Author: Sean McMahon(The Tale Of Schmoney)

Delivering my efforts into Self-Improvement.

Delivering my efforts into Self-Improvement.

Today marks the end of week two of self-improvement of my own body and mind. This week consists more of writing my first movie review with Wonder Woman,  jogging, and door dashing. This week is been a solid one for me particularly my first movie review.

My review was a short and sweet summary of the film in my own words. Even the review could have been better if I talked more about the settings and its weaknesses.  The problem with me writing was that I was writing that post really late at 1:00 am. So I was in a weary state and I was more focused on getting the review done in time. So I might consider expanding that review at some point with spoilers included if you would like to read that. Overall, I loved the movie entirely and I have gained a lot more respect for the Wonder Woman character and Gal Gadot.

Other than writing about my first movie review, I’ve done a lot of deliveries through Doordash and Postmates. Since I wanted to expand my skill set and make some extra dough for my own benefit. By doing this task, I have learned a lot more about the interworkings of delivering entrees to guests instead of serving them at a dine-in restaurant. So far, I have completed over forty deliveries in the past two weeks and made over $300 in the process. I’m very likely to continue my journey through door dashing.

Also, I have set some goals in my second week as well.  I will list them here.

  1. Enroll in a Self-Defense course to improve my physical ability and cogitative ability.
  2. Read 50 to 100 pages of Infinite Jest and Read Chapter 2: Desire from Think and grow rich.
  3. Study further into improving my English speaking and writing skills.
  4. Study further in calculus and economics

Overall, I will continue to achieve these goals for my own benefit.

Wonder Woman(2017): The graceful warrior.

Wonder Woman(2017): The graceful warrior.

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Wonder Woman (2017) Movie Review written by Sean Owen McMahon

In my wildest dreams, I’ve never thought that the DC cinema universe would deliver a well-balanced film has a well-written story that isn’t dark and edgy like *cough Batman Vs Superman.  After I came out after watching Wonder Woman, I’m happy to report that Wonder Woman(Gal Gabot) has given us the DC film that we all wanted. It’s clear that I am not the only one to say that with ninety-one percent of critics has praised the film across the board from Rotten Tomatoes. Also, this film has become the highest grossest weekend for a film that is directed by a female director, Patty Jenkins. Even the news surfaced that some theaters only allow women to see the film without inviting men. Luckily in my case, being a heterosexual man I wasn’t kicked out. I had enough bringing the boring stuff, let’s talk about the film and well, Wonder Woman herself.

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For the people, who never heard of Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, is the Princess of Themyscira who was created in  All Stars comics in October 1941 created by international famous psychologist, Dr. William Moulton Marston. He visioned the idea of psychological propaganda for the new type of woman should rule the world. The origin of the creation of Wonder Woman is an interesting development on how the character was created during the time when comics are still in its infancy. I couldn’t fit in the review, but I’ll have the link to the article if you’re interested in reading about the origins of the character.

The plot of the film involves the origin story on Diana Prince(Wonder Woman) played by Gal Gabot, daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons played by Connie Nielsen. Diana grows up on the island of Themyscira, home to the Amazons, a race of warrior women created by the gods of Mount Olympus to protect humankind against the God of War’s corruption. Young Diana played by Lilly Aspell and Emily Carey is a free-spirited and rebellious, her loyalties split between two opposed parental figures. The left hand of Hippolyta wanted Diana to stay away from combat while Antiope(Robin Wright) wanted Diana to get exposure on learning on how to defend herself.

Throughout Diana’s childhood to Adulthood, she began to learn about her own powers and origins of her tribe. Particularly in one scene where she fights Antiope in a sparring session, she was getting pummeled. Until she used her signature indestructible bracelets to unleash an enormous blast that left an impact on Antiope in the process.  The blast had left an impact on Diana emotionally that would make her mother more concern on letting Diana continue training. Then, her life changed when she rescues Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine after his plane was destroyed by the Germans. Not for long for the Germans to find the island and attack the Amazonians in search of Steve Trevor. During the assault, Antiope sacrifices her life to save Diana by taking the bullet to the chest.

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After the assault, the Amazonians blame the death of Antiope on Steve Trevor because they believed that he lead the Germans to attack them. They used their prejudice belief on how men are evil to conclude that Trevor is responsible for Antiope’s death. However, Diana knew that Trevor was innocent, but her sisters didn’t believe her words. Then, Steve was interrogated with the use of the Lasso of Truth and he revealed that he’s an Allied spy from the Great War(World War One) era. He stole a notebook from German scientist Doctor Maru and General Erich Ludendorff that contained a deadlier version of mustard gas that could possibly kill millions of innocent lives. Then, Diana convinced herself that the mastermind behind this great war was the God of War himself, Aries. So she decided to armor herself with the ceremonial sword and leaves Themyscira with Steve to find Aries before the world faces his wrath.

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Well, that is the plot of the story, now we let’s talk about the characters themselves. First, with Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. Since the announcement when she got cast as Wonder Woman, large numbers rash back against this decision of casting her. She was an unknown actress outside of the Fast and Furious Franchise and she has little acting experience. That was one of the most common complaints about her. Then, we got the taste of her being Wonder Woman in Batman Vs Superman and their audience believed that she has the potential to be an Excellent Wonder Woman. I was among of those fans who believe that we needed a feature film that showcases her ability to play Wonder Woman.  And if this the plan from D.C, they definitely made the right choice of casting Gadot because she rocks the role of Wonder Woman.

Gadot wonderfully inhabits the mix of curiosity, sincerity, badassery, and compassion that Wonder Woman’s character has established. Most importantly, she wears her suit, the suit doesn’t wear her. She evokes a classic heroism that is a breath of fresh air that is similar to Christopher Reeve’s approach to Superman from the 1970s. It’s like that I don’t see Gal Gabot trying to be Wonder Woman, I see Wonder Woman. Which its a good idea that she worked very hard to get the characterization of Wonder Woman. She showed off her charismatic attitude in every scene that she’s in, even she may come as naive to the 1910s London in the World War One.  Especially, her curiosity in learning how her world of man is much different from her world where it doesn’t have any men that inhabit there.

When we have a young, inexperienced Diana, who is completely inadvertent to the outside, it’s a good idea to bring in a man who is more familiar with the outside to help guide Diana though World War One. No one else can fit this role of Steve Trevor other than Captain Kirk himself, Chris Pine. Chris Pine’s performance works off Gadot’s perfectly by becoming the man who is “not all men” category. He’s more than capable of bringing an emotional complexity to a character most aptly described as a dude-in-distress. There are particularly great scenes at the beginning, as Diana talks about men being unnecessary for female pleasure. Steve seems undone by her presence, which makes the development of their story authentic. Their chemistry is electrifying, making “Wonder Woman” a successful romance that helps drive Diana’s character development into becoming the Wonder Woman by the end of the film.

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“Wonder Woman” is arguably among the best superhero movies that we have gotten so far. Despite the film has its flaws like the villains’ development and how they felt are an afterthought. However, the film far exceeds in the narrative, performance, and the message behind it. I would rate this film a nine out of ten(9/10), it’s a wonderful superhero film that could give Marvel the run for their money if Warner Bros/DC Comics stay with this tone for the Justice League and the future films after it. Oh please, Zack Synder and Joss Whedon, give the Justice League the justice that the superheroes deserve. Wonder Woman is the first step in the right direction.

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References

http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/06/05/wonder-woman-jill-lepore-feminism

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/origin-story-wonder-woman-180952710/

 

The path of finding my way

The path of finding my way

Today was the first day that I’ve started my journey on improving myself both physically and mentally. I felt like that I have talked about this for a long time. However, I lacked the discipline and the drive to reach this goal for one year. Due to the fact that I was morose  with my abilities. I wasn’t stronger, I wasn’t smarter, I wasn’t diligent, I viewed myself as a weak-willed and envious man throughout my first two years in college. This was the exact opposite of my goals. now. I had found hope from other men whom had been in the same situation like me. I have read and study their own posts like they are an artwork. They saw pride and self-respect for their own achievements without boasting about them. They were giving hope for other people to strive for greater things. Then, I decided to stop grieving over my failures because I was inspired that I can meet these goals like these men.  Now, I know that I can meet these goals myself without relying on some force to complete them. I’m the narrator of my tale.

So on May 31st 2017, I announced that I’m going on journey on improving myself both physically and mentally as well though a simple photo. The photo shown me in my Captain America shirt(I’m a bigger fan of Superman) to represent my first transformation from your average man into an extraordinary one. This is the first photo that I felt like I’m starting a whole new life, but in the same life. Its like resetting your save data in a Role-Playing game to start fresh again. And I will be writing about my save data each week. So I can write my feelings on the things that I’ve completed for each week covering my strengths and weaknesses. I will be writing about the goals that I’ve set for each week. Most importantly is how I learn from these experiences expressed into words. So stay tuned for the next couple days.

 

Character Spotlight(Cloud Spotlight)

Character Spotlight(Cloud Spotlight)

I wasn’t really expected to enjoy Final Fantasy 7 even with everyone saying that its the greatest game ever made. Its a very bold statement to make a game that is almost 19 years old, but is it really that good like everyone says it is. After playing the game and I gotten say that I now I get “why people love this game so much”. Its the fact is that the characters in the game were complex, relate able, and memorable. But, out of all of the cast of well-freshet out characters, I found the main hero of the story himself, Cloud Strife. You might be thinking on the fact why I believe the hero of the story is considered one of the greatest video game characters of all time. Some may say “you mean the emo dude who is always moody and is a jerk to a lot of people”. But, if you took the time to play though the game yourself, you would discover that Cloud has a lot more depth into his character than you would think for the first time. Cloud Strife is one of the rare characters in games who has depth, complexity, and a surprisingly believable arc of character development that you could easily identify with.

At the beginning of the game, you were introduced to Cloud when he vaults out of a train and single-handedly defeated a group of Shira armed guards under the leadership of Barrett. He’s detached and impersonal, a sword for hire whose only priority is completing his job and getting paid. Cloud is set up as a masculine power fantasy. He’s an elite military specialist gone rogue against an oppressive “Ignore”, who is motivated not just by rugged individualism but also to protect the women that he encounters. He reacts to crisis with an aloof swish of his hair and a cocky slouch. For the first half of Final Fantasy VII, the player takes the role of this capable, slightly arrogant warrior figure, but we discover a fatal flaw in his character later on.

Most video game heroes resemble Cloud after the opening credits. They are outlets of the same male power fantasy. But halfway through the game, layers of Cloud’s façade were slowly peeling away. When he demands that Aeris or Tifa stay out of danger, he’s incapable of holding them back—and indeed both women prove well suited to dealing with danger and are even necessary to the quest. After all, Cloud is not hunting down Sephiroth, he is being led by him.

Cloud is not only less capable than he lets on, but his entire identity is false. The major reveal of Final Fantasy VII is that Cloud falsified his own memories. Thanks the effects of the mako poisoning that he inherited from Zack Fair. He was never a member of the elite military group Soldier, he did not become personal friends with the war hero Sephiroth, and he never made a living as a mercenary. In truth, Cloud was raised by a single mother, he had a lonely childhood, he failed to live up to his dreams. His entire background is mired with so much failure and disappointment that he represses it totally and adopts a new identity.

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Cloud’s personality is based off two templates: one is Sephiroth and the other is Zack. Sephiroth is set up as a militaristic ubermensch, a famed war hero. The 14-year old Cloud boasts proudly to a young Tifa that he’s leaving for the big city to join Soldier and be like Sephiroth. Cloud adopts Sephiroth as a fatherly paragon of manhood. Similarly, Zack is a young wonderkind rocketed through the ranks of Soldier, a talented and respected man with the bright future that Cloud wants but is incapable of achieving. Both men are appropriately armed with signature phallic swords. When Cloud takes on Zack’s identity, he takes his sword (which in battle he holds upright between his legs) and buries his preteen self beneath this other man’s identity.

At the game’s halfway mark, after the party acquires the black materia in the Temple of the Ancients, Cloud’s mind betrays him. He lacks the will to resist Sephiroth, his father figure, and turns on Aeris. At this point Cloud is no longer the cocky, dispassionate warrior. He’s as likely to curl into a ball and pout as he is to charge into battle. The more of his false identity that is peeled away, the less there is that remains. Cloud’s self is so dependent on the virile masculine warrior illusion that there is nothing beneath it. When his illusion is stripped away entirely, Cloud is paralyzed and catatonic. Cloud’s only self is the fantasized version that he has created.

As Final Fantasy VII comes to a conclusion, a whole and real Cloud finally emerges. Cloud accepts his failures, he apologizes to his friends for being weak, for failing himself and the rest of the party. However he’s still accepted back, and they don’t hesitate to forgive him. He acknowledges his flaws and overcomes them. His personal acceptance is rewarded when his friends accepting  him for who he is. He isn’t very masculine, but his peers still respect him. The Cloud at the beginning of Final Fantasy VII is starkly different than the Cloud at the end. He whines, he fails, and he is weak, but he is far better equipped to save the world than when he was deceiving himself.

By the end of the game, the government it toppled, the planet’s energy source is too dangerous to keep using, the world’s largest city is destroyed, but the planet still stands and there is still hope. The theme is echoed in Cloud’s progress as a character, for all his self-deception, his mistakes, and his weaknesses, he finds himself and ends up stronger after doing so.

Cloud is alone, he is afraid, and he doesn’t know who he is, a sentiment shared by many 21-year-olds, even those who aren’t burdened with saving the world. This idea is very similar to the phase that all young adults had gone. Which it’s finding of what we love to do and embrace it. This is the same exact phrase that I’m going through right now. I’m just like Cloud. I’m probably that I’m not the only one to admit it. I struggle with depression and anxiety for a long time. The depression comes from the fact that I can view myself as a weak individual at times. Because I have a difficult time in finding my own way with my autism being a huge obstacle in my life. However, I realize that I’m still “young” and learning more about my strengths as I go though college.  Yet, I have a lot more to go.

As the story concludes, after the “real” cloud is rescued literally from deep within his psyche, he becomes a complete human being. He’s weak, and he’s sorry. He’ll do better next time. He may never be the man that he wanted to be. He may never be the Zack Fair or Sephiroth. However, Sephiroth was revealed that his mind was so wrapped once he discovered about the fate of  his mother. He went so far in insanity  Maybe, it might be a positive thing for Cloud. Cloud does become the hero that he wanted to be, but he done it in his own way. Even he wasn’t the prodigy that Zack was. However, in the long run, Cloud has becomes a stronger person in the process. He becomes his own living legacy. And that’s what makes Cloud Strife a unique character that we often don’t see in a lot of video game protagonists. He is a complete human being just like us. This is what makes Cloud a standout from all of the video game heroes that we have today.