Beware the Slenderman

NOTE: If there is a movie, documentary, play, or book you’d like me to review please let me know. For a while I reviewed television shows but I’m way behind on all of the shows of mine I like, so I will wait to catch up on those before I seek new ones.

As several of my friends know, I tend to find unexplained mysteries, disappearances without explanation, unsolved murders, and serial killers fascinating. I just find it so interesting given modern technology how people are able to escape detection from security cameras and can get killed or go missing without anyone knowing. It also is interesting to me what goes through the mind of a criminal that allows them to commit crimes or murder(s).

One of my best friends last week told me that she had recorded a new HBO documentary called _beware the slenderman, and I was immediately intrigued by it. Being from Wisconsin, I had heard about the case when it first happened, but I hadn’t followed up on it much until fairly recently. The movie explains the crime the girls committed and describes what the home life was like for both of the girls.

In 2014 Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, two twelve year old girls stabbed and nearly murdered Payton (Bella) Leutner in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I emphasized “nearly”, because myself and most other people I have talked to had assumed Bella died from her injuries. The two claimed their actions were done to appease the fictional character Slenderman. He is an unusually tall man with a thin build, who is always seen wearing a suit, and he  generally has a blank, expressionless face. Apparently, he has “proxies” that work for him and seem to do his bidding. Both girl claimed that they were told they had to kill Bella or Slenderman would kill their family, and after killing her, they could go to the Slenderman Mansion and become said proxies. Due to the developing backstory of the character, not much more information was provided about the fictional character. However, while most people associate a malicious or creepy tone to him, some people (presumably both girls) see him as a “Guardian Angel” of sorts.

Editing is always vital for the success of a film and the way the audience perceives the actions of the people or characters in it. For example, in December 2015 when Making a Murderer was released, it helped sway a lot of people into believing that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were wrongfully sentenced for crimes they may or may not have committed (see my review Making a Murderer to get a deeper analysis of what I thought). When I researched the documentary at a later point, I noticed other sources saying that the documentary left out some information that would make the two men not seem as innocent as how they were portrayed. While I have no clue how accurate these claims are, it does show how important editing is in driving a narrative and what the audience will take away. In regards to the editing of _beware the slenderman, the message was great but the flow of the film could have greatly improved. As I’ve already explained, most crime documentaries or shows have an agenda of clearing someone’s name or tarnishing it further. This movie  balanced both their roles in the crime without making one seem guiltier than the other, and the interviews with each of their families also gave interesting insight to how both girls behaved throughout their earlier childhood too. It just presented what happened without really trying to sway the viewer one way or the other.However, the flow of the film could have significantly improved. It seemed jumbled and out of order. It is understandable to want to build suspense and not give out all of the information immediately, but it felt like it jumped around a lot and was hard to follow at times.

A bit of levity came during the middle of the film when my friend and I laughed at the job description given to one of the people being interviewed. By his preference, or that of the editors of the film, he was referred to as a “Digital Folklorist”. The term folklore is often meant to describe traditions and beliefs passed down from generation to generation, but more importantly it has been associated with oral tradition. Hence, adding the “digital” in front of it seems counterintuitive. While many fabricated stories have gained notoriety (such as Slenderman), the digital age is a more recent phenomenon, and it has hardly passed anything down through generations, if any at all. The necessity of such a position is not needed at this point. I by no means have room to talk, because I am blog for fun (and free), but I would never adopt such a ludicrous title to describe myself. Anyway, that man and the latter half of the movie touched on the ever increasing influence of electronics and the importance they have in the everyday lives of most people. The father of Anissa felt had he not given his daughter a tablet she may not have gone down the path she had. His younger son is being mandated to use one in schools and the increasing necessity and reliance on technology worries him. At times it seemed like the film focused on technology almost as much as the crimes, without ever really acknowledging that it is doing so.

Despite all of the imagery surrounding Slenderman, I felt the creeper element of the movie was the videotaped confessions of both girls during their interviews. The way they responded to several questions just sent a chill down my spine. At one point Morgan mentioned how the girls didn’t kill Bella at the sleepover they were all at, because she wanted to give Bella one more morning, to see if the feeling to murder her would subside. Throughout, both girls phrased and said things in such a disturbing manner, that was emphasized by their young age at the time. After seeing the footage, the denial of their appeal (to be tried as children instead of adult, because of their age) seemed like the right decision. I do think it is unfortunate that children at such a young age may face a significant amount of time behind bars, but given their confessions, it is obvious the entire ordeal was premeditated with intent to kill, and once Bella was stabbed, she was left their to die. They were quite aware of their actions and there was no psychotic break. While I feel they deserve to be reprimanded for their actions, I do hope they are also able to receive guidance and therapy and Morgan will learn how to understand her schizophrenia and live with it.

I definitely think this movie is a great choice for anyone interested in crime related entertainment. Perhaps it is due to my close proximity to the crimes, but I felt engaged the entire time. While the pacing could have been improved, I felt like the overall product was well constructed and I would give it an 8 out of 10. It will definitely be interesting to see the story unfold and see whether a follow up will ever be produced.

Batman V. Superman

NOTE: If there is a movie, documentary, play, or book you’d like me to review please let me know. For a while I reviewed television shows but I’m way behind on all of the shows of mine I like, so I will wait to catch up on those before I seek new ones. 

I’m not entirely sure, but according to what my last blog post says I have not posted in well over a year. Whoops! I guess that is what happens when your life gets unexpectedly crazy for a few months. Luckily, I am not juggling quite as much as I was the past few months. So, that has given me more time to finally watch movies and write. So, here are my views on Batman V. Superman.

To make it perfectly clear: SPOILERS.

A few months ago I saw Man of Steel and I honestly didn’t mind it. Quite a few people I talked to said they were not a huge fan of either movie. The biggest thing the company needs to work on, from what I’ve been able to glean from these two movies, is the pacing of their films. Both movies seemed to drag, especially towards the beginning. While I love background information on characters, I felt like it spends too much time on exposition. The Marvel movie universe has seen more success with their franchise so far, and I think that it is due to the fact that they had several solo films to establish some of their characters before jumping into a shared movie. It probably would’ve benefited DC to have had a solo film with Batman before they threw him into a film with Superman. It felt like a good portion of the beginning of the film was just a lot of Batman exposition. Otherwise, the movie started to pick up once it reached the action. However, it did have one more slow point when all of the actions briefly stopped so Wonder Woman could do some investigation into other meta humans. Again, I loved being able to sneak peeks and a little background with each of the actors, but it felt a little forced. The earlier Flash cameo was sufficient enough to introduce him. Given how often news broadcasts introduced other elements, I think having Aquaman introduced that way as a background Easter egg would’ve been better. The random delay of action just felt out of place.

Overall, I thought that the casting of all of the characters was good. I enjoyed the casting for Man of Steel and I felt like Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck were welcome additions to the cast. Despite all of the exposition, Affleck did a great job of portraying an older Batman. Gal Gadot has the perfect composure to play Wonder Woman and it will be exciting to see what she can bring to her solo outing. One of the most polarizing performances was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Other iterations of the character, that I have seen, typically show him more stoic and calculating and only over time does he appear more manic. One website likened his performance to a cheap imitation of Heath Ledger’s Joker. While I certainly don’t think that was his intent, I felt like his performance could’ve been more reserved and the way he portrayed his character seemed more like another DC villain, the Mad Hatter. Mad Hatter tends to be more crazed but not as volatile as the Joker. I feel like his acting wasn’t homicidal enough to play someone like Joker. His performance wasn’t serious enough for Lex Luthor but not manic/tactical enough for the Joker.

This movie made me dislike the name Martha for two reasons. My first reason is because I feel like a complete idiot for never realizing that both Batman and Superman’s mothers have the same name. Granted, I prefer Batman, but still I didn’t even pick up on it during Man of Steel where I’m sure it was said multiple times. Secondly, the shared name between the mothers led to an incredibly anti-climatic end to the fight between the two heroes. They were bound to stop fighting at some point, but it made everything seem too easy.

A superhero costume can really make or break a character. Despite a significantly darker tone than many earlier versions of the heroes, I feel like DC has done a good job costuming their characters in the DC cinematic universe. Gal Gadot looks stupendous in her Wonder Woman costume and Ben Affleck’s Batman suit based on the Dark Knight graphic novel was pretty spot on. However, the one costume I was not a fan of was Ezra Miller’s armored Flash suit. After doing a little research I discovered it is closer to the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game than the usual red spandex suit. It makes sense given Grant Gustin is wearing the traditional costume on The Flash and the company probably doesn’t want fans to confuse the two portrayals. Regardless, the brief cameo just made the suit look a little clunky and not as exciting as I would’ve hoped it to be (I might be biased because the Flash is one of my favorite heroes).

Despite what may seem like a largely negative review, I would still give this film a 6.5 out of 10. I do think it could’ve been greatly improved with some more editing and reworking of bits, but largely it is a nice start to the franchise. A lot of exposition was given to set up future movies, so hopefully the pacing in future installments will go a lot faster and smoother. We shall see. After watching this movie, I watched Suicide Squad and I’ll be posting a review of that movie shortly.

Making a Murderer

It has been quite sometime since I have written a review or discussed my opinions on films, movies, shows, documentaries and other things. Primarily I was focusing on theatre for the majority of last year, then I was spending a lot of time working, and then I began work on several writing and editing projects. However, I have decided to start posting reviews again, and I feel like a great place to start is with Making a Murderer. There has been quite a bit of buzz around the show and I am going to discuss the merits of the documentary and my thoughts about the case itself. Please note, I have very minimal background knowledge about crime, laws, and procedures associated with trials, so if any information I provide is incorrect or flawed, I apologize. I am by no means a professional in this field and I am merely sharing my perspective about the whole situation.

With my reviews (as far back as I can remember) I would begin with discussing my perception of the overall merit of the piece (cinematography, pacing, overall story, etc.). Therefore, that is where I will begin with this my thoughts on Making a Murderer. For a production that was released in 2015, I was not overly impressed with the quality of the film itself. I needed to remind myself that most of the footage was shot around ten years ago, when the trials were going on, but about 90% of the footage was at a lower resolution and I think more current footage could have been spliced in. It was not a huge issue, but it felt like my eyes were not well adjusted to the screen.

I felt like the ten episode docuseries could have been condensed down a little bit. Quite a bit of the footage was repetitive and several segments could have been shortened with text like they did at other moments throughout the documentary. The benefit of the longer run time, in my opinion, was that it let the audience become more sympathetic for the Avery family and relatives. Personally, I felt quite awful for Steven Avery’s parents, and had they not included all of those moments with them, I may have never felt that way.

Now there are a few things I want to discuss about the show, so if you’re interested in whether I think Steven or Brendan are innocent or guilty, skip below to the bottom of my review for my specific thoughts on both of them (I will bold it).

One of the worst things that I think happens during any type of criminal case is that family of the accused are targeted by the press, media, and upset citizens. I personally do not care whether a person is found innocent or guilty, I think it is wrong to attack the families of accused or convicted felons. There have been plenty of cases of a terrible upbringing leading to someone becoming a criminal, but that doesn’t mean people should send nasty notes or death threats to the parents or siblings of the accused. It is despicable practice and if anyone does it, they should be ashamed.

A frustrating aspect of the entire case was that the state was not held accountable for the initial imprisonment. While I think the 36 million dollar settlement would have been a bit much, I do think that Avery and the others involved should have received more than the 400,000 dollars that they received and more action should have been taken against those that did not perform their respective duties in the manner that needed to be done. An innocent man spent 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, because of a faulty justice system that was more concerned with revenge over following the appropriate actions that were supposed to have been taken. As well, I think it is absolutely ludicrous that people involved with his rape case and the lawsuit against his wrongful imprisonment were allowed to be part of the homicide case. I do not know how much it holds up in courts, but there clearly would have been a conflict of interest no matter how unbiased the officers claimed to be.

I think most people who watch the series would say the four most despicable men involved are Mark, Fassbender, Len, and Ken Kratz. From the perspective of the docuseries, it seems that Mark and Fassbender coerced a confession out of Brendan. The two men kept telling him to “be honest” any time that he answered until he gave an answer that they deemed satisfactory. Len, who was meant to defend Brendan, essentially threw him under the bus and did very little to actually help him. Instead of trying to prove his innocence it seemed like he was more interested in Brendan accepting a guilty plea or finding him guilty. Either situation would have helped in the Steven Avery trial and would have added more evidence against him. My personal least favorite person during the trial was Ken Kratz. His unbearable voice made me want to switch on closed captioning and press mute whenever he appeared on screen. However, it seemed he approached the trial in an unprofessional manner and I feel he released details of the case before the trial, and that could have lead to a tainted jury.

My thoughts on the two of them:

Steven Avery – Inconclusive

Brendan Dassey – Innocent

Due to evidence provided in the documentary, I do not think there was enough evidence to convict Steven Avery of murder. The biggest thing that I think the prosecutors had against Avery was the blood in the Rav4. If the tests would have came back  having said that the chemical from the test tube was in that blood, I think that would be the proof I need to say he is completely innocent. Everything else, in my opinion, should not have held up in court. With the key, why would it have only his fingerprints on it and none of Teresa Halbach’s? The DNA from the bullet was tainted by the lab technician that was looking at it. The fact that very little of her blood was discovered on the site just seems incredibly unlikely. Nothing against Avery or Brendan, but neither man seemed intelligent enough to think to be that thorough when cleaning. In general, it seemed like the majority of the factors that comprised his conviction were based on circumstantial evidence. The main question remains, if he didn’t do it, then who did? That is where I think the police failed in both cases against Steven Avery. As mentioned in the film, the prosecutors had “tunnel vision” and seemingly went only after him. I just feel like there is not enough tangible evidence to necessarily say he did or did not commit the murder.

For Brendan, I think he was given a corrupt lawyer and at least deserves a retrial. As far as I remember only his testimony placed him at the crime scene. I could be wrong, but none of the physical evidence provided in the series tied him to being associated with the crime. Without seeing his entire interrogations, it appears that he was lead to make the confessions that he did and the investigators took advantage of a teenager who did not have the mental capacities to realize the gravity of the situation.

All in all, I think it is a good watch. It might be a bit boring to those who are not really interested in watching court cases. However, it shows the plight of an accused man, and more often than not, people don’t really get this perspective in this type of situation. If anyone reading this saw the original trial and then saw this show, I would love to hear if views have changed after watching this. Also, if anyone wants to comment, I would love to have a conversation about your thoughts on the case. I do think the docuseries is biased by focusing more on his innocence than showing a middle ground, but nonetheless it is a thought provoking show and had already engaged quite a huge number of people. Only the future will show whether more of this case will unravel and we will get more of a definitive answer of who the culprit was and if either man will get a second chance.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead – Documentary

Another suggestion and another review. This documentary was perfect for what I was using it for, background noise. A few days ago I was trying to work on a project for a play I am in, and instead of sitting in the silence, I decided to put this on in the background. While what I said in the second sentence might sound harsh, I think I may have been bored even more by the end of the film had I paid attention the entire time.

The documentary is about a man named Joe Cross who is an overweight man with a lot of health concerns in his life. He has some immune disorder where his body will break out in rashes because the body thinks it is under attack. The example he uses is that when someone gets bit by a mosquito, their skin will swell in that spot, and it is a reaction by the body to help prevent toxins from bite to spread further. For him, his body has this reaction to random touches or scratches.

Anyway, Joe Cross decides to improve his health by going on a juice cleanse where he will fast for sixty days and the only thing he will consume are fruit and vegetable juices. However, he will only be using his own personal juicer, because the fruits and vegetables won’t be as processed or sugary as supermarket juices. Along his journey, he comes across a man named Phil Staples, who is a large truck driver who weighs over 400 pounds. Phil has the same condition as Joe, and he wants to lose weight to get healthier and happier. The first half is primarily focused on Joe losing weight and the second half is more focused on Phil.

One of the (few) good points brought up from the film is that losing weight and trying to be healthier is something that is determined by each individual person. While making his way across America, Joe comes across numerous people that he tells his story to. He’ll ask these people questions about their health and if they would do something like the cleanse or if they are concerned about their weight, and most people he runs into are apathetic and either don’t care about their weight or find themselves too lazy to do anything about it.

Although I wasn’t paying full attention to the movie, I don’t recall the documentary using a lot of statistics or scientific data. I think there might have been some moments here and there, but largely it was focused on this juice cleanse and while it apparently helped alleviate some symptoms and helps people lose weight, the film doesn’t discuss any potentially negative side effects. None of the “professionals” (as far as I remember) discuss much about the fruit cleanse. They will talk about food and the general health of people, but I don’t recall them discussing much of what Joe or Phil are doing.

The movie did focus, minutely, on the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables, but the movie used it to compare to the price of prescription drugs some of the people were on to treat their different illnesses. Over the past year I have seen several documentaries that have touched on health and food, and there is one big issue that Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead missed out on, a lot of unhealthy food can be bought in bulk for cheaper. A lot of whole food or organic stores will provide healthy options, but usually it comes at a higher cost. Bringing up how pricey medication can get was a good idea, but the movie didn’t show all sides of the issue they it should have.

I give this documentary a 4 out of 10. While it was nice to see a healthier alternative for people to lose weight, the movie (as other reviewers have said) seemed more like a two hour long infomercial than it did a documentary. The format of the movie was also a little odd. I understand everything happened chronologically, but the movie seemed like two different segments, because Joe has finished his fasting halfway through the movie and the second half was focused on Phil. It made the documentary seem divided. The biggest fault, in my opinion, was the fact that it really didn’t include many facts. While eating fresh fruits and vegetables can be healthy, it didn’t really tell the viewer on ways to maintain healthy eating habits. A better title would have been Long, Boring, and Nearly Educational.

Garfunkel and Oats – TV Series

This is another suggestion from one of my friends of something to watch. Garfunkel and Oats is a short, eight episode comedy show on Netflix. The series is based on the lives of two 30 somethings, Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oats) and the misadventures they go on together. Each twenty minute episode usually involves them partaking in some sort of shenanigans and an original song by the two comedy singers tends to accompany some theme of that episode.

My general feeling of the show: meh. Don’t get me wrong, the two actresses are pretty good in their roles and I thought their songs were usually catchy and funny. However, the overall feeling I had from the series was that it relied too heavily on “awkward” comedy. As an incredibly awkward person myself, I did enjoy them showing characters embracing their quirkiness, but it was a little too much sometimes. There were a few times where I was cringing instead of laughing because I understood the pain of their awkward encounters.

One of my favorite episodes was the third episode where the duo decide that they are not going to talk to their blind dates and see if the men catch on. Oblivious to the situation, both their dates request a second date where they continue to give them the silent treatment, with (seemingly) continued success for both of them. I liked the episode a lot, because both Riki and Kate focused more on facial/physical expressions and both were hilarious at emoting their discomfort on their respective dates without the usual awkward dialogue.

I didn’t realize until the sixth episode that I had seen some of their music videos before. I knew that the overall premise was that the two characters were YouTube comedians that became successful with their songs, but until a few videos were spliced into a montage in that episode, I hadn’t realized I had seen them before (and that they were actually famous because of their music). Their music videos on the show definitely tended to be the highlight of each episode. Something about the camp and cleverness of the little skits tended to outshine the rest of the episode.

I didn’t like how the show ended. The final song was one of my favorites of the season, but it didn’t really feel like their was much of a pay off at the end of the last episode. Usually, you watch a show and get emotionally invested in the characters, by the end the people will either reach their goal or don’t, and then the audience has a positive or negative reaction to the outcome. The conflict in the last episode was fully wrapped up by the end, but I didn’t really have much of a response to what happened. I felt like they could have expanded on having a better story arc for the entire season. Other characters are introduced, with very few of them reoccurring, and this doesn’t allow Riki and Kate to show much development as characters, because the two of them were already well established as friends and they don’t have much conflict between themselves.

I would give the show a five out of ten. Each episode tended to have a joke here or there that stood out and made me chuckle, but I wasn’t constantly laughing and nothing really stuck in my brain as a funny joke that I’d like to share with other people. Both women are incredibly talented, and they are great in other things I’ve seen them in, but I just didn’t enjoy this show as much as I had hoped. I think if I had been a bigger fan of their comedy before watching the show, I would’ve enjoyed the series more. I’d recommend this show to someone looking for a quick show to watch and/or to people who enjoys quirky songs and awkward humor.

Boy Meets Girl – Movie

Warning: There is nudity in the film.

This is another movie that one of my friends have recommended I watch to review for my blog. I had a set order that I was going to watch all of the shows and documentaries in, but since I haven’t reviewed a movie in a while, I decided to go ahead and watch this film.

The title, Boy Meets Girl, makes it seem like the movie would be about your typical boy meeting your typical girl on a “chance” encounter and though outside forces try keeping them apart, love conquers all, and the two of them end up together and live happily every after. This movie is not quite that type of story. The main character of the film is Ricky (Michelle Hendley), a small town transgender young woman (I believe she is in her early 20’s) that is trying to get into a New York school for design. While awaiting a letter that will tell her if she was accepted or not, she tries figuring out whether she wants to date a man or woman and a love story ensues. By the end of the film the viewer will find out whether she found love and if her hopes and dreams will become a reality for her.

Naturally, one of the main topics the movie focuses on is the fact she is a transgender woman trying to figure herself out. While coming out/discovery stories can be nice in LGBTQ films and literature, it was refreshing that this movie did not focus only on that. Ricky discovered and knew her identity well before the start of the film, and this movie picked up where a lot of films kind of end off. In general, it seemed like the film broke out of the mold of many LGBTQ tropes and allowed for her transgender identity to be a part of her and not her whole identity. It’s nice films like this or shows like Orange is the New Black are having LGBTQ characters actually have dimension and not just have them as gimmick.

However, while it may have broken away from some stereotypes, the film ended up falling into your typical romantic comedy formula, just with LGBTQ twists to it. Too many movies get into the whole idea of being in love with someone and being too scared to admit those feelings but after things get too bottled up, they explode and then somehow everything gets resolved by the end of the film. For the most part, that is exactly what happened here. Fluid sexuality was more prevalent in this film, but it didn’t change much of the core love story ideas.

This then leads me into the writing and acting in the film. There were several moments in the film that stand out as having good messages to the audience. At one point Ricky and her best friends Robby (Michael Welch) discuss sexuality and what it means if she slept with someone, would it make that person straight, gay, or bisexual. He feels like there are defined lines to what people are, but she feels like people are just human and should love without labels. Despite some moments like this, the rest of the writing was just a little too cheesy and expected. The actors did an admirable job with the script, but several places were a little clunky and made the acting fall a little flat. That being said, I definitely think Michelle Hendley was the standout performer in the movie. Her “I don’t care what you think” type of attitude was refreshing and despite having that harder exterior to her, she also showed multiple vulnerable sides throughout the film and her nude scene, though unexpected and kind of out of nowhere, is definitely a good moment for transgender representation. People should not be ashamed by their body, regardless of gender identity.

Overall, I would give this film a seven out of ten. I was debating giving it both a higher and lower score. I think it is great for a transgender woman to be playing a transgender character and I liked the fact that while her identity was important, it was not necessarily the main focus of the film. Instead, the main focus was on a love story that has been seen quite a bit in the past (albeit with LGBTQ tones) and plot and conflict elements that were too easily discovered/resolved. My biggest issue would be, without providing any spoilers, is that if you ever want to hide something on a computer (or someplace else) do not label it with something important and have it be one of only two icons on the desktop. Just saying.

King of Kong – Fistful of Quarters – Documentary

This documentary was filmed prior to and released in 2007. The documentary is about two men, Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell, and a feud (of sorts) that arose between the two men who both held high scores on the 80’s arcade version of Donkey Kong. Billy Mitchell was the originally nationally recognized record holder for the highest score (back in the 80’s), up until the 2000’s when Steve Wiebe scored a higher score on his home arcade game and began receiving recognition for being the best player. From here the documentary dives into people discrediting Wiebe’s high score for alleged tampering of his game board and his attempts to reach a new high score in an official setting.

I will give King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters a 5 of 10, because I felt like the movie was less entertaining and more thought provoking. While I do like playing video games, I am not an avid player (especially not to the caliber of the people who are in the film), but I think people who are not “gamers” can still enjoy this film. Watching a movie, I like to be moved or come away feeling affected in someway, but I never felt an emotional connection to the documentary.

One of the things I appreciated the most is that the founder of the video game record company Twin Galaxies, Walter Day, brought up the fact that this rivalry is just as heated as any sports team rivalry. Personally, I feel like most competitions outside of sports are not recognized as much as they should be. I am not into sports, but I understand why other people like it and have an appreciation for it, even if I don’t. I wish people shared that type of mentality with things like this, because while it may not mean a lot to them, it means a lot to the people that are part of the competition.

The way that Billy Mitchell is portrayed reminded me of a conversation I had the other day with a few friends about people staying stagnant or evolving. Billy seems like the type of person who achieved a level of greatness early on in his life, and he was able to uphold that for nearly two decades, but never really grew much as a person after that initial success. The documentary shows he a successful businessman, but it still seems like the success he has in his business is rooted in the accomplishment he made with the video game. Instead of letting the high score define a moment in his life, he let that moment define him. Which raises the question: how many people in his position would do the same thing? If someone became a great success or famous overnight, how long would they let that single thing define who they are as an individual?

One of the issues that arises in the film is that Steve submitted a high score with a video tape, but it was dismissed because reviewers from Twin Galaxies (an official video game record keeping company) felt that his machine was not up to standard and may have been tampered with, but when Billy submitted a video tape with a high score, despite having unaccounted score jumps visible in the video, Billy’s high score was credited as the new high score and Steve’s was not. According to the Wikipedia page, this was recognized and an apologize was issued to Steve Wiebe, but it shows that the Twin Galaxies institution was flawed at the time. People were obsessed with Billy Mitchell to the point they allowed certain discrepancies to pass, partially because of who he was. I think this reflects heavily on a lot of different institutions that might not recognize the full effort or talent of certain people in favor of presenting someone else more recognizable or relatable. Instead of giving credit or a chance to a person deserving of it, they would prefer to stick with what people they are more comfortable with (the whole “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality). Whether it was dues to more consideration or the documentary coming out, it seems like the company has mended their policies and is taking a more impartial stance than it used to.

Overall, it was not my favorite film I have watched lately. I watched the entire thing because I wanted to see whether Steve would accomplish his goal of having the highest score or not. I feel like parts could have been cut out to make it shorter, certain segments seemed unnecessary, but it still had some entertainment value. As stated earlier, this film made me think and reflect more than it entertained me. You win some, you lose some.