Life Of Percentages

We, as a society, try to use words like “beliefs” and “positivity” as explanations of how we overcome certain things. I realized recently that it doesn’t matter how positive or how much you believe in something, things can always take a negative turn.

There are thousands of Self Help Books designed to make us better people. Authors like Tony Robbins talk about how positivity can solve your problems. People use literature and research as methods for constructing positivity.

Let’s use the scenario that I have a life threatening illness and there is a chance I may die. On one hand I am the roaring Ra-Ra confidence of the American spirit. Where I believe I can overcome ANYTHING! Let’s say I live…is it because of my positivity or because I took the right things? People will talk about how confident I am and how nothing can take me down because I believe. Not “just” because I took the right things.

On the other hand I am negative and depressed constantly. I feel like I have no value in this world and will die alone. But let’s say I take the medicine still (which I will go into later on) and I live. Do you think it was my negative attitude that rewarded me with life? Again, maybe me taking the right things cured me and not a mindset.

I had 2 life threatening concussions. I had bleeding in the brain and doctors were shocked that I had no symptoms at all and didn’t miss a step. At the same time of my first concussion, actor Liam Neeson’s wife (Natasha Richardson) hit her head on soft snow and died of a head injury. I hit my head on ice so hard that my skull cracked and I was perfectly fine while she died. So did I overcome my injury with my positive sensibility? Did my body say “Heal now” and it did? Or does this reside in the category of “shit happens”?

Jim Valvano gave one of the greatest speeches in history. He was diagnosed with cancer and gave an emotionally roaring speech at the ESPN awards ceremony about how anyone can overcome anything. A few months after his speech he died…..of the same cancer that he made us all believe that he can overcome. Meanwhile people who maybe have a more serious diagnosis of cancer and who aren’t as positive may live.

The reason I put in parenthesis the part about the medicine was because (even though I am mostly bashing the notion of positive attitudes as methods for success) you still have to have a small notion of positivity to want to take something in the first place. If there is a 1% chance that you may live after hearing that you have a life-threatening illness, then you have a chance. I could be a devout Christian and have my heart filled with the Holy Spirit and still die. Meanwhile, I can be a negative atheist who has the same thing and live. Putting my hands together in prayer isn’t going to guarantee success.

Mercer College beat Duke in the NCAA tournament last season. Are you going to make the argument that Mercer College was more positive and wanted to win more than Duke? Or can you make the argument that Duke’s shots weren’t going in and Mercer had a better game plan? There are 68 teams in the tournament so therefore you have a 1/68 chance of winning it all. There are no certainties in sports. If you make it to a tournament, then you have a chance to win. Don’t let odds makers determine outcomes.

We love the David vs Goliath type of stories. Movies like Rudy and Miracle show us how people overcome impossible odds and come out on top. What a better story? How LeBron James has overcome adversity and has finally achieved all he was predicted to or how Bill Russell has won 11 titles in a row because he played on the best team in the league at that time?

I don’t mean to shit on people’s beliefs or positive energy. I trying to be a best-selling author and overcome disappointment constantly. I get rejection letters from publishers and still I send more out. Why? Because it’s something I want to do for a living. There is a big chance that I may never achieve my dream and have to settle for another career choice.

So I believe in being positive because without taking that first step you might not get what you want or take what you need to survive, BUT I don’t believe that thinking positive or reading the right material will automatically solve your problems.

Like I said about sports and certainties, there are also no certainties in life. If you have a 1% chance of living, then you have a chance of living. If you have a 99% chance of living then you still have a 1% chance of dying.

We love to hope that there is some otherworldly force that can help us in times of peril. That our positive energy can therefore challenge the laws of the universe so we may come out on top, but sadly that is hysterically untrue. Sometimes, to be blunt, shit happens. And there are no guarantees with medicine, self-help books and Ra-Ra speeches.

Joe Reyes

 

Interstellar: The Worst Movie of the Decade

 

Yes, you read that correctly. A blockbuster hit that won awards and has been nominated for 5 Oscars, I think is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. This movie was incredibly boring, outrageously long and confusing to the point where I had to research message boards to find out what was going on. Also, the music was entirely too loud. It might’ve been the theater I was at (I doubt it), but the music was so loud it drowned out some of the key dialogue.

When I saw the trailer, I figured it was going to be a bad movie. Because from what I gathered, the movie was about the Earth becoming uninhabitable and Matthew McConaughey going to other planets to find one that can sustain life for humans to travel to. This isn’t a plotline that looks to be filled with many twists and turns. Just seems like McConaughey would go to planet 1 and say “Eh” and go to planet 2 and see how it is.

McConaughey plays Cooper, a former pilot who eventually becomes the savior of the world…sorta. I was surprised that McConaughey wasn’t the writer on this movie, because it seems that Cooper could not die even though there were many times for it to happen.

The human race is dying of starvation I think. Giant sandstorms wipe away crop fields and causing people to suffocate. The only hope is to find another place for humans to live. Luckily, a wormhole has appeared in our solar system put by….aliens they think. The aliens must’ve known that Earth was in trouble and created a wormhole to another galaxy with habitable worlds.

There is a lot going on in this movie. I haven’t even gotten to the backstory of Cooper and his family. Cooper is a farmer now, who lives with his father in law, son Tom and daughter Murph. Yes, Murph, because that’s a girl’s name somehow.

Murph thinks there is a ghost in the house. In her room there is a giant bookshelf, and books seem to fall randomly. Murph decides to write these occurrences. Somehow Murph ends up connecting the dropping of books into Binary and Morse code. Really? Are we just going to pretend that makes sense?

Cooper indulges Murph’s crazy theory and puts the code as coordinates on a map and follows it to a secret military base. Cooper and Murph are captured by robots, tough talking Lincoln Log looking robots.

Skipping ahead, because this review isn’t even half way through. Scientist Professor Brand has discovered the wormhole with a bunch of other scientist and have already been sending exploration groups through and are sending another team consisting of Professors Brand’s daughter Brand….yes Brand is her name, random black guy and another scientist. Cooper is sent along as well. Because apparently they want him to pilot the craft because they are in desperate need and here Cooper randomly is.

Murph cries and tries to convince Cooper to stay. She even says the Morse code spells out STAY, but Cooper leaves anyway. The team goes into cryo sleep and go through the wormhole and land on another planet.

The problem is the time this mission takes. They don’t want to be gone too long because the world is dying, apparently, so taking forever isn’t a good idea. On approaching the planets, the time increases for the amount of time on Earth. 1 hour on the planet amounts to 7 years on Earth. So there is a rush to this mission.

I don’t want to spoil the ending or the 1 twist to it in the middle too much. This movie is about a Temporal Causality Loop. Family Guy had it in an episode. Stewie created the universe and Brian questioned how Stewie could create the universe if he was born in it. Stewie explained it like this “The universe created me so I can create it so it can create me and so on”. That is this movie in a nut shell. Something happens, beyond logical reasoning and TCL is the answer to it.

This movie was awful on all fronts. Worst of all, the ending was “apparently” a tear jerker. I was watching the ending and heard a sniff a few seats over. I see a woman in tears. I turn to tell my girlfriend of the phenomenon and saw another person crying. The whole theater except me was having an emotional reaction to the scene! To quote Lou Costello “Why? I don’t know”.

I give this a 0/5. It was just a disaster in every scene. Nothing made sense and it was just so long. I’ve seen long movies without a ton of action and still thought it was good. But this movie had no redeeming qualities to it. The biggest gasp moment for me was finding out Matt Damon was in the movie.

I do give the movie a smidge of credit. They had a line that was so hysterical that I literally laughed out loud. I highlighted it for you.

Cooper: Dr. Mann there’s a 50/50 chance your gonna kill yourself.

Dr. Mann: Those are the best odds I’ve had in years.

Joe Reyes

Dominion

 

Who would’ve imagined that angels would be humanity’s greatest threat? Based off the movie Legion (2010), Dominion takes place 25 years after the events of that movie. The opening sequence of Dominion explains all the backstory. God has vanished. In retaliation Gabriel and his angels blamed humanity for Gods disappearance and came to Earth to wage war against man. There were some higher angels that refused to go along with Gabriel’s war, but the lower angels joined immediately.

Michael refused to blame the humans and took up his sword against Gabriel. Eventually, Michael gathered enough survivors on Earth to help combat Gabriel and his forces. There was a prophesied child that Michael believed that would be the turning point in the war that he had to save (this was the story of Legion). After a long war, Gabriel’s army retreated, but many angels still remained on Earth and the battle continues.

The problem is after all those backstory sequences; the show surprisingly takes a huge turn for the worst. Most situations and subplots are so unbelievable that they completely crucify this show. The dialogue is so cheesy that it’s a turn off to listen to at times. Motives and story structure is at such a fault that I can’t imagine how the season will progress (if it even lasts a full season).

Alex Lannen, the prophesied child that Michael saves in Legion, is a soldier living in Vegas. The whole city is a militarized outpost. There are clearly angels outside the city walls, yet Lannen still goes out by himself to do the cliché “lone gunman” thing. After a firefight with angels, Lannen is asked why he went out alone. His response “There was a Texas holdem game I had to attend”.

There is a Roman aspect to this show. The marrying off of children to strengthen political families is so unneeded that it takes away from the overwhelming plot point of THERE ARE ANGELS TRYING TO KILL US! Also some of the outfits of the women is just so obscure that it makes it look like this show takes place in a different era.

Most of this pilot episode was a collection of unneeded scenes and occurrences. The whole war storyline seems to be only a subplot of the entire storyline. Obviously the war is the biggest part, but it didn’t seem like that from the initial pilot episode.

I give this show a shocking 1/5. The ceiling was incredibly high, but failed to deliver. Unless this show makes drastic changes, I don’t see it lasting very long. I’m pretty sure most of the season is already filmed because after the show it had scenes from the upcoming season, so I don’t think an overhaul is what is going to happen. Domination is on SYFY on Thursdays at 9pm.

Joe Reyes