On Killing Book Review

On Killing

I finished Lt. Col Dave Grossman’s book¬†On Killing recently. It’s about soldiers’ resistance to kill, how the military overcomes that instinct, and the larger reprecussions of that type of training on society. It is not a “how-to” book as I feared many people might’ve thought whenever I read it in public.

At the start I should say that Grossman presents a good case. He backs it up with hundreds of interviews with soldiers and his personal¬†impressions from being in the service. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of hard data to support his point. Why? Because for the most part there just haven’t been a lot of studies on how to get someone to kill another person. It ranges into the unethical territory of psychological studies. The data he does have is convincing. Continue reading

Nerve Movie Review

NerveNerve is, dare I say it, a summer blockbuster.

The title refers to a fictional streamed game where users sign up as a Watchers or Players.

Watchers watch the Players, duh, and give the Players dares to complete.

Dares come with a cash prize if completed and there’s something about losing all the money you’ve won if you fail a dare that isn’t fully explained.

Players are competing against each other. Nerve is set up as a 24 hour game. The two Players with the most Watchers at the end of the day move on to the Finals.

This game is funded by a $20 fee put forward by each Watcher.

The movie stars Emma Roberts as Vee (short for Venus), who is using the game to prove that she takes risks to her risky, risque friend, Sydney.

Vee joins the game as a Player and soon joins up with another Player named Ian.

The team-up catapults Vee and Ian to the lead, but as they get more Watchers the dares they must complete get more and more dangerous and more and more illegal. Vee and Ian must decide whether to continue, risking death and possible arrest, or drop out and lose all the money they’ve won so far.

The trailer made me feel that the Watchers would start to manipulate Vee and Ian to their benefit with dares like, “Rob a bank!”and “Leave the money by my apartment!” but none of that happened.

Vee and Ian do end up fighting back against the game with the help of their friends. That’s where it got a little weird for me.

Nerve is supposedly an open source game that anyone can edit the code of as long as the majority of voting users approve those changes. A nice premise, but it doesn’t hold up.

First of all, the money. Where does it go when its taken out of your account? Who is spending it on keeping the streaming service up and running? Who decides the prizes for dares? It’s not a group of people voting in a chat room like Twitch Plays Pokemon. We all know that wouldn’t be fast enough for this sort of entertainment.

The answer is that there MUST be a group of people that made and still control the game. They are the voting users that decide top level issues for Nerve.

This group is necessary, but they remain unconfronted by the end of the movie. Nerve is supposedly defeated, never to return to endanger people’s lives. Unfortunately, there is literally nothing stopping this group of creators from starting the game up again.

Not that this is a bad thing, the movie was good and I’d like a sequel, but the problem was that the movie didn’t acknowledge that there must be a specific group toying with the Players. Everything was just the evil behavior of “the mob.”

So that’s most of the plot along with the plotholes.

Stylistically, the movie was amazing. Good acting, good costuming, GREAT effects.

The special effects are used to show the “behind-the-scenes” on the Nerve app. Lines connecting Watchers to Players. An aerial shot with beacons showing where the Players are in New York. Other good-looking stuff like that.

Lots of fun stunts in the movie as well.

It is a really good thriller movie with bits of action and lots of thinking moments. Go see it with someone else! It’ll give you plenty to talk about afterwards.

Nerve definitely gets my recommendation.

-GoCorral