The obvious choice on Election Day.
When a movie is based on a true story or a true person, the question that springs to mind most often when watching it is, “How true is it?”
Not having made such a film, I have to guess that movie makers that base a film on someone’s life have to similarly ask another question, “How do we make people think we’re telling the truth?”
I don’t know the answer to the first question in regards to “Ray,” but watching the film has me thinking Taylor Hackford knew the answer to the second. You take a great yet still underrated actor, Jamie Foxx, back him up with an awesome ensemble cast (Sharon Warren makes her debut as Ray’s mother Aretha, Kerry Washington is just as strong as Ray’s wife Bea, you won’t recognize Curtis “Booger” Armstrong as Ahmet the record producer and Clifton Powell is terrific as the heartbroken tour manager Jeff, to name just a few,) and then you let the music of Ray Charles sing his own story.
I’m sure the film is being analyzed by far more literate music historians, but given the time frame Ray Charles lived in, at his peak he was able to keep 20 years’ worth of heroin addiction secret from the world, so who knows what other secrets he kept. Did he have a little brother George? Did he really get screwed and screw others in business the way he’s portrayed?
The only clue I have is that Ray Charles himself was alive for the start of this film’s production (he died in June 2004,) so I doubt too many liberties could be taken on his behalf without his knowledge. And how do you sell a fake life story to Ray Charles, especially when it’s his own? That he wouldn’t be able to see the screen would be no excuse.
It is the music that ties this film together as only Ray Charles’ music could. The attention to detail is at least as good as The Buddy Holly Story in terms of musical production methods, but with Ray Charles, there had to be dues paid to his innovative musical style, which came from his ability to blend already-established styles — country, gospel, and R&B.
And because it’s about a blind man, the visuals have to reflect that. Ray’s childhood memories flood back with vivid, hyper-real colors, while the “real world” is always steeped in half-shadows.
Altogether, though, “Ray” is not about the music or blindness or drug abuse. At its core, it’s about a man’s personal struggle with himself, to find his own independence in life and salvation from inner torment. It’s a story told a million times before, and it’s always a hard sell unless there’s a heart and a soul behind it. That’s why “Ray” goes from good to great.
Pondering when and where to add U5:Lazarus to the list, because right now it’s only relevant to me as a side project, not so much to everyone else (though it will be, when it’s done.) I might also get involved with David Thomas‘ project, the IGJA. More on this much, much later.
My computer’s still getting repaired, and Jon at TBox said he was pretty well booked for the next few weeks, but would try to squeeze me in sometime. Shrug.
Given that some people expect me to keep writing and working at home in my spare time, I went to one of those “liquidation” shows where hawkers set up tables flea-market style in empty storefronts and sell stuff. One had alarming pallets of Dell Optiplex GX100 desktops for about $80 each.
So I got one. Runs Win98SE, has USB 1.0 and Ethernet, onboard video and a whopping 128M of RAM, 8G HD, and a 533mhz P2 Celeron CPU. Makes me want to get out and push most of the time, but it works well enough for writing.
Thankfully I can call Thunderbox PC and get the guy who built it for me in the first place. He should have it by Monday, and shortly thereafter I hope he’ll give me a heads-up about what can be done about it.
Frustrating, because there’s stuff I could be doing with my time other than spending it out of doors in the fresh air and brisk fall weather. Or coming into work early so I can dash this off. Damnit.
On Friday I went to the second speech in the Leadership series offered by Austin Community College. This time, featured speaker Gordon Walton showed, along with Denise Fulton from Ion Storm. Then I went to see “Team America: World Police,” the South Park creators’ movie about how movies suck and their fans will pay money to watch puppets have sex.
That wasn’t a very fulfilling day, as my days off in Austin have gone. Oh well.
From Gamespot’s note that The Bard’s Tale (the new version, done by inXile Entertainment that was supposed to have been published by Acclaim) has gone gold:
More than a few old-school gamers have fond memories of playing The Bard’s Tale. Released in 1985, the legendary role-playing game was designed by game legend Brian Fargo and published by his company, a then-medium-sized outfit by the name of Electronic Arts.
And yet, this is the article inXile linked to from their home site. Oops.
Shadowbane, in an effort to mark his territory, began to explain to anyone that would listen why he was the shizznit. For those that didn’t believe him, Shadowbane would whip out his expansion pack and show it for all to see.
Found via IGJA, another site I’ll probably be looking at more often in the future.
The other shoe’s dropped over at Zen of Design, now that Ubiq’s found interest in writing stuff again and changed his site design. (Guess which I think is more important.)
Yes, CoH cost money to make. Maybe Forbes will go a step further and realize that all MMOGs are expensive to make and are a huge financial risk. Yes, CoH’s elegance lies in its simplicity. Yes, MMOG developers get wicked hubris at times and without decent management, gang aft a’gley.
But I’m not looking for the next MMOG to rewrite the genre. I’m looking for the next manager to wrest the next MMOG from the brink of oblivion, because it damn sure seems like management is the only thing stopping every God Damned game project from approaching the target market window and colliding — SPLAT — like a bird.
Forbes gives credit to Cryptic Studios CEO Michael Lewis. I know better than to think he’s the only one to take credit, because I’m pretty sure Jack “Statesman” Emmert, CoH lead designer and Rick Dakan’s replacement, played a role as well. But someone had to be in charge.
That’s one more in the industry. Line ‘em up.
EDIT: The zenofdesign.com domain isn’t pointing to the new site yet. But it will, really.
Added links to Tucker Max sites, because I’m finding myself reading his sites all the time these days. Also added N3RFED, because the writer is actually funny and not so long-winded that all his writing turns gray on the page.
Removed a bunch of sites that were more or less on probation because I didn’t look at them anymore. That’s it, good night.