2001 – A Knight's Tale

A Knight’s Tale is one of those movies that you see on TV, and it’s just different enough that you’ll go ahead and watch it. It is also my best friend’s first DVD he ever owned, which made it one we watched many times over, over the years. Heath Ledger’s acting is good, and Alan Tudyk and Mark Addy have many great lines throughout the movie. But one of the reasons I love this movie is Paul Bettany’s portrayal of “Geoff” Chaucer.

Geoffrey Chaucer: the father of English literature. Chaucer is the fourteenth century author most famous for The Canterbury Tales is portrayed in A Knight’s Tale as fairly care free, and free-wheeling. Despite living well into his fifties, Geoffry Chaucer never finished The Canterburty Tales, but this movie plays on that concept by giving a re-telling or perhaps an alternate telling of The Knight’s Tale in the Canterbury Tales. Through the movie, “Geoff” is not the main character, but is rather just someone the main ensemble encounters, and he stays with their group and gains inspiration from them. You are to believe that these events unfolded in his younger life and inspired him to write The Canterbury Tales.

It’s fun, it mashes up modern and middle-ages in a way that is simply enjoyable. There aren’t the kinds of plot twists that make you think hard, there aren’t multiple simultaneous story lines, there isn’t even complex character development. It’s a very “what you see is what you get” kind of movie that moves quite linearly and doesn’t pretend to be anything than a funny adventure with a side of romance and a guaranteed happy ending. The characters are likeable, the soundtrack brings in that modern flare, and the visuals really are quite appealing to the eye.

All in all A Knight’s Tale is easy to watch, passes the time quickly, and is always good for a few laughs. It’s a good movie for a Sunday afternoon when there’s little else to do, but because of my long history with it, and having seen it so many times, I thought it deserved a nice mention here as one of those movies you should see if you haven’t.

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Review a Bad Game Day: Fortune Street

When you look at the cover of Fortune Street, you’re immediately reminded of Mario Party. A prolific series, Mario Party saw only two releases on the Wii, and fans of the series kept clamoring for more. I thought Fortune Street might make a good substitute. When I first saw Fortune Street on a store shelf, I thought that it looked interesting. Nobody in the local game shop knew much about it, though. I went home and looked up a little more information about it, and found Amazon selling it a ridiculously low price, I had to at least try it. Little did I know it would become my first entry in Review a Bad Game Day.

Featuring characters crossing over from the Dragon Warrior universe and the Nintendo universe, players participate in a board game, rolling a die and having the option to buy up property. You can try to bid on properties that are already owned, or forcefully overtake them by paying much more than their current value. You might do this because properties in a series are worth more when you own them all. You also travel around the board collecting suits (like cards: Ace, Heart, Spade, Club) and use them to ‘power up’ your property the next time you land on one (much like buying houses or hotels in Monopoly).

And that’s that. There are more complex rules one can play by, some sort of stock market simulator is involved… I left the game at a friend’s house and he played it more than I did, but literally only out of sheer boredom.

Evidently the Fortune Street series has had a long run in Japan, but they must have known American Audiences might react this way to it, as it did not see a release in the United States until it appeared here on the Nintendo Wii, featuring cross-over characters like Mario and Donkey Kong. Unfortunately, the gameplay makes me feel like a pompous business man, not a hyper-active Italian plumber in a fictional land of wonder and amazement.

Fortune Street plays like Mario Party meets Monopoly but with gameplay designed by actual bankers.& realtors. Frankly, if you want Mario Party, get Mario Party, if you want Monopoly, get Monopoly.