VIDEO GAME: Phantom Hourglass (2007)

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom HourglassYear: 2007Rating: ETime Played: 19.78 hours Just like Ocarina of Time influenced the style and lore of the Oracle games, the Zelda series’ first foray into the DS system took its cues from The Wind Waker—perhaps even too much. Additionally, as there were plenty of new features in the Nintendo DS that were not present in previous Nintendo systems, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass decided to take advantage of almost all of them. Again, perhaps to its detriment. Still, for the limited graphics and repetitive sections of the story, Phantom Hourglass is a fairly good Zelda game. Even if it took a little bit to get used to the stylus-based combat system, I did eventually find it to be a neat alternative to the standard button configuration for a Zelda title, even if it didn’t behave as I wanted all the time. There were also limitations to how accurate the stylus inputs were when I needed...
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MOVIE: The Prom (2020)

The Prom Year: 2020 Rating: PG-13 Length: 130 minutes / 2.17 hours I enjoy a good musical like the rare heterosexual man I am (played in the movie by Keegan-Michael Key), and The Prom (2020) scratched that itch for me this year. I enjoyed its self-aware first act, even if the overall plot seemed like it was about 10 years too late to be relevant. And while many of the story beats were either predictable or cliche, there were a few moments of rare depth that felt genuine, even if they broke the facade of the whimsical characters that had filled the first two acts. There's something about narcissistic Broadway types having to interact with the midwest that was entertaining to me. Much of this film's humor revolves around how out-of-step with the rest of the country these east coast elites are—even if it's far from realistic (I hope). Of note, a few of the songs are quite exceptional, including "It's Not About Me" and...
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BOOK: The Last Wish (1993)

The Last Wish Year: 1993 Author: Andrzej Sapkowski Length: 617 minutes / 10.28 hours Those of us who have seen Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher will find this collection of short stories quite familiar. The first book in the series, The Last Wish introduces the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, as he goes about his job ridding the world of dangerous supernatural creatures. It’s no wonder the TV series felt a little disjointed, as it had a series of short stories that were loosely connected via Geralt to work with. Still, these stories are solid and help flesh out the world where humans and creatures live together, rarely in harmony. Told in a somewhat chronological manner, these bite-size stories often carry over and blend into each other in a way that feels natural. Actions in one story may influence the characters in another, so there is something deeper here than just a collection of short stories. While this technique is rarely used, I can appreciate how each story...
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MOVIE: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Year: 2020 Rating: R Length: 129 minutes / 2.15 hours For decades, Aaron Sorkin has written some of the best films ever created. Classics like A Few Good Men (1992) still stand up, and modern masterpieces like The Social Network (2010) and Moneyball (2011) are starting to become timeless as well. And while he's mostly been the writer of these films, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) is his sophomore effort as a director. Somehow, the ability to accurately translate his words into the actors' performances created—in my opinion—the best film of 2020. It's clear Sorkin cut his teeth long ago with courtroom dramas, but this movie is by far the most intricately-crafted exposé of the corruption of the American justice system I've ever seen. The fact that the parallels to 50-years later are shockingly similar actually makes me sick, but that's perhaps why this film works so well right now. It doesn't give me hope that these...
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VIDEO GAME: The Minish Cap (2005)

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish CapYear: 2005Rating: ETime Played: ~16 hours The almost forgotten title in the Zelda franchise, Minish Cap has a subtle nod to its portable system in the way that Link can shrink down to engage with the world on a smaller scale. It’s a shame we didn’t see more unique titles in the Zelda series for the Game Boy Advance, as Minish Cap was a charming adventure that added to the developing lore of the franchise. While the visuals and controls were quite good considering the Game Boy Advance’s limitations, the length of this game left me wanting more by the time I completed it. As a unique entry in the portable Zelda games, Minish Cap has a surprising amount of depth regarding the characters, plot, and overall game mechanics. Each step in restoring the Minish sword revealed a little more about the lore, which caused me to keep playing to find out what would happen next....
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