Indie Horror Flick “It Follows” Is Plaguing My Life

If you see someone calmly walking towards you? RUN!

It’s been five days and I can’t stop looking over my shoulder. Everywhere I go, everyone I see, I regard with suspicion. When I walk home at night after work, what really happens is that I run half the distance in fear of some supernatural piece of shit eventually catching up to me and snapping my neck.

That’s the impact It Follows has made on me.

As I’ve written before, horror films and I don’t have a particularly good relationship; I don’t like cheap jump scares and excessive blood and gore don’t do anything for me. Only creepy movies get to me and those aren’t exclusively in the horror genre.

The first half of Signs, for example, is an excellent example of creepiness done well. I would argue the same goes for The Blair Witch Project, which is admittedly a more polarizing example. The Strangers was also pretty creepy and had the added bonus of Dennis from It’s Always Sunny accidentally getting his head blown off with a shotgun.

Those three movies are certainly good in their own ways, but none of them quite compare to It Follows.

The premise of It Follows revolves around a sexually transmitted entity which can only be seen by the person who has “caught” it. It can take the shape of any human being and pursues the infected individual by walking.

It just calmly walks towards YOU and you can never truly run away because it will always catch up, even if it takes days, months, or years.

The only way to break the curse is to have sex with someone and pass it on, but it turns out previous victims can still see it. Whether it continues to harbor malicious intent towards its former prey is unclear, but it doesn’t seem like it based on the film’s events.

On the surface, someone walking towards you doesn’t seem that bad. Sure, we’ve all seen episodes of The Walking Dead, but those are zombies with putrid bodies and atrophied muscles. Just a seemingly regular person heading your way? Psh, just shake it off, right?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a couple of days now and it basically boils down to what actually makes this movie so good. Across the board, it was either solid or excellent, especially in context with the typical offerings from the horror genre.

The directing and acting were both good, and the cinematography and production design really helped sell the setting as some kind of city hazily shimmering out of our timeline – a retro Detroit, if you will. But the more I think about it, the more I keep coming back to the music of It Follows.

..

Halloween.

The X-Files.

Under the Skin.

Those are some pop culture offerings I think of when I hear the soundtrack. Out of respect for the integrity of the music in relation to the movie itself, I would recommend you watch the movie without hearing any of the tracks first. If you feel inclined to get a peak anyway, feast your ears on this, this, and this.

But be warned: even the best tracks are most effective when combined with the simple yet effective visual thrills provided by director David Robert Mitchell and his talented cast (especially Maika Monroe) and crew.

If you made the decision to click on those music links, you probably found a wave of 1980s nostalgia washing over your body as you lay trembling in the fetal position. Who knew music made such a difference in movies?

Of course, horror movies have provided some of the most iconic pieces of film music. Think about Jaws, the aforementioned Halloween, and even The Terminator. Is there any other genre that is so dependent on music to set the stage?

It Follows pays homage to the 1980s via soundtrack, without a doubt, but the whole movie is basically a nod to the glory days of horror. You have the Nightmare on Elm Street-esque scenario, where the monster is inescapable and sleep is almost guaranteed death. You have the group of ambiguously aged teenagers who may or may not have graduated high school and or college. You have some romantic tension within the group.

It’s all there. And it works.

Look, it’s not Valentine’s Day and it sure as hell isn’t Halloween. But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right time to see a scary movie. This is the type of movie you simply don’t miss, although I will concede you don’t necessarily have to see it in theaters.

This ain’t Interstellar, baby!

By the way, you’ll have to forgive me if this review was a little cuckoo. I’ve been paralyzed with fear as I type this because I swear I can feel eyes on me. I just can’t tell from where.

Help me. HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bitter Ramblings of a Derrick Rose Hater at LA Fitness

“Fuck Derrick Rose.”

St. Patrick’s Day. LA Fitness. A little bit before noon.

I’m making it splash from the three-point line – like straight fire, cuz – when two older guys (adults, I think they’re called) walk onto the court and go to the opposite half. One of them looks like Ferris Bueller’s dad, but older, rounder, and maybe a little bit taller. The other is a great example of what Dick Vitale would look like if he shrank by a foot, never went outside on sunny days, and had the same belly as Randy from Trailer Park Boys.

They start warming up as I practice my violent tomahawk dunks when I hear snippets of an intriguing conversation. They’re talking about Derrick Rose, with Ferris Bueller’s dad doing most of the talking. Occasionally, Dick Vitale chimes in, but he’s too busy taking his sweet time lining up his funky, Derek Fisher-esque shots.

At the time, what really got to me was the bitterness in Ferris Bueller’s dad’s voice; it was a jarring reminder of how ridiculous it is that we care about sports so much sometimes. And the look on his face! It looked like he was about three months removed from learning his daughter was a VERY prominent in the porn industry.

It looked like he had just shoved an entire lemon in his mouth. And then learned his daughter does porn. It looked like he had just wasted money watching any of Robert de Niro’s movies from the past twelve years. And then found out his daughter does porn.

You get the idea. Just a twisted, angry, disgusted face.

Since I was too busy honing my killer crossover, I didn’t get their full conversation. But I got just enough to present the mostly unaltered ramblings of a man who cares a little too much about the future of the Chicago Bulls.

Ferris Bueller’s dad: How ’bout them Bulls right now?

Poor man’s Dick Vitale: *derp derp derp*

Ferris Bueller’s dad: Rose is injured again. I’m over him. I think we should trade him to Atlanta – the Hawks. They could use him. But I’m done. Fuck him.

Poor man’s Dick Vitale: *derp derp derp*

Ferris Bueller’s dad: $20 million for Jimmy Butler. Future star – he’s what we need. Fuck Derrick Rose. It’s over. Thinking about his future. Are you kidding me? He’s, what, 26? Talking about his grandkids or whatever. His kids, I mean, God.

Poor man’s Dick Vitale: *wakes up from coma* He’s not even married…?

Ferris Bueller’s dad: That’s right. He’s not! Probably going to spend the next year out again. Forget about the playoffs. Shut it down. We don’t need him.

Poor man’s Dick Vitale: Gotta see how he does when he comes back though.

Ferris Bueller’s dad: No. His career is finished. That’s, what, his fifth knee injury in the past three years? Gotta trade him. Gotta get rid of him. Somehow.

So yeah, that was pretty much it. But remember, the tone of his voice is key. While his words might not seem too bad, aside from the f-bombs and whatnot, it was his tone that made it memorable.

I’m actually glad I published this later rather than sooner, because I saw Ferris Bueller’s dad again the next morning and shot hoops on the same side of the court. Turns out he’s actually a pretty nice guy.

But can you blame him, considering the frustrating debacle that has been swirling around Derrick Rose like a pungent toilet?

The State of the “House of Cards” Address

What happened to House of Cards?

It is said that the third season of a TV show is often the point in which two paths emerge: the path to greatness and the path to weakness. Shows like Breaking Bad and Parks and Recreation took the former and it looks like House of Cards may take the latter.

When the first season was released on Netflix in 2013, it immediately became something of a mainstream trailblazer for the web television industry. It employed real stars like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher, and having all the episodes out at once gave viewers unprecedented 24/7 access, allowing them to view the show at their own leisurely (or frantic) pace.

Really, it took the term “binge-watching” to a whole new level, and that was the main indication House of Cards was pretty good. People (myself included) were having a field day watching all the episodes in the span of one weekend, or even one day.

Then the second season came around in 2014, and viewers were treated to more shadowy political affairs carried out by Francis Underwood (Spacey) and his wife, Claire (Robin Wright). It wasn’t as good as the first season, thanks to the absence of a worthy adversary to pit against Underwood and Spacey hamming it up a bit too much, but it was still entertaining. In short, the show’s future looked fine.

Now? House of Cards looks like a real house of cards: wobbly. The third season is an absolute disappointment and it makes sense. What does a man do when he has achieved his ultimate goal? Underwood is now POTUS and Claire is the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

When someone peaks so early, the only thing left is his downfall. In political terms, Underwood does okay this season. Instead, it’s his relationship with his wife that takes a number of hits throughout the episodes. But there’s a different problem with this season – a much bigger problem: why is this season so exhausting to watch?

The season premiere begins with Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) going through grueling physical therapy as he slowly recovers from getting his skull dented by Rachel (and a brick) in the second season’s finale. He looks tired, but so does everybody else, including Frank Underwood himself. He might be a cunning politician, but nobody gets away from the physical and mental toll of running the most powerful country in the world.

To make matters much, much worse, there’s only one color in this fictional universe: beige. Everything is beige, from the White House to even the scenes that take place outside in daylight. Everything looks sapped of life and is aesthetically depressing and a downright disaster. There were moments like that in the first two seasons, but it was never this unrelenting and hard on the eyes.

If there’s one positive to this season, it has to be the absence of any inexplicably creepy sex scenes, like the threesome last season. For better or for worse, that threesome never gets mentioned here, which doesn’t seem to make too much sense since Meechum is still Underwood’s personal bodyguard.

Frankly, I’m not sure if House of Cards can get back on track in the fourth season. It was always a tad overrated to begin with, mostly leaning on Spacey’s entertaining acting, but providing little in actual substance.

Andy Greenwald, from Grantland, once compared the show to Doritos: you never feel full. That was in full display this season.

Madden NFL Mobile: My Updated Roster (and More Suggestions for EA)

My team is looking fly as hell – and I still haven’t spent a single cent of real money!

NOTE: THIS IS LAST YEAR’S GAME. FOR THIS YEAR’S (2015-2016), CLICK HERE.

It’s been a month since I first shared my roster and overall thoughts on Madden NFL Mobile. Since then, I’ve made some significant improvements to my team, and the game itself has gotten better too. However, I neglected to mention some of the game’s problems (and I listed a lot to begin with, so whatever), so I’ll discuss those here.

For whatever reason, there were a couple of days where a bunch of really good players were super cheap in the Auction House. That’s when I got all those Honors players, as well as 99 Kam Chancellor. As far as I can tell, every one of those players has gone up significantly in value, compared to what I paid for them.

I feel pretty good about that and all, but I’ve run right into another problem: with a 98 overall team, there are only so many improvements to be made before I’ve basically got the best team possible. However, many of those players cost millions of coins, which means it would take an ungodly amount of time to accumulate the necessary coinage. Or, I would have to spend an inordinate amount of time “sniping” for 99 overall players going for ridiculously low prices in the Auction House.

Therefore, I can honestly say I haven’t been playing too much lately. It’s just not worth the time and hassle to try and get better players, although they are certainly out there, especially in positions like cornerback and defensive end.

I think I’m set with Jordan Cameron as my tight end. 97 catch? Come on, cuh!

Even though EA has been surprisingly active in updating the game’s offerings (new challenges, new players, so on and so forth), I just don’t have the incentive to try and make my team better any time soon. Besides, I also don’t plan on spending real money on this game, which is one of the biggest obstacles. I can understand why EA charges, however, since this is actually a free mobile app, which surprises a lot of people.

They need to pay their game developers somehow, right?

Those game developers are presumably hard at work, trying to make the game as good as it can be. But I have a few more suggestions I didn’t mention in my first reflection of the game (which is linked above, of course).

Player Ratings

If you’ve ever played Madden on a console, or know anything about sports games, you’ll know that a player’s ratings are completely fleshed out, even if a particular set of ratings have no relation to the position that player plays.

That’s why you see tackling ratings for quarterbacks and throwing power and throwing accuracy for pretty much everybody – it’s an in-depth review of the player’s perceived ability.

Well, in Madden NFL Mobile, you get just a glimpse of a player’s ability. In fact, you don’t even get a player’s height and weight, which is important whether you’re looking at safeties or tackles.

There have been multiple times where one of my cornerbacks – usually Sherman – will attempt a big hit on someone, only for a little popup indicating that Sherman’s weight was too light for the tackle to be successful. What the hell!?

How can I possibly know that if I can’t see what anybody weighs?

I also have a sneaking suspicion height is a factor in the game, even though we can’t tell how tall or short any given player is (not just in terms of ratings, but because all the players pretty much look the same, on a positional basis). That’s a big deal when you have a bunch of good cornerbacks, and you’re trying to figure out some way to rank them.

You can see the throwing ratings for kickers and punters, even though the playbook currently holds no trick plays that apply for such a scenario.

You can see the throwing ratings for kickers and punters, even though the playbook currently holds no trick plays that apply for such a scenario.

Even stats that should be obvious in their importance don’t show up for some positions. Do you think it’s right that you can’t see the jump rating for safeties? You also can’t see the blocking ratings for wide receivers and halfbacks. Last example: catch ratings for all defensive players.

Give us comprehensive ratings, EA. Please.

Quarterback Incompetence

Aaron Rodgers drops back, scanning the hectic and chaotic action on the field. The offensive line pushes the defense back, as Dez Bryant goes long and Isaac Bruce cuts across the field. Rodgers fires a pass to Bruce… only for the ball to violently bounce off the back of center Travis Frederick’s helmet.

Why does that happen? Why is it possible for a quarterback to throw a pass, only for it to hit his offensive line?

Even if you concede the possibility of that occurring in real life, the truth is that the improbableness outweighs the distant probability of possibility, especially in relation to the absurdly high frequency it occurs in the mobile game.

That was confusing as hell, haha.

Anyway, fix that crap, EA.

Black Hole Tackles

I’ve heard this is a problem the console versions are having as well, where players will get sucked into tackle animations.

On the mobile version, it’s only a real issue when your quarterback is experiencing pressure in the pocket. You won’t believe how many times I’ve desperately pressed the icon above a wide receiver, only for Aaron Rodgers to get knocked the fuck down by a defensive end who wasn’t even close to my precious QB yet.

It’s like the game preordains some parts of the game, so you can’t escape them no matter how hard you try.

And speaking of wide receivers, the game has some sensitivity issues where the quarterback will throw the ball later than you expected, resulting in an incompletion, or an interception at worst. It doesn’t happen too often, but it’s enough of an issue that you do keep on your toes during important possessions.

Auction House Delays

I don’t know if it’s connection issues, or if EA is trolling people that have an admittedly grating tendency to snipe for absurdly lopsided deals, but something has to be done about players showing up in the Auction House even though they’ve already been sold.

Argue about the ethical dubiousness of sniping all you want, but in the end, the real story here is the incompetence of EA in quickly and efficiently removing sold players from the Auction House.

Look at this bull. How does keeping those results around help anybody?

Look at this bull. How does keeping those results around help anybody?

At the end of the day, when you search for a specific criteria and get a copious amount of useless results, it just mucks up the playing process – it hurts those who snipe and those who don’t as well.

There are other annoying delays as well. All too often, you’ll search for players or collectibles, and nothing will come up. Then you’ll tap the refresh button a few times, only to find a bunch of auction results from a few minutes ago.

That is so annoying. I get there are technical logistics to work out here, but the Auction House is live. Those types of delays are unacceptable, and again, just slows the game down for all players. Plus, some players actually benefit from those delays, when their Auction House works while others are left behind in the dust.

In any case, those are my complaints for now.

Again, I want to reiterate: Madden NFL Mobile is fun. But I guess the bad just stands out even more because the game is generally pretty good.

Click here to see my team one month after this post.