How I Made the Geekiest (and Most Romantic) Proposal Video Ever


We’d talked about getting married what felt like pretty early. Like less than a month after we said our first “I love you”s. However, it never seemed like the right time to propose because we either had no money or I just felt like I wasn’t in a great place in life to get engaged. As time dragged on and Karen grew understandably impatient, I realized I couldn’t wait. But what to do for the proposal?

I couldn’t do anything normal because I have this horrible psychological affliction that doesn’t let me do anything normal, but Karen did want the proposal to still be surprising and romantic. I couldn’t just propose at a special place, because all of the places important to us are fairly public and that squigs me out. We didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t do anything elaborate. Or could I?

In September of 2016, I made a list of every TV show and movie Karen and I had watched that was even vaguely important to us. I started collecting clips from that assorted media and tagging them with keywords like “Kiss,” “Flight,” or “Dance.” Months went by and the clips accumulated. It was slow going as I could only work on it when Karen was asleep or wasn’t home. I narrowed down the list further and further, skimming through hundreds of minutes of footage. I had to hide the fact I was rewatching all of our shows/movies, constantly watching myself to make sure I didn’t make too many Steven Universe references or remember too many details about the plot of Heathers.

Several months later, in early April, I’d finally crossed that last title off of that ultimate heavily revised list. I checked my hard-drive and there was over 1000 clips in there. I was amazed, annoyed, and confused. How had I so blindly accumulated all this material? No wonder it took me so long, I thought I’d just been slow. How was I going to take these 1000 clips and turn any of it into a cohesive video, let alone an appropriate proposal? Well it wasn’t easy and it took about a month and dozens of drafts to complete. Maybe at some point I’ll make a post on what I learned while doing it.

On May 4th, the night in question, I rearranged the furniture in the apartment, set up a projector and screen, and heavily decorated with candles and lights. After we’d called our friends and family, I published the video on facebook, expecting people to think it was cute, but ultimately shrug it off. It is a video very specifically tailored to 1-2 people after all. Instead, the response was massively positive. A few close friends and family members messaged me that it’d made them cry. I was struck with this response, but obviously happy (it gave me the confidence to even label this article romantic in the first place).

It’s not perfect. Far from it. Yet somewhere in that mess of clips, in that tsunami of tones and genres, is our relationship. It’s funny yet dark, romantic yet cynical, classic yet quirky, childish yet mature. It’s impressive yet flawed. We’re all of those things and not quite them at the same time. And that’s what makes it the best proposal I could ever make. That’s what makes it perfect.

She said yes, so who cares anyway?

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Pokemon Platinum Nuzlocke Run- Part 1

Hey everyone! I’m doing a fun little experiment here by trying out a Nuzlocke Run in Pokemon Platinum! Sorry about the formatting, there’s no way to really do it well. Just click on the pictures to open the image carousel. If it doesn’t work, let me know in the comments. I hope people enjoy this, it was a lot of fun and just a weird little side project for me.

I Had a Son Once

I had a son once. I had a beautiful wife, a decent job, and a big house in the country. It was a small rural town, the kind you find an hour outside any major Midwest city. I worked at the local Cub Foods. It was just down the street from our home. In the spring I’d walk the 15 minutes so I could enjoy the weather. I was the manager. My employees were decent, most of them teens.

My son had blond hair and blue eyes, taking after his mother. He was just your average five year old boy. He acted up every once and awhile, but for the most part he was a good kid. If my wife was busy, I’d take him to work with me. He’d hang out in the employee lounge, chatting with my staff. They liked him.

I don’t know how or when, but he changed. He became nasty, throwing tantrums and destroying the house for no apparent reason. Well, I suppose there was a reason: Kevin told him he should. He talked to Kevin constantly, treating him as if he were real. Catering to this imaginary child’s needs pushed me to the point where even I almost believed he was real.

He had nightmares. He sleepwalked. We researched and thought we were handling it. Then it got worse. I had brought him to work with me and left him in the lounge, per usual. I returned after a half hour and he had destroyed the room. Tables were flipped, papers were ripped and the TV had a gaping hole in the screen. I didn’t even have time to get angry before he pushed me out of his way and ran into the store. It was chaos. He knocked over displays, pushed people aside, stole their food. He cackled and shouted profanities I was pretty sure he’d never heard before. I finally caught up with him and grabbed him. He fought with a strength I didn’t think a five year old could have. After struggling for a few minutes, he fell asleep. We stayed home the rest of the day.

I’m not stupid, a half decade of horror movies told me what was going on, but this is the real world. That stuff isn’t real here, right? Mental illness was likely at fault, so we took him to a psychiatrist. He was always completely normal around doctors, almost unaware of what he’d done and why he was there. At home it was just rage and a constant insistence to go back to my work. He would never explain why, but keep asking and demanding to go to the store. The medication didn’t help.

My wife got bad bruises when our son tried to beat her up in the middle of the night. We started locking him in his room anytime he got in one of his moods. That made our nights slightly more peaceful. Slightly. There were still the screams. One night it was too quiet, so I checked in on him. He was gone. I knew where he was going.

He had made it halfway to the store before I found him. He was just walking alongside the road, without a care in the world. Until I tried to stop him. I grabbed him and demanded to know what he was doing. He fought back, hard, still insisting he had to go to the store. Always the store. He clawed at me with his tiny fingernails and bit with a mouth that still had baby teeth in it. The shadows cast by the moonlight made his eyes look pure black. Every blow hurt, not just physically but emotionally. It had been weeks and we couldn’t keep going like this. He wouldn’t stop. What happened to him? Why was this happening? And he wouldn’t stop going on and on about the stupid fucking store.

Then it happened.

Something snapped inside me. I hit him. Hard. I pinned him to the ground and hit him again.

I had to do this. What other choice did I have? I couldn’t stop, because he wouldn’t stop.

I grabbed a rock. I brought it down on his head. It dented like an egg cracked against a bowl.

I hit him again.

I couldn’t stop.

Again.

Again.

His face was gone.

The son I had raised for five years. My pride, joy, life, and future.

Just a puddle of blood and gore.

I couldn’t stop.

Couldn’t stop.

Can’t stop.

 

Then I woke up.

And I cried for what felt like hours.

So no, I’m never going to have a son. Because I already had one, who I loved so much. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t real, because, for what felt like a lifetime, he was real to me and my feelings, up until the last moment, were genuine.

And I killed him.

I’m so sorry.

A Note on Death

It’s 2:03 am and I have tears in my eyes. 10 minutes ago I didn’t and in 15 minutes I probably won’t, but right now… I’ve been in tears at 2 am far more times than I’d like to admit, mostly due to staying up all night to finish a show, but this time my reason is slightly more valid. I read an article, one I’ve been meaning to get to all day. It was supposed to be a quick read before I go to bed. So much for that. “When I’m Gone” is about the relationship between a boy and his deceased father, who continues to teach him life lessons through letters. From his first kiss all the way to his deathbed.

Death has followed me around for as long as I can remember. If it wasn’t pets I loved, it was the people I loved. If it wasn’t actual death, it was the threat of losing someone. Or it was merely present in my thoughts. Out of all my fears, most boil down to an ultimate fear of death. More specifically, it’s the finality of death. When I mourn someone or something, I don’t mourn that they’re dead per say, I mourn the loss of all future opportunities. I mourn the things they’ll no longer get to do, especially with me. In much the same way, I’m constantly concerned with the way I’ll leave my loved ones when that day comes. I wrote my first will in middle school. I haven’t been able to write one sense, because I always break into tears before finishing it.

I take some solace that I have more artifacts of me lying around the internet or my possessions than most. I have this entire website filled with my thoughts. I’ve got a channel with videos, a handful of journals with my dreams and worries in them, and an audio recorder with a few random late night rants on them. If somebody really tried they could get a pretty complete picture of who I was. But that’s not enough. Those bits and pieces are me talking about movies, or me complaining about my problem of the week. No, I think the real pieces that matter are those that someone can learn something from.

Every year for the past four or five years, I’ve written a letter to myself on New Years. I started this because I was lonely and wanted to make sure I followed up on my resolutions. However, in the following years it became more about remembering who I was. From year to year my priorities and even my attitude changed, but some things remained constant. The person who reads those letters will learn something about me, the same way I do every year.

But enough about me, what about all the other important things? How will I help my sister through college? How will I teach my future niece/nephew about the unexplained events that proliferate our world? How will I impart those accidentally helpful bits of advice onto my friends? How will I convince the woman I love that she’s the most amazing person on the planet, who can and should do anything she sets her mind to? How will I show my parents that for every bit of pride they’ve shown of me, I’ve feel towards them ten-fold? How will I make sure that everybody remembers who I was, what I thought, and how I felt about them?

By asking these questions, I’ve inadvertently answered some, but I don’t think I’ll stop there. I’ve got a lot of writing to do. I encourage everyone to do the same. Leave your mark. Not on the world, but on the people you care about. You don’t need everybody to remember you, as long as somebody never stops.

I should really go to bed.

Me, Relationships, & Gone Girl

When you’re in a serious relationship, questions about the future are ultimately raised, particularly relating to marriage. Can you stand to live with each other? Are you satisfied with just him/her? Are you just plain compatible? How about for life? Even if your answer is yes to every one of these questions it’s still a massive gamble, and one you have to make together. But just when you think you’ve overcome doubt, become totally comfortable with the idea, that nagging voice in the back of your head asks “what if…?”

While most of Hollywood insists on restoring, maintaining, and, of course, creating your faith in romance and “true love,” Gone Girl actively destroys it. That little voice is given a megaphone.


At its core, marriage is the bringing together of two people, but it’s also the culmination of a hopefully long and somewhat arduous journey. This eternal bond is certainly romantic, but people change. Constantly, in fact.The person you started won’t be the same person after five years. The question is if you can still love that person. Everyone has this vision of who they’re dating, based off of, of course, your experience of them. Every single moment with them compounds into your idea of them, your understanding of who they are. This is somewhat futile though, as can you ever really know somebody? You’ll never know if the person he/she is around you is actually who they are, or if the version of you that exists is only there because you want to meet their expectations.

These are the questions, the anxieties, at the heart of Gone Girl. They’re valid concerns too, questions that people don’t think to ask themselves between cute dates and netflix nights.

Films often show the beginning of a relationship, the fight to be with the person you love, or want to love. It isn’t nearly as simple as this, as the battle to stay with the person you love, or to stay in love with a person, is just as hard. These portrayals are out there in the media, but they aren’t popular with people my age and younger. We don’t want to know how hard love is, and frankly we don’t have to care. If your relationship fails in high school, you still have decades to get it right. As you get older you put more stock in actually maintaining a relationship, in being an adult about it if you will.

gone-girl-main
Due to reasons beyond romance, I’ve never really felt like a member of my generation or age group, but I still hardly consider myself an adult. The developments in my life that reflect adulthood are still foreign to me, like some dream I’m going to wake up from. Though I know, deep inside, that the future is marching towards me. The future where all of this is normal. Gone Girl is a crucial movie in that way. It’s the first film where I identified with the characters not just on a human level, but as fellow adults. As people who have to deal with the same issues I will deal with, or already have. This was a weird revelation, and one that gave the anxieties brought up by this film extra punch. That marching future just picked up its pace, but that’s okay.

Gone Girl is an extremely great movie that asks harsh questions about relationships. Questions I’m finally ready to ask, and just beginning to be able to answer.

Math + Film= X

With math we can do anything. Except get Leo an Oscar.

With math we can do anything. Except get Leo an Oscar.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on combining statistics and big data with film theory. I started out with trying to calculate any trends or arcs in the career of a director. Can you clearly see a director improve? Get worse? Stay consistent?

This is proving to be unfeasible, but to compensate my brain shifted to just calculating the average rating of each director. It would be interesting to see who would rate better: Martin Scorsese or Alfred Hitchcock, Spielberg or Nolan. Any and all directors now have a score attached to them.

Here?

What’s in the box? Math.

Introducing math into film isn’t anything new, but it is somewhat rare. Cinemetrics is the study of film through measuring the individual length of each shot and charting it. What is to be gained from this though? Well it’s useful for studying trends in the speed of editing, but it also serves as a means to demonstrate the development of early cinema. Other, and arguably more grand, applications are vague and hidden away in the halls of academia. I attended a conference on the subject and while it was interesting, I couldn’t help but notice two groups of people. There were the mathematicians, who didn’t think much about content or film theory, and film theorists, who didn’t seem to consider the more mathematical side when postulating theories.

I think there needs to be an inclusion of other sets of data, but cinemetrics isn’t completely useless. Theoretically you could look at the work of individual directors and editors, as well as their work together to figure out who tends toward what kind of editing and prove how much influence an editor has on a film. The same can be measured of directors too. For example, Quentin Tarantino used one editor for most of his films: Sally Menke. Unfortunately she passed away in 2010, leaving Tarantino’s films without her influence. By measuring shot length overall and in certain scenes of the films she worked on and comparing it to the same numbers of the films she didn’t work on, we could find how much influence she had on what are normally considered “auteur” films.

Seriously though, google probably has all this data and is selling it to movie studios.

Seriously though, google probably has all this data and is selling it to movie studios.


Continuing to fall down the mathematical rabbit hole, let’s talk about big data. Big data is… well just that: massive collections of data about any and all subjects, for which we can thank the internet. Now big data has many applications in the real world, but you can watch a Ted Talk on that. Film-wise, our best source of data would be mass-aggregate review sites like Rotten Tomatoes, imdb, and Metacritic. For instance, you could compile all the reviews from these sites, both critic and audience, into a giant searchable database. From there you can search certain keywords and, tying it to the related scores, find out what factors matter most to us. You could determine that bad CGI is worse than plot holes, because bad CGI mentions were associated with low scores 75% of the time as compared to plot holes’ 55%. On top of that, if the actual ratings given to the films with bad CGI were on average lower than those with plot holes than you can find out to what degree.

Imagine charting trends in the relationship between critical scores and audience scores and then also connecting that back to keywords. You use the critical reactions to see how a film will be received by the audience before it comes out.

Remember Sally Menke and her influence on Tarantino? Well by using this big data, we could determine what score the films she works on usually get (even narrowing it down to genre/type) and combined with the those same scores but from the director, actors, producers, etc… (that are all balanced by their potential influence) then you might, MIGHT, be able to calculate a film’s score before it comes out.

That last one was pretty unlikely, but so are all the rest of these theoretical calculations. Art is subjective and a thousand factors go into one film. It’s entirely possible that none of these calculations would produce reliable trends. That being said, we have to try. It should be noted that I didn’t get these from anyone, I’m going off of vague memories of high school statistics and weird spreadsheet hallucinations. Math, you may be a cold field, but you have some seriously hot applications to film theory (beyond just measuring shot length).

Revisions and Updates

Hello there cinephiles!
Reviews have been slow as of late, but in an attempt to keep content flowing I’ll be uploading a few essays I’ve written for class. They’re formal and not exactly fun to read, but I’m sure someone out there will be intrigued.

In other news, I just can’t stand half the reviews on my site, most of them being poorly written. So in order to make the site a touch more professional, I’ll be going back and fixing grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. In some cases I might adjust the content of the review itself. With this in mind, I’ll be re-uploading these reviews in order to keep the originals intact. The new versions will be the ones accessible on the Movies, Television & Editorials, and The Review List pages. However, searching and the review archive will lead you to the old versions as well.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s stuck with me thus far and stay tune to these posts to see which reviews I’ve updated!

The best

Today I talked so much in my critical studies class that my classmates applauded at the end of class. It terrifies/disgusts me to think that I may be the best/one of the best critical minds this school has to offer. Please god no. There has to be somebody better than me.

A Declaration

The time of great leaders has passed for us. The time of great change has gone to the wayside. We used to have great men and women to look up to. That we all looked up to. Franklin Delanor Roosevelt. Mahatma Gandhi. John F. Kennedy. Martin Luther King Jr. We don’t have that anymore. We don’t even have the will to change the world anymore.
Even when we try we give up too quickly. A month, a few weeks. As long as it catches our fancy. There was a time when people fought their entire lives to create change.
I want to create that change. To be that leader. To finally wake up a sleeping America, a sleeping world. To reignite the will of the people.
Because nobody else will.
Because I refuse to sink into normality.
Because I refuse to shit out a few kids and sit on my ass.
Because I refuse to settle for anything less then greatness.
Because I’ve felt the deaths and triumphs of a thousand people in a thousand stories.
Because I know I can make others feel the same way.
I don’t know how, but I know the path will be long and hard.
I don’t care.
I will be great.
I will change the world.