Familiar Sunshine Territory Tag ;)

Ages ago, I’ve been tagged by Red Metal to do their 11 very intriguing questions. Many thanks for the tag!

Since Piotrek is understandably busy arranging his wedding, I’m going to do this one on my own – so no double answers this time, sorry πŸ˜‰

Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the least consistently reliable?

Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the most consistently reliable?

I’m going to answer the two above together. I must admit I don’t spend much time following critics of any kind, not even book critics (with the exception of you guys ;)) and particularly not movie critics. I’ve been burned too many times to pay any attention to what most of them has to say πŸ˜‰ These days I very rarely read commercial reviews; I prefer to form my own opinion about any form of artistic expression, be it a movie, a TV series, a music album, or a video game. From time to time I check aggregate opinions on BoardGameGeek, sometimes Polygon, IGN and IMDB πŸ˜‰ I grew tired of RT, their aggregates seem skewed by arbitrary algorithms and I find myself disagreeing with the majority of the critical reviews compiled there.

What was your single worst theatergoing experience?

Scary Movie (2000). I went to see it with a bunch of friend and ended up so disgusted that I left the theater in the middle of the movie.

What was your single best theatergoing experience?

Apocalypse Now Redux (2001). It’s one of the best movies ever for me, plus I had the theater mostly to myself – there were maybe two more people in the room with me.

Do you think a lousy ending can completely ruin an otherwise great work?

Yes, absolutely. The ending is the finishing touch; it’s the message that will stay the longest with your audience. If you botch it up, it shows you either don’t know what you want or you’re unable to convey what you want – or you just don’t care, which is probably the most damning in my book – and as a result it makes the stuff you presented before seem like a fluke, and not a conscious effort.

I’m trying to think of books and movies that suffered because of this deficiency. I’d say that among books The Girl with All The Gifts still stands clearly in my memory as an example of a lousy ending, and I’m not sure whether the author simply had the ending prepared in advance and couldn’t make the rest work seamlessly toward it, or whether he just decided to change it at the last moment. Whatever the case, I felt that there was a significant discord between the body of the novel and its ending, and it affected negatively my otherwise positive experience with it. As for movies, Looper seems a good example of the malady. It’s not a great movie, but it had its moments – to have all the good will it gathered crash down around its ears by that illogical ending. Source Code is another movie that just sucks in the ending department – I mean, really, the tonal dissonance is so glaring that it left me utterly baffled. Was the director surreptitiously lobotomized right before the ending was filmed?

Do you think an incredible payoff can redeem an otherwise middling (or even bad) work?

I think so, to an extent. For me, the payoff must flow naturally from the buildup; so if buildup/setup/plant isn’t there, the payoff has no foundation. And while I can’t remember a bad movie with a great payoff (I don’t count the small inside jokes) I well remember a movie where the payoff was so bad it soured the whole experience for me – Nolan’s Prestige. For a movie dedicated to showing the audience how magic tricks work to hinge upon real magic in the conclusion is just a cop-out (and that’s the best case scenario).

As for comics, I really like the silent issue of Spider-man in Michael J. Straczynski and John Romita Jr’s run (Amazing Spider-man #39) – it’s about Aunt May’s discovery of the identity of Spider-man, coming right after some very violent events concerning vampires and demon totems and whatnot, and even if I’m not totally buying the Morlun hocus-pocus, this issue worked surprisingly well as a payoff.

Do you feel the price increase of AAA games was justifiable or not?

Can’t really answer this question, I so rarely play video games :). I do imagine they now take even more man-hours and more skilled workers to be properly done, and there are no shortcuts. On the other hand, I remember how Cameron’s Titanic was used as an excuse for a wholesale rise in theater tickets – the rationale was that it lasted for three hours or so, but the prices never went back to their previous level, even for shorter movies ;).

What work did you like as a kid only for you to realize it doesn’t hold up at all?

Robin of Sherwood. Don’t start me on it again! πŸ˜€

What work did you not like as a kid only for you to later realize it’s amazingly good?

For a long time I was deeply offended by the ending to Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. I mean, seriously! It says “merry” in the title! So WTF is this ending??!!! Yes, you can see that I still have some strong opinions on this topic ;).

The Polish edition.

Another book that I read as a child and found it somewhat underwhelming only to read it a bit later and discover it for the masterpiece it is was Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. I read it for the first time when I was about 8, soon after reading Tolkien, and expected something similar to LoTR. Instead I’ve got a fallible, vulnerable, even somewhat unlikable at first protagonist, and a story based on the concept of restoring the balance – as if the darkness had a right to exist πŸ˜‰ Preposterous! Just ask Sauron! πŸ˜‰ I read Le Guin again when I was about 12, and loved it ever since.

Are there any podcasts you listen to regularly?

Nope. I only listen to audiobooks when driving longer distances, because I tend to focus so much on the sounds. Aaron from Swords and Spectres recommended some anicent history podcasts to me, so I will give them a try at some point. I also listen from time to time to Simon Sinek’s A Bit of Optimism, where he talks with his guests about certain social/ethical concepts.

Taking cues from AK’s last question, what is the most bizarre combination of ingredients you enjoy?

Oh, I suspect quite a lot of the traditional Polish cuisine might be falling into that category. I really like pickled wild mushrooms, which are intensely sweet and sour. Polish pickled cucumbers are delicious, too. And Polish beet soup (borscht) – oh, that’s a glorious combination of sour and spicy and umami! πŸ˜€ For Christmas, you add little dumplings filled with wild dried mushrooms, preferably bolete, cooked and mixed with fried onion, which add a touch of sweetness to the whole thing.

…and now I’m getting hungry πŸ˜‰

Thanks for the tag, Red Metal! If anyone wants to take part in the fun, you’re more than welcome to give it a go!

43 thoughts on “Familiar Sunshine Territory Tag ;)

    1. For Christmas we never put any meat in it; just vegetable broth and mushroom broth, and kwas (sour beet essence), and marjoram and garlic (and salt and pepper, obviously).
      But when we make borscht not for holidays, we just make it on a broth which is used as a base: usually a mix of beef and chicken/turkey.
      There’s also the Ukrainian borscht with lots of vegetables in it, which is sweeter and less essential, and with less dried mushrooms πŸ˜‰

      …Unless you’re talking about white borscht with white sausage, which is a Silesian specialty and often eaten in Eastern Germany 😁 I can wax lyrical about various types of white borscht, too, but white is made with a sourdough base and not beets.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is an interesting tag (I might… ahem… borrow it one of these days!) and I completely agree on not listening to professional critics’ opinions about books or movies or TV series: I much prefer the viewers/readers’ reactions, particularly when they come from people whose opinions I have come to trust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do hope you will! I’ll be very curious to read your responses to these questions!
      Yes, exactly! I feel like opinions on cultural works are something so personal and subjective that reading a random review of a person I don’t know gives me nothing – whereas when I have established a relationship (even virtual) with a person and I know her likes and dislikes and reasoning, even if only a little bit, reading her thoughts on the matter becomes a completely different experience.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dawie!

      Oh that’s so cool! I hope you’ll enjoy it thoroughly when you get the chance to visit! Do you have and specific places you want to see?
      Summer can get quite hot in Poland, but usually the weather is great, with lots of sunshine, so perfect for sightseeing!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. KrakΓ³w is a definite must see, especially if you want to visit Auschwitz (it’s a half hour ride and there are organized trips available from KrakΓ³w). I’d recommend Wieliczka Salt Mine too, especially for Salty 😁 but there’s really plenty of attractions in the region!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I must’ve missed the news about Piotrek’s immanent wedding, though I seem to remember it was on the cards, and wish him and his fiancΓ©e all the very best!

    I enjoyed your responses to this tag, but I’ll give it a miss for myself, especially as I haven’t even thought much about the fictional dinner party guests one yet, sorry…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup, it’s this month!

      I hope he’ll share with us a photo or two πŸ˜€

      Thanks! Ah, the fictional dinner party! I’ll be looking forward to reading your answers to this one, Chris!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Huh, you’re right – I was certain there was an announcement somewhere on the blog, but can’t find it… I think Piotrek mentioned it, maybe in one of the old tags, or in the comments somewhere, but there was nothing official. I’ll get him to remedy this right away! πŸ˜€

          Liked by 1 person

        2. piotrek

          Well, I did not want to make a big deal out of it, but I guess the borders between blog and private life are blurry, if I can write about my politics, I should also announce such important personal developments πŸ™‚ There will be something soon!

          Liked by 3 people

            1. Hey!
              If not for me, you wouldn’t know anything, so show some gratitude πŸ˜›
              Besides, there was talk about fiancees and vacations, so I somehow assumed there was something about the upcoming wedding, too… After all, it is one of better excuses for not writing on the blog, right? πŸ˜€

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Gratitude schmatitude. I am OWED the details of every part of your lives. It’s my inviolable online right!
                My goodness, can you believe people actually go online with that above assumption? It’s scary to contemplate.

                I just figured he wasn’t writing because he’s him πŸ˜€

                Liked by 1 person

                1. 🀣🀣🀣
                  Though on a second thought, it is scary indeed when people sort of start expecting they have the right to know everything about everyone, especially when it’s someone known (doesn’t even have to be famous, so many people just sell the most intimate details of their lives just to get a moment of being talked about and then the audience learns to expect and demand more of that).

                  Yup, that’s equally likely 🀣

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Unfortunately, that does tend to be the pattern. One of the reasons I’m so parsimonious with personal info.
                    I’ve also seen bloggers who use their blog to tell stories from their life. Once they run out of stories, their blog doesn’t fare so well because the readers expect something they no longer can give.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Yeah, I know what you mean.
                      I’ve been keeping the personal info on the blog to minimum for the same reasons – I think the only tangible data is in the birthday post we made sometime back to dispell some of the illusions that aggregated over the years. Oh the happy times of Oleg… 🀣🀣🀣
                      But our blog is a place for reviews, first and foremost, and I intend to keep it this way. A post of two about vacation or hiatus (or a wedding) is perfectly all right, but making the blog all about me would be horribly boring even for me! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

                      Liked by 2 people

  3. Coincidence: I’m defrosting some borscht I made a few weeks ago, to have for lunch: chilled, with chopped egg and sour cream.
    And how lucky that you reread Le Guin. Imagine going through life with only that first impression! You’d never know what you’d missed, but still. Unimaginable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, do add the cream! 😁 It’s called chΕ‚odnik in our parts, a perfect soup for hot summer days!

      Agree fully about Le Guin! But even back when I wasn’t overwhelmed with A Wizard… I knew it was a good book, so I knew I’d read it again one day πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeroen!

      Oooh, pierogi! My whole family loves them, it’s probably the utmost favorite dish in my home πŸ˜‰ I actually made some this past weekend, with sour cabbage and mushrooms πŸ˜€ It’s a lot of work, certainly, but the effect is just soo delicious! πŸ˜€


  4. I think the worst experience going to watch a movie was Blair Witch. My OH actually fell asleep. Never had that happen before.
    I love Apocalypse now – imagine having the whole place almost to yourself.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, I usually treat my husband’s falling asleep on movies as a good indication of the quality of the movie 🀣 fortunately this only happens at home! πŸ˜‚
      Yeah, it was a unique experience, watching Apocalypse Now almost alone in the theater. I’m not a crowds person so usually my moviegoing experiences are a mixed bag, but that time it was perfect! πŸ˜€


  5. I like how you just quickly glazed over the announcement of Pio’s wedding to get to more serious business (e.g., this tag). πŸ˜› Congratulations to him, if he ever reads this! Dude needs to pop a couple of quick posts here and there! He’s starting to become Santa, some make-belief character that we should assume exists in some secret bunker. Then again, at least Santa supposedly gives us gifts if we’re good!!! πŸ˜‰

    What mostly caught my eye is that Apocalypse Now Redux you got to see in theaters! I saw the movie for the first time in 2019 and consider it a fave, a classic, and a masterpiece too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Man, I was absolutely convinced he mentioned his wedding somewhere on the blog before! Talk about spoilers!!! πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ
      Yeah, it seriously starts looking as if I made him up to be the “good cop” of our blog and now I’m getting bored with the charade… 😜 Well, I assure you he’s real, though probably right now a tad busy with all the preparations. He promised he’ll write some official announcement soon πŸ˜€

      Glad to hear you love Apocalypse Now so much too, Lashaan!!! 😁


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