Post-Livestream for the Cure

Livestream for the Cure 3 is over and while the final dollar amount isn’t confirmed due to some amounts being donated in foreign currency, we crushed the goal of $7500 and in total raised over $8000 for cancer research with early donations and your fantastic support this weekend. What’s impressive is that if you removed the $1000 in early donations, we still raised over $7000 on the air over the weekend. We couldn’t have accomplished this without everyone who shared the event with their friends and family, everyone who participated in the event, and everyone who donated for the event. Your amazing generosity and compassion have helped to make this event successful for the past two years.

I walk away from the event with a sense of pride and disappointment. The pride is that I helped Nick, in some small way, put on the event. Before most guests joined the livestream itself, I was there making sure their video and audio settings were correct. Now sometimes, we had issues ranging from internet intermittence to just not being able to hear people, but overall, I’d say we were 95% successful in getting people on the air with no issues.

As for my disappointments, they’re mainly to do with people. First and foremost, we had some trolls in the twitch chat this year. I know it’s Twitch and I know these people exist, but it’s a cancer research charity livestream. Maybe show a modicum of respect and don’t actively troll the event because you’re trying to be edgy. Secondly, we didn’t get those donations from random people just happening by the stream. I’m not going to dwell too much onto this being that I don’t know what their financial situation is but a few donations from people that we couldn’t trace back to some podcast would have been nice. Thirdly and finally, I’m disappointed with some of my friends yet again. I know some of them are going through tough times right now, but it would have been nice if they could have shared the event with their friends and family and maybe helped us raise even more money. I love them when they’re around, but I’m a little upset when they kind of ignore what’s going on when they’re just browsing on their phone.

We also learned a lot about what to do for next year in regards to how we structure the event. Having everyone use Appear.In and bringing the entire audience over to Twitch really helped to streamline the event behind the scenes and we’re definitely going to continue down this route going forward. Something we’re going to have to improve is how we use social media for the event. Nick and I talked about how a third person will most likely need to be added to the on-site team next year just to help with getting information about what’s going on with the show out to people on Facebook, Twitter, and maybe even Instagram. The third thing is having the guy who works for Spectrum technical support on speed dial. Those of you who were around for the first 2 hours of Friday know that we were down and out for about 2 hours due to internet issues. After calling Spectrum, their employee, whose name I can’t remember right now, was totally understanding of our problem and helped us out immensely. Finally, we hit our goal on Saturday night/Sunday morning at 12:30 am. Something that we should have done to keep bringing in donations on Sunday was to create stretch goals for the event. Raising the goal to $10000 might have kept donations incoming as I’m sure some people came to the event on Sunday, saw that we hit the goal of $7500 and then just wholesale stopped donating. I’m not gonna blame them for that. It seems like a natural impulse to realize the goal has been hit and for all I know, everyone had tapped out their pocketbooks before Sunday in the first place.

As I leave you from the rambling sorta wrap-up/thank you letter, I do want to thank you guys so much for helping make Livestream for the Cure 3 the biggest success yet. I know some people had issues donating on the main Cancer Research Institute website and that sucks because this event could have been so much more successful. If you’re reading this and this is the first time you’re hearing of Livestream for the Cure, and you want to donate to the event, please go to livestreamforthecure.com and head through the donation process. As I write this in May, one of the Cancer Research Institute’s benefactors is matching all donations made during May and June of 2019 so if you can make a donation that time-span, your donation with be counted as being doubled(just like all other donations made during the event).

So while I do have some disappointments with some aspects of how the event went, it’s essential to put it into perspective. We raised(when you factor in the doubling of all donations made for the event) $16160.62 for cancer research. And for me right now, that’s good enough.

My 2019 Netflix Wishlist

Coming into 2019, there are certain things I want out of Netflix. Whether they be things that they can improve or brand new implementations, these are the things that would make Netflix a bit better for me.

  1. A merchandise store: Netflix’s number one missed opportunity in terms of a revenue stream is not making merchandise for any of their original shows. Imagine if there was an online store that sold t-shirts and hoodies to your favorite shows. A Prufrock Prep hoodie with the school’s motto on it, a Underwood 2020 shirt, the pink backpack from Altered Carbon, and that’s not to mention posters for every single Original program. Of course, it would take an incredible amount of money to even set up: market research, raw materials, printing costs, staffing, establishing supply chains; but would the pay-off be worth it? I say probably. Then again, they’ve got people who are smarter than me and who have probably done market research to know whether or not it’s a good idea.

  2. Viewing numbers: From here on out, my wish-list gets significantly more selfish. As a podcaster who focuses solely on Netflix, knowing how shows and movies are doing in terms of viewership would go a long way into determining what we should be reviewing for the show. Netflix seems to only reveal viewing numbers whenever it makes them look good. Look at when they announced that Bird Box garnered over 45,000,000 views in its first week of release. They basically whipped it out to show off how big it was. I want that for everything, not just the most successful thing all time for their platform. It would aid in my analysis of why shows get renewed or cancelled and make for an overall more informative show.

  3. Earlier release date announcements: The announcement of the release date for Stranger Things Season 3 not withstanding, Netflix is really bad at announcing when content releases. A lot of the time, a trailer is released within a week or two of release of the program and it’s difficult to build hype for it. The Punisher Season 2 is a perfect example, the release date was announced to anyone not privy to the Netflix Media Center website on January 3 or fifteen days before the release of the season. If you want to get people to talk about your products, you need to give them time to breathe. Announcing things a month or two out allows for the hype to build and selfishly, allows me to schedule my show more effectively.

So what about all of you? What do you want to see Netflix do in 2019? Let me know in the comment section!

These Two Aren't the Same

Every once in awhile, I like to troll about Facebook comments on the Netflix Facebook page. Now I know that it’s typically a cesspool of dumb takes and people generally not understanding what’s going on but today, a few comments like the one below got to me.

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This is in response to a Netflix post saying “Hold the Dark was absolutely terrifying!”. Right off the bat, I totally disagree with what Netflix is saying. I was at no point terrified of what was going to happen in the movie(remember that Caleb taught us all the definition of terror in episode 111) but still, I was entertained.

This brings me to blacked out name up there. This person is equating How It Ends and Hold the Dark. If for some reason we decided to do a Worst of the Year category for The Swillies this year, How It Ends would probably be on it, alongside Mute and Extinction. How It Ends has so many more problems than the very end of the movie, which I actually liked that they never explained what caused the cataclysmic events that set the movie in motion. Plus, I find the observation ‘It’s called How It Ends and the ending isn’t even there’ tiresome. You can read more about my thoughts of How It Ends here: https://www.netflixnswill.com/reviews/2018/7/16/movie-review-how-it-ends

Hold the Dark falls on the opposite side of the spectrum. It’s one of the better movies of the year and assuming that the big four that Netflix is releasing in the coming months(Other Side of the Wind, Outlaw King, Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and Roma) live up to the hype, Hold the Dark would fit in my honorable mentions column for the Best Original Movie of the Year award.

I think equating these two movies just because the ending doesn’t tell you anything is lazy. How It Ends is very literal and holds nothing back. The ending of that movie is not about how the world ends, it’s about how two people need to now survive in a significantly different status quo. Hold the Dark is much more subtle in the delivery of its message and purposefully withholds information from you to make you pay attention more upon a re-watch. That said, even with a re-watch, I was left scratching my head at two particular events at the very end as to understand why they happened. Not to sound too hoity-toity, but How It Ends is much more of a popcorn fare movie while Hold the Dark is something that you have to put down the phone for.

Maybe I’m the fool here. Maybe I should stop going into Facebook comment sections looking for sanity and nuance. Maybe I should stop expecting better of people. Or maybe we should stop making false equivalencies based off of two movies sharing only one aspect.

Or maybe I should just stop going to Facebook comment sections.

My Top 5 "Horror" Movies on Netflix in October 2018

It’s that time again for Halloween, the time when most people who normally don’t watch scary movies decide to partake due to the season. I’m not the horror guy on the podcast nor a horror guy at all. I’d have to say that horror is on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of genres of movies and television. There’s something about watching a horror-themed program that I can’t buy into, I can’t suspend my disbelief in terms of the supernatural. I don’t feel that terror that some might when there’s something I don’t find plausible happening. Ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and zombies are all something I don’t see any plausibility to. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a movie with one of those as the subject, as you’ll see later in my list, but they have to be remarkable for me to enjoy. As such, my list won’t be comprised of what horror purists would put on their lists. For the most part, my list will feature movies that are mainly another genre with horror as a sub-genre. Without further ado, let’s get into my favorites:

5. Deep Blue Sea: I love well-done schlocky horror movies. I’ve seen plenty of poorly done schlock, all too numerous to count. But Deep Blue Sea is one of the good kind of schlock. Incredibly over the top, including memorable kills, fun dialogue, and laugh out loud moments, Deep Blue Sea is one of those movies that I can watch any time of year.

4. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: Moving from schlock to satire, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil does something you never really knew you wanted. You’ve seen the horror movie where some kids head up to some backwoods part of the country and wind-up getting killed by hillbillies. This movie takes it from the side of two hillbillies that want nothing more than just to be left alone and a group of kids assuming that the hillbillies are going to murder them. Pure insanity ensues as the kids start to die unintentionally at the hands of the hillbillies and the hillbillies themselves are horrified. T&DvE is truly a fun time and a nice, lighter-hearted movie(from a comedy sense) to balance out the slasher films of the season.

3. V/H/S 2: This is the most straight-up horror movie on the list. V/H/S 2 is the follow-up to V/H/S, a horror anthology movie set around horror stories captured on VHS tapes. V/H/S 2 features some great stories and interesting cinematography for its stories. It features Adam Wingard and Gareth Evans directing two stories of their own, Evans’ story about the religious cult being my personal favorite of the series for how absolutely bizarre it is. V/H/S 2 is something I watch every single year for the Halloween season and I hope you do too, but make sure you watch it early enough this month. It leaves on October 24.

2. The Babysitter: The only Netflix Original on my list, The Babysitter was unheralded when it first dropped on Netflix. Up to that point, Netflix didn’t have a great track record with horror movies, not to mention that the movie was directed by McG. You know, McG, that guy that directed such masterpieces as Terminator Salvation, Charlie’s Angel’s: Full Throttle, and a bunch of Korn music videos in the 90s. Then when you watch it, it’s just a load of fun. Fun kills, funny dialogue, and a surprising amount of heart, The Babysitter is another fun time in front of the tv(or computer, or mobile phone. Really wherever you watch Netflix).

1. Train to Busan: Train to Busan is one of those movies that I had no idea would be so good. Even when Paul from The Countdown gushed over this movie on one of their patented Top 10, Last 10 episodes, I believed I would be going into a decent movie featuring a father and daughter trying to survive a zombie outbreak. Instead what I got was a great father-daughter drama about a workaholic father trying to make amends for the fact that he’s been neglectful to his daughter with the backdrop of the collapse of society. They’re the main characters of the story but you will care about several more characters as the movie progresses and every death of those characters weighs on you until the very end. This movie is tense and wonderful and you need to see it right now, or on October 1 when the horror season really begins.

Honorable Mentions:

Tusk: It’s kinda become a meme on the show that I want Caleb to watch this. I’ll start by saying, this isn’t a good movie. A lot of people hate this movie. I’m in the camp of people that enjoys this movie. It’s so bizarre, with everything from the entire plot to the walrus suit to the climax. It’s just a bizarre movie that not everyone will be able to buy into but if you’re anything like me, this movie will be a blast.

Ghoul: This is technically cheating because this is a short series on Netflix. It’s three episodes long and they’re each 45 minutes, so if this was instead a movie, it would be roughly two hours and fifteen minutes. Now beware with this show, the first episode is slow. It’s literally nothing but a set-up for the world outside and inside of this prison for Indian terrorists. But once you get past it, the remaining hour and a half are worth your time. This movie compares very well to The Thing, a praise that I don’t raise all too often. This show is gripping for episodes two and three and absolutely something that you need to watch this Halloween season.

Let me know what you guys think of the list and what your horror favorites are that are on Netflix in the month of October!

Playerunknown's Battlegrounds is an Easily Fixable Mess

Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG as it will be known as for the rest of the blog, is one of the most interesting video games I've ever played. It's a simple concept, be the last person left standing, but that simple concept makes every moment stressful in the best way. At least, that's how I felt when I first started playing the game.

Now, I'm more that 250 hours into PUBG and I'm angry with it. I'm angry with it because the game is just littered with issues, from bugs, to design flaws, to cheating out the wazoo. I think PUBG has the potential to be an all time great game, but there are certain things that truly hold this game back.

The Pirates Sunken Ship

I'm not a massive Pittsburgh Pirates fan. They would be my number three Pittsburgh franchise behind the Penguins and the Steelers, in that order. I like baseball as a whole, the game is interesting when you're there but slow enough so that when you watch on tv, you can do something else. The reason they're my number three Pittsburgh franchise is because of ownership and the front office. 

It all started before the 2016 season. The Pirates had just come off a 98 win season, good for second in the entire league. Instead of adding pieces like common sense would dictate, the Pirates traded Neil Walker for struggling pitcher Jon Niese, confident that they could fix what was wrong with him like they had done with many others before. The problem with this is that Neil Walker was an above-average hitting second baseman while Niese needed work. Walker was also vocal in his displeasure with the front office not making the correct transactions in order to place the team in a better situation to win. Speculation is that this was shipping out someone that didn't agree with the front office's philosophy, though it's never been confirmed. They also didn't re-sign J.A. Happ, who had pitched lights out when he was acquired at the 2015 trade deadline. Signing Happ would have made the pill of a terrible bottom two starting pitchers more bearable. Instead, the front office cheaped themselves out of a great player.