Saw 8?

A couple days ago, I was listening to Sincast: the official Cinema Sins podcast.  They like to talk about movies (duh), and on this particular occasion, they were talking upcoming attractions for fall 2017.  There weren’t a lot of surprises, but there were a couple that made me stop and think for a moment.

The one that got me thinking in particular, though, was Jigsaw.  Jigsaw: AKA, Saw 8.  In fact, I’ll be referring to it as Saw 8 from this point onward, because that’s what it fucking is.

Frankly, the core concept of a Saw 8 is…  I want to say blasphemous, but that might be a little strong.  For sure, I distinctly remember Saw 7 was supposed to be the last one.

I’ve told my jokes that Saw 7 had several names throughout its run.  It started out as Saw 7, eventually ended up as Saw 3D, then when it hit DVD and bluray, it became Saw: The Final Chapter.  And I jokingly referred to it as Saw: No Seriously, This Time it’s the Last One.  Except as of this posting, NO IT FUCKING ISN’T!

I sound like an angry-ass hater , but I’m actually going to confess it right now.  I love the Saw movies.  There, I said it.  I’m not proud of it (especially after Saw 5 came along), but I’m not ashamed of it.

Saw 1 came out in a time when I was in fucking love with the horror genre.  Freddy Kruger was my hero.  Pumpkinhead was a fucking masterpiece.  Rob Zombie’s The House of 1000 Corpses was mindblowing.  And the very first Saw movie grabbed my undivided attention right out the gate.

Here and now, after seeing it more times than I can count, I have to be that guy who nitpicks everything.  Yeah, that big twist at the end where Jigsaw was in the room all along as that dead guy in the center of the room was cool the first time I saw it, but when you stop and think about it, there were a lot of X-factors in that equation that could’ve easily gone wrong.  How did he know how long he’d be unconscious?  How did he know Gordon was going to cut through his own leg?  How did he know Zep was going to blow it?  There were a lot of things that guy had no way of knowing were going to pan out the way they did.  The fact it all worked out the way it did is probably nothing short of a miracle, really.

But the first time I saw that movie, and saw that twist, my mind was blown.  I was way too easy to impress when I was eighteen.  Or maybe I’d take ANY escape from the shitty reality I’d found myself in from 2004-2005, but that’s a rant for another day.

Saw 2…  Wasn’t AS good, but it kept me entertained.

Saw 3 was a great ending to what was looking like a trilogy at the time.  i’d even go as far as to say that out of the three Saw movies at the time, 1 and 3 were in a tie for the best.  It’s very rare when the third in ANY trilogy lives up to the hype.  Really, if anything, the SECOND movie gets that kind of acclaim, and the THIRD is the one that isn’t remembered as fondly.

I think a lot of that comes from the fact that it really didn’t feel like a lot was at stake in the second movie.  The first movie introduced us to the Jigsaw murders, the third was basically going to be Jigsaw’s epic final hurrah before shuffling off to the land of the dead…  The second movie, at absolute worst,  almost felt unnecessary .  I mean yeah, Amanda got revealed to be the apprentice, but you could’ve revealed that in the movie we got for Saw 3 in my mind.

But that’s a pretty minor complaint.  To me, even the second movie was worth collecting.

Then Saw 4 came out.  And that was where the series began to decline.

Saw 4…  It wasn’t great, but it could’ve been worse.  Honestly, the idea of Jigsaw grooming someone to be the next Jigsaw Killer from beyond the grave was a neat idea, but I vaguely remember it not living up to expectations.

Saw 5 was where my faith in the franchise faultered with gusto.  Hell, I’m still about 80% positive there were continuity errors in the flashbacks.  And Saw is a franchise that prided itself on continuity.  It’d been doing a pretty good job of maintaining continuity up until 5 for sure.

Saw 6…  Fuck Saw 6.  I’ve long since changed my tune about Obamacare (my libertarian days are over), but this was where the Saw franchise got preachy.  And I don’t mean the usual Jigsaw “most people are so ungrateful to be alive” preachy, because that’s been a staple of the franchise since the first movie.  I mean preachy as in “let’s suck Obama’s dick and praise his super awesome healthcare plan that’s totally one-hundred percent flawless!”.  Which, for the record, it isn’t.  Yeah, I know I said I’ve since changed my tune, but even as a supporter of Obamacare, it’s got some holes we need to duct tape up.  But that’s a rant for another day.  And for a smarter person to make, frankly.

Also, Saw 6 introduced the concept of “head-to-head” Jigsaw games.  The core concept of a head-to-head Jigsaw game defeats the entire purpose of the Jigsaw games!  These games are supposed to teach you that life is worth living, even if you have to sacrifice a part of your body you value the most in order to stay alive.  I get that the copycat Jigsaw from Saw 4 onward is SUPPOSED to be missing the point…  I think.  I was never clear on if that was the case, or if the writers were just coming up with this concept because they ran out of ideas for team play and single player games.

In any case, Saw 6 was the movie that stopped making these movies something I looked forward to, and made them into something I dreaded.  By the time Saw: The Final Chapter came out, I was renting these movies out of obligation.  Believe me, I’ve sat through some embarrassing fucking movies in the glorious name of fandom.  And Saw: The Final Chapter, was one of them.

Thankfully, it wasn’t as preachy as 6, but NOW the problem is the exact OPPOSITE of what 6’s was.  Instead of cramming a message down your throat, now they’re just trying everything in their power to justify making you pay twice as much for a ticket and watching this trainwreck with stupid fucking glasses on.  God I’m glad the 3D fad is more or less dead again.

I suppose the plot twist at the end of Saw 7, where in it’s revealed that the TRUE next-gen Jigsaw Killer was Gordon all this time…  I guess that was cool.  Although by the time it got to that plot twist, I was so fed up with this fucking movie, a unicorn could’ve stampeded onto the screen and farted a rainbow in my face, and I’d take it if it meant the movie would be fucking over with.

The Saw franchise has been dead for seven years.  And frankly, after those last couple movies, it needed to die.  Jigsaw had a good run, and we still see parodies of Saw today.  Truly, the legacy lives on.

Unfortunately, Saw 8 is on its way to theaters now.  And I have no idea how to feel about it.

On one hand, I could go into my usual “death to Generation: Nostalgia!” rant, but I already did that once, and this fucking rant is already starting to get long-winded as it is.

On the other hand, I’ve heard this isn’t going to be a remake.  It’s going to be a legit sequel to a film franchise we haven’t heard from since 2010.  The concept of a copycat Jigsaw is FAR from original…  Yet at the same time, I’m curious enough to see where they go with this.

Maybe this is another moment where I go in with nostalgia-colored goggles on.  Maybe this is an old habit refusing to die.  “Ooh, new Saw movie!  I know the last couple sucked, but maybe this time will be different!”  Knowing full well that no it fucking won’t be different, and I’m a fucking idiot for believing otherwise.

That being said, I’m probably going to see it.  Maybe I’ll find someone dumb enough to go see it in the theater with me, or maybe I’ll just check it out on Netflix.  Either way, dumb a move as it is, I’m still probably going to see it.

What can I say?  The Saw franchise is near and dear to me.  I still remember the good times.  In fact, in a weird way, the Saw franchise was what convinced me to keep going in my darkest time.  Yeah, you’re repeating twelth grade, watching all your normal friends live their lives and getting girlfriends/boyfriends and going to college while you’re stuck in high school for another year playing fucking make-believe with other people who are probably MORE broken than you are, but hey, at least you don’t have a reverse beartrap wired into your skull, right?

I don’t know.  It’s 3:00 in the morning, I’m too pumped up from something I’ll share later when it becomes available, and I’m just musing.  I’ve noticed I get all kinds of hits when I talk about movies on here…  Or maybe that has more to do with bitching people out for liking Tommy Wiseau ironically?  Ugh, whatever.  I’m going to try going to bed again.

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What One Year Can Do to Your Opinion

A year ago (give or take), my friends and I went to see Suicide Squad in theaters.  At the time, I remembered liking it.  Only to find I was in an extreme minority of people.

Believe me, that’s far from the first time that’s ever happened.  Like I said yesterday, I think I’m the only human being on Earth who LIKED Apollo 18.  Inversely, I’m used to hating movies everybody likes.  I’m of the opinion Moonrise Kingdom sucked like a hoover, and I’m puzzled that there are people who actually liked this fucking movie.

I’m no stranger to being the contrarian.  At the same time, though, I’m no stranger to opinions changing.  My opinion on Suicide Squad was one that started out really positive…  Until I saw it a second time, and really thought about what I was watching.  It also helped…  Or maybe hindered, that I wasn’t spending most of the final battle thinking “Christ I got to pee!”.  All that said, the second viewing really changed my mind on this movie, and…  Yeah, it sucks.

I’m nos tranger to this phenomenon.  I personally referred to it as “The Transformers Effect”.

In 2007, the internet was abuzz with talk of an upcoming Transformers movie.  People were super fucking stoked their childhood was coming back.  Finally, the movie came out, and everybody absolutely loved it.  At first.

As time went on, the movie made its rounds, and eventually got put on DVD, bluray, and probably HD-DVD (I think that was still a thing in 07), people’s opinion of the movie soured.  By that time a year later, a lot of people actually ended up hating it.

It didn’t help that a couple years later, the sequel movie would come out, and foretell the ominous future of the franchise, but that first movie…

At the time, it was hard to believe that a movie with that much hype behind it would suddenly decline in popularity so rapidly.  But I know what the problem was.

Transformers was, from what I can tell, the very beginning of the Hollywood trend I have long-since come to call “Generation: Nostalgia”.  Sure, seventies and eighties crap had been getting remakes long before the mid-to-late 2000s, but it wasn’t until some time around 2009-2010 when the reboot machine went nuclear.

Transformers got away with the nostalgia factor because people weren’t conditioned to see through the bullshit just yet.  They saw their favorite childhood franchise get pulled out of the grave after it lived a good hardy life (including that weird Beast Wars phase it went through in the middle), and they were expecting something great.  They were even willing to look past the fact Michael Bay was on board (assuming more than the snobbiest of movie goers even know who Michael Bay even is), all so they could relive their fucking childhood for an hour and a half or so.  But once the hype died, the nostalgia factor became a nonentity, and the smoke cleared, what we had was a CGI movie that promised more than it could ever hope to live up to.

Unfortunately, because of that success, Generation: Nostalgia is now the norm in hollywoo right now.  In the last seven years, I’ve seen reboots of Karate Kid (sucked), Robocop (REALLY sucked), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (it was okay), Get Smart (not terrible, but not great), Mighty Morphing Power Rangers (haven’t seen it yet and don’t plan on it), Chips (I hear it sucked), and I’ve HEARD Back to the Future might be up next on the chopping block.  If they’re not remaking old franchises, they’re gender-swopping the shit out of them like they did for Ghostbusters 2016, and gender swopping is, hands down, the laziest form of reimaging out there.  Or maybe it’s not a matter of reimagining, and it’s a matter of the neoliberal, Antifa, “fuck white people” mentality that ultimately led to Donald fucking Trump to become president in the first place.  Who can say?  All I know is I’m fucking sick and tired of this nostalgia trip, and I want something NEW.

As an author, I know there’s only so many stories out there.  At the same time, though, I’m sick of seeing these remakes, reboots, reimaginings…  Just give me something new.  If you have to MARKET it as Back to the Future with chicks, fine.  But if you’re actually going to MAKE Back to the Future with chicks, you can guarantee that I’m not going to see it.  Which according to your neoliberal, social justice warrior, “Kamala Harris 2020” logic, that makes me sexist.  No, it makes me FUCKING BORED!

“Ooh, I wonder what would happen if Doc and Marty were girls?”

I don’t know, maybe the same fucking thing that would happen if they were guys?  They’re still traveling back to when Marty’s parents are kids, fucking up everything, and threatening to erase themselves from time and space in an effort to accidentally become their own grandparent.  The fact Marty’s a girl now doesn’t add shit to the plot, except for an opportunity for period jokes or something.

You know, I’m pretty sure I was talking about something else a minute ago.

Oh yeah, I saw Suicide Squad a second time a year later, and yeah, I agree.  That movie actually kind of sucks now.

Does Nu Metal Really Deserve the Bum Rep it Has?

For those out of the loop, “Nu Metal” was a subgenre of rock and metal that was popular from around 1995-2003 or so.  It’s also earned names like “rap-rock”, “rapcore”, and “funk metal” from fans, and names like “angry white kid metal” and “divorce rock” from haters and dudes trying to be funny.

I know that not everything ages like fine wine.  Some things we look back on, and wonder what on Earth did we ever see in them.  In the case of the 1990s, it could be a lot of things: Beany Babies, Giggapets (also known as tamagachi), The Spice Girls, Jerry Springer, etc.  There was a lot of stuff back then I look back on, and can’t help but laugh at.  And while I’m not about to champion nu metal’s superiority to whatever crappy 8-byt dubstep autotuned robot voice nonsense or ukulele playing pansies are popular now, but I really feel like nu metal gets a bum rep nowadays.

A lot of it unfortunately comes from the spokesmen.  Thrash metal had acts like Metallica and Megadeth: people who not only pioneered the genre, but continue to withstand the test of time today (even if you hated St. Anger).  Progressive rock had iconic bands like Rush, and Queensryche: bands that, while not necessarily popular with EVERYBODY, are popular within their genre.  Power metal has legends like Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, and Stratovarius: individuals that showed the world the benefits of being a virtuoso at your instrument, and well educated in the realms of fantasy.  Nu metal…  Had Limp Bizkit.

I’ll be the first to admit that thirteen years has done wonders for my opinion of Limp Bizkit’s music, but at the same time, I don’t pretend to forget the past, or abandon common sense.  Even at their best, Limp Bizkit was never shakespear.  No nu metal band was Shakespear, and you should probably go back to power metal if you want that sort of thing.  A lot of the Bizkit could easily be forgiven, though, if Fred Durst himself weren’t such a pain in the ass.  I refer you to the legendary feud he had with the vocalist of Creed, and Woodstock99 for starters.

To this very day, I feel like if nu metal had a different spokesgroup, the genre would have a bit of a better reputation.  Also, if bands like Linkin Park and Papa Roach, the bridge between nu metal and emo, hadn’t come into existence towards the end.

As a brief aside, though, Papa Roach isn’t the worst band I’ve ever heard.  Even when they were straight up rap-rock, they weren’t bad.  The one problem Papa Roach will probably never live down is “Last Resort”: a song that, while having the best of intentions, really didn’t age all that well in hindsight.  I still feel like they ought to have led with a different song.  I’d have gone with “Between Angels and Insects”, which probably laid out the groundwork for my political views in the long run, but I’d have also gone with “Dead Cell”, or the title track to “Infest”.  If it weren’t a B-side, I’d even go with “Legacy”.  They had so many good songs, and they went with “Last Resort”?  Ugh.

Okay, let’s get back on track.

The nu metal genre has many common criticisms.

The first of which, of course, is its simplicity.  A lot of nu metal songs take the old saying of “all you need to know in order to rock is three chords”, and pushes it to the limit.  Hell, some of the founders of the genre made due with only ONE chord!  Are you really going to be mad because someone took your old saying to heart?  It didn’t seem to be a problem when AC/DC was putting it to the test.  But I guess AC/DC came from the 70s, so that means they’re untouchable.  Or at least that’s the attitude around here.

And of course, there’s the popular criticism: all nu metal vocalists are whiners.  I’m not going to defend every single nu metal vocalist in the world, because let’s face it, it’s not one-hundred percent unfounded.  At best, though, I’d say that applies to the mainstream acts more than to the bands I liked.  Linkin Park were whiners.  Limp Bizkit could be pretty whiney when they wanted to be.  Hell, even Korn, the Metallica of nu metal, were pretty god damn whiney on those first couple albums.  But that doesn’t speak for the entire genre.

Whiney vocals aren’t exclusive to nu metal.  If anything, they’re exclusive to emo, except they’re not really exclusive.  I’ve seen my share of whiners in alternative as well.  Some would even say hair metal acts like Poison had their share of whiner moments.  “Every Rose Has its Thorn” is probably the whiniest song to come out of that era.  Bottom line: whiners will always be around.  You just got to sift through the bullshit in order to find good stuff.

People tend to let bands like Limp Bizkit do all the talking for the genre.  They need to dig deeper.  The sooner you quit giving up at the door, and assuming those guys do all the talking, the sooner you can discover something good.  Otep, 3rd Strike, Reveille, Genuflect, Skindred, Trust Company…  The list goes on.  Though I suppose it’s all a matter of opinion in the end.

I probably sympathize more with nu metal than most because I was living the life back then.  I didn’t exactly have a girlfriend who drove me insane with rage with all her bullshit (not until 2004, anyway), but things like dysfunctional families, and directionless rage with no other outlet than just screaming unintelligibly and breaking stuff just cuz is the kind of stuff I’ve gone through.  When you’re living the life, suddenly, that whiney bullshit doesn’t seem so whiney anymore.

Also, if you’re a beginner at guitar, nu metal is a fucking godsend.  Simplicity may not appeal to you as a listener, but when you’re just learning how to make chords, it feels like you’ve accomplished an amazing feat when you’re able to play anything.  As much as I don’t like Linkin Park anymore, I celebrated when I learned how to play “What I’ve Done” on guitar.  Too bad I can’t remember how it goes anymore, but that’s beside the point.  Once you master something simple like a Korn song, you can move on to something a little more advanced.  Like…  Oh, I don’t know, how about Jackyl?

Really, though, nu metal was a reflection of the time.  Us 90s kids were fucking sick of hair metal.  Unlike the hair metal generation itself, we had figured out that dudes with bleach-blonde perms who wore leather and makeup was really, really, super duper gay.  Also, six-minute tracks that consisted of two-minutes of song and four minutes of guitar solo…  Nuh-uh, not doing it for us.  We wanted it simple, we wanted it brutal, and we wanted it vicious.  It began as grunge, but eventually found itself incorporating elements of hiphop and rap as it went on.  And before we knew it, we had a genre we could be proud of.  Up until we hit twenty-five, looked back through our old CDs, and wondered aloud what the hell we ever saw in bands like Dope?

This is all stuff I’ve tackled in my old blog, back when I was writing music reviews and going through my old albums that I’d collected over the years.  I’ve said it there, and I’m saying it here: I really think nu metal gets a bum reputation.

It also doesn’t help that metalheads, as much as they probably don’t want to admit it, are some of the most elitist people you’ll probably ever meet.  Seriously, dude, metalheads fucking hate everything.  Including other metalheads.  I ought to know, too.  I used to hang out with metalheads back in high school.  I even considered myself a metalhead at one point, and to a much lesser extent than back then, I’d say I’m one right now.

But that’s a rant for a whole other day.