The World Before Your Feet: Documentary Review

The World Before Your Feet is an independent documentary about a gentleman named Matt Green, hailing from–well, anywhere he goes, which is everywhere in New York City, every street, every block. He considers himself independently homeless, sufficing on $15 a day so he can afford to keep walking without a job. This is an interesting film as a concept and project. It highlights the human intricacies of finding purpose, especially purposes not motivated by conventional profit or advantage. I think if you’re from New York or have an interest in its complexities, as I’ve always had, this is a pretty interesting, relatively efficient feature.

Before Walking Tours

One thing that intrigued me about this, was the precedent for the popular walking tour streams on YouTube. I’ve watched many of them, even during the lockdown. This was before that though. Before Matt Green got into the thick of the project, he just really enjoyed the mindful moments of standing in a busy street in Manhattan or an abandoned field. In fact, before this, he walked from Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. I’ve scoured through Google Maps plenty of times to glance, but imagine seeing the entire megalopolis of New York! Incidentally, Matt says he uses Google Maps to plan most of the daily journeys. It’s things like this that make his project seem pretty practical and accessible as a sample journey.

I don’t want to spoil anything about this, because it’s really very interesting to learn how and why Matt does it and what his process is. To summarize, he possesses a humble non-materialistic idea about his project. He doesn’t want to get famous or rich or anything, he just wants to walk. It’s very human also, especially when he takes photos of things he finds or talks to strangers on the street who react to his project in all sorts of hilarious but well-ending ways. And it’s admirable in my opinion. I’ve gone on long walks, but I don’t have the commitment that Matt has to do it every day!

Genius Loci, Spirit of Place, An Homage in The World Before Your Feet

You’ll do well to check out Matt’s blog: https://imjustwalkin.com. I’m not sure where he’s at now with the pandemic and everything, but he was featured here earlier this year saying he only had 200 miles left (compared to the colossal 8,000/9,000) https://www.theattic.space/home-page-blogs/2021/5/13/walking-nyc-every-last-inch.

I think it’s interesting just to see the places Matt has been. They’re all sort of familiar from somewhere, somehow, but I really gained a greater appreciation of how absolutely massive NYC is. This project is, in some ways, totally insane, yet in others, practical.

If you are looking to watch this, it’s up for purchase, rent, etc. on streaming services and maybe elsewhere.

I just find these DVDs at the library usually, which seems kind of random I guess for a legit review, but maybe check yours? It just happens to be the place I find rare gems like this.

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. I’m Dave Pizza. Keep on truckin’.

Ninja Turtles Funko T-Shirt and Ghostbusters DVD

I read in the news that shipping bottlenecks are uncomfortably poignant this year. It’s like every time we get some new way to make things faster, the system gets flooded by shoppers. I wondered even if I should order anything at all. In the process of doing some gift shopping, however, I saw I could get some more stuff for free shipping. So, I picked up this Funko Pop Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cardboard turtle van packaged t-shirt. And because they had it, I grabbed a DVD of the original Ghostbusters film DVD for $5! I don’t do many unboxings here, but I could start. Enjoy some pictures and a bit of brief commentary.

Unboxing Ninja Turtles Shirt and Ghostbusters DVD

Thoughts on Boxes

It’s pretty exciting to see pop culture icons from my childhood on products like these. The van looks perfect, and the outside art on the Ghostbusters DVD is very suitable as well. They’re practically kindred pop culture spirits in a way. I’ve seen the classic slime cover for the DVD in the past, but for some reason, I never thought to get a copy until now. Pro-tip, I have a Blu-ray player, but I’ve learned there is almost no difference in Blu-ray for movies that were filmed before this technology even exists, so this DVD is probably the best you can get, but there may be benefits here and there to blu-ray; it’s up to you.

Look at all the features too: “Filmmaker’s commentary, Deleted Scenes, Making-of-Featurettes, and Storyboards.” Heck yeah! All for $5! I used to always watch this kind of content on DVDs, and why not again with the line-up cast of this particular film.

As for the shirt. I like the packaging and concept. I am not really fond of the Funko POP graphics on the back of their T-Shirts. The graphic is neat, and actually, it’s the neat graphic that inspired this sentiment. This is my second Funko POP t-shirt, the other one was BB-8. I’d love the Bebop and Rocksteady shirt, but I think it is the same.

Both items are 5 stars as gifts! Basically, they were gifts, from me, so thank you, Dave Pizza. You’re welcome Dave Pizza.

That’s It

I’ve been contemplating doing some flash fiction up here on the site. I wasn’t sure that this unboxing would be enough for a standalone post, but, there’s quite a bit here. Also, I’ll probably return to the flash fiction idea. If you are interested in Ghostbusters check out my remastered game article here: Ghostbusters Video Game Remastered: Freaky Switch Review.

In the meantime, thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you liked this article please have a look around, leave a comment, and stop by again. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. Have a nice day!

Indie Game: The Movie: Personal Review

Indie Game: The Movie is, suitably, a 2011 indie documentary made by Canadian Filmmakers about indie video games. It cracks open the shell of contemporary indie game development by following a handful of developers as they make their first games and bring them to market. It evokes the struggle of the indie game business model and follows artists and programmers through the lows and highs of this personal journey. This film had moments of absolute enchantment but also discomfort. I want to give this a chance though because I took something very real and personal from this documentary.

Tommy Super Meat boy
Tommy from Super Meat Boy

First Off: It’s Awesome

I am resistant to saying it’s an instantly inspirational film. It’s grim. But it’s a documentary, and documentaries exist to capture truth. And in truth, is beauty. I really hoped for something that could inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing here with games and writing and possibly even my own game development project. And it actually does do that. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this film may very well make you cry by the end.

Here’s just a little background. The game follows developers from three games: Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez. I didn’t do a lot of research on the games afterward, but just from my own blogging, I know that these developers seem to be doing okay these days. A major element of this game deals with the digital distribution systems of indie games. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but that has literally been the catalyst for everything developers, gamers, and I do within this realm of Indie Games. It’s a 2011 film also, so it’s important to keep in mind that the market hadn’t quite exploded into what it is now yet.

Indie Game: The Movie: The Feels

Probably one of the most important themes of this film, beyond the obvious get rich making games theme, is that art on a deadline is always a hazard to mental health. Actually so is anything of any substantial size. And Tommy, Super Meat Boy dev, says in a section, “Someone once told me that the hardest part of success is getting anyone to acknowledge it.” That’s some Gandalf wisdom, really, because I’ve seen that. It’s just the way things are. I would love to make a game myself, and I hope to, although it’d be a personal journey because I don’t think I could ever convince anybody what it means to me.

Anyway, to take on a more formal response, the story arc of the game is really about three dev groups. One is John Blow, creator of Braid, who created one of the most successful indie games ever made, some might even say the first successful indie game. It depends on how you look at it, but in Indie Game: The Movie, it is obvious that t pretty much is. Much of the story is about the alienation John first felt when publishing his game.

Themes

This game highlights something super pertinent in our current society from the 2010s to the 2020s. Back then, products were objects unattached to anything valuable. Now, almost everything is the opposite. Forget the golden calf, this t-shirt literally defines me. I’m not an absolute anti-materialist, but indie games are basically a transcendence of material culture. What a realization!

The dev teams of the other two games are facing opposite problems though. Tommy and Edmund on one hand, are deep into the final crunch before release and they are pouring their souls into Super Meat Boy. And Phil Fish of Fez can’t seem to ever finish, he just keeps going and going. Phil’s story has some dark twists and turns, but his passion is inspirational to some devs. Not to give preference, but Super Meat Boy was the closest genre of what I dig. Messy and weird. It’s not a lifestyle choice though… unless it is.

Indie Game: The Movie: Thumbs Up

I know this game is a decade old, and it might seem outdated, but it’s really not. Probably the only thing that’s different is how indie games are more powerful than they have ever been. And this documentary almost seems like it is because of it subjects. Could be.

I’ll provide a link for you below. You can actually get this documentary on Steam! For cheap. I really enjoyed this and I hope you did or will too.

Thanks for reading MrDavePizza.com. Have a look around and read as much as you like!

Turtle Power: Definitive TMNT History: DVD Review

Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a DVD documentary from Paramount Pictures, released in 2014. It covers every topic of TMNT lore like the comic book origins of Mirage’s Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Or how uncomfortable the turtle suits were for the actors in the motion pictures released in the 90s. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the most legendary hallmarks of the later 20th century and beyond. From the adults whose childhood thrived on the cartoons and movies to the fervor of today’s initiated youth. Almost everybody knows of them and most likely is cool with them in some form, maybe even have a favorite turtle–mine’s Donatello. Anyway, I took up the bo staff of this cultural journey and I’ve got some gems for you right now.

Turtle Power: Go, Ninja, Go, Ninja, Go

It’s pretty safe to say that rare geeky documentaries are pretty much my favorite genre at the moment. I saw this at the library, so I had nothing to lose. I have been listening to a podcast about TMNT called Shellheads for some time with Sergio and Jeff. It’s always been my understanding that there is a lot of backstory to the turtles tracing back to the original comics, but I did not realize how freaky a phenomenon they became even as a homegrown product. It’s a wonderful story about how independent artists can hit it big if they strike the right chord.

You might make the leap that TMNT sold out when Turtles went big. This is not that scenario though. Everybody loves the turtles. Even now, maybe even more. That’s a major theme in the documentary. It’s kind of like “I love this idea, but what is this even.” If you’re not too familiar with the TMNT lore, it’s a story about four teenagers (or turtles depending on your chronology/source) who come across a mutant ooze that turns them into large muscular turtles. They learn the art of ninjutsu from their sensei Master Splinter, a mutated rate who learned the art from his master. Or something like that, it doesn’t even really matter, but that’s the gist.

Turtle Power: Drama? No drama.

These types of stories tend to inhabit a plague of dysfunction and disagreement. While the two main creators, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are very much opposites in personality with Peter being more soft-spoken and serious & Kevin brasher and party-dude, their energy works for the turtles. The opposing forces are pretty common in the turtles day to day scuffles. They have compared Peter to Donatello and Kevin to Raphael. It’s very appropriate. The spirit nature of TMNT is abstract at most, but this is a very major Taoist force as well.

The friction really only seems to arise in the subjects of the documentary who really didn’t know what the turtles were or even care. The producer of the original movie was a bit scathed by the production, although it was a hit. The voice actors of the original cartoon share stories about learning they were going to do voice work for something called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Oh, also did you know that Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air did the voice for Shredder! What! He talks about the role in a later scene. And the guy who does the voice for Krane is freaking hilarious, I love his part in the film too.

Cowabunga: Toys

I really liked the section about the toys. Everybody knows the turtle toys, cause there is a bazillion of them. A lot of them weren’t around forever or even really had much to do with anything anywhere! I’d argue the vinyl toy scene we’ve got going on today, which I am a partaker of, has its origins in some of these turtle toys. I mean it’s a hunk of plastic that looks like mutant rotting garbage people in radical colors. SIGN ME UP! I really do love these toys. I have to restrain myself from getting any, but there are turtle artifacts scattered around my office and I need more!

That’s actually one of the interesting things about TMNT. Most of us are aware of the cartoon and toys above else, but the cartoon was actually created for the sole purpose of selling toys for Playmates Toys. And it definitely worked. They sold more action figure toys than in any other history. After the show was successful, the original plan was to dump it and stop production. The representatives of the show loved it, however, and it was picked up again for its own sake. I’m glad too cause that’s about where I got hooked!

Turtle Power: In a Nutshell

I need to avoid writing these massive reviews of DVDs, but it’s so easy to talk about topics of interest. I think this was a very good documentary. It certainly had an air of trying to tell stuff at times, but it was factual and interesting. In 2014 Turtles Issue 1 had its 30th Anniversary. I don’t know when this was filmed, but Peter and Kevin do make an appearance for this celebration.

I like the information it is accessible in this documentary because it is mostly about how a fun idea can change the world. We’re all about that at Mr. Dave Pizza, so this is just totally radical. If you are into turtles and want to know exactly what the origins are, maybe you want to read the comics or something or learn the lore, it’s all here.

I enjoyed reviewing this very much, and I hope you enjoy what’s here. I want to thank you so much for reading MrDavePizza.com and if you like what you see, have a look around! Time for ‘za.

Viva Amiga: DVD Documentary: Review

I started computing around the time that the Amiga crossed over into cult following–or so I learned when watching this. I’ve always had a casual interest in retro computing in addition to gaming. I even have an Apple ][ in my possession and have visited my share of BBS back in the day. I’d honestly never heard of the Amiga though until I checked out this documentary called Viva Amiga. Let’s talk about it.

Andy Warhol and Deborah Harry

In case you’re about to brush off the Amiga because you’re like me and have never heard of it, let me just share one nugget from this documentary. In 1985, at the Amiga launch event, there was a celebrity in-person cameo of Andy Warhol drawing a painting of Debbie Harry (of Blondie fame) on an Amiga and sharing he’d tried many computers but this is the one he was waiting for. If for some reason you don’t know who Andy Warhol or Debbie Harry/Blondie are, they invented the future.

andy warhol painting deborah harry blondie amiga launch event

Think “In the future, everybody will have 5 minutes of fame.” One of the greatest books I’ve ever read is called The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. Deborah Harry sang those classic lyrics of songs like Heart of Glass. I’ve also always been a huge fan of both, so this was mind-blowing when I was watching this last night.

You might know this source of cult fandom of computers from Apple or gaming systems, but where Apple had created something practical yet fresh, Amiga was like a highly diversified art portfolio. The interviewees never claimed the Amiga to be superior, but they may have thought it. I think maybe in a technical way it was.

What Is An Amiga?

So, to know what the Amiga is, I’ll give you a super quick education, starting with the present. These days, we have Apple, Windows, and Linux for virtually all applications of personal and even business computing. There’s certainly more to it than that, but I’m just saying it to illustrate my next explanation. Before this efficient distribution of operating systems, there were tons of “computers” that were very much like Apple are today, where the hardware is built ahead of time for the software of the operating system.

As I said, I’m not an expert, but you probably have heard of some of these systems like the Commodore 64 and Atari. Actually, the Amiga was technically a Commodore product initially, since they funded the project for the rights. It scraped through many other close calls in distribution, which is a very key theme in the documentary.

While the visual superiority and diverse gaming and also practicality, this was a seriously powerful computer. I loved one quote in Viva Amiga, where somebody proposed a common conversation where somebody says of something produced on an Amiga, “You really captured the classic look.” And they say, “This is the classic look.”

This was a project of passion. You can see in interviews that the engineers and employees of Amiga did it because they believed in their product. For them, this was rock and roll. And in a way it was, Debbie Harry was there after all.

The Video Toaster

The video toaster was a piece of hardware that could be installed as an expansion card to the Amiga a little later in its lifetime. It basically provided the user with the video production capabilities of a full enterprise. Yeah, I know, this is pretty common now with cheap technology and free software. It was like bringing Hollywood to the individual at the time though.

Amiga had a long market hold because of this tech, because of its affordability, and dynamism. A part of a film project that might take $5,000 now could have the entire project covered for a fraction of that price.

These were revolutionary times.

Viva Amiga The Dissent and the Legend

I don’t want to blurb every single aspect of Viva Amiga so that you can see it for yourself, it’s only an hour long, so you might need that. The end of the Amiga was not what I thought it would be. Yes, the assertion is that Windows and Apple were the game changers forever, which is kind of true. Production capabilities seem to have been a major part though. These old console computers being replaced by diverse PCs were a new thing too. It was around the time gaming consoles as we know them today started to take hold too.

A nice thing shown at the end of Viva Amiga is how the Amiga still has a super popular cult following with conventions, clubs, production, and all kinds of stuff. There is still hardware being produced for it and sold. The CEO of Amiga administrator the company out of his own passion, just like the original engineers, saying he puts money into the company that he’ll never get back. That’s not something you hear very often!

Viva Amiga Final Thoughts

I think Viva Amiga was an interesting documentary. I’m happy with my homebuilt PC, but if it were 1988 and I needed a computer, I’d choose the Amiga. What a powerhouse. And a great documentary by Zach Weddington.

This is part of my new VHS/DVD section. I did watch this on DVD, but it had retro elements that were totally on par for any format in this section. Also, it is certainly something new for me, and pretty interesting to write about and learn about.

I want to thank you so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. If you liked this write-up, feel free to look around as much as you like. I mostly review indie games, but I’m trying to expand into other stuff. Undecided about the indie games logo and slogan, but well see what happens, they are, after all, the forefront here. Anyway, explore as you wish, it’s free and I thank you for it!

Best of Ancient Aliens: DVD Review

Well, howdy, friend. I suppose you reckoned I’d done gone and disappeared in a seamless maelstrom deep in the great sea. Well, I haven’t. I am back from my unexcused absence, and we’re going to be doing some things differently. Before I continue, let me just clarify, that’s right I am reviewing Best of Ancient Aliens, the History Channel show. It is not an indie game, it is not even a game at all.

There are several reviews all through Mr. Dave Pizza. It’s time to broaden the horizons though. Things were starting to get a bit robotic, so I just stopped for a while. I even cut down on internet time quite dramatically, and it felt good, a little too good. This site has been my brainchild since the middle of last year, primarily an indie game focus, and I just want to show you I can do something else. So, without further ado, let’s get into some wacky stuff!

best of ancient aliens mayan gif

One other note, instead of my usual HD screencaps typical to my posts, I just did some camera grabs from my phone which will make this a lot easier–it’s also a little more casual, the nature of this post

Let’s Get Ancient

So, I’ve been wanting to sit down with this show and see what it was all about. I am working on a space theme right now, although I didn’t realize how complex that would be. If you’re unfamiliar with the Ancient Aliens program from History Channel, let me explain it a bit–most likely you know of it though. The idea is to take a regular historical documentary, throw in a thesis that aliens actually had a major role in ancient civilizations on Earth, then sit back as an eccentric ensemble of experts deconstructs your entire reality, and it is epic.

When I first had the idea to review this show, I honestly thought it was going to be a little silly and I’d chuckle a bit and share parts. Within about 5 minutes of the show, however, I started to realize this was actually going to be very very interesting and even compelling. How long did that feeling last? Basically the whole time, with dramatic segues peppered throughout.

The DVD, which I got from the local library, yusss, is broken up into 4 categories: The Evidence, Mysterious Places, The American West, and Mayan Conspiracy. Each is a different flavor sample from the Ancient Aliens TV series up until its creation. The DVD was made in 2012, but Ancient Aliens has continued on since its release, so it is more of a reiteration of the early shows. Besides that, an easier way to think of it is disc one is the core, and disc two is slightly more out there but still compelling.

PICTURE DROP: THE EVIDENCE:

I probably could have done that differently.

Rock Stuff

Each category had at least one topic that was totally exciting. You wouldn’t think that carved stones could be so interesting until you watch what they explain here about stacking granite slabs that weigh 1200 TONS into a door and compare it to today’s masonry. Additionally, there is a brilliant exposition of the granite drills with millimeter-level precision that have been upheld for thousands of years. Hmm, alright, I’m intrigued now. The intro is very exciting because over the first few sections you’re just blasted with YUP MMHMM ALIENS DEF, and it’s hard to deny. Excuse my erudite vocabularistic edict in that last assertion.

Danger, Will Robinson, The Manna Machine

My favorite section from the Evidence episodes is about the radioactive alien manna machine in the Zohar. Here’s the idea, the artist re-creates the description of the machine described in a Kabbalistic text called the Zohar. Turns out that it can create algae-based protein food using natural processes that would occur in the desert during the 40 nights and 40 days in the Bible. It has all sorts of valves and grids and tubes that would actually work even though this text is centuries old. Not quite as old as the show might make you think, but still pretty old, like the 14th century or so.

There’s also a section about this flying capsule in ancient India with various diagrams and interpretations. This is kind of on par, and I’m not going to discount it, but that is the main idea behind section one.

Best of Ancient Aliens: Mysterious Places

I enjoyed learning about mysterious places like Bermuda Triangle and lay lines. It is really quite interesting when you start to realize that geographically, sacred and mystery sites tend to line up. This section combined with the American West episode on effigies will probably boggle your noggin if you give it a chance. I don’t know what I really have to say about it, but the idea of aliens creating shortcuts using our planet’s geometry seems sort of compelling honestly.

I kept thinking about the UFO video that was released recently with some flowerpot-like capsules drifting easily in the atmosphere. Lots of UFOs are temporary and then quickly disappear. Yeah, it actually makes perfect sense. I did not doubt the first-hand account of the pilot they interviewed who said he flew through an electromagnetic fog and somehow arrived at his destination somehow not long after he took off.

It’s possible. Right? Is it? I don’t know, gives me something to contemplate. If we can’t make it into the cosmos using rockets, maybe we can just find the door on Earth. This idea equally interests me and also terrifies me. I wouldn’t hold it against you to think whatever you want about it.

Cowboys and Aliens, Literally The Movie

I chuckled when disc two opened up to a section about the 2011 film Cowboys and Aliens. Man, I didn’t realize that movie was so old. I feel really weird now. I liked the idea but have not seen it. Luckily it is explained thoroughly… Okay. In all fairness, they do relate it to several Wild West accounts as gracefully, mostly, as the pulsing mega-brain pharaohs, or whoever was in charge, I guess. It’s packaged with Harrison Ford. I saw Ford on a TV interview with Abrams just before I watched this so I was a little bit spooked, but it’s aliens, so par for the course I guess.

I was very interested in the desert in Mexico, La Zona del Silencio. Phones, compasses, and other things just go haywire there and it’s super filled with alien stories. It was kind of fresh because I honestly hadn’t heard of it until this. What an intriguing place.

I was even more interested in the effigies. The one lined up with the meteor crater filled with iridium and matching a constellation. Pretty good show. I really do have to wonder why these images around the world made into the landscape are only visible from the sky. I guess maybe it was possible with hot air balloons. You know, made my weird shaman engineers, but I don’t know how much that explanation would hold up either. It is indeed intriguing.

Best of Ancient Aliens: Mayans

The Mayan section was very educational, even as the last topic. They truly were a very sophisticated ancient civilization. I would no way in heck want to be one though. Even as sophisticated as they were, they made ruthless sacrifices that reminded me of the film Apocalypto. They left some very detailed information about their cosmic calculations, however, that gets some credence.

Best of Ancient Aliens: Final Frontier

Well, that’s it. I had a lot more to say about this than I anticipated. It’s an interesting series, perhaps summarized best in this DVD, which is also available on Blu-Ray. Right now most of my reviews are indie games. But I want to review more random interests that compel me, so if you like this, stop by again. Have a look around and read as much as you like, it’s free! Thanks for reading MrDavePizza.com.