Well, now it’s my turn. I’m generally probably going to be
the worse of the two of us at keeping to schedules, but I promise all of you
(especially you, Mandy!) I’ll do my best! What I lack in punctuality, I make up
for in verbosity!
Why is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie list is an odd one. My top two movies are pretty close, and if you listen to our first podcast you’ll know that both Mandy and I tend to try to disassociate preference from the quality of a film. I genuinely think the most of the remainder of my top 10 are probably better movies than my favorite. Keeping that in mind, my favorite movie is easily Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Like Batman Begins before it, it’s much less a superhero movie than a solid movie that simply happens to star a superhero. The quality of its story telling is much less even than the first entry, it can drag a bit long than is good for it, and it has about half a bad guy too many. Some day I’m sure I’ll let you all know why I think this movie (and to an extend Begins as well), simply can’t be measured on the “superhero movie” scale. In short, though, it’s all about driving home a message instead of a plot.
What is your favorite book?
This is a really tough call for me. I’ll be honest, but my gut instinct is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I’ve lost count of how many times I read the book. It was perhaps 9 times before the next in the series released, and at least another 6 or 7 from cover to cover. There are also countless times I’ve simply picked up the book to read one part, and then not put it down for the rest of the day until finishing it. Much like The Dark Knight, I certainly don’t think Goblet of Fire is anywhere near the best book I’ve ever read. But it resonated with me at the time of its release like few books ever have.
The only reason I hesitate is because I really can’t get over how much I believe Frank Herbert’s Dune may give it a run for its money, despite only having read it three times. It’s a much harder book to get into, but it’s a Sci-Fi classic for a reason. It’s smart, and the way it balances knowledge, logic, and emotion along with analysis of war, religion, and economy makes it likely to be a timeless work.
Sorry. I cheated on that one.
What is your favorite comic/graphic novel?
Ack. So many hard questions! This one is much more likely to change than the others, because I’m still catching up on so much of the medium. Still, though, something (I say that as if I don’t know exactly what–Don’t worry you’ll all hear why some day) about the character of a perfectly crafted Superman story resonates with me like little else, and my very favorite of all Superman stories is Superman: Secret Identity, by the writer/artist team of Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. The funny thing is that while Superman: Birthright (by Mark Waid) is perhaps the best note-for-note telling of Superman’s origin story modernized for today’s audience, Secret Identity is actually a sort of funny “What If?” story. It tells the story of a boy born in Kansas. His parents decided to name him Clark Kent because wouldn’t it be hilarious to name him after Superman!? So he lives in a world in which he has been named, and teased because of it, after a fictional super hero. Then, one day, he suddenly has Superman’s powers. It’s an amazing story.
What is your favorite video game?
Chrono Trigger. Now and forever. It was the first RPG I could enjoy in the slightest, thereby getting me into what has now long been my favorite genre of video game. It is still absolutely gorgeous, its soundtrack is still incredible, its time-traveling humorous-yet-serious story is engaging from beginning to end, and it did things right in gameplay that I still get frustrated at modern RPGs for getting wrong. It invented the “New Game +” mechanic, whereby you can start a new game with juiced up characters from your completed game, and actually required you to do this in order to see all of its 13 endings. (Hooray, time travel!)
What is your favorite play?
Interestingly enough, my favorite play is the same as Mandy’s. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is hilarious and thoughtful. I’ve also only read it and seen the movie. (In fact, the one time I’ve seen the movie was with Mandy.) One day, though, I hope sincerely to see it performed live.
What is your favorite musical?
The Sound of Music. This, along with my general love of musicals, is entirely because of my mother. I have rather fond memories of her renting the dual-VHS cassette version of the movie from the local video store and being captivated. The hiiiiiiiiiills are aliiiiiiiive with the sound of muuuusic.
What is your preferred medium?
When it comes down to it, I’d rather be enraptured in a well-paced, long RPG than anything else. This means I’m tempted to go with video games, but video games can be tiring. Even great ones. Movies, on the other hand, I can watch without end. So I’d say my preferred medium is movies, simply because I’m pretty sure I could never tire of watching movies back to back.
What is your favorite *kind of* story?
It almost feels like answering this means I have to insult other stories by picking a favorite. I do love complexity, darkness, philosophical thrillers, and more. My very favorite stories, though, are about the simplicity of virtues. I adore stories that drive forward that no matter how tough, complicated, and troublesome life can be, virtues are still virtues and the virtuous can remain virtuous. Clearly there’s a reason I love a really good Superman story.
What do you do outside of obsess about stories?
I read non-fiction on the technology world constantly. I care too much about the way businesses work. I am essentially permanent tech support for many people in my life (and willingly so). I love running (and need to get back into that) and playing soccer on the rare occasion I get to, and also love writing about anything and everything whenever I let myself get to it on my blog at mgabriel.org.