An actor compares TLOU2 to Schindler's List. Twitter does NOT like it.

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DrBroel

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#1  Edited By DrBroel

Jeff Cannata perhaps made a poor analogy in his post-embargo short twitter review of The Last of Us 2.

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The pile on began pretty aggressively
The pile on began pretty aggressively

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Then Neil Druckmann (head dev of TLOU2) got involved and Jason Shrier implied it was because of negative reporting on his end.
Then Neil Druckmann (head dev of TLOU2) got involved and Jason Shrier implied it was because of negative reporting on his end.

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Jeff Cannata tried to clarify what he meant.
Jeff Cannata tried to clarify what he meant.

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Still not sure this analogy works but I find the complete dismissing of TLOU2 by people that haven't even played it somewhat discouraging.
Still not sure this analogy works but I find the complete dismissing of TLOU2 by people that haven't even played it somewhat discouraging.

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DrBroel

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#2  Edited By DrBroel

Sorry for the poor formatting. One of the things if find interesting is Schindler's List (which is certainly and essential masterpiece) has a history of causing anger when it isn't seen as being given the appropriate difference.

This American Life did an episode on this which is really well done. There was even a Seinfeld episode about this.

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Justin258

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#3 Justin258  Online

This is why Twitter sucks and makes everyone look like an asshole. If you want to compare The Last of Us 2 to Schindler's List in some way, be my guest, but do it in some kind of long-form writing. A five hundred word blog or a ten minute vlog or, I dunno, anything more nuanced than Twitter. That one sentence that you think sounds punchy and thoughtful might make someone else angry without proper context and explanation.

Also, boiling The Last of Us down to "a zombie game" is like boiling The Shining down to "a haunted house movie". Both statements about both works are true, but they completely miss everything that made those works of art special and worth discussing even years after release. Such statements only bring great works down to the basic tropes they employ to explore characters, themes, and ideas.

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Rejizzle

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I remember Jeff Cannata from the final seasons of Reviews on the Run and before that Totally Rad Show. I like him fine, but I also think that tweet is hilarious. Its that mix of lazy half-thought-through analogy and extreme hyperbole that makes it really easy to mock. What was that office-esque show that Ubisoft showed a teaser for in their E3 conference last year? It reads like a line from that.

I might be completely off base on this. I might play Last of Us 2 and go "Wow, this is the Schindler's List to every other game in existence's John Wick. That analogy makes perfect sense now!" but I doubt it.

Also, its lazy and disingenuous for an author of any sort to deflect criticism like Jeff is here. If a large portion of your audience misinterpreted your intent that's on you. Jeff already segmented his message out into 5 tweets, he has no excuse.

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csl316

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Twitter's bad.

These could be nuanced, extended roundtable discussion about media, but it's a series of short reactive sentences from whoever wants to pile on the original post.

Saw this story earlier and it feels like public dirty laundry. Jason taking shots at Neil, Cory Barlog taking shots at Jason. Frankly, with the state of the world this year, these kinds of interactions just seem so counterproductive.

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j-mack

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Oh Jeff. One, I appreciate you gathering this together, even being on twitter as this was taking place I only caught glimpses of what was happening. That's one issue I have with twitter, another is that there isn't any room for nuance; good things sometimes become the best thing.

I listen to Jeff Canatta's podcast and he is very much an enthusiastic, dorky dad. I think modest roasting is deserved.

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DrBroel

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@justin258: honestly, this is what I've been thinking as I've watched this unfold. Why is this all taking place on twitter? It isn't suited to actual honest discourse. Probably because no other platform lets you speak so instantly and directly to each other.

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DrBroel

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Question: if Jeff's goal was to pick "BEST movie I could think of that was both difficult and NOT FUN to watch, but also ESSENTIAL."

What do you think he should have chosen instead?

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chaser324

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#9 chaser324  Moderator

It was definitely a poorly chosen analogy for Jeff, but I think it blew up in a way that wasn't really constructive for anyone. That said, it's also kinda Jeff's fault for doubling down and not accepting the criticism.

The whole beef between Jason Schreier and Druckmann/Barlog is a whole other animal, and I think it's fair to wonder if those guys hold some particular grudge towards Jason for openly talking about crunch and employee well-being at those studios.

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mellotronrules

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@csl316 said:

Twitter's bad.

/thread. twitter (it feels more often than not) is raw ego with a megaphone.

i know it's also an essential tool for organization- but i do wonder about the good/bad split of use all the time.

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Sweep

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#11 Sweep  Moderator

It was definitely a poorly chosen analogy for Jeff, but I think it blew up in a way that wasn't really constructive for anyone. That said, it's also kinda Jeff's fault for doubling down and not accepting the criticism.

The whole beef between Jason Schreier and Druckmann/Barlog is a whole other animal, and I think it's fair to wonder if those guys hold some particular grudge towards Jason for openly talking about crunch and employee well-being at those studios.

Cough.

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DrBroel

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It was definitely a poorly chosen analogy for Jeff, but I think it blew up in a way that wasn't really constructive for anyone. That said, it's also kinda Jeff's fault for doubling down and not accepting the criticism.

I don't think he doubled down. He did say in the tweet I posted "Could I have chosen a different film? Well, clearly I should have."

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north6

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I lost track of Jeff after Totally Rad Show... it seems like that was for the best if this is how far his critic game has gotten in 10 years.

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liquiddragon

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Oh Jeff, you hyperbolic fanboy you. He means well, he just can't help himself.

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krelmoon

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#15 krelmoon  Online

Bad take. bad tweet. Maybe a good game. But I have doubts about it saying anything great about the human condition that all of us having to experience 2020 hasn’t done better. It would help his case if we weren’t all literally going through the first stages of the outbreak of the first game right now. As a internet and Twitter rule “don’t bring up the holocaust” is up there. Most of this criticism is not about the game at all. Please everyone be as hyped for this game as you want but be prepared for it to be a well crafted action game with a better than average story. That might be enough right now. But every trailer showed graphic death and 2020 has already had more deaths than I can handle.

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Rejizzle

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#16  Edited By Rejizzle

..

@drbroel said:

Question: if Jeff's goal was to pick "BEST movie I could think of that was both difficult and NOT FUN to watch, but also ESSENTIAL."

What do you think he should have chosen instead?

Using a work of art from a wholly different medium as a metaphor to describe your thought on something is poor criticism. It does little to illustrate a point and (as evidenced) can be easily misinterpreted.

That being said, I still do not know how to interpret this analogy. Not fun but essential is an exceedingly nebulous thing. Is it a work that relies primarily on catharsis for emotional impact? Can I use that term to describe any type of tragedy? Is No Exit or Hamlet the Schindler's list of plays? I literally have no idea.

Edit: For instance, I would describe Soda Drinker Pro as "not fun but essential".

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csl316

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#17  Edited By csl316

Question. If he chose John Wick for the fun movie, and something fictionalized like Children of Men as the dour one, would his point stand?

I would think so. I probably won't play this game right now because 20 hours of misery and killing people is not something I want to voluntarily jump on right now. Yet my 20 hours of jump dashing and killing demons in Doom Eternal was super fun. Both games are moving and well made but in their own way (assuming these positive reviews are true, anyway, since I've only played one).

Comparing media to the Holocaust is always a bad thing to try, but at least Jeff responded with choosing another film would've better illustrated his point. Children of Men is kind of rough to watch but very well made, whereas John Wick is a more breezy watch but very well made (at least, JW1 is breezy before the sequels amp up everything).

Different media isn't a one to one comparison, of course. But Jeff (who I think is cool) is talking about a game review, not world philosophy here.

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BladeOfCreation

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I've been listening to Jeff Cannata talk about games since Weekend Confirmed. He's had three Giant Bomb staff members as guests on his current podcast. I've been the person to post the link to those episodes on the GB forum once or twice.

"Think about what you put out into the world; make it a better place."

This is the line that Jeff Cannata ends every one of his DLC podcasts--well over 300 episodes by now--with. It's been said that Jeff "likes liking things" and prefers positivity. His 5-tweet review of TLOU2, like his review of God of War, is amusingly hyperbolic, but not ill-intentioned.

There is a line of thought in primarily leftist circles that someone can say something that has unintended meanings that other people interpret, and that one should simply apologize and move on. I thought that comparison was in poor taste; I also have extremely specific criticisms of fictional representations of historical events. Anyways, it's shocking to me that he has continued doubling down here.

(On a completely unrelated note, Schreier blocked me (a nobody on Twitter with 80ish followers) a while ago when I said that leaking unfinished art is not real journalism.)

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Sweep

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#19 Sweep  Moderator

This is why Twitter sucks and makes everyone look like an asshole. If you want to compare The Last of Us 2 to Schindler's List in some way, be my guest, but do it in some kind of long-form writing. A five hundred word blog or a ten minute vlog or, I dunno, anything more nuanced than Twitter. That one sentence that you think sounds punchy and thoughtful might make someone else angry without proper context and explanation.

Also, boiling The Last of Us down to "a zombie game" is like boiling The Shining down to "a haunted house movie". Both statements about both works are true, but they completely miss everything that made those works of art special and worth discussing even years after release. Such statements only bring great works down to the basic tropes they employ to explore characters, themes, and ideas.

I absolutely agree with this. I haven't played tlou2 obviously, but Naughty Dog typically makes an effort to at the very least humanise and explore nuanced characters and personalities in a way which should earn them more recognition than "a zombie game" especially from someone like Leigh Alexander who has built a career on articulating the merits of games and game design. You can't endlessly argue "games are important and meaningful" and then flip flop to "it's only a videogame it's not important" just to win an argument on twitter.

It was a lazy comparison and deserves the ribbing that it got, but I also think a lot of the people getting caught up in this argument forget that the comparison was made to a movie, not the events the movie was based on. A movie is a product and it's a piece of art, crafted to evoke certain feelings and reactions, and people should be able to talk about it in that context. Although I wouldn't recommend doing so on twitter.

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csl316

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#20  Edited By csl316

@sweep: Your quote below is why I wind up avoiding a whole lot of internet discussions. There's so much moving of the goal posts, that it can change day to day based on what the argument is tonight. Probably a ton of stories from 2013 (and this week) talking about how important and meaningful this zombie game series is.

You can't endlessly argue "games are important and meaningful" and then flip flop to "it's only a videogame it's not important" just to win an argument on twitter.

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UnrealDP

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The “this depression porn zombie game is as important as holocaust media” take is certainly something, but Druckmann as one of the heads of a studio horrifically abusive to its developers should know better than to go after the reporter that consistently covers those abuses over really petty shit like this. Just good choices all around.

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Quantris

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Did anyone ever compare Death Stranding to Schindler's List?

Obviously I haven't played TLOU2 yet but I'm not ready to believe anything is more "not fun" than Death Stranding.

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Sweep

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#23 Sweep  Moderator

@quantris said:

Did anyone ever compare Death Stranding to Schindler's List?

Obviously I haven't played TLOU2 yet but I'm not ready to believe anything is more "not fun" than Death Stranding.

Death Stranding is more The Road of videogames.

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DrBroel

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inevpatoria

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Burn all of social media to the ground.

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JasonR86

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Why dog pile on the guy? If that’s the reference he makes than so be it. The people picking on him are being bullies for no good reason. It’s shitty.

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Rejizzle

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@sweep said:
@quantris said:

Did anyone ever compare Death Stranding to Schindler's List?

Obviously I haven't played TLOU2 yet but I'm not ready to believe anything is more "not fun" than Death Stranding.

Death Stranding is more The Road of videogames.

Please, Death Stranding is clearly the The Postman of videogames.

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BladeOfCreation

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#28  Edited By BladeOfCreation

@drbroel: If his last comment on this was acknowledging that he should've picked another movie, that would've been it. But he's kept talking about in the time since he said that. I'm curious to see what he says about this on his podcast tomorrow.

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JasonR86

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@bladeofcreation: you know, the dumbest part about the ‘he picked the wrong movie’ is that he did just that; he compared the game to a movie. He didn’t compare it to the holocaust. He didn’t say, “So the last of us 2 hit me right in the feels just like the holocaust did to the Jews, right fam?” I really find outrage over trivial things like this so irritating.

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trulyalive

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#30  Edited By trulyalive

Weirdly enough my response was ‘Wow, I sure hope that this isn’t the Schindler’s List of video games because I just don’t think that movie is very good.’

Granted this came from a place of considering that I have no personal connection to the Holocaust.

Then something weird happened. I remembered that amongst everything going on in the world recently, I’ve been trying to look into the history of my own heritage (Roma gypsies) a little more recently. And lo and behold, two seconds of searching revealed something nobody had ever told me, that one element of the Holocaust was the targeted genocide of my ancestors, as well as the Jewish people. So, that’s something I’m probably gonna sit with and think about for a while.

Which is all pretty ancillary, I wasn’t offended about a clumsy comparison a few minutes ago and I’m not now. Most of the outrage seems pretty manufactured to me, even if the awkward tone of the comparison should probably at least lead to some discussion about what we all collectively think should be appropriate terms for comparison in artistic criticism.

Also, I’d like to think Barlog would know better to get involved in this sort of thing and I don’t think Druckmann should really be commenting on anything to do with his game in a public space outside of an official capacity until the thing is at least out for everyone to play. That just seems like media management 101.

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DrBroel

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#31  Edited By DrBroel

It's also frustrating that people are treating Schindler's List as THE unimpeachable work of Holocaust media. As amazing as it is, it's not Shoah.

Schindler's List actually got a lot of flack when it came out from certain film critics' circles. It presents itself as being THE Holocaust film while the main character that the film follows (and we identify with as an audience) is a NAZI. It wholly invents aspects of him to make him much more likable. The movie is clearly Hollywood product that goes out of its way to not be too difficult, shielding the audience from the worst horrors (Its sole depiction of Auschwitz is a scene in a group of Jewish people are actually saved and spared.)

I think Schindler's List is an amazing, fascination, often ingenious piece of film-making. (But I'm not sure it holds a place in my heart where some thoughtful piece of genre-fiction couldn't move me more. And then I'm suddenly a bad person? Which is what Leigh Alexander is saying.)

But Shoah is GENUINELY life-altering. I don't see how you can walk away from Shoah and not be a different person.

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Onemanarmyy

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#32  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Ughhh.. i really hate social media.

The guy picked Schindler's list as an example of a piece of media that 'is a relentless emotional assault and will force even the most jaded gamer to feel empathy'.He provides the context of bringing up that movie himself.

Why? Because he felt a similar kind of energy from this videogame. No that doesn't mean that he's making light of the holocaust or that the stuff that happens in the last of us can be equated to the suffering of people in the holocaust. Yes there's probably a better book or movie to be named here.

If this exchange happened verbally in real life, this whole non-issue would be solved within 1 or 2 minutes. Because this is twitter and everyone needs to have an opinion on it, whether they can read or not, this now has to simmer and gets regurgitated through 10 different thinkpieces and character-studies on the author of the tweet. You'll have entire communities brainstorming together which movie or book he should have mentioned instead. And naturally 99% of the people discussing TLOU2 have not played the game at all neither.

Also, is that the same Leigh Alexander who thinks it was appropriate to point out in a casual fun goofy kind of way how Nazi outfits looked hot & sexy on this very website? Who was surprised by the muted response and thought a lot of people would agree with her on that? And now that person reads this and twists it into the reviewer saying that a zombie videogame is equally impactful as the events of the holocaust? Give me a break.

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kmj2318

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People just look for an opening, it’s disingenuous imo. It’s clear that Jeff is probably hyped up (though his comparison makes sense to me), but by mentioning something related to the holocaust, the bad faith actors show up. Then Jason wants him to tell that to his dead relatives, please. It’s disgusting.

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TheRealTurk

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#34  Edited By TheRealTurk

@csl316 said:

Twitter's bad.

/thread. twitter (it feels more often than not) is raw ego with a megaphone.

i know it's also an essential tool for organization- but i do wonder about the good/bad split of use all the time.

This is a good place to mention that you can now remove the Twitter bug from the front page of the site. I was genuinely excited to see that change finally make it in. It seems like such a small thing, but for me not having to see that crap already makes the site several orders of magnitude better.

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finaldasa

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Twitter doesn't seem like the kind of platform to properly convey this kind of criticism or the proper kind of response.

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htr10

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#37  Edited By htr10

I think it’s an interesting discussion. Is a movie due the same reverence as the real event to which it is tied? Would people get as upset at referencing something to Life is Beautiful as they did to referencing Schindler’s List? Maybe not as much anymore, but people used to use the expression “Sophie’s Choice” all the time and I don’t remember that leading to an automatic accusation of insensitivity to the Holocaust.

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whitegreyblack

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@justin258's "This is why Twitter sucks and makes everyone look like an asshole." is the perfect response and the real takeaway from this whole thing.

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ArbitraryWater

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#39  Edited By ArbitraryWater

Twitter is bad and also I feel like we collectively should've moved on from making a (well-deserved) goof at a questionable take after like a day. Instead, it's just kept going and has gotten dumber as things have gone along.

I think my actual problem is the way this whole thing has escalated with the developer of the game (which has a 96 metascore and is almost precision engineered to be one of the best selling and most awarded games of this year) feeling the need to step in and defend this. Neil, you're gonna be just fine. Big studio AAA games aren't going to be crushed underfoot because Jason Schreier is calling out someone comparing The Last of Us to a holocaust movie.

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Asylumrunner

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Honestly, the thing that bugs me the most is how poorly chosen John Wick is as a metaphor for games which are not The Last of Us 2. The entire John Wick franchise is a miserable spiral into violence and destruction caused by the main character's all-consuming need for vengeance, even when it vastly escalates beyond the original sin. This pursuit of violence is unmistakably to the main character's own detriment, but their violent rage is the only thing left in them anymore. This, judging by all marketing materials and reviews, is pretty much exactly the thesis of The Last of Us 2.

If you're going to use a comparison to film to say that this game reaches new heights, maybe don't draw attention to the fact that this game at the apex is as thematically deep as what cinema calls "a dumb action movie".

(This is not to poop on John Wick, I like those movies a lot, more than The Last of Us in fact)

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Luchalma

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How utterly exhausting these people's lives must be.

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DrBroel

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#42  Edited By DrBroel

@arbitrarywater said:

Twitter is bad and also I feel like we collectively should've moved on from making a (well-deserved) goof at a questionable take after like a day. Instead, it's just kept going and has gotten dumber as things have gone along.

I think my actual problem is the way this whole thing has escalated with the developer of the game (which has a 96 metascore and is almost precision engineered to be one of the best selling and most awarded games of this year) feeling the need to step in and defend this. Neil, you're gonna be just fine. Big studio AAA games aren't going to be crushed underfoot because Jason Schreier is calling out someone comparing The Last of Us to a holocaust movie.

You should really listen to the This American Life episode about Schindler‘s List. Speilberg himself had to step in to stop a pile on.

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Pezen

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#43  Edited By Pezen

I find it fascinating that this whole thing is mostly evidence to me that even the people that argue video games can have artistic merit to the same level as other mediums at the end of the day still view games as a lesser form of art. They might think they are objecting the comparison, but that’s not how I read it.

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davidfox1983

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🍿

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davidfox1983

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@luchalma: totally. Where do they find the time to stupidly get involved in conversations like these that have no chance of coming to any kind or desirable conclusion other than “hopefully he gets tired of this before me”

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trulyalive

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@asylumrunner: i actually think that’s a really well thought out point.

My guess is that Cannata was referring to the general mood because although everything you said is right, those John Wick movies are still fun as hell whereas it sounds like TLoU2 is going for more of a challenging tone.

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Humanity

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#47  Edited By Humanity

I dunno I'm kind of with Jeff on this one. At this point people should be able to discern the meaning from short Tweets without getting into a knife fight. A guy comparing a fictional game to a movie shouldn't automatically get escalated to "Last of Us 2 is as serious as the real holocaust was." Jasons tweet about not being able to ask his relatives because they died in the holocaust was especially in bad taste. Also didn't Leigh Alexander get drunk a while back and made some very questionable comments on a bombcast about nazi uniforms being sexy? Before the industry buffs descend down on a guy there should be some self awareness about context and the severity of what is being actually said.

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NathHaw

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#48  Edited By NathHaw

I think there is a chance that Jason meant the tweet to be a little more easy going initially -- not totally but somewhat, especially in consideration of his first response to Jeff, which seemed like he mostly wanted Jeff to know some people might take issue with Jeff's tweet. It seemed to escalate a bit more when Jeff implied by tweet that Jason was doing it because of "manufactured outrage," which Jason said pissed him off. Then Jason tweeted that Jeff should have just called him an SJW, which seemed to target Jeff with a whole bunch of other implications.

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ToughShed

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#49  Edited By ToughShed

@drbroel said:

Sorry for the poor formatting. One of the things if find interesting is Schindler's List (which is certainly and essential masterpiece) has a history of causing anger when it isn't seen as being given the appropriate difference.

There was even a Seinfeld episode about this.

Exactly. That's why its a bad gaming take to start and it goes from there.

There's basically two movies not to bring up when talking games and its Schindler's List and Citizen Kane.

To get caught up in drama is what it is. I don't bother with that stuff. Its kind of lame how no one can separate this stuff. The take is bad and he put it out there. That doesn't mean it needs to be about ruining someone's life.

The initial tweets are still laughably bad for multiple reasons. He's always been this hyperbolic, super glowing games guy so its not surprising in totality. I don't think he meant harm saying Schindler's list but its the type of move you make when you have a truly awful take. Everything has to be John Wick or Schindler's list to this guy and no game has ever explored anything about death or violence.

If we can discourage game to movie cross comparisons that will be some good to come from this.

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doctordonkey

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#50  Edited By doctordonkey

@luchalma said:

How utterly exhausting these people's lives must be.

Agreed. The time and effort they have to take stuff like this so deathly seriously. Must be reeeal nice.