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Pretentious Media

toonlink

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As the title implies, I wanna know what media--whether book, game, or show--you thought was pretentious and overrated. Alternatively, I'd love to hear about works that others find pretentious that you find great! Did you think that it wasn't that deep? Maybe you think that it's underrated? Whatever the case, I wanna hear about it!

I'll start off with one that has been on my mind for a bit.

Serial Experiments Lain
This anime is often said to be really confusing, directionless, and meaningless. That the loose themes of technology and interconnectedness aren't enough to back up a confusing sub par ending for a story. I think that the story of the show is a fine medium to convey its themes, and trying to understand literally (in lore? dunno how to write this bit) why or how certain things happen is just being ignorant of the themes that the story is trying to convey. Trying to interpret this anime through its own world is more or less pointless, as its trying to tell you something about potential technology and how we would interact with it when fiction was inevitably removed from science fiction. I believe that the meaninglessness that people sometimes associate this show with stems from the fact that much of its technology seems too retro futuristic, like cheesy Y2K-style versions of things we have now. While the cheesiness is a product of its time, it does distract from the message of the work itself.
 

Spirit

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I think a lot of anime is pretentious, Ghost in the Shell certainly is, as is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Still, I like both and I'm willing to forgive Evangelion for the most part since the writer/creator was borderline suicidal with severe depression and used the show as a sort of personal therapy.

Vanilla Sky is a damn pretentious movie too, but I like that too, the ending often makes me cry, though I think that may be down to the incredible Sigur Ros song that plays.

Anything Christopher Nolan does is pretentious and boring.

The Dogme 95 movement, while noble, was also pretentious and misguided and Lars Von Trier is as pretentious as he is an unlikeable prick.

Oh, the Metal Gear series is pretentious too, especially the later games.
 

Castle

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Yeah. First thing that came to mind was Metal Gear.

A literal ton of JRPGs. Kingdom Hearts, most Final Fantasy titles - even the earlier ones, but IV, VII, and dear god XIII in particular. The Xeno series (interestingly, my favorite JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles was noticeably light on the pretentiousness). Really, the list is endless.

The various walking simulators. Death of Edith Finch, Gone Home, Life Is Strange, etc.

The Last of Us

Bioshock is borderline pretentious, especially the last one.

A lot of Obsidian's writing is pretty pretentious. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has an entire character dedicated to embodying pure distilled essence of pretentiousness. The Pillars of Eternity games with their flowery overwrought walls of text, unexplained world jargon thrown in your face from the get go, and characters who all speak like they're on constant benders (in their defense, most of them are supposed to be crazy.)

Some of Bioware's later crap got awfully pretentious. Dorian in Dragon Age: Inquisition is supposed to be pretentious, which I like. But then there are wacky nonsensical characters like Sera who only talk and behave like they do because they're the character that gets written when the writers have no idea what character to write. Then there's the villain who's literally godlike and talks like he's some sort of art house Cthulhu. There's Anders from Dragon Age II who's all mopey and preachy. Pretty much the entirety of MAss Effect 3 with its overwrought melodrama, lame sappy piano riff and the Elusive Man going full on raving ego maniac.

One of my favorite series, Myst, poured on the pretentiousness in its final installments. Yeesha in URU is insufferable. And Esher in Myst V - played by the late great David Ogden Stiers - is your stock standard raving ego maniac villain who just adores hogging the spotlight with his prolonged uninterrupted evil monologues.
 
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It's difficult to really pin down if I find something pretentious because it genuinely is, or if it's because I simply don't understand it's message and attribute that to the piece of media trying too hard. There's many films I've watched for the first time and thought they were pretentious only to rewatch them years later and actually find some enjoyment and meaning to.

That being said, I can fairly confidently describe Hunger Games and many of its copycats as pretentious. Things like Maze Runner and Divergent, the kind of series that focus on world building more than actual plot. I find these kinds of books and films to be exceedingly pretentious. They focus on setting up a universe with such vigour that the characters are forced into incredibly contrived situations, taking very out-of-character actions because the writer has written themselves into a corner.

Stories need to be written with a view to advancing character development through plot. So when you have an author who approaches a piece by thinking up cool set pieces and epic battles first, and then thinks about characters, you end up with weak characters who don't act, talk or reason like real people because they have to advance the plot somehow.
 
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TheGreatCthulhu

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Depends, really. Some books can be awfully pretentious, even some classic pieces of literature.

But by far the most pretentious book, (and one of the worst I've read), was Pilgrim At Tinker Creek.

Maybe I didn't get the point of this book, or maybe, just maybe, this book has no point.

It's supposed to be a philosophical style book. That I have no problem with. What the problem here is is that this book has no point. The author literally describes nature and the beauty of nature for 288 ****ing pages!

Not only that, but the writing is bloated, overwritten, and it was written like the author didn't know when to stop describing something.

Not only that, but there's no deep meanings in this book at all. The entire Crom-damned thing reads like all of those #deepthoughts type of posts you've likely come across.

The book is like a naked banana, in that it lacks appeal. At least to me, it does.

When it comes to classic American literature, I'd much rather spend my time with Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, or any other book really.
 
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Sheikah_Witch

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Oh lord, David Cage: the thread. I am supposed to really love Beyond: two souls since I'm way down for 'dilemma games' like that (TWD and stuff) but some of the scenes are handled with the same grace as a glove made out of huge bricks.
 

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