A Little Update

I’ve since finished Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy and Death Upon an Austrian Sonta: A Dana Knightstone Novel. I started a two person Let’s Play with a friend of mine. The game we are playing is Planescape: Torment. I have also started three concurrent LPs: Realms of the Haunting (at the suggestion of Undead Bear on YouTube), Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister, and Death at Fairing Point: A Dana Knightstone Novel.

I don’t know how often I will actually get around to writing updates here, so you are better off subscribing to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ishootthepictures

Thanks!

Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water’s Edge

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The most frustrating Nancy Drew game I have played so far. It didn’t balance out the puzzles with the adventure. There were way too many puzzles, and they were way too difficult. They sucked all the fun out of the game. However, it has taught me that I should fast forward through the boring parts of the game in my Let’s Plays. I am going to do a clean and unobstructed fast forward the way that Two Best Friends Play does. I don’t intend to add music and make it look like a VHS tape being fast forwarded. I don’t really review the games I play, but skip this one.

Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 1)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 2)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 3)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 4)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 5)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 6)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 7)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 8)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 9)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 10)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 11)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 12)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 13)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 14)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Shadow at The Water’s Edge (Part 15, Finale)

Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill – Remastered

He called himself The Hulk. I called him Needle Dick, the Bug Fucker.

He called himself The Hulk. I called him Needle Dick, the Bug Fucker.

My second Nancy Drew game and it was short. Just like The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, there was a flaw in the game design that had me screaming. There was an eye chart, the ones that optometrists have, that you must look at otherwise you are unable to open a book you need to look inside of. It will just pretend like you can’t do it. So, if you missed the eye chart, you can think the game is broken. I thought that until I combed through some walkthroughs. So stupid!

Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill – Remastered (Part 1)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill – Remastered (Part 2)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill – Remastered (Part 3)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill – Remastered (Part 4, Finale)

Let’s Play: Police Quest III: The Kindred

Driving Off The Cliff

Driving Off The Cliff

This game is a nightmare. Need to go inside a house you suspect to be a crack house? You knock, drive to the courthouse to get a warrant, drive back, knock again, and drive back to the courthouse to get a ramming warrant, then you can break down the door. Don’t get me started on the driving. If you want to see me fail, then jump to part 2.

Let’s Play: Police Quest III: The Kindred (Part 1)
Let’s Play: Police Quest III: The Kindred (Part 2)
Let’s Play: Police Quest III: The Kindred (Part 3)
Let’s Play: Police Quest III: The Kindred (Part 4)
Let’s Play: Police Quest III: The Kindred (Part 5, Finale)

Let’s Play: Space Quest IV

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I had very fond memories of playing this game as a child, but the mind plays tricks on you. This game was incredibly frustrating. The only thing I enjoyed was when you have to crossdress in order to appear as a woman so you can fool an ATM machine into thinking you are the blonde woman whose card you are using. That’s why I chose that screenshot above. Hopefully, the other Space Quest games are better.

Let’s Play: Space Quest IV (Part 1)
Let’s Play: Space Quest IV (Part 2)
Let’s Play: Space Quest IV (Part 3)
Let’s Play: Space Quest IV (Part 4)
Let’s Play: Space Quest IV (Part 5, Finale)

Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor

Loulou, the damn parrot

Loulou, the damn parrot

This was my first Nancy Drew game, and I think it went pretty well. I had to resort to a walkthrough occasionally and I often played ahead of the video to try to make the Let’s Play as smooth as possible, but still, it went well. Most importantly, I enjoyed myself, and I can’t wait to play another one of these games.

Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 1)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 2)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 3)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 4)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 5)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 6)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 7)
Let’s Play: Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Part 8, Finale)

Movie Roundup #3

Still on a pre-code binge!

  1. Cimarron (1931) – Approach With Caution
  2. La Cucaracha (1934) – Worth A Look
  3. Three On A Match (1932) – Approach With Caution: Like the game I am doing for a Let’s Play right now, racy material doesn’t make up for a boring story.
  4. Manhattan Parade (1931) – Not Recommended: This is a terrible movie! The gay stereotype is funnier than anything else in this film and I hated it. That’s how unfunny the comedy is in this dung heap.Bad, bad, bad film!
  5. The Trail Beyond (1934) – Approach With Caution
  6. The Desert Trail (1935) – Approach With Caution: At least you get to watch John Wayne act like a sleaze.
  7. The Dawn Rider (1935) – Approach With Caution
  8. Riders of Destiny (1933) – Approach With Caution:Noteworthy for two reasons:1. John Wayne plays a singing cowboy named Singin’ Sandy. It’s as dumb as it sounds.
    2. The ending doesn’t have marriage since it’s from 1933 and thus, not under the production code.
  9. The Lawless Frontier (1934) - Approach With Caution
  10. Paradise Canyon (1935) – Approach With Caution: An average John Wayne B-Western, except that I have never seen such competent and professional Mexicans in any other Westerns. It was a bit of a shock!
  11. ‘Neath the Arizona Skies (1934) – Approach With Caution
  12. West of the Divide (1934) - Approach With Caution
  13. The Dawn Patrol (1930) – Recommended
  14. The Broadway Melody (1929) – Recommended
  15. The Emergency Case (1930) – Approach With Caution
  16. Way Out West (1930) – Worth A Look: William Haines makes this work. It’s very formulaic, but Haines makes you care.
  17. Stage Mother (1933) – Worth A Look
  18. Roast-Beef and Movies (1934) – Approach With Caution
  19. The Doorway to Hell (1930) – Worth A Look: Not the best movie about a gangster, but it’s another one of those pre-codes with surprising moments of excellence. In this case, it was usually in the cinematography.
  20. The Beast of the City (1932) – Worth A Look: Sometimes it seems like every pre-code has those moments you remember vividly. The moment in this film came at the end when the police stand in a line at the entrance to a party hall filled with gangsters and a shoot out begins. The cops march in step like an old fashioned army. The gangsters take some cover, but it’s basically everyone firing as they all fall to their deaths. It’s moving and brutal.
  21. The Secret Six (1931) – Approach With Caution
  22. Tarzan The Ape Man (1932) – Approach With Caution
  23. The Yankee Doodle Mouse (1943) – Worth A Look
  24. Westward Passage (1932) - Not Recommended
  25. The Finger Points (1931) – Not Recommended: Fucking pile of cow dung! Richard Barthelmess plays the most incompetent reporter I have seen in awhile. And the man can’t act. It’s just awful! Awful! Awful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Run for your lives!!!! Yeah, the finger points. My middle finger is pointing right now at the DVD.
  26. Our Betters (1933) – Not Recommended: Only worth seeing because of the horrendous gay stereotype at the end, but it’s barely a reason to watch it.
  27. Wonder Bar (1934) – Not Recommended: One of those pure escapism movies. Nothing happens, no characters to invest in, just a glamorous place with glamorous people to take your mind off the Great Depression. It’s awful and the blackface number makes it 100 times worse. It just goes on and on as the nausea grows and grows. The whip dance with Dolores Del Rio is the only saving grace.
  28. The Sport Parade (1932) – Approach With Caution
  29. The Sign of the Cross (1933) – Worth A Look: DeMille delivers on the debauchery, but the rest is just average.
  30. The Painted Veil (1934) – Recommended
  31. The Unholy Three (1930) – Approach With Caution: This role was not the right one for Lon Chaney to make the transition to sound. One of his more sympathetic roles would have been better.
  32. The Rounder (1930) – Worth A Look
  33. Men of the North (1930) – Worth A Look: A simple story about a French-Canadian thief who falls for a woman visiting the area. Very straightforward, with no frills. What gives it that extra .5 stars is the ending where the thief’s friend shows up at the last minute and tries to stick up the cop when he doesn’t need to. It’s hilarious and had me laughing.
  34. River’s End (1930) – Recommended: It’s about a man who takes the place of a Canadian mountie after that mountie dies in the mountains trying to bring him in. The two men happened to look very similar to each other. The film follows the man’s attempt to impersonate the other man and struggle between choosing to use the situation as a stepping stone to freedom, or to stay a mountie. Certain things can feel rushed, but that actually avoids some cliches for the sake of the short running time. It moved me, so it’s ok with me.
  35. Anne of Green Gables (1934) – Recommended
  36. Flying Down to Rio (1933) – Approach With Caution: A bare tit and a bunch of hot girls don’t make up for a bad movie.
  37. Taxi! (1932) – Approach With Caution:Lame!Sometimes one word is all you need to describe a film.
  38. Rafter Romance (1933) – Worth A Look
  39. Beauty for Sale (1933) – Worth A Look
  40. Rasputin and the Empress (1932) – Recommended
  41. Fog Over Frisco (1934) – Worth A Look
  42. 23 – Skidoo (1930) – Approach With Caution
  43. Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (2009) – Worth A Look

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh

While Phantasmagoria was great, the sequel is terrible. It amounts to going between 6 cubicles, 1 office, and a water cooler to talk to people. In between the conversations are ridiculous hallucinations that are obviously meant to shock, but are really quite laughable. If you want to watch me torture myself, the links to the Let’s Play are below.

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (Part 1)

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (Part 2)

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (Part 3)

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (Part 4)

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (Part 5)

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (Part 6)

Let’s Play: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (Part 7, Finale)

A Warning To Those Who Embed Video From YouTube On WordPress

I discovered today that my analytics page on YouTube was showing an external website called coull.com as a playback location for my videos. Seeing as I have only embedded them on Facebook and this blog, it came as a bit of a shock. I looked up coull.com, and it is an ad network. I went to my phone to get the most ad friendly experience of my blog, and sure enough, when I clicked to play the video it redirected me to coull.com. I have contacted wordpress.com, and await their response, but in the meantime I have pulled all but one of my embedded videos. I don’t mind them running ads against my content when they are hosting that content, but these videos are being hosted by Google. All that is done on WordPress is to add a small bit of HTML. What they are doing is the equivalent of hijacking any link that is clicked on from your site, redirecting them to an ad, then sending them to where they want to go. The link just requires a small amount of HTML to implement and the content is hosted elsewhere. It’s the same thing, and I find what WordPress is doing to be shady at best. That is why I have removed my embedded videos and will only be providing links in the future.

Movie Roundup #2

Sorry about the lack of screenshots, but I recently got a hospital bed and have become addicted to watching on the TV as a result. As you’ll notice, I’ve been watching a lot of pre-codes. I love them so much! Oh, and coming soon, I am going to do a sequel to the Deanna Durbin punishment posts with a series Esther Williams punishment articles. I think I can get my hands on about 16 of her films.

1. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Not Recommended: More like the Dark Knight takes an elephant-size dump on its viewers. This movie is garbage. It’s no better than Lincoln or Iron Man 3. In fact, it’s worse because we actually have high expectations going in to it. What were they thinking following up a well-made film noir with this cartoonish comic book shit? Joseph Gordon-Levitt is completely unbelievable as a cop. Catwoman doesn’t even belong in this iteration of Batman. She simply cannot be taken seriously and just reminds us of how bad the film is with every frame she appears in. Batman spends the majority of the film ruminating and being fed spiritual claptrap from wisemen stereotypes instead of doing anything. Bane struts around like an ass, then disappears while we are supposed to be overwhelmed by the “revolution”, except we’re already lost to the film and are laughing our assess off at its incompetence.

The only redeeming thing about Christopher Nolan’s unholy piece of crap is Bane’s voice. That’s it. This movie is a joke.

2. Distant (2002) – Approach With Caution: You just end up talking to the screen, saying things like, “He’s watching TV next to a pillar rather than talking to the other guy…DISTANCE!” It’s very brick to the head obvious and pretty boring with a few nice landscape shots thrown in for beauty.

3. Vampyros Lesbos (1971) – Not Recommended

4. The Last of the Mohicans (1936) – Worth A Look

5. Trial by Trigger (1944) – Worth A Look

6. Funny Games (1997) – Not Recommended: Was that supposed to be startlingly or horrifying? To me, it was just boring. Predictable as clockwork.

7. Bridesmaids (2011) – Approach With Caution: Enough poorly done low brow humor that it drags down the whole film.

8. Bad Boys (1983) – Recommended: A good, realistic, no highbrow BS look at juvenile prison. I enjoyed it. Sean Penn did a good job in the lead and I loved Clancy Brown in a supporting role.

9. Bad Teacher (2011) – Worth A Look

10. The Castle (1999) – Recommended

11. Dirigible (1931) – Worth A Look: The scenes at the South Pole are something to behold. Great cinematography and unusually good performances for the 1930s. Worth slogging through the stupid parts for the extraordinary ones.

12. Roaming the Emerald Isle with Will Rogers (1927) – Approach With Caution

13. Chaplin Shorts: Kid Auto Races at Venice Beach (1914); Cruel, Cruel Love (1914); Tango Tangles (1914); The Star Boader (1914); His Prehistoric Past (1914); A Film Johnnie (1914); His Favorite Pastime (1914); Between Showers (1914); His Trysting Place (1914): They are all pretty much an approach with caution.

14. The Last Flight (1931) – Highly Recommended: This is shockingly good. It follows several post-WWI pilots as they drink their way from Paris to Lisbon along with a beautiful woman. The film does a good job showing how the men have had their eyes open to horrors they won’t forget and how their bodies and minds have been changed so they can’t forget. An example of how the pre-code era was a mini Hollywood Renaissance. A must see of the period.

15. Central Airport (1933) – Worth A Look

16. The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011) – Not Recommended: It gets a little better in the last 5 parts, but this really is one of the worst documentaries I have ever seen. It’s incredibly biased, heavy-handed, and ill-informed. And that’s coming from someone who has watched the documentary I Love Dollars where the director spends an inordinate amount of time showing us a financial institution’s front door because it has a street address of 666.

There is no reason to see this awful documentary. You can find the films to see elsewhere. And any teacher who shows it should be ashamed of themselves.

The story of film is not one of innovation. It’s a history. That means what happened, happened, and sometimes that means steps backwards, to the sides, and even in crazy zig zag patterns. Also, there is nothing super special about a particular time or place. Good, bad, and innovative film is made everywhere and at anytime. Don’t let your mind and film education be constrained by one man’s narrow and biased view. Mine included.

I disliked this movie enough that I made a little parody:

17. Private Lives (1931) – Highly Recommended: Fucking amazing! One of the finest pre-codes I have seen in a long time. It’s loaded to the hilt with things that couldn’t be done a few years before, and certainly couldn’t be done under the code. Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery are hilarious as a former couple who were once married. They meet while they are on their honeymoons with their new spouses, and run away together.

Great movie, and an essential for anyone studying film. This film is the pre-code era in a bottle.

18. Complicated Women (2003) – Worth A Look: A decent TCM documentary about pre-code Hollywood.

19. Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932) – Recommended: This isn’t a great film, but wow! It’s relentless in the way it indicts the US government for being corrupt. This is another classic example of a film that couldn’t be made after the production code. It ends with the main character telling someone there’s a gun in a drawer and you should probably use it, he does, and then an arm is extended around a girl for this happy suicide ending.

I love pre-codes!

20. The Merry Wives of Reno (1934) – Highly Recommended

21. The Merry Widow (1934) – Recommended

22. The Tenderfoot (1932) – Approach With Caution: This is a shitty pre-code. Enough said.

23. The Lost Squadron (1932) – Worth A Look

24. Topaze (1933) – Worth A Look

25. The Big Trail (1930) – Approach With Caution: Gorgeous cinematography that makes everything huge in scope. The fact that it is in widescreen helps too. Unfortunately, it’s pretty boring. Really boring, and the acting isn’t too good either.

26. Moby Dick (1930) – Approach With Caution: I thought the whale ate him at the end? It doesn’t in this one.

27. The Star Packer (1934) – Approach With Caution

28. The Lost Patrol (1934) – Recommended: An early implementation of the formula that says, “stick a bunch of people in an isolated location and have them picked off one by one by an unseen enemy.” It works, pretty much. Karloff is annoying and helps to ruin the film. John Ford could have also done much more to build tension and suspense. Still, quite good.

29. Jimmy The Gent (1934) – Approach With Caution

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