Opinions, Reviews, Top Films

My Top 10 Films of 2022

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Twenty-Twenty Two was the first year I truly observed my viewing habits changing. Reluctantly, I’ve found myself negotiating my heinie to the movie theaters; more I find myself kicking back and relaxing at home to watch films on streamers. But the streamers, leave barely a mark on my brain. What I’ve seen in theaters, I do remember. I experience them differently. But alas, such is the way of the world these days – less cinema, more streaming. I begrudgingly admit to it but wish it wasn’t so.

This year, I saw no superhero movies. There were loads of them I’m sure, but with none did I decide to spend time and watch. Their cultural relevance is shifting, maybe shrinking. Might be the right time for it.

But this list is, traditionally, an incomplete list of films from 2022 that I end up liking because the Oscar season begins so late, and much of the Oscar pics I watch only start mid-January and end on the day of the gala. Some films this year found their way on my list through festivals; I did quite a many, either in the jury or the audience. After really going through the list of films I saw last year, it wasn’t very hard to come up with the list. So, here we go – my top 10 films of 2022!


Without a question, this hazy, dream-like documentary of my all-time favorite artist really grasped what it feels like to be a Bowie fan. It bypassed the tropes of meticulous retelling of Bowie’s story – it’s not relevant when you dive right into the wonderful, mind-bending, inebriating world of Bowie’s music. The documentary manages to celebrate the music of David Bowie better than any music documentary I’ve seen before. Truly a cinematic experience.


After so many years of waiting, James Cameron once again shows that he’s not to be ridiculed, ignored, or in any way belittled – he is one of the great masters of cinema, and a driving force in pushing the limits of what can be brought on screen time and again. Avatar: The Way of the Water is a film that transports you again to somewhere else, a wonderful world that just sucks you in. It’s a great film, an experience, and a showcase of what’s next to come in the world of film.


Proud to say I’m friends with the directors of Vesper. I’ve walked with them through their years of struggling to put a film together, and then, seeing the genuine, beautiful, and atmospheric Vesper, I nearly cried. I’ve known Kristina and Bruno and believed they were great filmmakers, but really seeing them at it on the big screen, it’s a treat. I wish all the best for them for their next films and hope Vesper finds as many viewers over its long and internationally successful launch.


Holy shit. Sometimes just going to a film festival, picking a film at random without knowing anything about it, and letting it smack you in the face is the best thing there is. La Piedad came exactly like that, from far left field, and sucker-punched me right in the kisser like a motherfucker. There’s no real need to go and describe what the film is about – a tricky relationship between a mother and her son – but the sole visual representation, the piety it’s made and the braveness of the director, La Piedad deserves a lot more attention.


Ahh, a film that opens up perfectly, really managing to creep me out! Barbarian is a really strong-directed horror film that’s as modern and artistic as nowadays changing horror audiences is requiring. It’s a great, visual fun with superb cast and some real powerhouse of a director at helm!


Well, the Danes sure know how to make things awkward. A friendly family visit turns into a night of absolute, awkward terror. Speak No Evil is a really powerful film that lingers on long afterward, although, I still can’t understand why she didn’t shoot them when she got the shotgun.


Bleak serial killer story of an Iranian serial killer case and it’s incredible aftermath really unearths what’s wrong with religiously supercharged, women-hating side of some cultures out there. Mind you, it’s easy to stand in shock and shake your head at Iranian culture, but truth be told, this could happen just as easily in USA, where religious fundamentalism is just as prevalent.


I gotta say, I had loads of fun with this one. One of those that you stumble upon on Netflix when they promote something for 5 seconds and then never again, but I’m glad I pressed “play” and watched this silly bit of CG fun. A troll awakens in the mountains of Norway to wreak havoc and get missiled down by Norwegian army, it’s a solid actioner with nice heart and visuals.


Another film by a friend of mine, Alexander O. Philippe, also from the film festival circuit, Lynch/Oz rams itself down a rabbit hole of Lynch’s fascination to Wizard of Oz and starts burrowing. Funky documentary which opens the world of Lynch even for a die-hard fan like me quite a bit.


Ultra right wing ideologies rear their ugly head nowadays in US, leading to mindless killings like the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, which was this one shit rag’s response to immigration caravans that were helped by Jewish community. Readily available guns, unchecked mental health patients roaming around and slowly growing and accepted and even lauded racist, anti-semitic and what not ideologies dot the cultural and ideological landscape of US, and tend to always echo down to Europe later on as well. The documentary explores the events leading to the shooting, bringing forward the victims much more than the perpetrator.

DISCLAIMER: Nope, there’s a load of films from 2022 I didn’t get to watch, some that would likely find their way into this end-of-the-year list, and as I’m now jumping into the Oscar films, undoubtedly many of these here would end up changing. But this is a pretty good look into what I thought was cool that came out last year, without too much of the Oscar buzz mudding the pool.

Opinions, Reviews, Top Films

My Top-10 Movies of 2021

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Another year of Covid-19 ravaging the world and closing, and opening, and closing the theatres again has made the year a pretty complicated to follow, as films keep on dropping to theatres, or streamers, or delayed, or something in between. These are my top ten choices for 2021!


A slow-burner of a western, but one with big, rotten, beating heart. Benedict Cumberbatch shows his chops in a much more toned-down version of himself compared to what he’s been playing lately, and it works brilliantly. Jesse Plemons is grounded, doesn’t try to steal the thunder but stands firmly as an essential building block of the film, and Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee both fill the screen perfectly. Sprinkled with magical cinematography, a brooding soundtrack and a sturdy story, it’s definitely the best film of 2021, one that doesn’t make too much noise about itself, and might get swept away by big and loud ones like the Spider-Mans and Matrixes of the year.


When superhero movies get their shit right, it’s a beauty to watch – and the new Spidey truly hits all the right notes. It’s not so much the story, which, honestly, makes quite a little actual sense, but the fact that some kids in the 60’s scribbled these crazy characters into comics, and steadily they’ve made their mark in cultural history over so many generations. And to see one era of those heroes being wrapped up in a billion-dollar-hit movie that brings together characters from all the previous movies, it’s a marvel to witness. Pure popcorn fun!


I’ve grown to like the modern Indian movie industry more and more in recent years, so it was nice to see an Indian-American film making its’ way into Oscars in 2021 (for the best-adapted screenplay). The film tells a story of a cunning kid who finds a way to escape poverty by becoming a driver for a rich family. Things go wrong and the film becomes a commentary on the huge gulf separating the servant class and the rich in contemporary India and does it in a lush, Indian filmmaking way (no, no musical sequences, though). The story flows on like Ganges and production from acting to the camera and directing is strong.


Wenwu (Tony Leung) and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

Damn it, I feel a bit dumb having two Marvel movies in my top-5, but it’s undeniable: they had a very good year this year, and Shang-Chi was only a few inches less impressive than Spider-Man. I failed to really understand the meaning of the ten rings, but it didn’t matter – it felt like a proper Chinese epic dozed with American sensibilities and modern visuals, and had some of the most amazing action sequences in recent history (the bus fight… oh my god!), it was more popcorn fun, a great way to forget we’re fighting against a devastating pandemic for few hours. In these times, it’s a respectable achievement on its’ own.


I wish I could’ve pushed Don’t Look Up a bit higher on the list, but unfortunately, it’s a very flawed satire, but an enjoyable one. Many have been saying it’s a commentary on the climate crisis, but I disagree: climate crisis films talk about a man-made crisis people refuse to fix since they are too dependant on their own lifestyle – an asteroid approaching Earth doesn’t really fit that scheme. Instead, Don’t Look Up is a film that discusses the ridiculousness of the two-party political system in the US, the over-politicization of each and every aspect of modern life, and the rampant science denialism, sprinkled with the tragedy that is the handling of the Covid-19 -crisis. The multitude of issues the film unfortunately somewhat collapses under include some very sketchy visual effects, annoyingly bad editorial and music score decisions, and a ridiculously expensive cast that serves no apparent purpose in the grand scheme of things (I’m sure Netflix will disagree with me on this). Still, the film leaves you feeling bad, maybe more so than having a good laugh, but points a big fat finger at the world we live in and the future we’re headed for. I can’t help to mention I did hear some, maybe unintentional and unrelated, echoes from Iron Sky in the film, but maybe that’s just me.


Dysfunctional families in a nice and kind way are great comedy fodder for family animations, and often produce a serviceable but not very intriguing results. The Mitchells vs. The Machines manages to spark some light into the rather worn-out genre by bringing in a robot apocalypse with loads of cultural references from Tik Tok -videos to films and more. I’m sure this year there’s been even better animations that came out, but I mostly missed them, but did enjoy The Mitchells – fast-paced, loaded with fun action sequences and a nice voice cast.


NO TIME TO DIE, from left: Lashana Lynch, Daniel Craig, 2020. ph: Nicola Dove / © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

Daniel Craig wrapped his duty as Agent 007 in No Time To Die, a humongously long but strangely emotional Bond film that entertained a host of fun new ideas, biggest one of them of course being Bond’s death (which, for the record, I don’t believe in any way; we didn’t see his dead body, so likely he made some kind of a weird escape and we’ll see him back in action in few years, different actor for sure but unharmed). Weirdly, the action sequences weren’t very remarkable, some nice chases and badass characters, but mostly, it was a film that finished one episode in our popular culture and made way for the next episodes. Despite the long runtime, I was entertained, but rarely really moved.


Being one of the few who didn’t hate the 2016 Ghostbusters, I went into the theatre expecting a fun brains-off entertainment in the extended universe of Ghostbusters – and was served with one. Mashup of Stranger Things and a mixed bag of Ghostbusters lore, Afterlife focused more on introducing a new set of characters than playing with the oldies goldies. I wasn’t remarkably enthusiastic about the new cast of characters, they felt like weak shadows of what the original ones were, with too much studio flavoring to make them last beyond this one film, but it was nice to see the three remaining ones still kicking some ghost ass in the end, and a weird revisitation of Harold Ramis‘ ghost which I think worked OK in the mix. Having said that, the third act was a carbon copy of the first film’s third act, which felt really sloppy writing for the most part.


Hated by many, the latest (and quite possibly the last) entry in the Matrix universe, Resurrections tried (and many times, failed) to do something different, and to that, I’ll have my hat off. It’s really hard to do a proper Matrix sequel, and both number 2 and 3 failed at it, trying to meticulously explain what was left unsaid in the first part of the series. None of the three sequels were needed, but Resurrections wanted to be a sequel of the 2020’s, self-aware and meta. Where it succeeded was grounding the story – something that both part 2 and 3 just decided not to worry about: it started off in what appeared to be in “real life”, like part 1 did, and stayed there long enough to be intriguing, but started to falter again when it fell too much in love with itself and wanted to explain everything, making the experience feel like being stuck in the matrix.


I guess this one doesn’t really count as movie, rather a standup special, but one worthy of mention here, as it so well encapsuled the 2020-2021 lockdown depression cycle every artist had to go through. Taking a stab at every conceivable modern popular culture phenomenon from reaction videos to TikTok fame, Instagram emptiness to video games, comedian Bo Burnham crafted this meta-special in what appeared to be his home during lockdown, discussing the mind-numbing experience of being stuck inside, with nothing but depression and Internet to entertain you.

Life, Opinions

Filmmaking during the COVID-19 era

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One year ago today Covid-19 shut down Finland for the first time, as part of the worldwide lockdown of the spring of 2020. Covid-19 had been around a bit longer, but it took a while to land to Europe and USA. For a while, we thought we got away from it, but now, one year later, as the Covid-19 -situation is again worsening in Finland, while getting better in some other places, I thought it was time to write – maybe if for no other purpose than historical record for myself – about the filming process during the Covid era, and why I believe it’s important we keep on doing it.

As anyone who has ever seen one behind the scenes picture from a film set knows, films are made in close proximity to tens, sometimes hundreds, even up to thousands of people. Depending on the production, filming may take place outside, in a big studio, or in very cramped spaces, like in small sets or inside a vehicle. But one thing that’s always present in every film set is the constant hurry. No matter how much resources you have, you’re always running out of time.

A set in China

Now, filmmaking is not easy. Actually, it’s a pretty damn complicated process, just to get a bunch of moving images out there. In order to get a shot that makes its’ way to the cut, a lot of things need to be perfect: performance, lighting, sound, camera movement, focus, continuity, VFX markers, special effects like blood, smoke and so forth… To get it all exactly right, you have to shoot each shot at least three times, maybe five, sometimes up to ten – and beyond (Most I’ve shot is around 20 to 30 takes, some directors can hit way above 150 takes). It’s a painstaking process which’s only goal is to hide the process from the viewer’s eye, so that they can experience the story in its’ fullest.

Added to this nowadays is the extra layer of Covid-19, which basically dictates that you shouldn’t be close to each other, in a closed space, refrain from touching or even walking near each other, masked up. It’s a huge ask to an already stretched-out machine to observe and adhere to, but it is also the new normal. I don’t think we’ll be out of Covid-19 any time soon, maybe never. This is what our future looks like, and we can either try to dismiss it, or adjust to it and master it completely. No miracle vaccine is gonna march in and make things like they were just under two years ago – vaccines will make this more bearable and more contained, but they won’t make the virus disappear.

Filmmaking in Covid-19 era brings about challenges that one wouldn’t have guessed few years ago. Masked-up crews, weekly (or daily!) Covid-tests and the constant fear of being shut down for days, even weeks.

Testing is obviously the key to anything: nobody should enter the set untested, and tests should happen at least once a week. As you can imagine, this is both slow and quite an expensive process. I don’t have figures, but one can only guess how much it will cost to do a medical test on hundreds of people on weekly basis, administered by medical professionals. Luckily, testing is nowadays quite rapid – the new tests allow batches of tens of samples being processed simultaneously, and results come in one hour time, possibly even faster. This of course means the whole crew needs to allow being swabbed quite often, which is at first quite uncomfortable, but over time, gets not one iota more comfortable. But it is what it is. One thing, though, is quite clear: Covid-19 -deniers and non-maskers will have to start looking for other avenues of work, as their entrance to film set is nearly impossible these days. Not to say they’d be missed, too.

Masks are, of course, a mandatory part of any future film sets. The rules are simple: wear mask, all the time, everywhere. The only people excluded from this are actors when they are on set. The reason is obvious, their faces will be constantly on camera and makeup, which can be smudged under the mask, is essential part of any actor’s outfit. But anyone else is required to wear the mask – including, but not limiting to, director and director of photography.

For a director, the mask requirement can be quite a hinderance. Our job is to try to communicate our thoughts, visions and directions to a crew of hundreds of people. Because everyone is constantly in such a hurry, precision is the key for running a good film set and DP and Director are the ones who everyone looks at in order to know what’s happening and how it should be done. Humans rely on facial expressions as much as they do on words, and suddenly, half of director’s face is cut out and words are muffled, making everything much more complicated to communicate, more susceptible to errors and misunderstandings. Added to that working in different languages, masks add a layer of confusion on top of already confusing environment – but nothing we wouldn’t get used to. I worked for quite a long time in China, where masks have been in daily use for years, and things work very well over there – it’s just a hurdle we have to get used to.

Masks were already a mandatory part of shooting gear in China in 2018, and nowadays, everywhere.

Social distancing is a much more complicated issue because many operations on film set require constant collaboration. From electricians to camera crew, set builders to makeup, stunts to special effects teams, it’s physical work that can’t always be done the required social distancing in mind, for safety’s sake. Not only that, but shooting spaces simply won’t allow that in some cases – say, a car requires camera and sound crew in a small space, nothing to be done to it. A makeup can’t be applied from 2 meters away. Pushing a dolly requires two bodies, a stunt wire two to three to hold it securely. But even given that a pass for safety’s sake, just sitting by the monitors and staring at performances requires people breathing down each other’s necks to see every detail being right. Tom Cruise called out two crew member doing exactly that, staring at monitors while under 2 meters apart from each other, and this bred a famous catch phrase in film industry – “gold standard”. It’s nearly impossible to reach, but the more we work together, understand the situation and adhere to rules, the closer to gold standard we can get.

Another thing familiar from my experience in China is the accommodations. The filmmakers are often booked for a certain period of time and housed in same lodging, no matter if they shoot in their home town or not. This is becoming more norm nowadays all over the world as well – they call it “bubbling up” these days, and the idea is to create a working and lodging arrangement that offers as little as possible of outside contacts, with the idea that only tested crew- and cast members socialize with each other, and all contacts to outside is handled with as little exposure as possible. This creates a strange new tension and feeling of unity within crews, as suddenly you are on a mission with a bunch of people, in a closed environment for quite a long time, stranded from contacts to the outside world. You can’t go to a pub, or to a restaurant, or to see a movie or in the worst cases, even to take a walk outside, you are living in a bubble with a bunch of people, almost like on a Mars mission that can take months, and you just have to get along with each other. This will also create issues for the most anti-social ones, as in the most tightest bubbles you are not allowed to have any kind of an exhaust valve to the outside world. It’s no wonder people train years for the upcoming Mars missions living underwater or in the desert among a small group of people…

The biggest fear is, of course, is if the production gets shut down. There have been cases all over the world where this has happened, some have recovered from it, some haven’t. It all begins with a singular exposure to someone who’s shown to be ill. First, you have to make sure if it’s an actual positive, or a false positive, which can happen quite easily. To my understanding, anything as small as eating a menthol candy can mess up the results and it comes back as “inconclusive” – but even that would mean a catastrophe for a production. An “inconclusive” means the production needs to figure out who this person is, who he or she has been in touch with, and then isolate everyone who’s been in contact with the one giving the inconclusive results. It may mean, in the best case scenario, that only a few people get sent back to lodging, followed by another test which hopefully comes back negative – but in the worst case scenario, it may mean that it’s impossible to continue until the situation has been solved. Shutting down even for a day in a big production can be devastatingly expensive – and usually, there’s no extra days lingering in the schedule to be used as contingency for Covid shutdowns, so one just needs to re-build and re-schedule according to that. That is, if the production even is able to continue: depending on the level of exposure and the rules that are applied, it might mean 10 days quarantine for the whole crew, which, obviously, is a real show-stopper.

There’s obviously also the insurance side of everything, as well, but I’ve (thankfully) never had to deal with that, so I can’t really talk about that, but I’m sure that’s another thing producers are getting gray hairs over. Not to mention the rest of the issues coming up during marketing and distribution; film theatres are still closed, film festivals are non-existent and even the biggest of productions find their way straight to digital, which is only half the experience, and for sure, half the income.

But, it’s good to remember, we are on the early days of the way things are going to be. It’s going to be tumultuous few years, that’s for sure, as everyone learns the new rules of the game, but only by doing it as good as one can, we’ll learn to be even better at it.

The last question remains, should we even do films in these trying times? Why risk so much for just a few hours of entertainment, shouldn’t we just lay low and wait for this to blow over?

I claim what we do is essential. Right now, Finland is closing up again; the restaurants are shut, the gyms and places to do sports are going to be shut down. Film theatres, stage theatres and all live music venues are shut down. We are not allowed to meet anyone physically. Someplace else things are opening back up, but I’m a pessimist by nature and don’t believe Covid is anywhere near over. But if you look at the suddenly much smaller, much more duller and less inspiring world around us, there’s honestly not a lot left to do to relax but watch films on streaming sites. I don’t claim we are essential workers in the same way as the frontline medical staff, doctors and nurses, or teachers, police and store workers are, the ones who put their lives on the line every day, risking hundreds or even thousands of contacts on a daily basis to keep our society running – no, we are not that essential. But what we do, the entertainment we provide, the culture we carry on, especially now that much of other places and means of culture to exist are down, is essential. In these drab, dire times we do need an escape from these four walls crashing around us, an exhaust valve of emotions, shared experiences, even though digital ones and films and TV can help in their own little way to get over this crisis, or at least, to find solutions around it.

PS. From a filmmaker point of view, I believe what we do is essential. But none more essential that what say, musicians, stage actors or entertainers do – the only difference is that films can offer an experience with rather controlled risks. By carefully planning the production and distributing digitally is way lower risk than packing hundreds, or thousands of people into one space, night after night, to view a live concert or a theatre show, it’s just the unfortunate fact and the way it is – the virus spreads from person to person through physical contact – mostly aerosols in the air. All arts are taking a heavy hit, probably none harder than music industry; selling records haven’t provided musicians in years, and now that live shows are off the table, it’s impossible to understand how the branch of arts which I love the most, even more than movies, can survive. I don’t know, but I think those who are able to, should support their local musicians and stage actors. Go buy your favorite band’s latest album online, or get it from a store – if for nothing else, to support. Go book a ticket for an online theatre – I watched, and happily paid $25 for it, David Bowie’s “Lazarus” theatre performance, and enjoyed it thoroughly. It may not be the same as sitting there in the audience, but also us, the audience, need to come forward and be more lenient to the artists trying to support their craft. I’m always shaking my head at the latest TV “musicians doing shit together” -formats, but even those provide at least some income to the stranded artits. I’m sure Jay Z is going to do fine, and Kanye isn’t going to end destitute, but your local punk band might. Think small, and support the artists you dig, if you are able to. It’s gonna mean a lot, so that we still have music and theatre when we eventually emerge out of this Covid hellhole, in whatever shape and form it might be.

Life, Opinions

Etäopetus – digiloikka tuntemattomaan

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Meidän kaikkien elämä on mullistunut Covid-19 -kriisin myötä, mutta keidenkään tuskin niin paljon kuin koululaisten. Etäopetuksesta on tullut perheiden jokapäiväistä arkea ja siihen jokaisella on hyvin vaihtelevat valmiudet – sekä oppilaina että vanhempina. Itselläni kotona on tällä hetkellä kaksi kouluikäistä, toinen ala- ja toinen ylä-, joten pääsen näkemään läheltä kaksi hyvin erilaista maailmaa.

Perheessämme alakoululainen – viidesluokkalainen – on velvoitettu osallistumaan työpäivässä yhden tunnin ajan aamupalan jälkeen etäopetustuntiin, jossa opettaja antaa pienen määrän tehtäviä joita sitten tulisi pyrkiä suorittamaan päivän mittaan. Samaan aikaan kasiluokkalainen istuu aamu puoli yhdeksästä kolmeen joka päivä läpi loputtomat oppitunnit josta jokaisesta tulee liuta tehtäviä jotka pitäisi omaehtoisesti suorittaa päivän mittaan ja jos näin ei tee, merkinnät tulevat koulun kirjoihin. Tehtävät on myös mitotettu usein niin, että niitä on mahdoton saada tehtyä suunnitellun tunnin aikana, etenkään jos kyse on yhtään hitaampitahtisesta opiskelusta, kunnes seuraava Teams-tunti painaa jo päälle. Lopputuloksena on päivän mittaan kasautuvia sälätehtäviä päivän päätteeksi joita sitten yritetään tehdä koulun ja kokeisiinluvun ohessa. Nyt emme siis puhu lukiolaisesta vaan kahdeksasluokkalaisesta. Paine ja kiire on uskomaton, koneen edessä istuu päivä toisensa jälkeen pahemmin uupuva esiteini jolta odotetaan yllättäen ennennäkemätön määrä oma-aloitteisuutta, itseohjautuvuutta ja teknista osaamista. Tämän lisäksi opetuksessa käytetään vähän erilaisia metodeja: joskus tehtävät löytyvät Teamsin Assignments-osiosta, toisinaan Helmi/Vilma/mitänäitänyton-järjestelmistä, toisinaan Teams-keskusteluista viesteinä. Yritäpä siinä sitten vanhempana pysyä mukana, miksi poissaolo- ja palauttajättämisilmoituksia kilahtelee Helmiin kun lapsellakaan ei ole mitään käsitystä mitä pitäisi tehdä. Itse olen istunut useamman tunnin käymällä läpi Teams-keskusteluja salapoliisimaisesti yrittäen tulkita eri kommenteista, onko mahdollisesti nyt annettu suullinen tehtävä, onko tämä viesti jotain, mitä on pitänyt tehdä tunnilla vai tunnin jälkeen, vai löytyykö jotain kenties Assignmentseista.


Vanhemmille tämä aika ei ole sen helpompaa. Oppilaalta odotettu itseohjautuvaisuus on iso haaste myös kotona; työpäivän aikana ja sen päätteeksi pitäisi kyetä seuraamaan onko lapsi käynyt koulunsa ja tehnyt tehtävänsä, auttaa tehtävissä joihin ei ole mitään kosketusta vuosikymmeniin (itse sain eilen palautella hypotenuusia, kateetteja ja piiärkakkosia päähäni) sillä mahdollisuus opelta nopeasti kysymiseen on vaikeaa, etätunneilla kyssäreiden esittäminen varattu vain aktiivisimmille ja ekstroverteimmille, tukiopetusta on saatavilla vain satunnaisesti.

Etäopiskelu paljastaa koulutusjärjestelmämme nurjan puolen – survival of the fittest nousee pintaan ennennäkemättömällä tavalla. Luokan parhaat ovat äänessä jatkuvasti, hiljaisemmat syrjäytyvät entisestään, hitaammat hautautuvat työvuoren. Ainoa oljenkorsi on vanhempien apu joka vaihtelee kuin yö ja päivä kotien ja tilanteiden mukaan: yläkoululaisten käsittelemät asiat, kuten matematiikka, fysiikka, kemia ja ruotsi ovat saattaneet loistaa poissaolollaan elämästämme niin pitkään että olemme aivan yhtä avuttomia niiden edessä kuin kelkasta hetkeksi pudonnut oppilas. Muuta ei voi tehdä kuin yrittää räpistellä takaisin mukaan, mutta helppoa se ei ole.

Keskustelin oman yläkoululaiseni kanssa – hänelle etäkoulun hyvinä puolina on se, ettei tarvitse lähteä päivittäin minnekään vaan opiskelu tapahtuu keskitetysti ja helposti kotikoneelta. Ei tarvitse herätä liian aikaisin vaan aamupalaan menee vain hetki, jonka jälkeen onkin jo koulun penkillä. Kurjina puolina hän mainitsi kuitenkin kavereiden puutteen, liikkumattomuuden ja sen, että tehtäviä tulee aivan älyttömiä määriä verrattuna käytettävissä olevaan aikaan. Tämän lisäksi olen seurannut digiteknologian käytön haasteita – videoiden siirtäminen puhelimelta koneelle ei ole ihan iisiä, ohjelmat eivät ole itsestäänselvästi käyttäjäystävällisiä ja aikaa kuluu pelkkään tekniseen kikkailuun koulutyön ohella.

Yksittäisiä oppilaista suuremmassa kriisissä on kuitenkin koko koulutusjärjestelmämme.  Suomi, koulutuksen kärkimaa, ei ole kyennyt tekemään digiloikkaansa suinkaan niin sujuvasti kuin ajatella voisi – olemmehan myös teknologiakehityksen huippumaa! Siltikin, käytettävät työkalut ja työtavat ovat kankeita, vaatimustasot vaihtelevat valtavasti ja toteutus riippuu täysin opettajan halusta tehdä oma henkilökohtainen digiloikkansa ja tietenkin hänen viitseliäisyydestä. Osa opettajista haluaa pitää tuntinsa videona etätuntina, toiset lähettävät jossain tunnin vaiheessa ison kasan luettavaa ja tehtäviä juuri sen enempää oppilaita kohtaamatta.

Mihin sitten tätä digiloikkaa ollaan tekemässä? Onko edessä tulevaisuus, jossa pandemioista huolimatta koulutuksesta osa siirtyy etätyöskentelyyn isommissa määrin? Vai palataanko takaisin koulun penkeille samalla mallilla kuin aikaisemmin? Kummassakin on puolensa mutta selvää on, että tulevaisuus tulee olemaan digitaalisempaa, mutta mikä seuraava askelmerkki tässä digiloikassa – ei, vaan kolmiloikassa – on?

Selvää on, että järjestelmämme ei ole valmistautunut tähän vaikka tekninen puoli ja osaaminenkin siihen riittäisi. Tärkeintä olisi yhtenäisen järjestelmän rakentaminen, opettajien kouluttaminen, digikouluavustajien palkkaaminen ja myös laitteiden hankkiminen ja toimittaminen opiskelijoille. Puhelin ei ole digietäopetuksen työkalu mutta perheemme alakoululaisella ei ole läppäriä hankittuna, näinollen toimittajavaimoni, jolle läppäri on elintärkeä työkalu, joutuu aikatauluttamaan omat työnsä niin, että läppäriä voidaan jakaa. Entä miten tämä toimii perheessä, jossa ei ole teknologiaa senkään vertaa? Entä jos lapsia on enemmän tai tilaa vähemmän?

Paljon on ollut puhetta varmuusvarastoista mutta näköjään opetukseen, koko yhteiskunnan yhteen merkittävimmistä tukipilareista, ei ole tehty minkäänlaista varmuusvarastoa tai varmuusvarasuunnitelmaa. Näiden kehittämisen soisin näkevän tiensä hallituksen suunnitelmiin sillä varmaa on, että Covid-19 ei tule jäämään viimeiseksi elinaikanamme kokemaksemme pandemiaksi.

Nyt pohditaan, avataanko koulut vielä pariksi viime viikoksi ennen kesälomia ja jos, niin keille. Itse en toivo että koulut aukeavat, ainakaan yhtään laajemmin kuin tällä hetkellä. Kansanterveydellisesti uskon, että koronasta olisi hyvä päästä kunnolla niskan päälle edes niin, että ymmärtäisimme mistä tässä sairaudessa on kyse ja miten sitä voidaan hoitaa. Tällä hetkellä sairaus on hoitamaton, jonka vaikean muodon ainoa selviämiskeino on pitää sairastuneet teholla ja kiinni koneissa ja toivoa, että kyetään pumppaamaan tarpeeksi happea keuhkoihin että hengissä pysytään yli pahimman. Emme ymmärrä edes sairauden tartuntamekaniikkaa ja vielä vähemmän sitä, miksi se on tappava joillakin, toisilla taas ei. Lapset eivät eräiden havaintojen mukaan levitä tautia yhtä pahasti kuin vanhemmat ihmiset, mutta esimerkiksi täällä Lauttasaaressa, jossa pandemia sairastutti ensimmäisinä alueina ison määrän ihmisiä tauti lähti liikkeelle ala-asteelta – emme siis ymmärrä tätäkään mekanismia juurikaan.

Koulujen aukaiseminen tässä vaiheessa altistaisi niin lapset kuin perheetkin oudolle ihmiskokeelle jossa voittajina olisivat lähinnä stressaantuneet vanhemmat. Opinnollisesti tämän lukukauden tuho on jo tehty ja pelkään, että numeroita saadakseen opettajat lataisivat oppilaille lähinnä ison kasan kokeita räkyiltäväksi loppulukukaudeksi ja valitettavasti etenkin ysiluokkalaisille niistä selviäminen ei ole vain tärkeää vaan koko elämän määrittelevää pakertamista: lukio vai ammattikoulu, siinä on yksi yhteiskuntamme merkittävimmistä ja ensimmäisistä päätöksistä joihin voimme vaikuttaa.

Tämän sukupolven lasten ponnistuksen pituus ja se, mihin se riittää, riippuu nyt hallituksen päätöksistä, koulutusjärjestelmän muuntautumiskyvystä, opettajien suhtautumisesta, vanhempien viitseliäisyydestä ja siitä, mitä ratkaisuja olemme valmiita tekemään tulevaisuudessa – ja kaikista vähiten, valitettavasti, lapsista itseistään, joista valitettavan iso osa jää kärsijän rooliin.

Käsi nousee lippaan sairaanhoitajia ja lääkäreitä, kaupan ja apteekin työntekijöitä ja muiden välttämättömien alojen tukipilareita ajatellessamme mutta otetaanpa siihen joukkoon myös opettajat jotka yrittävät rempoa tässä sekamelskassa eteenpäin niin, ettei meille tulisi kymmenen vuoden kuluttua kouluttautumattomien ja syrjäytyneiden sukupolvi vaan että jokainen lapsi löytäisi mahdollisuutensa ja pystyisi toteuttamaan itseään parhaalla ja monimuotoisimmalla tavalla.


Opinions, Reviews, Top Films

Best Films of 2019

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1. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)

irishmanThe Irishman is Martin Scorsese closing books on his mob quadrology, which started with Mean Streets (1973), followed by Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995) and the 2013 spinoff The Wolf of Wall Street  (2013), which stuns with its’ tranquil pacing, subtle acting and a sad undertone of watching an old criminal rotting away in a retirement home, reminiscing his past life and crimes to nobody in particular. If this turns out to be also Scorsese’s last film, it’s a fine way to leave the field, saying: try topping this. We’ll never have stars like Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Robert DeNiro again, and we’ll never get another Scorsese.


2. Joker (Todd Philllips)


DC understood that in order to compete against Marvel, one has to come up with a bit of a different angle. They did it already with Christopher Nolan’s Batman, bringing a darker, grittier and harder-hitting version of their favorite superhero, and now they decided to do the same with a villain. Not to say they hadn’t tried, but Suicide Squad didn’t really work. And even more so, they tried two impossible things at the same time: to do a superhero film about mental illness and to challenge the greatness of Heath Ledger, who still is the best Joker out there. Somehow, they managed to do both, and while Joaquin Phoenix may not be better than Heath as Joker, he’s just as good.


3. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker  (JJ Abrams)


What a way to end the saga! The film, which was plagued by production problems with directors and writers going in an out of it, delivered a perfect ending for the Skywalkers! JJ Abrams managed to run the story with such precision, pacing and scale that it felt constantly fresh and new, while never forgetting its’ roots. Daisy Ridley’s Rey grows from a pretty bland character into a proper hero, and Adam Driver’s sheer charisma makes the connection between the two characters feel natural and organic. It’s a huge film and knows its’ duty: to end the 40+ years of film history with dignity.



4. Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller)


Apollo 11 is a gripping documentary that keeps you on the edge of your seat, crunching the armrests, knuckles white, breathing short, shallow gasps as in to make sure your presence would in no way alter the course of the tender wheels of human history unfolding in front of your eyes. Every school should include Apollo 11 into their curriculum, for it is not only an accurate documentary of events that changed the history of our race forever but also a hugely inspiring film, too, one that pushes you to reach beyond the limits of possibility in order to achieve something great.



5. Booksmart (Olivia Wilde)


In its’ core, Booksmart is very simply Superbad but with girls. It’s also every other teen comedy ever made; two girls who’ve spent their days getting straight As and missed all the high school parties decide to have one night of fun, for the first time, before moving away to different colleges across the country. The story has been told a thousand times, and we all can imagine what happens: they get drunk for the first time, they fall in love, they go crazy. It’s not really the story that works so well, but the whole execution of the film, the unhinged love which director Olivia Wilde, an actress herself, has managed to pull out of the shining duo Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Felster, both bound to hit big stardom in the ’20s.

6. Mestari Cheng (Mika Kaurismäki)


A charming story of a Chinese cook who comes to rural, northern Finland with his son to find a long-lost friend and ends up setting up a restaurant serving rare Chinese delicacies to the grumpy Finns who probably never even seen a foreigner in their lives, but on TV maybe. Master Cheng, as the English title is, charms with its’ beautiful cinematography, cinematic scale and awesome, strange Finnish characters, whom Cheng interacts with his own, bull-headed style. Kaurismäki manages to make the story more than its’ parts and the feel-good nature of the film makes it a lovely watch.


7. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (Alex Gibney)


2019 was all about fake news, and the order our world was established on – that if anything, the news are true – was shaken. This happened also in the unbeatable field of business, and The Inventor is a great dive into the world where wealth and money is everything. We have grown to believe that the business decisions made by the multi-billionaires have been established on their genial understanding of the business and the products they build, but with clear, sharp slashes, Alex Gibney’s documentary goes to destroy that belief. The Inventor both an uncovering of a fraud and a documentary of the person behind the fraud, a self-proclaimed Silicon Valley med tech goddess who sets on a mission to change the world.


8. Leaving Neverland (Dan Reed)


Unearthing the old claims of Michael Jackson’s pedophilia relationships with kids who stayed at his mansion and toured with him wasn’t anything we hadn’t heard of. In Finland, we’ve had our own Michael Jackson -jokes (“väärä nappula”), as probably everywhere in the world and the fact that Wacko-Jacko, a revered musician, had this dark side was accepted as part of his myth, rather than the actual, life-destroying crime spree it actually was. While Leaving Neverland isn’t a tremendously built documentary, it fails to really build the characters of its’ subjects and tends to be scandalous and sometimes not that believable, but what it does it gives faces and history to the victims and shows the extent Jackson’s actions, and, interestingly, also challenges the families of the victims: why didn’t you do anything? We know the answer: they liked basking in Jackson’s starlight way too much to really stop what they for sure suspected was going on.

9. Rocketman (Dexter Fletcher)


Now this is the right way to do a rock biopic! Pushing the envelope much further than Rocketman’s predecessor Bohemian Rhapsody did, the film goes to town with sex and drugs and rocks and rolls. Taron Egerton crashes the Oscar party with an impeccable show of force as an actor and Dexter Fletcher manages to keep the film that keeps on bouncing all over the room in some kind of leash to deliver a story that actually tells a story of Elton John‘s crazy years. Drawing connections between BoRap and Rocketman is easy, as the films are essentially the same. Where BoRap is simply better rock film because of Queen’s amazing music, Rocketman is probably a better film.


10. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)


The star-studded cast and crazy intriguing premise delivered Tarantino a huge hit with Once Upon A Time, and rightly so. The beautifully crafted film takes one of the big Hollywood tragedies and re-writes the history, but does so with childish dream to crush the bullies, and while we know the events didn’t go that way, it’s an alternative history take, done mostly with respect (yes, Bruce Lee‘s depiction was not fair, but hey, it’s a fantasy movie). It’s fun and powerful film that leaves you gasping for air by the time you roll out of the theatre. Might not be Tarantino’s best, but is definitely on the top five.


Opinions, Reviews, Scifi

Review: Star Wars – The Skywalker Saga

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For over 40 years, Star Wars has ruled the box office. What started off as an insane dream by George Lucas, a young filmmaker from Modesto, California turned into anything but “modest”. Spanning at first through three movies, the first trilogy which begun from the fourth episode, followed by an extensive toy industry with animated series, a bunch of TV movies in the ’80s, finally petered out somewhere in turn of the ’90s. By that time, everyone knew Luke, Leia, Han, and Darth Vader, we knew what a lightsaber would be, how it sounded like and knew exactly what color saber they all had.

Darth Vader (played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones), probably the most iconic character of the whole saga, strangling an officer in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

The story was kept alive through the ’90s by a bunch of very successful games – both tabletop roleplaying ones and a good selection of PC game titles, such as X-Wing and TIE Fighter, Rebel Assault and Jedi Knight – while, unbeknownst to anyone, Lucas was writing his prequels.

When Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) hit the cinemas in the late ’90s., it was a major cinematic event. Followed by two more Episodes, the much-beloved franchise got its’ first serious fan backlash, too. While the cinema tickets sold like hotcakes, fans were not that in love with new elements, such as the Midi-chlorians, an attempt to explain the force through weird physics, and while some of the new characters were welcomed, like Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), some were loathed: Jar-Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) soon became the most hated character of the series, and once Lucas let go of the franchise after Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (2005), Jar-Jar (along with the Midi-chlorians) disappeared like fart in Sahara.

Young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) appearing in front of the Jedi Council in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Meance

After Episode III, it took quite a while for Star Wars to come back – ten years, to be exact. Again, during that time the story was kept alive by the toys and gaming industry, but the savior came from a surprising new place: Lego started to produce Star Wars toys, introducing the franchise to a third new generation. The Lego sets were followed by Lego Star Wars -games, which became hugely popular and the first stepping stone to the generation who had missed the first two trilogies. Simultaneously, animated Star Wars series, first Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003-2005) and later Star Wars: Rebels (2014-2018) kept filling in the gaps between the trilogies.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) became the torch-bearer of the Jedi legacy in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

When Lucas finally sold his Star Wars empire to Disney, the third series was inevitable. J.J. Abrams, who had successfully rejuvenated Star Trek back in 2009,  was hired to produce the first of the upcoming trilogy. When Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) hit the theatres, it crushed all the previous records and brought the story back to life with full power. Introducing a set of new characters, of which all managed to strike the right chords among the fanbase and the new viewers, Star Wars was again the biggest and the best in the cinema.


Fans did notice, though, that Abrams’ Star Wars was doing a disservice to itself by over-serving the fans: to some, it felt like a best-of of the original trilogy, bringing very little new to the scenario. The same elements were still there – The Empire, only now known as The First Order versus the Rebels, planet-size weapons capable of destroying other planets and the new Emperor/Darth Vader -characters – Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) with his apprentice, the troubled young Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) – ruling over the galaxy. Still, it was clear that the Star Wars universe was welcomed warmly, and yet another generation was able to jump onboard the fun.

The Force Awakens was followed by a spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016, directed by Gareth Edwards), which served as a film to tie one of the open ends of the original trilogy, telling where did the Rebels learn about the weakness in the Death Star. The film was grittier than Star Wars had been before, and after its’ success, a whole universe of Star Wars Stories was planned.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2018, directed by Rian Johnson), the second part in the latest trilogy, was received with even more fan backlash. While the critics revered it, the fans were less enamored. The film was more ponderous than its’ predecessors, but the problems were more script-related: some of the timelines the film presented didn’t seem to make sense and it didn’t take seriously enough some of the rampant fan theories and some of the setups The Force Awakens had put in place. Still, the film was a big hit in box offices around the world, and people were attuned to wait for the final part of the trilogy.

The epic lightsabre battle of Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2018) took place between Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Before that,  though, Star Wars experienced probably the biggest slap in the face of the franchise in decades, when they ventured in the history of the most beloved character of the series, Han Solo. Solo: A Star Wars Story (directed by Ron Howard), which came out in 2018, wasn’t loved by the critics, the fans or the box office. It technically killed the Star Wars Stories -spinoff-series, trashing the plans of a Boba Fett -movie that was rumored to follow. It showed that the fans are willing to watch Star Wars movies, as long as the films take themselves serious enough, don’t tamper with old characters, and give us the adventure we are looking for, the good versus evil -battle in its’ true, pure form. Solo went against the grain, being maybe a bit too self-aware, too cocky and – unfortunately – too general to find a proper place in Star Wars universe.

Meanwhile, the games and toys industry grew bigger and bigger. EA brought Star Wars: Battlefront -franchise back to life and served two greatly loved Star Wars games to the gamers, while selling Lego sets, plushies, helmets… you name it, they had it. They did, though, find out the unfortunate fact of the Star Wars series – the most beloved characters, events, and elements were still the ones from the original trilogy. Nothing the follow-ups had brought up – save maybe Darth Maul (played by Ray Park) – could ever rival Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) or Boba Fett (first played by Jeremy Bulloch) or Jabba The Hutt (voiced by Larry Ward) or Han Solo (Harrison Ford), not to mention Darth Vader (David Prowse and James Earl Jones).

Star Wars: Battlefront (2015, Electronic Arts)

Finally, as the second decade of the 2000s was about to wrap up and the world was about to step in the Cyberpunk era of the 2020s, the last and final episode of the Skywalker saga hit the theatres. Not before The Mandalorian (2019-, created by Jon Favreau), a TV-series set in the Star Wars universe, another spinoff patching up some of the blank holes in the backstory, would premiere at the newly-established Disney+ streaming service.

The Mandalorian brought in rave reviews. Suddenly, the whole Internet was going crazy over a character named Baby Yoda (who, of course, can’t be Yoda since, well, Yoda is dead Jedi ghost these days). One would think that such a great response would pave the way for the grand finale of the film series, but again, the fan backlash was waiting just around the corner.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) is about to find out the truth about her past in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019, directed by J.J. Abrams) was received with an extremely divided audience and critical response – the worst one in the series since the days of Lucas. To some, the fast pace J.J. Abrams, who returned to the helm after Rian Johnson’s previous “disaster” (as so many fans put it), was too much. To some, important characters were played in and out quickly, and the plot felt rushed and incoherent. Probably many just didn’t want the Skywalker saga to end, and had already chosen their side: this can not, should not, and will not be the end of it.

Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian has captured the hearts of the Star Wars fans.

Simultaneously, The Mandalorian was continuing the story. It was beloved by the fans, and it had the first new, greatly beloved character in it – the mysterious Yoda-like child, whom we know very little of as of now. In some way, The Mandalorian‘s success could’ve even turned against The Rise of Skywalker. It was the Star Wars the fans wanted, not the film that tried to end it all.

The biggest problem with Star Wars, from the very beginning on, has been the fact that it’s not really built to follow an arc. Each of the trilogies is written independently and even each film within the trilogy is written independently, often directed by different directors, each with a strong need to bring a new angle to the ages-old Star Wars franchise. All this while Disney, the new owner of the franchise, is trying to keep the fans happy and buying the toys, paying the tickets to the films and the theme park rides. But still, for over 40 years, the series has leaned on characters and events devised by George Lucas in the ’70s, and nothing any of the new installments have brought on has stuck as hard as the stories and characters of the original trilogy.

And boy, they have tried. There was Darth Maul and the Pod Race in the second trilogy, loaded with huge galactic plotting schemes and backstabbings, but all of that was too confusing to really fall in love with. Then, there was Kylo Ren and Snoke, both of whom were just too much like Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader to really kick in hard. There was BB-8, the new robot – practically, a new R2-D2, and even bigger battles, none of which were able to outdo what Battle of Hoth did in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980, directed by Irvin Kershner). Now, we have Baby Yoda, while most of the characters of the original series are either dead or ghosts floating around in Jediversum.

AT-ATs of the Empire attacking the Rebel forces during the Battle of Hoth in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The whole Skywalker saga said what it had to say in its’ first three outings, and nothing that was added to it, later on, was really needed to make the already epic story any stronger. Still, I’m really happy Star Wars has always been there, all through my life, in different forms, shapes, and formats. And now, as I watch the excellent The Rise of Skywalker ending the whole saga, I do feel sad and nostalgic. It’s not necessarily an end of an era – Star Wars, if you ask from Disney, is just gettings started – but it’s an end of a set of beloved characters whom I’ve known nearly better than any other characters from any other franchises, save The Lord of the Rings.

Looking back, I think the biggest mistake the series did was that it kept Lucas on for as long as it did in the director’s seat. I think he should’ve been kept as a guardian of the storyline, one through whom all the scripts would pass, one who would give guidance and direction to where the story would go – more like a showrunner – while leaving directing to others. This way, Episodes I-III could have stood the test of time better, and the whole series would feel more together. Also, I don’t think the Star Wars Stories were necessary additions since while I did like Rogue One, Solo did show the fact that Star Wars just isn’t for every director, and not every character needs to have a carefully laid backstory that’s force-fed to the audience; we like to make up the untold histories ourselves.

But all in all, Star Wars – The Skywalker Saga is an important franchise that deserves the acknowledgment in the annals of great sagas of modern times. It’s may not be the Lord of the Rings, but it’s the about the second best thing from that.

There’s a lot of directions the series can go from here, but I do hope they first focus on creating a big story arc and finding a franchise runner who can carry it through a series of upcoming trilogies/TV-shows/whatever it is they have in mind. Maybe it’s worthwhile to consult George Lucas once more since it’s from him where the most valuable assets the series has have sprung from. I’m excitedly waiting for the future, and will definitely be coming back to the 12+ movies and TV-series Skywalker Saga has to offer.

Thank you, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, and others. You’ve given a lot to us.

Stars? Should I give a star rating to these 40+ years of Star Wars? How could I, even? It’s such a mixed bag… But it is a review, and I like giving stars, so here we go:

In short: A convoluted and mixed franchise, which relies heavily on the original trilogy, but manages to keep us entertained and grow and involve new viewers, generation after generation.

And here’s the film-by-film order:

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977, George Lucas)


The beginning of the most epic adventure we’ll see, possibly ever, Episode V is a stunning work of art and adventure. To think, one film brought us characters like Darth Vader, C3-PO, R2-D2, Luke Skywalker, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca… Again, all in just one film. This was a momentous movie, like The Beatles coming together for the first time, which changed the whole film industry forever.




Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980, Irvin Kershner)


Darker in the tone, and grander in the scale, The Empire Strikes Back nailed Star Wars into history, making it more than a one-hit-wonder, but a franchise to look out for. Introducing special effect techniques never seen before, even more unforgettable characters like Yoda, and continuing the adventures of the original heroes in such ease, the film is what every sequel should be.



Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983, Richard Marquand)

Star_Wars_Episode_VI_Return_of_the_Jedi-351307626-largeMaybe just a bit too childish with the lovely, furry Ewoks, Return of the Jedi manages to bring in even more intriguing characters and making this grand adventure feel not just a story, but mythology, to which one just simply can’t stop falling in love with. The new set pieces – this time, jungle – give it a fresh breath of air, and the ending of the first trilogy is pure magic.



Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999, George Lucas)


George Lucas couldn’t keep his hands off the Star Wars and returned 15 years later to his creation, only this time, unfortunately, the magic was lost. The film has some amazing set pieces like the Pod Race, and a wealth of new characters, but the script stumbles trying to get us interested in the birth of the Empire and the internal struggles of the Senate. Not only that, but it also ages terribly – the VFX are nowadays sub-par, but they must’ve been that already back then – Terminator 2 had come out in 1992, that’s seven years earlier, and first Lord of the Rings was already in the making.


Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002, George Lucas)

715aZ-gZP1L._SY679_Casting Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker was a mistake. While probably not a terrible actor, when he jumped onboard Star Wars franchise, he was way overshadowed by everyone else. He could not muster enough interest in the character, which, in its’ inner struggle would’ve needed a much stronger actor (luckily they did choose Adam Driver to play Kylo Ren to patch this up). The story itself introduces interesting concepts, like the Clones, but the film, while managing to rekindle some of the original Star Wars flame, was still too crappy to really have a character of its’ own.


Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (2005, George Lucas)

61nAp2cNlbL._SY741_While definitely the best of the second trilogy, not even the big space battles and the huge set pieces in the arena, or terrific Count Dooku (played by Christopher Lee) can save us from the mopy glances of Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker, or such plot twists like “I have the high ground”. The visuals are better than in two earlier ones, but there’s way too much of everything for the film to look like anything but a mess.





Star Wars: Clone Wars (2008, Dave Filoni)


The Clone Wars is the first animated feature film of the Star Wars series, based on the popular and liked TV series, which maps the time between episodes I and II. The film has a strong, unique visual style and has some very likable characters, but ultimately, it doesn’t feel like it really belongs in the saga instrumentally.



Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015, J.J. Abrams)


Just like he did with Star Trek, J.J. Abrams managed to walk into Star Wars franchise and blow some fresh air into it, without ruining it. The Force Awakens is a really strong, new start which brings back old legends and introduces new, interesting characters. It looks amazing, sounds amazing and rolls on with a fast but never rushed pace – just like the original trilogy did. The film does succumb to a lot of fan service and finds itself playing the best-of of the original trilogy, but hey, that’s what we came in here for, right?


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016, Gareth Edwards)

MV5BMjEwMzMxODIzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzg3OTAzMDI@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_Darker than its’ predecessors, and the first of the Story -spinoffs, Rogue One manages to feel like a grittier version of the Star Wars saga, bleaker and more grown-up story which, firstly, doesn’t have a happy ending, and secondly, tells a story that’s not really part of the trilogies. The film goes to tell the backstory of the Death Star and introduces several quite dark set pieces, and while it does feel like it doesn’t belong really anywhere, it’s a great watch and a strong movie all in all.


Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017, Rian Johnson)


The Last Jedi is more ponderous and talky than its predecessors, with beautiful concept artwork sequences, but it’s a script that’s lacking: the story is incoherent, the timeline seems to be off and the film feels too serious in a wrong sense, too. We stay way too long with Luke in a forlorn island, while the Rebels are running away – quite boringly – from the New Order fleet. The story feels like a mashup of the new Battlestar Galactica and some weird Samurai movie of the 80’s. In addition to this, for some reason the visual effects seem more glowy and smooth compared to Abrams’ takes, and while the vistas are beautiful, they do feel like someone drew a beautiful concept art of a sequence which was then attempted to bring to life.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018, Ron Howard)


Solo was doomed to fail from the beginning: nobody can replace Harrison Ford, just like you can’t replace Arnold Schwarzenegger. He created possibly one of the most iconic characters of film history with Han Solo, and while Alden Ehrenreich does his best, he’s nowhere near the same ballpark as Ford is. In addition to this, the story feels like it’s not taking itself seriously enough; the film stumbles on as a gangster movie and a space opera, without being able to decide which one it actually is. Also, the backstory it gives to Solo is a pretty lame one.



Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (201, J.J. Abrams)


What a way to end the saga! The film, which was plagued by production problems with directors and writers going in an out of it, delivered a perfect ending for the Skywalkers! J. J. Abrams managed to run the story with such precision, pacing and scale that it felt constantly fresh and new, while never forgetting its’ roots. Daisy Ridley’s Rey grows from a pretty bland character into a proper hero, and Adam Driver’s sheer charisma makes the connection between the two characters feel natural and organic. It’s a huge film and knows its’ duty: to end the 40+ years of film history with dignity.


Elokuvajournalistit, rauhoittukaa.

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Photo by Juha Jormakka

Elokuvajulkaisujen rytmi ja niistä raportoiminen on alkanut todella tekemään hallaa niin elokuville kuin niistä nauttiville katsojillekin. Sitä mukaan kun nettijournalismin julkaisu- ja käsittelytahti kiihtyy, myös niistä kirjoittavien toimittajien paineet saada ulos ensimmäisenä kattavimmat arvostelut, laajimmat analyysit ja rajuimmat paljastukset kovenevat.

Kun vihdoin pitkään odottamasi elokuva laskeutuu teattereihin tai Netflixiin, on se jo mediassa ehditty ruotia niin puhki että teatteriin meneminenkin on jo statement. Meillä tavallisilla katsojilla kun ei ole mahdollisuutta nähdä puoli vuotta ennakkoon festivaaleilla näytettyjä elokuvia silloin, eikä journoilla tunnu pysyvän housut jalassa että he osaisivat pitää mölyt mahassaan edes enskariviikkoon asti.

Eikä leffajutuilta nykyään voi välttyäkään. Kyllä, olen yrittänyt väistellä esim. Jokeria käsitteleviä juttuja ennen sen julkaisua – mahdotonta. Elokuvan jokainen potentiaalinen skandaalin aihe raahattiin kansainvälisissä medioissa framille pitkään ennen kuin elokuva pääsi teattereihin missään päin maailmaa. Ja skandaalejahan riittää! Jokainen vähääkään kiinnostavampi elokuva luetaan nykyään kannanotoksi mielenterveydesta, tai #metoosta tai aselaeista tai mistä hyvänsä mistä otsikoita saadaan veisteltyä. Istu siinä sitten jouralistien ristitulessa jotka riitelevät siitä innostaako joku elokuva massamurhiin tai mihin hyvänsä kun itsellä ei ole mitään mahdollisuutta nähdä koko rainaa vielä pitkään aikaan.

Sitten tuli El Camino. Elokuva ehdittiin ylistää ja sitten lytätä ja hakata kappaleiksi mediassa Netflixin julkaisusekunnilla ja seuraavalla ylistää toisten kriitikoiden toimesta taivaisiin ja sitten alkoikin jo riita siitä, saako pitääkö voiko jne jne jne. Itse en ehtinyt perjantai-iltana tuijottamaan ruudun äärellä elokuvaa, halusin katsoa sen lauantaina – silloin se alkoikin jo olla vanha juttu.

Nyt jännitetäänkin Scorsesen seuraavaa, mutta johan sekin on ehditty nähdä jossain maailman kolkassa. Viiden, kuuden, seitsemän tähden arvosteluja satelee mutta itselläni ei ole vieläkään kunnon ymmärrystä koska tämän kohutun elokuvan pääsisi kukaan näkemään. Nyt jo journalistit kirjoittavat syväanalyysejaan elokuvasta ja sen julkaisumenetelmästä ja plip plap plop. Itse vaan pyörittelen päätäni että missä tämä elokuva on, kuinka sen voi nähdä, teatterissa vai kotisohvalta.

Etenkin skandaalinhakuinen leffajournalismi kaipaisi hieman jarrua höyryjyräänsä. Ymmärrän, väsyneitä näyttelijähaastatteluja ei kukaan jaksa enää lukea. Starakulttuuri on väljähtämään päin ja se ei ole yksinomaan huono asia  ja jotain jutun juurta pitää pystyä elokuvista kaivamaan että niistä puhuttaisiin. Tämän päivän nettiskandaali on toki huomioarvoltaan mitä parahinta bensaa tähän, mutta aika orvoksi sitä jää kun leffa keritään repimään kappaleiksi ja kursimaan kasaan ennen kuin sitä kukaan muu kuin alan omistautunein toimittaja ehtii näkemään.

Myös Netflixin (ja muiden streaming-palveluiden) epämääräiset julkaisuaikataulut tekevät leffanörtin elämästä entistä kaoottisempaa: tuleeko leffa teatteriin Suomessa, jos niin koska ja kuinka lyhyt ikkuna se on, pitääkö mennä sivuteatteriin katsomaan kohtalaisilla vermeillä vai olisiko IMAX tai edes Scape (vai mikäköhän Isense se olikaan nykyään) mahdollista?

Tiedän, sekavaa ja hieman turhautunutta rämbläystä mutta mutta. Arvon leffajournalisti. Blogaaja. Kolumnisti. Kulttuuritoimittaja: antakaa vähän armoa. Antakaa meidän katsoa leffa, puhutaan sitten. Säästäkää tulikivenkatkuisimmat analyysinne vaikka enskariviikkoa seuraavalle viikolle. Niin että ehditään vähän itsekin mutustelemaan, tehtävänänne ei ole ajatella ja jauhaa meidän puolestamme näitä kulttuurituotteita puhki ennen niiden julkaisua. Ettekä ole huonompia journoja jos ette ole heti ensimmäisten Buzzfeed-artikkeleiden seassa jakamassa korvaamattoman arvokkaita näkemyksiänne – tarjotkaa näkökulmaa elokuvan sen potentiaalisesti nähneille ihmisille. Väitän, että toimisi muuten paremmin pitkäjänteisemmän lukijakunnan kehittämisessä.

PS. Mainittakoon muuten etten erityisesti puhu suomalaisille journalisteille vaikka juttu onkin Suomeksi kirjoitettu. En vaan yksinkertaisesti jaksanut nakuttaa tätä enkuksi kun paukutan samaan aikaan kässäriä englanniksi toisella välilehdellä.

PPS. Enkä muuten vieläkään tiedä tai muista kirjoitetaanko Suomeksi vai suomeksi vai Englanniksi vai englanniksi. Ei vaan jää päähän. Vähän sama juttu > ja < -merkkien välillä. En ikinä opi kumpi meinaa kumpaa ja yksikään nokka sinne nokka tänne -ohje ei ole auttanut.

How Joker destroyed the DC universe (and basically the rest of the superhero franchises).

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Photo by Juha Jormakka

I saw Joker last week and enjoyed the movie immensely. I think it was both entertaining, cinematic and interestingly written; unique and modern movie in the superhero franchise, the closest relative to it being Wolverine movie back a few years ago, but Todd Phillip’s Joker was on a whole different level. I’m not good at putting words to what I love, so you can read for example Mark Kermode’s review on Joker, which I think is pretty spot on.

But one thing I thought was apparent and clear in the film, but I haven’t come across mentioned, was the fact that it states that the whole DC Universe superhero universe is merely a figment of Arthur Fleck’s insanity. Apparently, here come the spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, do that first before reading this.

The movie itself is a tangled mess of fantasies and reality, told from the perspective of a schizophrenic mental patient. Sometimes, he sees things that are real, sometimes his narcissistic mental issues take the driver’s seat: he finds himself getting called in front after speaking out loud in a talk show audience; the girl in his apartment building who once smiled at him at an elevator becomes his girlfriend. The film itself doesn’t take too much screen time explaining which one is a reality, which is happening in his mind. It’s a very popular storytelling method in films about mental ill subjects – see A Beautiful Mind as a grand example of this.

At the end of the movie, after Fleck has killed Robert DeNiro’s talkshow host character, they take him to a police car and drive him away. On the way, he watches as riots sparked by his murder spree rage all over the city. Suddenly, we even leave his perspective and follow Bruce Wayne’s parents walking away from a theatre to a dark alley, getting whacked as it happens in the Batman lore. We go back to the car where Arthur is detained, and suddenly an ambulance crashes on the side of the car. A clown-masked person comes out and helps him on the hood of a car. There, slowly, he rises up, watching as the masses of masked freaks surround him and greet him as the messiah of them all.

Then we’re back at the hospital. The woman asks: “What are you laughing about”. He says he was just thinking of one thing. Obviously, none of that happened – the ambulance never crashed the car and Arthur never was rescued from the car and made the wicked messiah he fantasizes himself to be. But that’s not all. We cut now to a single shot of Bruce Wayne as a kid, surrounded by his dead parents. The implication is that this is where he becomes Batman; then, we cut back to Arthur. Again, this was part of his fantasy. This never happened. Since we’ve stayed with Arthur all the time, cutting to another point of view, and especially at this point in the movie only implies this is his fantasy again. He creates Batman, right there, to fight the insanity in his brain, a counter-part to his cracking personality, but in reality, Bruce Wayne never becomes Batman. Probably his parents never even die.

It’s all a figment of Arthur Fleck’s imagination, and so are all the following insane characters, whether it’s the Penguin or Riddler or Catwoman. He fantasizes about this whole universe, but in reality, he’s just a nutcase who’s stuck in an asylum for the rest of his life.

Not only that, the film seems to be making a gesture towards the rest of the equally-insane superhero movies out there. I mean, look at us. We used to watch western movies, or science fiction movies, or gangster movies… But suddenly, we’re just watching, and taking very seriously, caped guys running around with fucking huge hammers, flying faster than light, snapping fingers to kill half of humanity. It’s fucking insane what we nowadays take as a regular cinema. It’s all just a weird brew spewing from some insane person’s head. And this is what Joker the movie is telling us.



Ihmisperseyden lyhyt oppimäärä

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Photo by Juha Jormakka

Olen saanut työskennellä urallani monien upeiden ihmisten kanssa. Joukkoon mahtuu kuitenkin aina myös liuta ihmisperseitä, jollaisten kanssa työskentely musertaa uskon koko elokuva-alaan, mutta ongelma on toki olemassa myös muilla taide- ja kulttuurialoilla. Kiinnostava artikkeli muotialalta – tai siis, muotialalle tähtäävistä opinnoista – julkaistiin juuri Long Play -palvelussa, otsikolla “Muodin huipulla”, jossa käsitellään melko kattavasti Aalto-yliopiston professorin käytöstä oppilaitaan kohtaan – kuten myös oppilaitoksen suhtautumista valituksiin.

Leffapuolella vastaavanlaista pokkurointia ja kiukuttelua saa kokea monilta eri tahoilta. Näyttelijät ovat yleensä ammattilaisia ja ammattimaisia, mutta äänekkäitä poikkeuksiakin on. Ohjaajalle asti ongelmat kantautuvat usein vasta myöhemmin, mutta meikki- ja pukuosasto tuntuvat olevan hyvin usein tulilinjalla kun näyttelijällä on paha päivä, itsetunto mudassa tai repliikit hukassa. Iron Sky The Coming Racea tehtäessä erään näyttelijän kohdalla ongelmat kärjistyivät melkoisesti. Olimme keskellä kuvauksia kun näyttelijä saapui, tapansa mukaan, naama happamana maskista harjoituksiin. Harjoitukset vedettiin kireissä tunnelmissa ja näyttelijän poistuttua maskeeraaja tuli itkuisena kertomaan saamastaan huonosta kohtelusta. Ilmeisesti kyseinen näyttelijä oli jo pitkään purkanut omaa pahaa oloaan maskissa ja käyttäytynyt karmealla tavalla ammattiaan harjoittavia maskeeraajia kohtaan – ja useammin kuin kerran hänen lähdettyään tekijät olivat purskahtaneet itkuun.

Minulla napsahti sillä olin osaltani katsellut näyttelijän diivailua ja jatkuvaa huomion kerjäystä jo pitkään mutta ohjaajana ottanut sen vastaan osana ammattia. Näyttelijät harvemmin käyttäytyvät ohjaajalle suoraan erityisen paskamaisesti mutta jo jatkuva huomion kinuaminen, suoranainen lepertely ja muu outoilu ovat merkkejä siitä, että kulisseissa asiat ovat todennäköisesti huomattavasti pahemmalla tolalla. Puhuin näyttelijälle suoraan maskiosaston terveisistä ja kuten tyypillistä, näyttelijä kielsi kaiken ja suorastaan kertoi tunnelman olevan jatkuvasti ihana kaikkien välillä. Tämä jo itsessään kertoo usein siitä kuinka syvälle omaan perseeseensä henkilö on päänsä työntänyt. Otin sittemmin asian tuottajien kanssa puheeksi ja teimme toimintasuunnitelman asian korjaamiseksi. Näyttelijän vaihto oli tässä vakavasti harkinnassa sillä kuvauksia oli mennyt vain pari päivää hänen osaltaan.

Ongelma kuitenkin ratkesi ennen sen suurempia muutoksia, muiden näyttelijöiden toimesta. Nämä olivat katselleet sivusta mainitun näyttelijän diivailua ja lopulta kaksi näyttelijöistä, erittäin kokenut pitkän linjan näyttelijä ja ensimmäistä rooliaan tekevä näyttelijä, kumpikin avautuivat illallisella suoraan huonosti käyttäytyvälle näyttelijälle. He kertoivat totuuden melko konstailematta: “kukaan ei pidä sinusta – maskeeraushuoneessa sinua vihataan, kuljettajat vihaavat sinua, puvustuksessa sinua vihataan – kaikki johtuu siitä, miten käyttäydyt ihmisiä kohtaan”. Näyttelijä oli aluksi kauhuissaan ja kielsi kaiken, mutta lopulta totuus alkoi imeytyä.

Tarinalla oli onnellinen loppu: seuraavana päivänä mainittu näyttelijä oli täysin muuttunut henkilö. Kuvaukset sujuivat hänen osaltaan upeasti loppuun – ei pelkästään työyhteisöllisesti vaan sain myös parhaat näyttelijäsuoritukset hänestä irti. Tuntui, kuin asennemuutos olisi myös höllännyt näyttelijän itsetietoisuutta ja vapauttanut jotain hänen sisällään. Kaikkiaan tulkintani oli, että kyse ei ole sisäsyntyisesti paskamaisesta tyypistä, mutta ison tuotannon roolin paineet olivat hänestä sellaista muovaamassa.

Kurjempiakin lopputuloksia koettiin. Erään HoD:in (Head of Department – elokuvatuotannoissa tuotannon osa-aluetta johtava taiteellinen päävastuullinen, näitä ovat esim. kuvausosasto, maskeerausosasto, puvustusosasto, lavastusosasto, jne.) kohdalla asiat olivat olleet jo pitkään huonolla tolalla. Tuottajat olivat puuttuneet osaston työoloihin mutta mikään ei ottanut vaikuttaaksen. Mainittu HoD oli polttanut osastonsa rahat kaikenlaiseen uskomattoman turhaan pitkään ennen kuvausten alkua ja tämän tajuttuaan rähjännyt viikkotolkulla alaisilleen, pakottaen heidät vääntämään mahdottomia työsuoritteita puutteellisilla tai olemattomilla resursseilla. Lopulta tilanne kärjistyi siihen, että osaston työntekijät, erään kuvauspäivän aamuna, kävelivät linjatuottajan puheille ja ilmoittivat että joko he lähtevät tai HoD lähtee.

Kesken kuvausten vaihtoehtoja ei juuri ollut ja tuottajat tekivät oikean päätöksen – HoD joutui jättämään työpaikkansa jo saman aamupäivän aikana ja poistumaan tarkkaan vartioituna (ettei veisi mukanaan mitään tuotannolle kuuluvaa). Lopputuloksena oli erinäistä kränää ja kädenvääntöä. Itse sain ko. henkilöltä muutaman yhteydenoton myöhemmin jossa hän halusi tarjota “oman näkökantansa” tapahtuneeseen, mutta tuskin siitä olisi hullua hurskaammaksi tullut. Raivo- ja itkukohtaukset, työntekijöiden nimittely ja henkinen pahoinpitely – ja budjetin melko karkea väärinkäyttö – eivät kuulu työympäristöön jossa haluan tehdä omaa työtäni.

Palatakseni alkuperäiseen artikkeliin, jossa Aallon professoriksi nimitetty muotisuunnittelija käyttäytyy kaksivuotiaan pikkulapsen tavoin, hämmästyttävää ei kuitenkaan ole se, että joku itsestään tärkeästi ajatteleva reppana käyttäytyy huonosti vaan opiston päävastuullisen vähättelevä suhtautuminen tähän. Valituksia on jutun mukaan riittänyt oppilailta jo pitkään, työtä on tehty yötä myöten omalla budjetilla itku kurkussa, stressitasot ovat katossa ja oppilaiden masennus syvää. Kun toimittaja ottaa asian esille, ensin ollaan hämmästyneitä, sitten lyödään luuri korvaan ja kysymyksiin kieltäydytään vastaamasta tai kommentoimasta mitään. Ja huom! Kyse ei ole edes mistään lyhyestä tuotannosta joka alkaa ja loppuu aikanaan vaan jatkuvasti vallalla olevasta tilasta Suomen arvostetuimmassa muotialan oppilaitoksessa.

On toki selvää että taitavista ja luovista tekijöistä ei haluta päästä eroon. Elokuvissa näyttelijät muovaavat roolin usein niin lähtemättömästi että vaihtaminen on mahdotonta ja tämä näkyy siinä, miten paljon sontaa vastaanotetaan. Ohjaajien asema on myös usein liki vaihtamaton, mutta onneksi viime aikoina ollaan alettu näkemään enemmän tapauksia joissa huonosti käyttäytyvä saa kenkää, oli kyse millaisesta starasta hyvänsä. Bohemian Rhapsodyn ohjaaja Bryan Singer sai fudut, tosin vain paria viikkoa ennen kuvausten loppua, mutta kenkää tuli joka tapauksessa. On myös hyvä nähdä että huono käytös itsessään riittää syyksi irtisanomiseen – aikaisemmin vaadittiin vähintään raiskaussyytöksiä. Kaikenlainen pahoinpitely työ- ja opiskeluyhteisössä on oltava tuomittavaa ja siihen on kyettävä reagoimaan pian, aggressiivisesti ja periksiantamattomasti.

Koulukiusauksen ongelmat lähtevät usein opettajien välinpitämättömyydestä. Olenkin seurannut oman 14-vuotiaan koulunkäyntiä ja useaan otteeseen ollut yhteydessä poikani ala-asteeseen kiusaamistapausten vuoksi. Näihin suhtauduttiin kuitenkin vähätellen vaikka poika oli tullut kotiin useaan otteeseen itkien. Onneksi asiat muuttuivat koulun vaihduttua yläasteeseen, jossa poikani kertoo olevan nollatoleranssi kiusaamisen suhteen. Se toki tiedetään, että koulukiusaaminen ei suinkaan rajoitu koulun pihoihin ja etenkin somessa kiusaaminen on noussut otsikoihinkin viime aikoina, mutta ainakaan oman lapseni kohdalla tämä ei käsittääkseni ole ongelma.

Itse olin kouluvuosinani erikoistapaus joka sain osaltani kiusausta osakseni koulun pihalla. Opettajanamme oli muuan nykyään kirkon parissa vaikuttava mies, joka saikin lopulta (huhujen mukaan) oppilaan pahoinpitelystä johtuen kenkää koulusta. Omina kouluvuosinani tämä opettaja kannusti luokan pahimpia rehvastelijoita heidän häiriökäyttäytymisessään, lähenteli kuvottavalla tavalla luokan tyttöjä ja meitä “erikoisia” pilkkasi julkisesti, puhetavan matkimisesta virheiden erotteluun ja muuhun piristävään. Opettajasta tehtiin valituksia rehtorille kymmeniä, mutta rehtori ei näihin uskonut, vanhempainillat olivat yhtä sotaa koulun puolustaessa mainittua, narsistista raivoalkoholisti-opettajaa, mutta mitään ei asian eteen tehty ennen kuin oli täysin pakko.

Vähän vastaavia kaikuja soi Aalto-yliopiston tapauksessa. Johtavilta virkahenkilöiltä toivoisinkin etenkin opintopuolella tiukempaa puuttumista tapauksiin. Emme halua työelämään valmistuvien raahustavan välittömästi työkyvyttömyyseläkkeelle kun pelkkä opiskelu on ollut yhtä helvettiä. Taiteellisesti lahjakkailla on oikeus huonoon käytökseen, mutta tehköön sitä omassa studiossaan omalle peilikuvalleen. Yhdenkään työntekijän tai oppilaan ei pidä joutua sellaista kokemaan.


Hungry Game Industry

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Photo by Juha Jormakka

My son messed up the other day.

He logged on to our Playstation, opened a game and deliberately went into the store section of the game, and bought something called 600 R6 Credits for a game called Rainbow Six Siege. By doing that, he used credit on my PS4 account, which he was not allowed to do, and thought he could get away with it.

Well, of course, I get an email notification whenever somebody uses my credit, and he was caught, red-handed. I got really pissed off, not because of what he had bought – it really cost only 5€ – but it’s more about the trust, and so forth and so forth – you know the drill. He promised not to do it again, I took away his gaming rights for two weeks and he’ll have to get the money back, and now that’s settled.

He’s a good kid, I’m actually pretty convinced he’ll never do that again.

And in the end, it’s my mistake. The game is rated for 18 years old plus, and my son should have no business playing the thing in the first place. I’m a too lenient father, I know that.

But that does bring me to the wider issue of games these days. The truth is, games these days, they are all just big fucking ruses, meticulously created to fool kids way too young to understand anything about money into spending hundreds of euros to absolute nothing: skins, game credit, special guns, in-game clothes and all that. Every game has some kind of a sneaky scheme going on and parents are either too uninterested or technically debile to really be able to look after where the kid actually uses money, why and what he/she gets out of it.

Back when I was young, I used what little money I had to toy soldiers, action figures and later on, to RPG books and figures and so forth. Stuff I was able to bring home, which my parents saw, they might have disagreed with (my dad’s a notorious pacifist so he wasn’t too crazy about the soldiers, and banned all toy guns in the house) but at least they were pretty much aware of what I was buying. But with the games, the parents have absolutely no grasp of how the kids use their money. All they do is buy prepaid PS4 cards to their kids, completely harmless-looking plastic things, but they have no idea, or even control on how the actual credit is spent – and how much of it! It might be that in addition for purchasing a videogame of 70€, your kid sends additional 250€ of your money to the company, and absolutely nothing of any real value has been gained.

One way to look at it, of course, is that instead of spending money on plastic that ends up into a dumpster sooner than later, none of that is created, and that’s a big, good, green thing, which I support wholeheartedly. But the issue is more in consumer culture. The earlier our kids are hooked to the reckless consuming online, where assets exchange ownership and value is gained only by the ones who run the big picture, the deeper in capitalist hell we all end up.

Instead, we need to start teaching kids consuming in schools. I’m not saying we are any better ourselves at consuming, but we come from the world where we experienced at least a bit of the transition from physical to digital, but the next generation, our kids, will spend more and more time shopping online, putting value on entirely digital elements, elements which worth is harder and harder to determine, which leaves a huge, gaping opening for cons, schemes and consumer control by outside entities. Our whole culture is completely hooked up to consuming and it’s gotten badly out of hands and the ever-hungry money-munching machine wants our kids’ souls as soon as they can type in their login-ID.

Having said all that, there’s really nothing wrong with the game industry making money with their products; as an independent filmmaker, I only wish our industry had some of that business thinking at our disposal. The problem is, games are by definition made to hook you on to them: one more round, one more mission… you know how it goes. Your brain feeds on the dopamine bursts the micro successes result in, which in turn creates an ideal environment for very invasive and near-addiction-based business models.

Casinos and gas stations with slot machines come with very strict regulations, one being, you need to be at least 18 to play them. I don’t see why the same approach wouldn’t apply with video games? Why not make it illegal to put in-game purchase mechanisms for games that are available for kids under 18, how about that?