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No, I’m not talking about Jason Bateman, the star of Teen Wolf II and more recently Arrested Development. I’m talking about the protagonist/antihero of American Psycho, a 2000 film starring Christian Bale as the title character. As much as the film is a portrait of the businessmen and culture of the late 1980s, it doubles as a venue of the means people use to define themselves. In the film Bateman expresses a nightly bloodlust, but it is his more businessman persona that reveals just how dependent he is on his colleagues and cultutral standards to fill the otherwise blank-slate personality he cobbled together.

Another example appears in Bateman’s ordering dinner. “Courtney, you’ll have the peanut butter soup with smoked duck and mashed squash.” The next sentence is key. “New York Matine called it a playful but mysterious little dish. You’ll love it.” This may seem normal on paper, but what you have to understand that Bateman is almost monotone in his description. There is a strong reheasal in Bateman’s description. The only reason Bateman has the dinner is because he is told what is good and what is bad from a source that deals with the standards of his upper-class culture. Bateman defends himself later in the film by saying “he just wants to fit in.”

Bateman’s inner self is clearly demonstrated on his obssesion with Paul Allen, a coworker. Though never clearly stated, it can be implied that Paul Allen is the boss’ favorite and an alpha male in the group as a whole. The implication of his renowed status is shown in the demonstration of Bateman’s and his friends’ business cards (which are judged and defined by it’s varying shades of white and font but really just the same card). The coworkers one-up themselves, but when Paul Allen’s card is shown, the group is reluntant. It is as if they know their little game to determine their rank in the group is just a game, that they are in truth the frauds, while Allen is the real deal.

This contrast forces Bateman over the edge. This self-reminder of his imitating mechacisms (and the ideal that Allen embodies) leads him on a path clearly mirroring Maslov’s Principles of Hierarchy. The lower-ranking beta male seeks to be the alpha male and aspire to be close with the subject embodying the ideal the lower-ranking worker reveres. Over time, this aspiration leads to an intense desire to become the alpha male. The only way to do that (and become the ideal person) is to kill the alpha male and take his place . . . which is exactly what Bateman does. He lured Allen to his house and kills Allen with an axe.

Bateman loves control. He has regular sex with prostitutes (and not with his fiancee) because he shows a slight obssession with his own self-image. He records having sex with the prostitutes, and during that recording he is paying more attention to himself (through a mirrored wall) than the escorts he hired. He establishes his macho superiority through the male’ sexual hierarchy.

In fact, when he does lose control, Bateman becomes frantic and paranoid. He is almost drawn to tears in an encounter with a dry-cleaning service where his clothes have been mistreated. Later on Bateman enjoys a spur-of-the-moment killing, but is forced in a firefight with nearby police. Things have gone out of hand, and it is in this panicked state he calls his lawyer and confesses everything (including his off-screen cannibalism). When the two meet the lawyer mentions that he had lunch with Paul Allen during the period of time of his “supposed” murder, which forces Bateman to wonder if anything he’s done is real.

In the end, Patrick Bateman has no personality. He is merely imitating the posh lifestyle because the standards of his upper class standards tell him to do. His killing is an extreme way of breaking free of that mold and establishing an identity of his own. At least, that’s what I think.

NCIS’ current season opened with a shocking plot twist: Cote de Pablo left the series that made her an international star. Adding to the departure’s surprise was the circumstances surrounding it. Some sources say de Pablo left concerning a rise of salary that was ultimately denied. de Pablo herself said her leaving was the result of personal issues, but would not elaborate. Me, I think this is a red herring. I think de Pablo’s departure was staged. Her leaving the show would build up the suspense of the plot, to make Ziva’s return later down the line to have even more emotional impact.

NCIS has done this before. Gibbs himself left the agency at the end of season 3, yet he returned at the next season’s premier. There’s nothing to suggest this ploy isn’t in effect right now. This is just a theory I have. Please tell me what you think in the comments.

Dynasty Warriors is a tactical action game that borrows characters and concepts from the Romance Of Three Kingdoms novel. Gundam refers to the anime series revolving various wars and the giant robots used in said battles. In 2007 the video game company combined the tactical strategies of Dynasty Warriors with the use of Gundam’s giant robots to create Dynasty Warriors Gundam. The third incarnation of such was localized on North American shores of June in 2011.

Dynasty Warriors 3 features more tactical strategies than it’s two predecessors. While a key facet of the Warriors games are to find and defeat certain officers to halt reinforcements, different variations have now been implemented.

For example, certain strongholds have different functions that aid the enemy. Capturing a “catapult” field (capturing fields take place by defeating a preset number of enemy robots) disables the use of a “teleporting” system that allows the enemy to jump to allied strongholds within short periods of time. 

Another facet of all Warriors games is the defeat of key commanding officers. Up to Gundam 3 one merely has to defeat the commander once to gain special abilities and weapons. However in Gundam 3 one of the enemy fields allow for the continual deployment of enemy officers.

I found (and sometimes still find) the shift of the game’s rules very annoying. However, by shifting my focus from defeating enemy officers to disabling enemy fields to hinder the enemy’s abilities, I was able to play the game of an even level. However I should mention that the game still gives me frustration. The sheer advantages given to the enemy forced me to skip the “eliminate the minor officers first/the final commander last” mindset I have always adopted and go straight to the enemy commander to win, taking much of the fun of achieving the most damage from the game.If you can get past that, then good luck. If not, then move on.

For those who have been living under a rock for the past eight years, the HBO show Entourage has finally produced it’s final episode. Like many final episode it tries to tie all the loose plot points together and sees it’s characters on the brink of the next stage of their lives. And yet as I’m writing this a dissatisfaction creeps over me about it’s pacing.

The latter half of the eighth season produced a minimum of five episodes after a six month hiatus. Instead of laying the groundwork and allowing events to continue and blossom on their own, plot points are being mashed together without mercy. The previous episode drops some bombshells — Eric learning he’s a father-to-be, Ari Gold breaks up with his former flame Dana Gorden with hopes of renewing relations with his wife, among others — and then events speed to dizzying heights. The revelations of the previous episode is overshadowed byVince’s impulsive decision to get married, and everyone drops what they’re doing to go to it.

The typical Hollywood ending makes things even more strained. Everyone’s troubles are magically solved by the characters “realizing” that their antics are selfish and sacrifice their careers in order to do the right thing. While their motivations are indeed life-changing — having one’s kid is indeed one of the more powerful forces for change — it seems rushed. Eric has spent five episodes getting in and out of trouble with his former flame Sloan and now everything changes because of his kid? Had this been a full season the consequences would have been allowed to percolate over time. Eric could have gone back and forth struggling between keeping his job and the life he’s established for himself and the kid he is going to be responsible for. Instead he drops everything. As a writer, I can’t help feeling that the plot point was underused.

The ending depends too much on the “cusp” tactic — everyone on the verge of beginning their new lives — and leaves things open-ended. While this is a tried-and-true page in the Hollywood playbook, the vagueness of the characters’ continuing journeys leave a big door open for a movie to fill the potential blanks. This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Vince Chase and his entourage, I promise you.

Welcome to World According To Wolff. I created this blog as a means to explain and inform the ins and outs of popular culture to those people who do not have ready access to that information. You want to know what your nieces and nephews mean when they mention Ultimate Spider-Man or the “new” Batman? You come here. That’s what this blog is about. Happy reading.