Me Before You Review

Took me awhile to write this review because I’m a lazy slug. If Me Before You is still playing when I post this, great! If not, consider this a review of the forthcoming DVD/Internet download.

Me Before You

Me Before You is the first romance of the summer, at least that’s what I thought before going to the theater.

It turns out that the romance portrayed in the trailers is only a small part of the movie. The real conflict is assisted suicide.

Our main character is Louisa Clark, played by Emilia Clarke, who is let go from her waitressing job and must find something else to help support her poor family.

Louisa finds work at the wealthy Traynor estate taking care of the Traynor’s adult quadriplegic son, Will.

Will was once an investment banker with lots of wealthy friends, a hot girlfriend, and a thirst for adrenaline-pumping activities like skiing, skydiving, and parasailing.

Will becomes a quadriplegic when a motorcycle hits him while he was jaywalking and talking on his cell phone.

Two years later Will is able to talk and move his fingers a little but that’s it. His friends have abandoned him. He lives in constant pain due to the complications of his condition. He is routinely hospitalized with life threatening pneumonia. All of this leads Will to the decision to undergo assisted suicide.

Will’s mother is against this for obvious reasons. Will agrees to give her six months to convince him otherwise and if she can’t, to say her goodbyes.

Enter Louisa! Will’s mother hires her not to take care of Will, he already has a nurse for that, but to cheer him up and show him that life is worth living.

Louisa develops a friendship with Will that grows into love.

The movie is unfortunately lacking in a lot of the things that make a good romance though.

First of all, romances are often framed as a choice between the audience’s favorite and the “wrong person.”

Louisa’s choice of Will over her old boyfriend is practically ignored. Will is just so clearly better except for the disability that its no contest.

Will’s choice is a little harder to turn into a romance. Will can be in a relationship with Louisa or he can commit suicide. How romantic…

The romance is also lacking in physical passion (obviously). There is no consummation of their love beyond a kiss. It’s simply not possible for Will to go further.

The movie was, however, a good drama and dealt with suicide in a realistic way.

People commit suicide for a number of reasons, but I believe the unifying reason is that they’d rather be dead than be in their current situation, whether that’s feeling sad, or empty, or terrified, or, in Will’s case, trapped.

Will explains that he wants to end his life because he cannot bring himself to change who he is.

He is Will the Investor! Will the Skydiver! Will the Snowboarder! Will the Daredevil!

If he can’t be those things, then he’s nothing.

Louisa and Will’s family hope that Will can change his perception of himself. Maybe he can be Will the Dictation Writer, or Will the Quadriplegic Advocate, or even return to being Will the Investor.

And ultimately Will decides…

HAHA! Just kidding, I’m not going to spoil the ending for you.

Having some personal experience with the topics explored in Me Before You I think its fair to say that it accurately portrays why someone would consider suicide and how that open decision could affect that person’s loved ones.

If you’re looking for such a cathartic exploration of this topic or just want to see Emilia Clarke waggle her eyebrows around like a crazy Chinese lunchlady, then this is the movie for you. If not… I’d recommend skipping Me Before You. It is many good things, but it is not a romance as the trailer might have you believe.

-GoCorral

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Characters of Cimmeria: Delain

Delain

The Conclave that once ruled mortals lives became unbalanced by the departure of the different races. The Dwarves left the Conclave first due to disagreements between Dwarven and Human leaders about intercity coordination against the Goblin threat. The Elves soon followed suit. As the Humans turned the goal of the Goblin Wars from eradication to enslavement, the Orcs left the Conclave to continue the war’s original purpose. In time the Orcs saw value in preserving the Goblin way of life and in fact protected the Goblins from Human invasion. The Halflings were the last to leave the Conclave after the end of the Goblin Wars. They felt the organization had served it’s purpose and that it was time to start fresh.

The adversarial nature of the Humans that remained within the Conclave incited wars with Continue reading

Programming + Absence

Well it’s Friday and I’ve about missed my chance of having a D&D post this week.

I started writing one and I just kept adding more to it. The consequence is no post about Cimmeria this week, but hopefully a giant sized one for next week!

If you’re still craving your weekly D&D post from the GoCorral blog then I still have something for you.

I completed that script I was working on for criticals in Hackmaster on Roll20. Not only that, I completed two more scripts for melee and ranged fumbles in Hackmaster!

They are available for download on GitHub at these locations:
Critical: https://gist.github.com/GoCorral/1297d794e80e78f6238e2bd6c7661e37
Melee Fumble: https://gist.github.com/GoCorral/9240004810d0667c5ac76a083d7a94d3
Ranged Fumble: https://gist.github.com/GoCorral/f0fd318795fdf76643cfd0b2e0908c5f

So if you play Hackmaster using Roll20 and have a Roll20 Pro subscription then these should be pretty valuable to you. If not… you might be able to modify it for use outside of Roll20’s API and still get some fun out of it.

The other announcement of the week is that I will be on vacation the next two weeks.

I’ll do my best to stay constant with updates over that time, but I believe it is inevitable that I’ll be distracted by something in the city in visiting, Nashville.

And when I get back I’ll have a lot to say about the capitol of country music!

Thanks for reading!
-GoCorral

Characters of Cimmeria: Restnor

In a way, this post is really about three characters, not just one. Restnor the Third was a character I established previously as the founder of Restnor’s Point. Having him be “the Third” meant that there were two Restnors before him. Additionally, as their lives weren’t mentioned they couldn’t possibly be as important as Restnor. So I came up with a little history for the two of them, but mostly as a way of setting the scene for the environment that Restnor the Third grew up in.

Restnor the Third

In the aftermath of the Dragon War people moved into the wild untamed places of Cimmeria such as the Black River watershed. These early settlers needed protection. Many volunteered to be rangers trained by the Elves that lived in the Valor Forest. Restnor the First was among the initial group of rangers slaying monsters and protecting the people that made their homes along the Black River’s tributaries. Restnor the First had a child with an Elf. When the child was old enough, Restnor took him and raised him on the road while he battled against all manner of threats to civilized life. Continue reading

Cimmerian Timeline Part 5

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 4

I’m taking a swing at finishing more of the Cimmerian Timeline, but this entry is not chronologically synced with the others. Instead, this post will be about what I’ve written for the first five heroes of the Dragon War. Where do their exploits stand in time prior to the events leading directly to the Dragon War? What year did Tracy steal all those weapons? How long did Jovy and Cecilia travel for? Now’s as good a time as any to input that information into the Timeline. Some of those events are still dependent on other factors though before I decide the specific year in the Timeline. Because of that, I’m only putting in Tentineh, Jovy, and Cecilia’s backgrounds.

954BCE: Hymniara was born along the western Caspian coast.

945BCE: Tentineh was born to a merchant couple in Greshen Valley. His mother had been stung by a wyvern in her youth. The wyvern’s poison still festered in her body and it transferred into Tentineh, giving him great physical and magical strength.

941BCE: Hymniara began running with the followers of Artemis and considered joining their band permanently.

939BCE: Hymniara’s dreams were cut short when she encountered Zeus in the form of a trout. The pair enjoyed carnal relations. Hymniara declared the loss of her innocence to Artemis. She left the band on good terms with a gift of fish scale armor.

938BCE: Hymniara gave birth to Cecilia. Tentineh began his apprenticeship to a wizard and descendant of Sadroston.

937BCE: While still a babe, jealous Hera sent scorpions to poison and kill Cecilia. Instead of dying, Cecilia slew the scorpions and ate them!

933BCE: Jovy was born to a farmer couple in Zeus’s Canvas.

930BCE: Tentineh completed his apprenticeship two years early, already having surpassed his master. He started traveling to learn more about the four elements and how to channel their energy.

926BCE: Cecilia grew into beauty and womanhood. Men approached her and her mother asking for her hand in marriage. Cecilia challenged them to contests of skill and might. If she lost she would marry them. If she won, the men owed her their shield and armor. Many men lost their panoplies and Cecilia stayed a maid.

921BCE: Cecilia left home to travel the world and do great deeds in honor of her patron gods, Artemis and Zeus.

920BCE: Tentineh completed his travels. He built himself a tower in Greshendale and studied summoning magic within his warded home.
Cecilia settled with the Elves of Bigby’s Forest for a time and learned much from then. She mastered wrestling, swordplay, and the basics of magic. While staying with the Elves Cecilia defeated many wolves, bears, basilisks, and orcs.

915BCE: Jovy had grown to be an unruly teenager. He avoided his responsibilities as often as he could, electing to swim, play, and steal rather than complete his farmyard chores. Jovy’s father arranged an early marriage in the hopes that it would force his son to settle down. Jovy took off in the night and never returned home. He journeyed westward, stealing valuables and girls’ hearts along the way.

914BCE: Cecilia learned everything she could and her time with the Elves came to an end. She traveled to the Caspian Sea and followed the coast eastward.
Jovy’s journey took him southward along the Caspian shore.

913BCE: Jovy reached the Aractrash River where Hermes spoke to him. The Olympian told Jovy to build a giant bowl and push it into the River. Jovy built the wooden bowl, but he lacked the strength to push it into the river. At this time Cecilia arrived on her journey. She easily pushed the bowl into the river. As she did so the bowl turned into a double-masted ship with a crew of phantom sailors. Jovy and Cecilia sailed the ship, named Mira Miro, into the Caspian Sea where they slew many sea monsters.

910BCE: Satisfied with all he discovered about of summoning magic, Tentineh finally decided to get married. A ceremony wedded him to his long-time maid and assistant, Fafarella. Fafarella was soon pregnant and the line of Tentineh continued.

908BCE: A troll army attacked Greshendale. Tentineh was unable to defeat the army solely with his command over elemental fire. Forced into a corner, the great wizard summoned a beast from the fiery pit, a great fire slaad. The monster slew the trolls and rested afterwards to regain its strength. Fearful that the people of Greshendale might be the next to feel the slaad’s evil heat, Tentineh poured over old scripts and tomes for a method to seal the slaad away.
Jovy and Cecilia defeated the majority of the sea monsters in the Caspian, freeing the sea for the people of Cimmeria to sail and fish upon. Cecilia returned to her home and protected the growing coastal town from the prevalent monster threats of the time. Jovy stayed upon the Caspian Sea to survey Those Blasted Islands in the sea.

907BCE: Tentineh’s search proved successful. He found a ritual to bind the slaad into an eternal prison. The beast was contained. not wanting to resort to such magic again, Tentineh began training the people of Greshendale to fight and cast magic despite the rule of the dragons that forbade such practices.

906BCE: Jovy completed his survey of Those Blasted Islands. He began transporting people from the Caspian coast to the islands to colonize them. Jovy proclaimed himself King of the Caspian and he began taxing/extorting valuables and commodities from his citizens.

901BCE: A horde of giants attacked Greshendale. Left with no other choice, Tentineh revealed his army in open violation of the dragons’ laws. The giants were defeated, but greater dangers might come as a result.
Jovy took some time off as King of the Caspian to visit the Dwarves in Jord. He fit in like fingers in a glove and became a minor celebrity to the Hill Dwarves.

900BCE: Tentineh called the heroes of the land together and the Dragon War began.

-GoCorral

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 6

Neighbors 2 Review

Neighbors 2

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is the latest comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller who had been involved in a fair number of modern comedies including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five Year Engagement, and the more recent Muppet movies.

Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron reprise their roles from the first Neighbors movie as Mac, Kelly, and Teddy respectively. A couple of the side characters return as well but who cares about them?

The fraternity from the last movie has sold their house and moved on. Mac and Kelly are getting ready to sell their place to upgrade for more acreage or something (the reason is never really stated).

They have a buyer and they enter the closing period of escrow when suddenly a sorority moves in next door in the fraternity’s old house!

The reason for the sorority’s existence is a rather nice critique on the Greek system which I will attempt to explain.

Good sororities are almost always a part of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). Membership in NPC comes with lots of support, but also lots of rules.

These rules happen to be a bit… sexist. Sororities are not allowed to throw parties or have alcohol in their houses. To get those things they have to go to fraternities.

And as the movie shows, fraternities can have a rapey atmosphere at their parties.

In Neighbors 2, a girl named Shelby decides to buck the system by forming an independent sorority along with her two friends, Nora and Beth.

Having a sorority next door threatens the closing of the sale for Mac and Kelly so naturally a prank war begins just like in the first Neighbors.

It’s a traditional and predictable comedy so at the end everyone has a happy ever after. I won’t spoil more than that.

There’s plenty of good jokes and funny scenes. There might not be a romantic subplot, but it’s a blast.

If you’ve seen Nicholas Stoller’s other stuff I think you’ll like Neighbors 2. If you haven’t seen any of his movies then you should get out from under your rock and go see Neighbors 2.

My favorite part was how the movie approached the sorority girls’ unique brand of feminism.

It’s less socially acceptable for women to do drugs, be gross, and make jokes than men. Instead women are encouraged to be dainty, polite, and out of sight.

The characters in Neighbors 2 directly challenge that stereotype. They smoke and sell pot. They don’t dress up for men and they joke about how they look fabulous with Cheetos in their hair. They throw used tampons at Mac and Kelly’s windows and laugh when it’s suggested that a used tampon is any different than the used condoms that were thrown around in Neighbors 1.

Best of all, Shelby, Nora, and Beth also accept women who don’t want to challenge the American stereotype of what a sorority girl is. If you want to be pretty and polite, that’s fine too.

So if you’re looking for a movie with a strong feminist message or just for some laughs, Neighbors 2 is right for you!

-GoCorral

Characters of Cimmeria: Tracy

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Tracy was a Halfling trickster and diplomat during the Age of Monsters. She singlehandedly prevented war between her kinsmen and the Conclave after the little people parted ways with the organization. After stopping the war, Tracy became a leader among the Halfling people and helped found the towns that grew into Crafterton and Nomingburg. Tracy joined the other heroes of the land during the Dragon War and imprisoned the blue dragons at the war’s conclusion. Tracy joined her companions in their slumber, only to be reawakened when the dragons were freed. Tracy was  the first to wake up when the Blue Dragon Orb was broken , but she died in her attempt to defeat the blues’ patriarch, Bavastatner.

Tracy’s story begins as tension grew within the aging Conclave that once ruled mortals’ lives in Cimmeria. Continue reading