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Hollywood Thoughts

In Movies, Uncategorized on September 9, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Hollywood Thoughts

As anyone who knows me can attest, I love movies. Watching movies, writing movies, reading about them…I think that movies are a great way to express ourselves in a visual medium, much the same way that blogs are great to express ourselves in the written form, too. However, just because I love something, doesn’t mean it is spared from the chopping block, as it where. Just the opposite, in fact. I love something so I am goinng to speak up about it, hopefully it will reach someone in Hollywood, and change the industry, but I doubt it

What Made Movies Work

I remember when the film “Miami Vice” came out, starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, my dad said “TV shows back then worked because the cast had to spend time with each other, and built a chemistry over years. These movies are made in less than six months, and everyone has to be kept separate from everyone else, there is no chemistry, and he was right. Think about it for a second. The TV show Miami Vice did great, and was a ratings juggernaut. The aforementioned film? Sucked, and I do not recall it making much of a dent in the landscape.

Does that mean that is was a bad idea? Yeah. Yeah it does…See the reason that the movie failed, is because it failed to capture the magic of the TV show. Don’t get me wrong, both Foxx, and Farrell are top-notch stars, and their work speaks more volumes than this blog can about their talent. The problem is, at least the way I see it, that Hollywood has run out of ideas, and they feel that rebooting a series they can capture that lightning in a bottle, and it doesn’t work. Ever.

Remakes, Reboots, and Re-imagining, Oh My!

Guys, what is the last original idea that Hollywood had? I honestly cannot think of one movie that came out this year that was original, and not a film adaptation of something else, or a remake, or reboot of something from 30 years ago. Not even Marvel is technically safe from this, as their movies are legitimate adaptations of their comics. Even though the MCU takes a different path than the comics, it’s still technically adapted from a comic book. Disney, with all that money, is STILL producing live action remakes of the films we used to watch as kids. The Lion King, Aladdin, and now Lady and the Tramp? Hasn’t Disney seen that live action remakes are not what the kids what? The reason that remakes and reboots exist is to bring the story to a new audience, one that can be bilked into buying the merch, and begging mommy and daddy to take them to see the sequels…

It’s simple, and understandable, too. Hollywood is afraid to try something new because the studios aren’t going to plunk down millions upon millions of dollars for nothing. I certainly don’t blame them, but that is how the industry goes stale. Think about it like this. In the 50’s we had rock’n’roll that vaporized the music scene, and then most music became stale, sound alikes. Enter Nirvana, and the Grunge era, and the industry is changed forever. Movies can be like that, too. All it takes is a willing soul; of course people are fickle, and that is another reason that the studio execs are timid. Movies that have a built-inn fan base are golden to Hollywood. Things like cartoons, comics, and video games all have their dedicated fan-bases, and those fans are going to see the movie, no matter what. Hollywood then banks on this fan base, and their money to set them up for another movie, and so on, and so on. Hollywood takes these ideas and makes movies and tv shows out of them because of that fan base. Would anyone care about The Witcher if it weren’t popular? No. Lord of the Rings? Nope.

Hollywood knows this, and they bank on you, the loyal fan to go see this because you can finally see your heroes on the big screen, living out their adventures…problem is, Hollywood ruins the things they touch.

Hollywood Garbage

The reason that remakes are such shit in the first place is because Hollywood takes the older movies and has to update them for the modern audience. Take “The Mummy” with Boris Karloff, for instance. Was it an action-adventure movie, with high stakes action, and gun battles, and giant sand…faces? Nope. Why not? Didn’t need to be. It worked back then because it was simpler. Nowadays we have to have over the top set pieces and action scenes because that is what people want to see. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the Brendan Frasier version, but not as a part of the “Mummy” franchise. Take the Mummy out, and it’s a bog standard action flick set in Egypt. To me, what made the original work was the writing, and the cast. It didn’t need to be a big over the top production. It was a somber film by comparison.

As I mentioned before the reasons for this are many, and do include things like renewing the copyrights to a film, like what Disney is doing with the Lion King, and the rest. Sometimes Hollywood has to release a movie because the studio is contractually obligated to make it, and that’s fine, too. Sometimes they films aren’t remade, but “remastered” and that can cause problems, too. (George Lucas, and the Star Wars DVDs, anyone?)

Remasters of the Old Style

Now don’t go hating me for this, just yet; hear me out. I love Star Wars, and sadly I fought that love when my father was alive, and now I can’t get that time again. I can’ however lose any memory I have of watching Episodes 4-6, as they are completely different than they where originally, thanks to George Lucas. Somethings, like adding more Stormtroopers to the scene where Han runs some down, only to see an entire garrison of them as he rounds a corner, that makes sense. Adding a CGI Trooper riding a Dewback? In the words of the late John Belushi: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That wasn’t needed, neither was making more aliens appear in Jabba’s Whorehouse (or hideout). I can see the reasoning behind somethings, like changing the guns in the officer’s hands in E.T. With all that is happening concerning gun violence, I can see why he wouldn’t want the last image of the film to be someone pointing a gun a child.

Digital remasters are fine, and a different subject entirely as far as I’m concerned. Hell, with out digital remasters, we wouldn’t have Casablanca, or anything else starring Humphrey DeForest Bogart (go ask your grandparents, or Google it)! “Cleaning” a film, for lack of a better word, and bringing the original film to another audience is fine, too; that’s the original, and not, as my dad said “a version someone saw and said ‘I can do better’.” Sadly, he was right. All movies now follow one rule above all else: Make money. No longer does Hollywood put out a movie because it is a good story, or a good film, but rather they produce what will produce money. Focus groups, marketing, test groups, all add up to make sure that a film is going to make money. I know that there are films out there that absolutely bombed at the box office, but they where still made with the same formula, and with the same intentions.

Well, that’s the blog. Or is it?

SEQUELS, PREQUELS, and ORIGIN STORIES!

Another trend that needs to die in Hollywood is the “EVERYONE GETS A FRANCHISE!” rule that seems to be in play now. Does every movie, nay, every story, need a part two? Alien needed a part two? Halloween needed a part two? No, James Cameron said he did that one only because other directors where casting Jamie Lee Curtis in the same role, and he had to, too. At least he was honest about it! Some movies, if they are written as a franchise from the beginning, need a sequel. Movies that must be told in multiple parts, like Lord of the Rings, as there is just too much too leave out to make one movie. Star Wars is one that you could argue that it deserves a sequel.

Does every movie need an origin story? Know what I said when Rob Zombie remade Halloween? “Sweet, this movie is going to kick ass!” Rob needs his ass kicked for deciding that Michael needed a fucking origin story, and to talk! At least he was honest with his sequel, too. “I figured who better to ruin my movie, than me?” He said. I’ve never seen a horror movie wherein I thought “Hmm…I sure do like this Leatherface fellow, but I want to know why he does what he does…”, and I don’t know of anyone who thought that the Sawyer family needed an origin story, or an origin story to the remake, or a sequel to the remake, but it takes place at the…yeah, you see this… Not every fucking movie needs to tell the story of every fucking one in the land, this isn’t Vice Russo ca. 1999, ok? Not everyone on the card needed something to do, just like not everyone in a movie needs their lives fleshed out.

See, another problem this creates is forced prequels, like The Hobbit. See, the original books, Hobbit, and the LotR series weren’t supposed to be connected, and only got that way years later, but Tolkien did that himself in the books. Hollywood came calling, and made a floppity-gillion dollars from that franchise, and naturally, had to make more. Guess what? The Hobbit was nowhere near as successful as the Lord of the Rings series was. Why? Forced prequel. The movie crammed so many call backs, and Easter eggs to the Fellowship, and the others that I felt like Peter Jackson was saying “Remember the other movies? This is how all that happened!” I never cared for the Hobbit as a book, as it is a fairy tale, and taken on its own, its a good children’s read. Hollywood, or Jackson, depending on whom you ask, decided to make The Hobbit in to three separate movies, which meant us LOTR fan boys are going to go see three more movies! Nope. Saw the first one, and didn’t care for it (the review can be found on Taco’s Movie Reviews).

Beating a Dead Horse

Far too often, Hollywood does beat a franchise into the ground, killing every conceivable dime that they can from it, only to let it die a quick death. For a few years, and then they reboot it, and try again! Spider-Man, Godzilla, Batman, Superman, Marvel characters; all of them milked until that cash cow dies, and then put away for a few years. That is unless money stops them, and they have to reboot the character because of a rights dispute…(Spider-Man in 2019). Far too often we see this happen with franchises like the Marvel movies, wherein they had to give everyone an origin story before, or after a big team up movie, and I have to ask why. Why do I need to know how Black Widow came into being? I was entertained by her in the Avengers movie, and I don’t need an origin/prequel movie to flesh out her backstory. I didn’t really need Captain America, either for that matter. They where created for one purpose: money. Literally, Marvel was almost bankrupt when the Toby McGuire Spider-Man movie first hit theaters. That was it for them, they sold the rights to Sony (I think) and made enough money to stay in business.  I especially hate when they make a sequel to a movie years, or decades after the original came out. Why? Because it becomes a sequel/reboot because it’s older, and newer too! Didn’t need to see The Force Awakens; that was just A New Hope with Linda Skywalker. That’s another thing I hate about movies nowadays, the Feminist Movement

The Feminist Movement in Movies

Not every superhero needs to be a female. Read that again. I’m not being sexist, honestly. I believe that a woman can do anything a man can do, if not better, I just don’t need to  see that 24/7. Take Captain Marvel, for instance. She was created during the “bra burning days” of the Woman’s Rights campaign as Marvel saw the female market as untapped, and decided to create a character that would relate to the times. Thus, Captain Marvel was born! The movie goes overboard with that sentiment, and turns me off. In the movies, Captain Marvel, and End Game, Brie Larson comes off as an unlikable bitch, and I was happy when Thanos punched her clean out of the movie! Not because I condone male-female violence, but because I can’t stand to have “A WOMAN CAN DO IT, TOO!” shoved down my throat. I don’t care who the heroes are, or the villains, I just want to see a good movie! Star Wars is doing this, or at least has, by remaking A New Hope with a female version of Luke, and making all the men in movies dumber than shit. I don’t care that the crew of Gen. Holden’s ship is all female, unless there is a reason for it in the plot. She comes from an all female planet? She not trust men in power because her husband died? Something other than “women can do it too, look!” I am glad that women are finally getting more spotlight (nowhere near “equal” time with a man, however), but can we dial it back? Not all women want to see women in superhero movies, and believe it or not, some women LIKE topless muscle guys in a movie, If you need proof, just Google The Rock. Some, I will admit, some girls do see these females and get inspired, and they no longer feel like they are weak because of their gender, and that is fantastic! But I want a good, original story, and not one the PC crowd will not object to.

Remakes That Work?

Can there be such a thing? Yes, actually. Battlestar Galactica was a remake, and I love that. It’s a TV show, but we are lumping them together here, so deal with it. That show took a good premise, and changed it from a “monster of the week” type of show, like Star Trek: The Original Series was, and made it focus more on the human aspect, the humans trying to survive, and find Earth, all the while trying to hide from the Cylons… sadly, however, that is where the show died for me. After the final episode, the SyFy channel did as any business would with a metaphorical license to print money, and made a prequel. Wanna know how the Cylons came to be? Yes, actually, I did want to know, but then they went farther with BSG: Blood and Chrome. Do we need a third BSG series? Really? Or does SyFy need that geek dollar?

Sadly, however, BSG is the only remake I can think of that I actually liked. I wish that Hollywood would make more shows and movies in the same idea of BSG: tell a good story. Too bad they wont hear me.

End of Rant

Those are just a few of the things that I can’t stand about the movie and TV industry. If you like this, then leave a like, and a comment in the boxes, and let me know your thoughts on the industry, too!

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Patience is a Virtue?

In Life, Rants, stories, thought, Uncategorized on September 2, 2019 at 1:01 AM

Patience is a Virtue?

Is patience a virtue? This man says no! Seriously, though, for as far back as I can remember, I have been an impatient man. Even now, I want this blog entry to be done, but I can only work as fast my fingers and brain can go… I have never understood people who wait for things, although for some things, one must wait.

Where’s my Spy Camera?

Remember that episode of The Simpsons, wherein Bart orders a spy camera, and for weeks he harasses the mail lady, saying “Where’s my spy camera, where’s my spy camera?” well that’s me. I have never been one to wait for anything, and I mean anything. Hell, I wasn’t supposed to be born until July 4th, but decided June was close enough! That should tell you how impatient I am!

As a kid, my friends had a hard time deciding between telling me what they wanted to and not telling me. That was because if the plans involved going somewhere, then I wanted to go then there, and not wait. Store about to close? Better hurry up then! I didn’t care, and after I got home, give me five minuets, and I’ll be ready to go again. I’m like that now, too. If I want to go somewhere, then I’m going. I don’t have a car, so I walk; it’s faster than waiting for a bus, or someone to pick me up, honestly.

Even in traffic, when I did have a car, I hated waiting. Red lights, traffic in front of me, all of it served one purpose: to annoy the absolute shit out of me, and it succeeded! I can not stand waiting, as I have mentioned, but I can understand that sometimes you have to wait, even if you don’t want to. Sometimes, as my mother would say, it’s a necessary evil…I guess. There are, though. There are times when you need to be patient, and not jump the gun, too.

Jumping the Gun is my Speciality

I guess that by virtue of proxy, not being a patient man goes hand and hand with jumping the gun. However, for me, that isn’t true. Not entirely, anyhow. I seem to have a sixth sense for wanting to stop things before they get to the good parts, admittedly, but I am not one to jump the gun. To me, that is foolish. I believe in waiting until the time is right, which I know sounds like total hypocrisy, but hear me out. I don’t like to wait, but that doesn’t mean I don’t, or won’t wait. That just means that I don’t like it. Technically speaking, I have to wait, no two ways about it. I feel like a kid sometimes, waiting for Christmas, and I don’t exactly know why. I don’t want to say that it’s anxiety, because it isn’t. As I type this, I am waiting on the local supermarket to open, and I hate that; I want to go in, but what I want and leave, and I want to do it now…but I can’t; again, I have to wait. I know that the store is going to be there, and the items I want are going to be there, and if not, then I probably shouldn’t be buying them, anyway.

Can One Learn to be Patient?

I guess that it would be possible to learn to be patient. If you take for instance, the military; they have to be patient sometimes, and wait for the right opportunity to strike. If you’re impatient like me, then that first time is going to be your last time, too! I believe that one can learn to be patient through other means, as well. I read online that you can help to learn patience by setting timers for the stuff you really want, and forcing yourself to wait until that timer goes off before you do what it is you want to do. Now, to be fair, that was talking about study help and how you can use a timer to set a goal and see how far your studies have come at the end of the time, but the same principle applies here, I think.

Some online think that the reason that I am impatient is because I am entitled, and that could not be farther from the truth. Honestly, I am not entitled to anything except what is legally mine, so that isn’t it. I don’t cop an attitude if I don’t get my way, and in fact, I’ll often times give in to what someone wants if it gets me to my endgame quicker. I didn’t have anything handed to me by my parents as child, and they taught me that I need to work for what I want, so I know that it isn’t because of that. I think the reason I am so impatient is because I just want it done and over with, and off of my mind, so that I can be on to the next adventure. That’s how I am choosing to look at it, anyhow.

Being Patient is a Scam

There are those that believe that being patient and waiting is nothing but a scam, and I sort of believe them, honestly. As I like to say, “Time spent waiting is time waisted” and that is because it is. Let’s say I have to take a bus somewhere, but I miss one bus, and the next one isn’t due for an hour. Am I going to spend an hour waiting for that next bus? Nope! I am not going to waste time waiting for a bus, especially not an hour, when I can spend that hour walking, and be an hour closer to my destination. To me, that is just sensible. Plus, I can stop at a bus stop farther down the path if I want to, and wait for it there. Since I’ve been walking an hour, I might not have to wait that long for another bus!

One side of the coin, you have those that believe that “the early bird gets the worm”, and they think that the best strategy is to go now, or as early as possible, get your business handled, and get it over with. That’s where I fall. However, on the other side of that coin, we have those who believe “all good things come to those who wait”, and they don’t mind waiting for something. They are strange pod people, too.

I will admit, however that I am learning to be more patient, if not for anything else, but because I have to. Like Darwin said, “those who do not adapt, are sure to die off”. I know that certain things are out of my control, as much as that pains me to admit, and sometimes, I have no other option, but to wait. I think that finding another option while I wait to fulfil the other is the best strategy for me, personally. Like now, for instance; I’m writing this because I have to wait for the store to open, so I decided to write down my thoughts on waiting. I use my phone while my laptop charges, and vice versa, because it makes the wait of not being able to use the item more bearable. That’s if I don’t use the item as it charges, that is.

 

Well, those are my thoughts on being impatient. Let me know yours down below, too. I would love to know what you guys use to exercise, and/or learn patience; I’ll try anything once!

What is Right?

In thought, Uncategorized on August 26, 2019 at 1:01 AM

What is Right?

Recently my criminal justice class has been talking about ethics, and how they apply to, and in, the criminal justice system. Part of that class discussion was about how ethics applied, but I had to be me, and ask when do ethics apply, and are ethics stiff and rigid, like a board? Or does it change situation to situation? Does ethics change as the situation changes? All this talk about ethics got a debate started in my class, and it got me thinking what is right, and when and how is it right?

When is it Right?

As I mentioned earlier, I asked if ethics change with the situation, and the example I gave was one that applied to the class perfectly. As an officer of the law, let’s say you pull someone over for speeding. Ethics dictate you give him a ticket for speeding, and let him have his day in court, right? Now let’s say that the suspect isn’t acting ethically. Now, let’s say he starts shooting at you. Do you then, shoot to kill him? What if you miss? Or, on the other side of the coin, does ethics remain stiff and rigid, so you have to hope to wound the suspect so that they may be arrested, and allowed a day in court, as the law says?

Ethically, do you attempt to kill the person who attempted to kill you, or do you serve him justice by wounding and allowing a day in court to answer for his crimes? Do you act ethically to someone who isn’t acting ethically towards you? I was thinking about this the last few days, and I cannot decide for myself how I would act in this situation. Sure, as a police officer, I think that instinct takes over, and I would shoot back; him dying or getting wounded not withstanding. I think that most, if not all police officers feel the same way. To me, ethics change with the situation. I’ll give you a real life example: I was pulled over one night, and the officer told me that he observed me making an illegal turn at a red light, and asked me why I did that. I honestly told him that I thought that no one was around, so no one would notice. Ethics demand he pulls me over, which he did. They also dictate that I admit to my wrongdoing, which I did. Ethically, that officer did his job when he pulled me over, asked for my registration, license and all that, and I followed ethics, gave him what he asked for, and I received a warning for my driving, and told to be more patient. Ethically, everything went as expected. The officer had cause to stop me when I made an illegal U-Turn at a red light, thus he acted ethically. I acted ethically when I told him the truth, admitted that I did it, and explained why I did. Ethically, I was issued a verbal warning, and told to be patient.

That’s with everything going as planned. Now, let’s say it doesn’t go as planned. What would be ethically right in this situation had I decided to pull a gun and shoot that cop? Ethically, would he be justified in killing me because I shot at him? Would he or his partner then, after having been shot at, would they have to follow the law, thereby wounding me, so I can be arrested and served my day in court, as the law says I must receive? What is “ethically right” here? Following the law to the letter, and attempting to arrest me, or shooting me outright because I shot you? Would you feel right ethically, if you say that you tried to apprehend me, but I died in the course of a gun fight? It’s true, technically: you tried to arrest me, but I shot you, and died because of it. But is it right to shoot me?

Let’s say that it was right for the officers to return fire…but they didn’t have to. Let’s say that the officer could have gotten to the trunk of his squad car, and used a “less than lethal” round – a beanbag. Does the officer have to fire a lethal round? In my situation, had I decided to act like an idiot, the officer’s partner was at my passenger side, so he could have shot a taser through my open window, thereby disabling me until his partner, or even himself, can make the arrest. If we follow ethics to the letter of the law, then ethically, at least in my mind, those officers should be making every attempt to apprehend me, and give me justice through the courts. If we follow ethics to the letter of the law.

When do Ethics Apply?

If say that ethics matter in the police department, then I have to ask if ethics apply all the time, no matter what. For instance, if I break a window at your house, are you ethically right to make me pay for that window, either willingly, or through the courts? Or would you be right in breaking one of my windows? I broke yours, you broke mine, now we are even. Is that right? Honestly, I believe that I break it, I buy it, and I expect you to feel that way about my stuff as well. Does ethics apply all the time? To me, as I mentioned before, changes with the situation. If we are having a civil discussion about something, and we differ on opinion, are you right to hit me because I believe differently than you? Not to me you aren’t; what did I do to deserve that? I was having a civil discussion, explaining politely, my views. In this scenario, you aren’t right to hit me for my differing views, but I feel I would be right to return that punch for you hitting me.

Let’s say that you owe me money that I loaned you, but you hadn’t paid me yet. Am I right to take you to court to get the money, or am I right to cost you the same amount of money that I am owed, thereby “evening the scales” as it where? Or, let’s say that you do a lot of stuff for me, and ask me for a loan. Am I then ethically right to expect you pay me back, even though you help me out? Do I ask you for this help you provide? Do I need you and/or your help? Ethically, if you did help me a lot, then I would feel right in loaning you the money, but I honestly wouldn’t ask for it back. However, as I said before, ethics apply to all people differently, and maybe you feel entitled to this money because you do stuff for me, and do not plan on paying it back because you help me out, and feel this is payment for that help. Is it right to expect you to pay me back? Is it right to ask me to help you out financially, or at all?

Let’s say that you get sentenced to death. Is the death penalty ethically right? Is it ethically right to kill someone? What about if that someone is themselves, a killer? Is it ok then? You’re killing a killer, so it’s not like he’s an innocent man, right? He’s a killer, he has no soul! Kill the killer! But what if he didn’t do it?

Is it ethically right to sentence a man to, and then carry out his death, especially if the evidence he did it was weak? In my criminal justice class, we read about a man in Montana who spent almost twenty years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The reason that he got convicted off of the evidence is because is just enough to satisfy an admittedly racist jury, judge and prosecutor. It wasn’t until years later that he was cleared of all charges. Would it be right to put him to death for that crime then? He was innocent, but at the time, there was enough evidence to satisfy a jury, and that was technically right. The jury is racist, sure, but nothing in the law says that you can’t use a racist in a jury, especially when and where this happened, right? You have to use a jury of his peers, and it’s not the law’s problem that he lives in a racist town, during a racist time. The officers had evidence, and thus cause to suspect, and arrest this man, right? The police acted ethically, as the law states, no? Evidence to make an arrest was obtained, but the police jumped the gun.

To me, the police did not act ethically when they jumped the gun, and arrested the guy in the story. Sure, they had evidence, but it was so weak that a child could argue it out of court. According to the story, the man beat, and then raped a woman before murdering her. The evidence the police had was shoe prints near the window of a shoe size that didn’t match the man they arrested. The police also had a report that the suspect was wearing a red shirt at the time of the crime, and the man, let’s call him “Linus”, happened to be wearing a red shirt, and they found mud on his shoes. Evidence introduced into court could have argued that the fact that “Linus” was a gardener and had just finished a job, thus explaining the mud. As for the shirt, it would be ruled out because of “Linus’s” work in the garden; it may have even been his uniform, or just a bad coincidence that he had on a red shirt.

Knowing this, is it still right that law enforcement arrested someone for a crime? They had evidence, and he fit the bill, with the muddy shoes and red shirt, and he was a black male adult, as the police where looking for someone of that description, no? To me, no, that isn’t right. If due process had been carried out, or even if the investigation had gone on a little longer, it would have ruled “Linus” out as a suspect entirely. The officers, and the courts obviously feel differently about what is “right”.

My Beliefs on Ethics

I have given you some examples, and asked some questions, I know that by this point, you must be asking what I believe. The simple answer is, I believe that ethics apply to everyone, no matter what. In the situation of the police, I do not know if I would shoot you to kill you, or just shoot in your direction, hoping for the best. I do know that I would not bother you unless I had cause. My personal belief is that I should not be bothered unless you have a reason to, as I would not bother you without one. That would apply as a cop, too; I wouldn’t bother you without cause. I wouldn’t treat anyone differently, either. Ethically, I believe that you determine how the situation will go. If you are cool with me, I’ll be cool with you. If I, as an officer of the law have to approach you, I am going to do so because I have a cause, and it isn’t because you’re black. If I approach you it is because I have description that you fit, or because I have some other reason too.

 

Those are my views and thoughts, and as usual, feel free to leave me a comment, and let me know what you think. If you agree or disagree with me, then let me know! Can’t wait to hear from you!

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