paid less, men have nearly zero rights in a divorce. Female rape victims get “slut shamed”, male rape victims are for our society walking punchlines (Especially in comedies, where “Don’t drop the soap” and “Dueling Banjos” are apparently the funniest thing ever.) and can’t even make their fate public. Being called a “Pussy” means you are a coward, but being called a “Dick” means you are a jerk. And so on. I could spend hours with list even more examples for both sexes.

    And instead of solving any of these problems, we waste too much time with trying to figure out, which problems are worse, when they are all bad. We can all agree that sexism is bad, so for fucks sake, stop playing the “Your team’s problems are less important” game and start SOLVING these problems! Maybe a woman doesn’t care that her ex-husband can see his kids only twice a month, but for that man it’s the worst thing in the world. Maybe a man doesn’t care that his female co-worker makes less money than him, be for her it’s the biggest problem because she can’t pay her rent. And most of us have #1 problems, that can totally screw up our lifes but have NOTHING to do with out gender. So who are YOU to judge who has it worse?

    I know, this goes a little bit into corny “Let’s just work together and be friends” territory, but for me both Feminism and Masculinism are just movements, that destroy more than they build up. Try having a discussion with members of the other group about your problem. It always ends with “So what, WE have these problems”. Even if you discuss with very intelligent people, it always ends like that. Why? I don’t know! Shit, while I like being a guy (or let’s say “I never thought about a sex change because I didn’t feel like I belong into a male body”) I wasn’t asked if I wanna be one! Or has anybody here been visited by God, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Penis Goblin before they were born and was asked if they want a penis or vagina? So why are you fighting so hard for a team that you didn’t even pick? Let’s just agree that we have it all bad and start working on each other’s problems!

  84. Dude, she got death threats, rape threats, people vandalising her Wikipedia page, trying to hack into her social media accounts. All for having the temerity to suggest that, hey, maybe there are some things about video games that are sexist and shitty, which is something that should be obvious to anyone with functioning eyes and two brain cells to rub together. I think it’s totally awesome that people rallied behind her and supported her campaign after a bunch of asshats tried to bully her into silence. That you can somehow come away thinking that she’s the bad guy in this situation boggles my mind.

  85. The only thing I know about women in video games is that you can tell Ms. Pac-Man is the girl ’cause she has a bow and lipstick. So I had to look this up to figure out what the fuck you guys are talking about. From the wikipedia article on Sarkeesian:

    “The project triggered a campaign of sexist harassment that Amanda Marcotte in Slate magazine described as an “absolute avalanche of misogynist abuse,” in which “[e]very access point they could exploit was used to try to get to her …”[12] Helen Lewis of the The New York Times reported that Sarkeesian was e-mailed images of herself being raped by video game characters.[13] Attempts were made to hack her Twitter and Google accounts, doctored images of her were posted online, and negative comments were posted to her YouTube and Facebook pages.[14][15] Her Wikipedia article was repeatedly vandalized with images of sex acts.[16] Her website was subjected to denial-of-service attacks, and there were efforts to obtain and distribute her personal contact information.[17]

    Sarkeesian posted examples of the harassment on her blog, and supporters responded by donating over $150,000 to her project.[14][15] This further enraged the harassers; one man made an internet game called Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian, where users could punch her image until the screen turned red.[14][18] The people behind the campaign awarded each other “Internet points” for the abuse on forums; Sarkeesian argued that they had “gamified” misogyny.[13]”

    See, I don’t think you should be using the “boys will be boys” defense on that. People who are assholes on the internet are our enemies and should always be shamed for what they do. But from these examples it’s clear that it goes way, way, beyond regular idiocy. If you can’t see what a problem it is then that’s part of the problem right there.

    If it’s only in “a fantasy world” that “a feminist” can express herself online without some pieces of shit drawing pictures of her getting raped and trying to crash her websight then why don’t you help us make that fantasy come true? Don’t just accept it as a fact of life. “What did she expect?” Jesus, bud, you know better than that.

  86. well said CJ and let me say, that taking away our sexy comic book and video game women aint gonna solve society’s ills

  87. look man, the internet is fucked up, there’s child porn, countless white supremacists, you name it, I know that and I wish it wasn’t the case, but trying to stop it is like trying to stop the rain, I don’t know if you guys know this, but humanity on the whole is kind of on the fucked up side, what with all the wars and whatnot, the internet is a reflection of that that shit, the only way to change it is to change human nature itself

    there’s countless stories of terrible harassment of people by psychos on the internet, in my opinion you shouldn’t make yourself a target for that kind of harassment, which in most cases is what happens, someone does something stupid that pisses certain sections of the internet off and it causes nothing but trouble, so don’t be surprised when it happens

  88. Griff, but seriously, drawing less exploitative comic book heroines wouldn’t be wrong either. So what if Power Girl is an awesome, strong character that young girls can look up to*, in the end she is still drawn to please the eyes of the male teeange audience.

    *Disclaimer: I never read any Power Girl comics and don’t know anything about her character, but her look always came across as “one step too far” for me.

  89. well, bottom line what I’m for is for content creators to do what they want, if they want to dress them less sexy, the fine, what doesn’t sit well with me is the idea of them being pressured into doing only what pleases the feminists, censorship by proxy

    and I think what irritates me in particular when it comes to video games is that gamers used to be all about game makers doing whatever they wanted in the days when the Jack Thompsons of the world were trying to take down Grand Theft Auto, remember Hot Coffee? (fyi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Coffee_mod) gamers laughed at all the controversy and said “what’s the big fucking deal?”

    now the tables have turned, now you get certain gamers themselves getting offended over content and demanding changes, never would I have imagined that I would see that, it’s like being in the fucking Twilight Zone

    the latest example of this is there’s a new game called Dragon’s Crown, which was controversial because it featured *gasp* a character with really big boobs! this is controversial now? it just boggles my mind that something so mundane is now taboo

    I’m a big fan of free speech and that includes the speech that offends you, don’t like thong clad, big breasted video game women? that’s A-ok, just don’t play those games, but don;t try to make it to where no one else can either

  90. “you shouldn’t make yourself a target for that kind of harassment, which in most cases is what happens, someone does something stupid that pisses certain sections of the internet off and it causes nothing but trouble, so don’t be surprised when it happens”

    Sheesh, say what you want about Sarkeesian, but talking about something that you believe in, isn’t really something stupid IMO. Even if you disagree with her.

    Although I do kinda agree that you (unfortunately) have to expect such a reaction, as soon as you go on the internet. I mean, Harry Knowles gets death threats in every single talkback and I’m sure that’s just the tip of the ice berg and happens to every single internet celebrity all the time.

    In other words: Fuck you, internet, for making humanity look bad.

  91. Griff: That’s fucked up. You’re saying that nobody should say anything “controversial” on the internet (like that sexism exists) just in case they “make themselves a target” for a bunch of entitled man-children. Don’t be stupid, Griff. Nobody is coming to steal your wank material.

    CJ: The Conner/Palmiotti run on Power Girl was great and went a long way to redeeming the character, but yeah, she’s kind of indefensible.

  92. Of course I’m not saying it’s her fault and I actually like that she used the haters as advertisement for her project, but still: That’s what comes with internet fame. It’s not good and shouldn’t happen, but I don’t believe that she didn’t expect such a backlash or that nobody warned her.

  93. and, if I may go a little farther, what exactly is so bad if games are a bit of a boy’s club? can we not have our own thing anymore outside of sports? (which no one tries to make sports appeal more to women) women got their TV shows, their 50 Shades of Grey, their Twilight, their Bieber and Taylor Swift, let us have our games without being made to feel like chauvinist pigs for crying out loud, it’s like there’s an unwritten law now that nothing can appeal primarily towards men anymore

    in a way though I can understand, there used to be more games that appealed to girl gamers, they used to have tons of JRPGs and survival horror games (both genres that had a large female following) and those two genres have largely dried up, I can see why all the military themed shooting games would not appeal to them, but hey, I’m not the one buying the latest Call of Duty year after year after year (after year after year after year)

  94. CrustaceanHate – I’m just saying don’t be surprised, know what you’re getting yourself into

    anyway, I’ll be honest, I like my video game women, I don’t mean any harm by it, doesn’t mean I hate women, certainly doesn’t mean I expect real women to look like that, let me have my fantasy

    women have their romance novels with shirtless, kilt clad highlanders on the cover and nobody cares about that and why should they? men and women like to have fantasies of idealized versions of the opposite sex, it’s part of human nature and I’m tired of this “men’s fantasies = SICK AND WRONG!” double standard

  95. in other words, you can take my wank material FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!

  96. Griff, you got about as big a non-problem as I have ever witnessed. Young white males will continue to be the biggest audience for video games, and thus their tastes will continue to drive the genre. You will continue to have every single little thing you want for the foreseeable future. But rather than feel the tiniest but of empathy for the people who are excluded from your little boys club, you instead act like your rights are being violated because occasionally somebody complains about it. And then when that happens, you blame that person for the abuse she suffered at the hands of hateful assholes. Have you really thought about what you’re saying here? Do you understand what a morally repugnant argument that is? It’s just a tiny jump from that to “What was she thinking, wearing that dress out in public? I’m not saying she had it coming but…”

    I also don’t think you know what feminism is. Saying that it’s about sex-hating and taking away your rights as a dick-haver just show ignorance on your part. Somebody’s filled your head with reactionary garbage. Feminism is defined as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” That’s it. That’s all. Is that something you really feel comfortable arguing against? Do you believe that women should vote? Get paid the same as a man? Have the right to decide what to do with their bodies? Not be the property of their husbands? You probably do, because you are not a total piece of shit. Congratulations, you’re a feminist.

    You’ve clearly got a good heart, Griff. Everyone here can tell that and that’s why you haven’t been ripped to shreds for this blinkered, patriarchal bullshit you’re spewing. But you need to take some time and think about what’s more important to you: Boobs or basic human decency.

  97. ‘women got their TV shows, their 50 Shades of Grey, their Twilight, their Bieber and Taylor Swift’ – those are pretty depressing options, if this is what popular culture has to offer women. These are not things that any woman I am friends with are into. I’m not into video games personally, but it’s a medium, and kind of a bummer if there are so relatively few non-objectifying options for women who otherwise enjoy it.

  98. The original Paul

    August 7th, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Griff – women have had their social media accounts hacked, doctored photographs of them with giant bruises all over their faces posted all over the web, and have received death threats. All from people, the vast majority of whom are probably male, who have turned cyberbullying/stalking into a “game” of its own, together with “points” for whoever makes the best “attack”. These people are misogynist scum of the absolute worst kind. They’re that way because they have absolutely adopted the mantra that whatever they enjoy has to be exclusive to “their kind”, whoever that may be. Anybody who criticises the “property” of “their kind” is a traitor, and should be dealt with as such. The idea that different people can get different experiences from something they all share is anathema to them.

    I mean, I still play videogames in my thirties, but I would never ever call myself a “gamer”, because I know that when people use the term generally, it has such negative connotations.

    And honestly, the breasts on those two women (the sorceress and barbarian?) in Dragon’s Crown are grotesque. I’ve seen videos of the gameplay in reviews, and the character models would make ME question whether I really want to spend hours having to stare at those characters. That’s coming from someone who grew up in an age where Tyris Flare’s battle-bikini was seen as “provocative” in some circles. God knows what those people would make of the uberboob.

  99. The original Paul

    August 7th, 2013 at 10:54 am

    And since I didn’t make my point clear at all in the first two paragraphs of that last post, I’ll make it here and now:

    “I’m just saying don’t be surprised, know what you’re getting yourself into”

    No, Griff, NOBODY should have to expect anything like the kind of abuse these misogynist pigs have given these women. You can expect that people will disagree with your opinion, and will vocalise that disagreement. That’s fine, that’s healthy debate. Having pictures of your with photoshopped-in deformities, having your web accounts hacked, receiving dozens of death threats… no. Just no.

  100. The misogynistic response to reasonable criticism of absurdly sexualized game characters is running parallel to a similar reaction to the replacement of historically important male portraits on UK money with historically important female portraits.

    Got that? Because people campaigned to put Jane Austen on the ten pound note, they’ve gotten death threats, threats of rape, real harsh stuff. All of which leads me to believe that women get denigrated in this society for having an opinion, that it is a power thing and it has to be opposed. You gotta oppose it so that it doesn’t seem OK to treat people like this.

    Arguing that you should expect vile and competitively charged misogynistic blowback when you question how women are being depicted is ludicrous. I’ve gotta agree with Mr. Majestyk that either you don’t understand the words you’re using, or you need to do some soulsearching, Mr. Griff/Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi.

    Here’s the BBC article on the banknote portrait controversy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/23565145

  101. Very well said, everybody. I like this better than WORLD WAR Z. Mr. Majestyk put it perfectly, so I’m hesitant to add to it, and also Rymar made an important point, but I want to underline it for Griff. This idea you have of women who read romance novels with Fabio on the cover, that is not any women I know. The problem is, this “geek culture” you love that includes anime and video games, it has grown and evolved and is loved by many women and girls your age and younger. I bet I could find you a thousand women wearing cartoon animal tails or playing Halo before I could find one that reads romance novels. They are a part of your culture whether you like it or not and you can’t let your fellow boys club members send them rape threats for having opinions.

    And if you didn’t want them there then you probly shouldn’t have complained so much about how your people get stereotyped as masturbating losers in their parents’ basement and it’s not just for kids anymore and Roger Ebert says it’s not an art and all this. You got what you asked for, and it has cooties I guess.

  102. The problem with this “mens rights” stuff is that it always comes down to complaining about being criticized. “Why shouldn’t we get to?” they say. But here’s the thing. You do get to. What, are government troops kicking in your door and stealing your video game boobs? No. It’s just that people who didn’t have a voice before are now getting a chance to criticize this stuff. People used to never call you on your bullshit, and now they do. Suddenly, other opinions get to be heard, and consequently sometimes people change the way they do things. Men correctly see this as a loss of hegemony, and hence a loss of power. But it’s a long way from discrimination.

    You think you’re right and they’re wrong? Fine! Argue your point. That’s fair. But complaining that other people are complaining just shows that certain kinds of hegemony as so deeply entrenched that they make any other perspective appear abnormal and unreasonable to those within the system. There’s a plenty legitimate argument to be made in favor of unrealistic, sexualized women in fiction. But there’s also a completely reasonable argument to be had against them. The point is, we NEED a dialogue on issues like this, and as such we need to agree that conflicting views are a healthy function of multiple perspectives, not an unwarranted power grab by one or another group.

  103. Man, so since the South was (is?) fucked up an interracial couple should just know better than to visit because “that’s just the way things are”?

    Griff, dude, relax. I remember being a dumb know-it-all white kid with super nerdy interests (I still am, really) and I used to have similar views as you spout here. I grew when I realized that it takes balls to come from a position of privilege and try to lecture others about why their shit stinks and how they need to change to better adapt to my own white male privilege. You start sounding like The Amazing Larry when you defend gross sexist attacks or want to enshrine your own white male privilege.

    And, dude, there’s tons of geeky shit that only men do. I went to Historicon a few weeks ago and got to play some rad wargames using awesomely painted toy soldiers, and that’s like 99.9999% men. Not because that community is exclusionary or sexist, although it could be better, but because it takes a certain type of person to research the uniforms worn by British troops in the Peninsular campaign and then paint hundreds of them for a game.

  104. Mr Subtlety is also right that so much of this comes from people not wanting to be criticized for their dumb actions and dumb beliefs. I’m almost 30 and I know a lot of guys my age who were really smart as children and who were praised and lauded by their families for how smart they were, but then they got lazy and didn’t amount to much. So now they’re still kind of drifting along in life not really doing much but still have this huge sense of entitlement and need for praise, or at least need to never be criticized, that just makes it all so hostile. What’s most ironic about Men’s Rights Movement is that it’s really just about defending the attitudes that only boys have.

  105. The Sarkeesian incident, as I’m going to call it, is extremely unfortunate for a number of reasons. Of course, the biggest one is the treatment she got from internet assholes. But, she’s also become a bit problematic. A lot of her arguments come from that place where “if you’re looking for it, you’re going to find it.” It’s been a while since I paid any attention to her, so my examples will be very generalized, but some of her points were sort of like a misogyny witch hunt. I remember her pointing out things as being sexist which, if she were to have done even a minimal amount of research, she would have discovered were choices made based on technological limitations of the time the game in question was made. Here’s the thing, Sarkeesian is discussing something that is definitely worth discussing. Some games are sexist. Many games don’t know how to handle female characters (or male characters, for that matter) with any depth and resort to using stereotypes. The problem is that she shouldn’t be the one making these arguments. I believe she even says the Mario games are sexist because he is “saving” the Princess. While I suppose you could argue that she is technically correct, I also think that you’d have to be pretty delusional if you thought that there was any sexist intent there. By making a one-sided claim like she did, plus getting paid six figures to do so, she basically ensured that the people who really need to hear these arguments just say, “she doesn’t know what she’s talking about” and they ignore her AND the issue. I know plenty of men and women working in the game industry who basically agree with her in concept, but think that she is the wrong person to make the argument. She has no experience working in the game industry nor do I believe she’s an active player. She is someone who has made a living saying women are misrepresented in (fill in the blank).

    And that’s indicative of a huge problem the industry has right now. There are more non-experts making sweeping claims about the gaming industry every day. Most of the public attacks on games have either been uninformed, one-sided or simply incorrect. It’s like someone who’s never opened a book saying that all literature is porn because they saw the cover of a Penthouse Forum… or something. I don’t know.

    That being said, the way people reacted to her is disgusting and goes to show what assholes people can be when they are protected by the anonymity of the internet.

  106. Man, Dtroyt, a lot of what you said really betrays the wrong attitude to have in these conversations. Viewing sexism as a binary “not sexist” or “totally fucking sexist, you fucking pigs disgust me” is just wrong, and I don’t think she does that.

    You also misunderstand the importance of intent. Intent is important, for sure, but if someone does something without thinking about it or using any self reflection it is also problematic, especially when they are constantly asked to do some self reflection so they can better understand their own inner prejudices and problems. White men don’t always intend to be sexist or racist when they are sexist or racist, but we also need to be held accountable and expected to grow the fuck up and deal with our own latent issues.

  107. Casey, maybe I’m not clear in my comment. My point is simply that regardless of the validity of her argument, she is the wrong person to be making it. Personally, I do think she makes a very binary argument and often does so while not doing the proper research. But, either way, that doesn’t excuse the personal attacks she has had to endure because of her views.

    Anyway, I think our views on sexism and such are very similar. We just have different opinions about this one person’s approach to the issue.

  108. This turn this thread took and how it was all handled by my fellow posters and our awesome site admin reinforces why I will always be a proud card carrying member of this here community. Well done guys, especially CJ and Majestyk.

  109. Dtroyt – “But, either way, that doesn’t excuse the personal attacks she has had to endure because of her views.”

    In the end that’s what it boils down to. No question that I do agree that she is grossly misinformed about a lot of the things she chooses to deconstruct. But she’s not the first critic to ever be guilty of that. Matter of fact as movie fans I’m sure many of you guys see it all the time on a daily basis. Bottom line is that it doesn’t mean it’s ok for all these subhuman losers to be spewing all their negative and hateful shit as if it’s even warranted.

    If they spent half the energy they used to tear her down to do stuff that is actually progressive and productive I’m sure we would have a much more fulfilled society in our hands. I say this as somebody who was a geek long before it ever became hip to be a geek and who was a lifelong loner because of that fact. Especially since I’m a minority and in our communities being as into film, music, animation, literature and comic books as I was growing up was viewed as even more weird and alien than it would be viewed in a lot of white communities.

  110. Jesus, I see I’ve really opened a can of worms here and to think, all I wanted to do when resurrecting these comments was talk about the 1990 remake of NOTLD, although I’m the guy that did originally bring feminism up, something I regret and something I’ll make a note not to do again

    but how should I put this, I’m young guys, cut me a little slack, I’m not exactly an expert on women, maybe it’s not smart for me to talk about things like feminism, I’m sorry, but I’m not a “Men Right’s Advocate” (I barely even know what that is, sounds kinda silly), I’m not a “get back to the kitchen” misogynist, I’m just not down with the idea that women must never, ever be depicted in a sexual way as to only appeal to men, is that really so wrong? I’m sorry if it is, but nobody’s perfect

    “Mr. Griff/Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi.”

    you….think were the same person?

  111. “Striving For Excellence” never means shrugging your shoulders and saying, “…but nobody’s perfect.”

    Don’t feel bad for bringing this up, but don’t just turn your brain off and ignore what everyone said. It’s an opportunity to grow, and it’s not a bad idea to take it.

  112. I’m not ignoring it, I understand that there’s a lot I don’t know, I just can’t help liking the sexy ladies

  113. Wow, after what seems like a nap and a grueling 12 hour day, I can’t believe how much
    this thread has grown.

    Majestyk – your one post pretty summed up what I was trying to say and with tact. So kudos.

    Griff – I think everyone was cutting you slack, I don’t know how old you are exactly, your early 20’s?
    If your not exactly an expert with understanding the ladies.. Maybe you should try talking to some, who aren’t related to you directly. I understand you live in a small town without a lot of prospects, so there is always Girl Gamers forums I guess.

  114. I’m 23, soon to be 24 in about a month

    once again though I do want to apologize for my ignorance, but ya know, on the internet everyone can’t help but feel like they’re an expert on everything, even if they’re not

  115. can we still be friends, guys?

  116. Griff none of us have ever stopped viewing you as a friend. You’re like the resident little brother figure here. It was just another disagreement like many of the ones we’ve all had on here before. One thing that’s awesome about this community is that despite our differences of opinions we always keep it cordial which is why I always keep coming back.

  117. thanks, it means a lot to me

  118. The original Paul

    August 8th, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Awwwww, now I want to give Griff a hug.

    I have moobs… do they count?

  119. Apparently John Carpenter is a fan of this movie. On Twitter, he included this on his Top 10 Horror Films ever list (at #10.)

  120. I liked “WORLD WAR Z” very much. It wasn’t perfect, but I liked it a lot.

    [“Speaking of veterans, director Marc Forster is a veteran of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, and now it needs to be said: Mr. Forster, do not ever direct another movie that has an action scene in it. This is not your calling. You’re fuckin up, pal. Some people just weren’t meant to do some things. It’s okay, just do one where people talk to each other. This movie does a great (I AM LEGEND-esque) setup of these people in their everyday routine when the shit goes down, it builds all this tension and then BAM! Something in traffic. They’re following a truck. Something happens to them. Sounds exciting, whatever it is.”]

    What in the fuck are you talking about?

  121. Rosie – I’m talking about the scene in traffic, which (like the car chase that opens QUANTUM OF SOLACE) is shot and edited in such a chaotic, random manner that I cannot decipher where the people and vehicles are, what directions they are moving and what is happening. I call it post-action, the modern standard of movies with action movie plots but with just a bunch of wiggling and gibberish with sound effects instead of carefully planned action sequences.

  122. I liked this film a lot.

    I saw it with low expectations, because Quantum Of Solace had absolutely horribly edited action sequences.

    On the action front, this is FAR better than QOS. This is pretty standard shakycam action filmmaking: It would be nice if the shots were longer, but the far majority of it is easily comprehensible. And there are a lot of good, clever moments in the action scenes. And even some standout visuals.

    I saw this on Blueray, and I guess it was probably some R-rated extended edition, because the film was far more violent than what a PG-13 rating allows for. Lots of blood, and even bits of gore. Obviously not as violent as a Romero film, but it doesn’t need to be.

    The cool thing about this film that it’s deeply rooted in the tradition of its genre, but yet has a lot of unique ideas and twists, that nobody has done before. This isn’t easy to do.

    The concept of swarming zombies is awesome, and creates many totally unique scenes and visuals. The idea of a zombie invasion on a plane was really cool. And the final solution to the zombie problem is clever and believable.

    Brad and the rest of the cast are really good. Script is solid, as is the directing. An enjoyable summer blockbuster.

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>