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So I just watched all these Bond films for the first time and ranked them
-UPDATED, ADDED UP TO QoS- I've seen the Brosnan/Craig era films but I never saw the originals. Currently watching in order, and here's my rankings. Tell me if it lines up with the general consensus. I'm not including the ones I've seen previously that I mentioned. I'm going to rank them when I rewatch them (Goldeneye, Casino Royale, etc.) Casino Royale - This movie is too damn perfect. I remember watching it once when it came out and I haven't really seen it in full since then, but this time I got to really appreciate how amazing it is. What made OHMSS so great, this movie did better with the Bond/Vesper dynamic. Bond was as human as he could ever be in this movie, ranging from his flaws to his emotions to his mission. Not a single gadget was used in this movie, yet it didn't need any. Bond was as Bond as he could ever be. The homages to previous films weren't forced either like others (*cough*Die Another Day*cough*). I particularly loved the new take on the barrel sequence being Bond's first kill as a 00 agent, going right into the theme song (which is also one of my favorites). There's nothing too crazy in this film, just a good ol' fashion spy film with some good action sprinkled in between. This was the perfect balance of everything that makes Bond, cementing the fact that this is the best Bond film period. And I have to add this in here - "now the whole world is going to know you died scratching my balls" is quite possibly one of the greatest lines in the history of everything, let alone it being my favorite line in this series. Classic James Bond right there, as with everything in this movie. Being that I'm pretty positive at this point nothing is going to top this, I'm going over the scale here. 11/10 GoldenEye - I saw this movie growing up, so I tried to be as objective as possible so that it didn't take away from the following film with my own nostalgia. But as much as I tried to make the case that this wasn't the best Bond film so far, I couldn't. This movie is phenomenal. It is not only one of the best Bond films, but honestly one of the best action films period. Brosnan arguably had the best debut performance out of all the Bond actors before him. You could actually see the emotional turmoil he had for Alec's "death" and the eventual realization of his betrayal. Sean Bean is the epitome of a Bond villain, portraying 006 with perfection. Xenia is arguably the best Bond henchman ever, let alone being a henchwoman. Boris probably the best comedic relief of the series as well, and let's not underrate Gottfried John's performance as General Orumov. An absolute superb showing from everyone involved, in a plot that exemplifies Bond's strengths and weaknesses and highlights the theme M alludes to of Bond being a relic of the Cold War. Natalya wasn't a bad sidekick either, being able to hold her own throughout. The fact that they had to run with a plot completely void of Fleming's influence turned out to be a miracle that it ended up actually saving the franchise. Forgive me if any nostalgia may have gotten in the way of reviewing this, but I can't argue against it being the best so far considering it contained so many "bests-of" of the series itself (006,Xenia,the surrounding cast). Might have to go back and play the videogame when everything is said and done. 10/10 OHMSS - Without a doubt the best film up to this point so far. Great plot and chemistry between the actors. Best Blofeld imo, and so far the best Bond girl. You actually get to see Bond's emotions for the first time, and probably the most down to earth version of him. Loved the setting as well. Lazenby is criminally underrated and wish he stuck around. There's a lot of this movie that I can't really put into words how great it is. Just watch it yourself and you'll see why. 10/10 The Living Daylights - Holy crap, this was an amazing film. Dalton arguably nailed the first impression better than the ones before him. Maryam d'Abo put up an amazing performance as well. This was a film where the girl finally can hold her own and do some ballsy stuff, and actually saves Bond's life a few times. The film was action packed, but it also had some great espionage scenes throughout making this a true Bond film. Nothing crazy, just a few gadgets that are used sparingly and in ways that pay off. To be quite honest, it came really close to dethroning OHMSS. The one thing OHMSS has that sets it over the edge is seeing Bond's human element at his most vulnerable. The chemistry between Lazenby and Rigg was a bit better as well, but nothing to overshine Dalton/d'Abo's performance. Another one of those underrated classics that don't get enough mention, along with the following film after this on the list. Just a superb film through in and out. 10/10 For Your Eyes Only - I've never seen anyone put this movie on a pedestal before or even give it the amount of praise some of the other films received. But wow, this was a hidden gem and just an awesome standalone film, even if you forget it's James Bond. Another movie with great chemistry, albeit I wish Melina's actress could act better. But at least she made for a very competent and awesome Bond girl. It's awesome to see a girl in these films that can handle their own and not have to rely on Bond for everything. Julian Glover is an awesome villain too. Roger Moore was at his peak here imo. I love this movie. 10/10 Goldfinger - I see why people love this film. You got the entertaining villains. Bond's gadgetry really shines here, and it doesn't become overwhelmingly ridiculous like in later films. There's some great dialogue too, so even in the scenes with zero action you still are entertained. Connery was at his peak here and never quite matched it again. Honestly nothing left to say that hasn't already been said about this film. I wasn't entertained by it as my top two though, but probably the closest one. 10/10 The Spy Who Loved Me - There's a noticeable dropoff imo in how much I was entertained by the top three and this film. Still, it's a great film and it has the campy charm of the Roger Moore era while still maintaining a realistic approach. I wish Anya shined more in this film. The first half it had me believing she would be Bond's match but in the 2nd half she clearly played 2nd fiddle to everything and I was disappointed by that. The action scenes were awesome, although the ending was quite anticlimactic. Honestly a lot of this movie has lost potential, but it makes up for it with everything else. Also Jaws. 9/10 Octopussy - Wow. This blew away my expectations, all things considered since this movie was panned heavily by critics and what I thought was the general consensus among Bond fans. This is actually a great film. There was a lot of cliche moments and some cheesy quips by Bond and company, but that aside the movie kept me entertained all the way through. Another one of those realistic plots, this time returning to some nice Cold War action. I mean, aside from the ridiculous Octopussy cult but it's a Bond film so you kinda sort of have to expect that. It also threw me off a few times. From the beginning I thought General Orlov was going to be the big bad, but turns out he was just sort of a pawn for Khan's money making scheme. I appreciate that sort of twist, along with the good amount of memorable henchman in this film. Maud Adams was much better this go around than in TMWTGG as well. And as hilariously ridiculous Bond in a clown suit was, I've sort of grown to appreciate that sort of charm from the Moore era. As long the movies don't focus on these types of antics the entire time (see: Moonraker), it's good for a laugh in-between all the seriousness of the movie. Also Q gets some field time, which is awesome. 9/10 Thunderball - Less campy than Goldfinger and back down to earth like the earlier films, which isn't a bad thing because I actually prefer those types of Bond films. But it sort of drags on. There's some decent action here as well, like the underwater fight scene and Bond infiltrating Largo's villa. But aside from that, way too much water and way too much running around doing seemingly nothing. If they polished the movie a bit more and cut down on some scenes, noticeably the beginning at the rehab and the parade scene...this could have been a fantastic film, because the entire cast is awesome. Loved Largo as a villain and Leiter's portrayal as Bond's sidekick. Domino was one of my favorite Bond girls while watching this (RIP Claudine Auger). Fiona was a pretty awesome femme fatale. Overall still a great movie, just could have been executed a lot better. 9/10 Quantum of Solace - I liked this film a lot. I knew going in it wasn't going to be as good as Casino Royale, and that was okay. A lot of people thought this movie was disappointing, but I couldn't disagree more. It was a satisfying conclusion to the Vesper saga left on a cliffhanger of the previous film. The parallels between Camille and Bond seeking revenge for the deaths of a loved one played out quite well in this movie, allowing Bond to see a reflection of himself in her and eventually giving him the strength to not kill Vesper's boyfriend who turns out to be a member of Quantum abusing women in foreign intelligence to get information. That and also the countless times he needed to be reminded to not kill everybody he sees by M, it all coming together as a growing process for him to become more calculated in his actions instead of shoot first act later. That being said, this movie suffered a deal from the writer's strike. I sincerely believe with more time and dedication into finishing this movie proper, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace would have been an amazing 1-2 punch that could probably have gone hand-in-hand on most people's best lists. The movie seems very rushed at times, and at other times the pace is fine. It's a weird up-and-down roller coaster of driving the plot that kind of takes away from an otherwise good film. However knowing that they did the best they could work with given the writer's strike, I'm willing to give some of that a pass, because as I stated before the plot and themes themselves were fantastic. Overall still on the top level of Bond films, just disappointing we didn't get what we should have gotten. 8.5/10 Licence to Kill - This was a fun film. James Bond going rogue to avenge Felix Leiter? Count me in. Absolutely loved the fact Q got a lot of field work in this film. There were a lot of notable henchmen as well, including a young Benicio del Toro who I didn't even recognise until about midway through the movie. Robert Davi stole the show though, what an underrated villain for the series. There's a lot of good action scenes balanced with some classic espionage throughout as well. All of that being said, it doesn't set itself apart really from the aforementioned films. Dalton was a step down from his previous film, almost acting as if he was already through with the series. A shame, considering how great he portrayed Bond in TLD. The cheesy love triangle between Pam and Lupe was sort of annoying too. And the Scanners bit with Krest's head exploding was honestly so ridiculous that it made me forget I was even watching a Bond film for a few. That's the issue with this movie was that it was more like Die Hard than it was James Bond, which isn't necessarily a bad thing from an entertainment standpoint but in comparison it just comes off as a B-level action movie. This movie could have been executed a lot better, considering the talent and the original plot to work with. 8/10 Live and Let Die - Okay, I'm sort of a sucker for the Blaxpoitation genre and honestly as ridiculous as it was to pair Bond with the height of that era, in a vacuum this movie is actually pretty entertaining. Yaphet Kotto was awesome in this film as the main villain, but so were his henchmen. There's some awesome action scenes in this movie too, and most of the movie is still in the realm of believability so that's a plus too. But that's where this stops. Dear god this movie probably didn't age well in terms of tact. Rosie Carver was the first black Bond girl and she was...yeah she was pretty awful and dumb. The occultism stuff was cringy, especially considering that it doesn't even line up with the region. A lot of the dialogue coming from black characters were clearly written by old white guys that never actually heard a black person speak. Then there's the sheriff...hoo boy. The racial aspect aside, Solitaire's character could have been written a lot better. She shows signs of independence towards the middle of the film but then completely relies upon Bond for everything. Also rigging the deck was probably the 2nd worst thing Bond has ever done, and that's only because he borderline rapes Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. So yeah, forgive me for pandering but a lot of this movie's shining moments is weighed down by its antiquated garbage. Also never bring magic back into this franchise ever again please. All in all, it's still a great movie and I was highly entertained throughout. 8/10 The World is Not Enough - This movie started out strong. Strong enough potentially to be a top Bond film. You had an interesting setup with Elektra possibly being Stockholm syndrome'd by Renard, with Sophie Marceau doing a superb job at portraying a deceitful lover of Bond. Then you had M having a personal involvement in the whole case, showing the consequences of being the "queen of numbers". There's a lot of underlying themes here that callback on previous films, which I like. But then Christmas Jones happens. What the hell was Eon thinking? Denise Richards hands down has to be the worst actress to ever be a part of this franchise, and her "acting" really shows. None of what she says is believable at all and it's hard for me to believe she's a nuclear physicist. And she's not really useful at all if you think about it, because we know from past films Bond can diffuse a nuclear bomb quite well (TSWLM, Octopussy). So clearly she was just thrown in as a deus ex machina for Bond to have another lover while having an excuse for having a sidekick for the mission. Makes me think they wrote her in last minute because dumb test audiences didn't like that the only Bond girl was a villain, which I'm pulling out of my ass which is as equally comparable to how they wrote the 2nd half of the film. Yeah, Zukovsky just so happens to have a nephew as a submarine captain in the one city they need to blow up. Bullion just so happens to work for Elektra and be his chauffeur, as if hiring him wouldn't throw up any red flags in the first place. Let's hand a clock that clearly fell off the floor because of M back to her and that clock can easily be manipulated into a GPS signal with a locator device. There's probably other instances of lazy writing and lucky coincidences that plagues the 2nd half of this movie, but like its script I'm too lazy to recall them. And then we get the infamous "I thought Christmas only comes once a year" line to end the movie, which might actually be enough on its own to drop the score of this movie. Overall if it wasn't for the first half this movie would be a lot lower. It would be maybe a 5 if not for that, but overall it's a 7.5/10 Moonraker - This movie gets a lot of hate. And I understand why, because it is so ridiculous and is just a complete 180 from the beginning Connery days of the franchise. Trust me, I get that. But I'm willing to toss that aside in interest of actually seeing if I would be entertained by this movie and honestly, I was. It is so over the top fun and I appreciate that in terms of separating you from reality. If the film's goal was to be entertaining that maintains a level of insanity that doesn't get in the way of the experience, it pretty much nailed it. I'm not going to rank this movie any higher because it's still a Bond film, and it wouldn't be right to start reviewing this movie as if it was a separate entity entirely. So that's where the faults come in. This isn't James Bond. I don't understand how it got to this point when you look back at what Bond was supposed to be. The campiness is out of control, and while as I mentioned before I can appreciate that as a standalone film, it also just makes me feel like I'm watching Austin Powers. Goodnight is a cool character in premise, but her actress was so terrible I couldn't really get behind her. Drax was sort of cool I guess. The sacrificial lamb trope with Corinne was getting predictable at this point, though. In conclusion, it's an entertaining movie but they should have just focused on making an entirely different film separate from Bond. At least then it wouldn't have any expectations in the way, for better or worse. 7.5/10 A View to a Kill - This is one of those movies of the franchise they have all the right pieces for a great film, and it ends up so poorly executed. Did we really need to spend practically half the movie on a horse ranch? Why is 57 year old Roger Moore banging every girl he sees? What the hell was the point of May Day going to bed with him? And did we need an extra 10 minutes dedicated to a KGB agent attempting to steal a tape from Bond by seducing him only to fail and have it never get mentioned again? And as stupid James Bond going to space was, and seeing him in a clown suit...somehow him dangling off a firetruck and a blimp was more painfully cheesy and absurd to me. Perhaps it was just the fact it was just added in for meaningless action scenes and to pad the movie time, I don't know. And Midge is such a terrible actress and I really wish she wouldn't scream Bond's name so much. So why is this movie higher than the others? Max Zorin. He is hands down my favorite villain so far and I really wish he had more screen time and psychopathic moments. His backstory is cool too. Had I been in charge of the film I would have kept him alive for a future film, like make him a new Blofeld or something. Oh well, this movie is better than yellowface. 7/10 You Only Live Twice - This is when things are sort of getting bad. The first half? I actually loved it. Aki was pretty badass. I loved the action throughout the film so far and it had some great spy scenes as well. And then Aki dies and the film turns into Bond in yellowface blowing up volcanos with ninjas and some random Japanese girl in a bikini who serves zero purpose. I have nothing really left to say at this point, aside from thanking Donald Pleasance for giving us Dr. Evil. 7/10 Dr. No - I appreciate this film a lot. It sets the foundation for Bond and is a superb introduction into his character. Dr. No is an excellent villain and Honey Ryder represents the embodiment of what everyone is accustomed to expect of a classic Bond girl. From a historical perspective, this film means a lot to the franchise in so many ways and I can respect that. That being said, the movie is boring. When the film starts to pick up at Dr. No's island, it still seems like things just take forever. And while it finally pays off with the awesome back and forth between Bond and No at the dining room table, it just turns anticlimactic once Bond escapes his jail cell and eliminates No. The way he goes out is great, it's just I wish there was more interaction between the two. Also did they really need to kill Quarrel? 6.5/10 The Man with the Golden Gun - How did they mess this up so badly? The concept of the world's greatest assassin dueling against the world's greatest spy in a cat and mouse tale is such a superb idea. But instead we got Bond following Christopher Lee around for an hour and a half doing practically nothing aside from getting his mistress killed and fixing the mistakes Goodnight kept making. Also Goodnight sucks, I want to make this clear right now. She's not even in the realm of she's so bad she's funny. Like I'm convinced a producer thought having a dim-witted blonde at Bond's side was a great idea so they wrote her to be as dumb and offensive as possible. And kudos to them, because they pulled it off. Too bad it took away a lot of good from this movie. Like Christopher Lee's performance, arguably the best Bond villain so far in terms of acting. And Nick Nack, who made for a memorable henchman. But yeah, that's about it. Also the sheriff is back. Dear lord they botched this movie so bad. 4/10 From Russia with Love - Come at me with your pitchforks. I've seen this movie get placed as one of the best, if not the best Bond films of all-time. I've seen even a video game get made after it, which is crazy because it was so many years later. People always seem to answer the question of who Bond is to them and they say Connery in FRWL. And I can sort of understand that if you're there from the beginning or are really invested into the franchise, you can probably go back to this film and pick out the bits and pieces that make Bond so great and how Connery nailed it. I'm not arguing against the fact that this movie was important, because it was. But I'm going to be brutally honest - this movie is bad. I've said before I prefer the realistic down to earth take on Bond, but this one was a little too much for me. While the scene between Connery and Shaw on the train is probably one of my all-time favorite scenes of the franchise, most of the movie's dialogue is just drawn out banter between Bond and whomever about stuff that ultimately doesn't even matter. The pacing is so slow and it hardly ever seems as if Bond is accomplishing something. Tatiana goes from an interesting Russian spy to a completely dependent lover in less than two scenes. It's hard to even tell if she's putting up an act or if she really just failed her mission from the get-go and fell for Bond. I guess you could say that would mean she's putting up the deception well, but it's executed pretty poorly if that truly is the case. The gypsy camp part was a useless scene to pad out the movie and throw in some obligatory action to keep the viewer entertained. Red Grant could have been the Russian James Bond but really just stood around for most of the movie doing nothing until he actually meets Bond and then gets killed, so there's more poor execution on that end. The movie finally picks up at the end with the helicoptecar chase and the speedboat chase, but by then it's too little too late. I'm sorry guys, but this movie sucks. 4/10 Die Another Day - This movie is bad. And it's not even atrociously bad like the following films on this list. It's just such a forgettable movie, directed as if it was supposed to be a Fast and Furious film. No really, this movie may as well be part of that franchise. From the ridiculous slow motion and quick fast forward effects you'd see in every action movie of the mid-2000s, to the insanity of some magic gene splicing that can turn a North Korean colonel into an English playboy that can destroy the world with a solar beam while James Superbond drives around in an invisible car surfing on waves and avalanches in his spare time. You'd think with all this ridiculousness it could have some a value as a "so bad it's good" type of movie, but it really has none of that going for it. Because to be fair, the acting isn't too terrible. People gave Halle Berry shit for this movie but honestly she did fine considering what she had to work with. It's the most cookie cutter action film you could pick out from that era, with the littlest regard for it being a Bond movie. So with that in mind, it just comes out to be incredibly mediocre with zero replay value whatsoever. The only reason it's not as bad as the next two films is because the first 30 minutes of the film is pretty promising, along with there actually being a cohesive plot this time. 3/10 Diamonds Are Forever - This movie actually upsets me. One because it originally was supposed to be a revenge film for Lazenby's Bond to avenge Tracy's death. Two because Lazenby decided to leave and Irma Bunt's actress died, so rather than recasting her they decided to just throw Tracy's death into OHMSS as opposed to the intro to this movie and then recast Blofeld for the hell of it. And lastly because Connery puts a stain on his legacy as Bond by completely phoning it in with his performance here. That pain aside, there's no redeeming qualities about this movie at all. Tiffany Case is a Bond girl that barely passes an IQ test, so at least she's better than Goodnight. The movie was poorly edited and cut some many times you can barely follow the plot at times, then again who cares. Blofeld has clones now? So we're supposed to believe the real one was the one who got smacked around by Bond in a crane at the end of the movie? Which by the way, was so ridiculous I ended up laughing not for its intended effect but because of having it settle in how bad this movie was. Mr. Kidd Wint are just...ugh. Is there anything good about this movie? Yeah, Kanye West sampled the theme song and made one of his best songs. That's about it. Screw this film. 1/10 Tomorrow Never Dies - It was really hard for me to pick between DaF and this film as the absolute worst Bond film, but I had to settle for this one. Who wrote this movie, a 13 year old? The dialogue is absolutely terrible. All the forced cheesy innuendo aside, nothing in this script is believable regarding any sort of dialogue between any of the actors involved. The worst of it all was between Brosnan and Hatcher, which I'm willing to absolve their lack of chemistry with the fact that I am convinced a robot must have written the lines in their scenes together. Then there's the ridiculous plot. Yeah, it is scarily realistic now that the media can control so much of the public, but I'm talking about Pryce's plan. It is absolutely absurd to think his "reign" over foreign powers would last anything longer than a week tops. Unless we're living in a world where the entire global intelligence of every country has the IQ of the person who wrote this script, you know what forget it. This review was as physically exhausting as trying to get to the end of this movie was. I'll make this quick - Carver is the worst villain ever, Stamper is the worst henchman ever, and Wai Lin might one of the best Bond girls ever but not even she can save this from being the worst Bond film ever. Wai Lin was awesome enough to save this from being an absolute zero, though. 0.5/10 I'm onto Octopussy next, which I'm well aware of the hate it got. I also know Moore is close to a 60 year old clown in this movie at some point. I'm hoping it at least exceeds the very low bar the movie's reception has set for me. Maybe I'll watch Never Say Never Again instead to save myself some possible misery. E1: View to a Kill is next. I'm aware of this being another mediocre Bond film but I'm kind of excited to see Christopher Walken and May Day. It can't be that bad, could it? E2: That was disappointing, as expected. Onto Dalton. E3: Blown away by this one. I hear LTK is a noticeable decline from Daylights but hopefully it isn't too bad. Dalton was amazing so I'm looking forward to his 2nd and last entry. E4: Killed three movies in a row with this one. Amazing, good, and awful. Onto TWINE. E5: TWINE's done, onto Brosnan's last film and from what I remember, one of the worst Bond films ever. E6: Almost done, just have Skyfall and Spectre left. The top is pretty much cemented as is the bottom. We'll see where these last two land.
Why did I quit playing FF14 or why FF14 isnt worth any attention (global critique thread)
The post below is a cumulative set of conclusions based on my many hundreds of hours of playtime. It will be a rethinking of the facts that I discovered for myself at the beginning of my acquaintance with this game, those facts thanks to which I initially really enjoyed the game. There will also be a lot of comparising between FF14 and other MMOs such as: WoW, GW2, TeSO etc. Before I start I do want to clarify that I do not want to anger or insult the players of this game. If you love this game and you enjoy playing it -- its completely fine and I respect that. Its a game for you. I rely merely on my vast experience in playing MMOs and on adequate analytical skills with which many have big problems. With thats settled, lets start. Why I thought you should play FF14: 1. I thought that FF14 does not have any cash shops that will affect your efficiency in battle or speed of your leveling. Will be the least filled point because yes, FF14 does not have donate/cash shops system. Only things you can get from Mogstation is glamour gear sets, mounts, minions i.e. visuals AND jump potions about which we will talk later. Problem lies in addons. They are not worth their money. $30 for Battle for Azeroth and $20 for TeSO versus $35 for Shadowbringers -- BfA and TeSO worths your money more -- you will know why later. 2. I thought that FF14 has HUGE amount of content. Yes, there really is a lot of content -- there are some buts. It is as monotonous as possible with little difference between pieces of content. All dungeons in FF14 follows the same pattern -- they all share that "corridor-shooter" style, a narrow path in which theres absolutely no tactics whatsoever. At max you will need to dodge some AoE from another clone boss. Just a dumb zerg rush with zero tactics and zero interactivity. Against the backdrop of Mythic Dungeons in WoW where you need to throw bombs at boss, clean the arena of mold, shoot from harpoon, use a battleship/tank to battle boss in, control packs of mobs and wisely attack them, dungeons in FF14 are not just unserious -- they are childish, ridiculous. Yeah, you have some dungeons where you need to shoot at a turtle using cannons, Steps of Faith where you need to shoot those cannons at a big dragon but thats merely a single exceptions that does not change overall picture. Whence WoW dungeons are doing their best to surprise the player with unique mechanics and be interesting. Not in vain that Mythic Plus mode became its own cybersport discipline. Trials. This is essentialy just a boss fight without that excess husk of running to boss. Kind of a "raid without trash". Good idea but the implementation is meh. I will only review Extreme version of a Trials, which gives at least a mere bit of a challenge... Although, no. They dont. All mechanics in FF14 bosses are based on positionals. Just positionals, without a single interesting mechanic. To put it roughly, attacks of all bosses can be divided into several categories: a) get out from yellow AoE area, b) stack in red mark, split if green mark, c) catch projectile that moves towards boss/your healeother party member to share damage/not allow boss to charge damage d) kill adds-dummies, e) run around whole area like in idiot when boss does his ult. Thats all. Literally. All the diffuculty of FF14 trial bosses lies not in adjusting the raid to the conditions of the battle, solve the problem of randoms, go around the mechanics and understand what killed me and how to avoid it. No. Everything you need to do is memorize the position during the battle. This is the simplest thing to do if you are not an idiot who cannot memorize the simplest order of positionals or write them down on a piece of paper. You cannot possibly wipe on these activities unless you are absolutely not familiar with local "positionals mechanics" or if your party is filled with casuals who cannot do the same. Which will happen frequently. Raids. The same as trials just with that "bit of trash". Absolutely no interest, all fights again is a dumb memorizing of positionals. After WoW raids this is just ridiculous. While in WoW theres a course on complete rejection of positionals, in FF14 you ONLY have positionals. While in WoW all raids are super interactive: in Ulduar, for example you battle Leviathan using tanks and motorcycles or skirmish with an enemy faction ship or riding on the back of Deathwing trying to break his scales, underwater fights, airborne fights -- this is all bullshit! Lets throw in dummies with positionals and call it done! Absolutely no interest or enjoyment from fight or challenge. Yeah, I may be a Blizzard fanboy, blah blah blah, maybe. But this does not cancel out the fact that Raids in FF14 are crap for gamepad casuals. Alliance Raids. Same as raids but for three raid groups. Dumb zerg rush again. All the difficulty -- arrange a party of randoms, thats all. Sorta on the same level of vanilla WoW but the problem is that vanilla WoW was in 2005 while now its 2019... Extreme Ultima. Just a grindy thing which is not aimed at tactics and hardcore but at perseverance cuz theres again the same positionals but since the battle lasts a very long time a person just gets tired and gets astray. No interest again, just grind. Human factor game. And overall, high-level content in FF14 is just bad. 90% of players are busy with doing Roulettes to collect badges (tomestones) which they will exchange for high-level gear at the end of the week. And it goes on and on and on. Every single day. You go online, do your weekly cap of tomestones, go offline. And a month or so later when you will get all equipped for raids, you will go and beat raid dummies with pathetic positionals mechanics. And it lasts throughtout all addons. PvE system did not change since 1.0. They just throw packs of content at us using the same template: "Here you have a pack of dungeons, heres a raid with positionals, before that dont forget to complete a chunk of plot to unlock it."Makes me wondering, why devs of WoW in every addon trying to surprise players? Making super interesting raids with interactivity and diffucult mechanics. Every addon has some uniqie feature: garrisons, legendary Pandaria cape, Legion artifacts, warfronts and expeditions in BfA. And this brings up a question for Blizzard: why? Why bothering with that if you can just increase level cap, give a chunk of raid content with positionals, do not change class mechanics at all which you completely redo with every addon so the players, God forbid, do not get bored of their class. Blizzard, thats excessive. Look, SE using the same template for years and still get great subscription numbers. So overall, PvE content and Raids in general in FF14 are ridiculous. They designed for those gamepad casuals and console peasants so they can feel like they are actual hardcore raiders. But they are not. The hardest raid in FF14 is way more easier than WoW raids even on Normal difficulty. Heroic version will be TOO tough for a skilled FF14 player because he will actually need to learn to play instead of memorizing positionals. 3. I thougnt that FF14 has a great plot and storyline. How much praise has been given to storyline in FF14. And yes, the storyline is decent. Here and there. In short all storyline in FF14, I repeat myself, ALL storyline consists of them gather and deliver quests with a bunch of useless running around, stupid mute dialogs so that in the end, after all this legwork, you will get to see a cutscene which should at least evoke some emotions. The whole essence of the plot is about this: "oh, hi there Chosen One. Listen, theres a lot of shit on our plate right now, beastmen summoning their Primal, Garleans attacking so we have an important mission for you. Run around whole map like an **hole, kill useless mobs, talk with useless NPCs, gather some crates, talk again, rinse and repeat ten times etc etc etc and then MAYBE, just maybe, we will let you go and battle that Primal". It's just total despondency that stretches throughout the leveling because SE did something that you NEVER should do in an MMO -- they tied leveling to this storyline. You cant just get to high level and do plot in your free time like in TeSO or GW2 -- no, you MUST complete whole storyline in order unlock dungeons, raids, you cant even visit new locations without progress in main story. And that could be okay if at least storyline is interesting but from 20 quests there will be only one truly interesting quest. For the whole chapter you will see only one interesting cutscene... and the rest of the time you will do these gather and deliver type of shizzle. Which on the backdrop of WoW quests looks ridiculous and on the backdrop of TeSO quests just a full trash. SE had many solutions to this problem: a) do not make a main storyline go for this long, b) do not tie your leveling with your main storyline, c) with the possibility of moving to the next addon if you have needed level (i. e. level 70 for Shadowbringers) make it possible without completeing all the previous quests. Yes, they are working on reducing the number of quests up until level 50 but thats not gonna help because it will still be long and boring and you still have three addons for many and many hours. Like, you get to level 50 but you still have LOADS of quests to do to move to next addon although in theory it would make more sense to just take the next addond starting quest and go there and after return and complete that previous addon storyline you missed if you want. Forcing to complete a storyline in MMO is a complete bullshit which aims at money leeching. So lets compare again. Friend invited you into WoW. You buy the game, you get to 110 instantly by getting the last expansion, you get to 120 during one week and now after a week you can run stuff with your friend, do dungeon keys, doing arena etc. And old content you can get done in your free time if you will want it. Everything is good..... OR Friend invited you into FF14. Two months you spend on completing main storyline of ARR, HW, SB and ShB while your friend are doing high-level stuff, closing raids, gearing themselves up while you are doing gather and deliver quests for one small tearful cutscene. Or you pay from your wallet for main scenario skip and jump potion which will be around $40 more because you dont get to actual level with buying just the scenario skip, you need both jump potion and secenario skip. And you dont get to actual level with buying new expansion. If this is not a deceit and disgust then I dont know what is. 4. I thought that FF14 has a great soundtrack And yes, it does. Soundtrack in FF14 is the best thing in it. I keep replaying some themes from it in my playlist. I have only one complaint about sounds. In FF14 all NPCs are mute dummies while In WoW each NPC you refer to lets out a certain small phrase that characterizes him as a character and gives him more life. Lacking of these in FF14 is adding one more flaw into the sea. 5. I thougnt that FF14 has very cool class design Currently, FF14 has 18 classes. Wow, thats a lot! -- you might say. No, it isnt. The thing is, all classes are in complete lack of customization. Theres no builds in this game. They just give you one rotation that you will spam for a couple of years until next expansion hits in which they might change something. Theres no talents and no versatility in skills, no specializations. You pick a Warrior, you get his one rotation -- spam it for years. And such nonsense divides the number of classes by zero. In TeSO theres tons of builds, in GW2 theres tons of builds, weapons, talents. In WoW each class has 3 specs (4 for druid). Plus tons of talents which can change your gameplay and rotation completely. So yeah, theres no class variability in FF14. Just as theres no interesting class mechanic. All class mechanics for all classes in FF14 relies on combinations. Your task in battle is to push 10-12 skills. You use one skill, it procs second skill, second skill procs third skill and so you go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 until finisher becomes available after using which it all goes back again. In WoW for a long time there is no rotation as such, theres a system of priorities and procs, and in FF14 -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Moreover, the number of skills is unadequate, class mechanic is elementary and would easily fit in five skills. But no, we need to stretch the battle and artificially create a challenge so here you have a ***load of skills in rotation which you need to push in order for a battle not to be boring. Battle system in FF14 is a jRPG parody with global cooldowns from which you can grow old and artificial stretching and loading the players with useless skills. Just a hackword made for gamepad casuals again. 6. I thought that FF14 has a good balance between classes It doesnt. It goes from one extreme to another from patch to patch. With zero variability, SE still cannot balance classes decently. Just look at PLD who just cant die or at new SCH. Next. 7. I thought that FF14 doesnt have that "alt-character menace" Would be better if it had. Seriously. Yes, ability to level all classes as one character sounds like a cool feature but its useless. Will explain why. Lets suppose I created an Au'Ra, formidable WAR, scary as Sauron himself, everything is good. But after some time I want to play as caster, to heal as WHM for examle. I switch to WHM and I see that my Au'Ra does not fit this class visually, I do not want to look at this tough guy wield a staff, its not aesthetically pleasing and not comfortable. To put it roughly, you tie your classes to one race. So if you want your ninja to not be huge-ass Roe but an agile Miqo -- you will need to create alt. And to create an alt here is a pain in the ass because you will AGAIN need to complete all main story for months or pay $40-50 for skipping. Not even mentioning that you cant share items and gil between your characters. This is one con of such a system. The second con is that you always have a mess in your inventory. Huge disorder in which theres lots of gear from different classes and sometimes you don’t even remember which gear is from which class. Whats the trouble in making separate inventory folders for each class? You got a piece of gear for BLM? It goes into BLM folder. Tank gear? Tank folder. This is elementary solution but SE cannot realize it either so you need to use such crutches as gear sets, auto-equip. Pathetic Overall, no alt-characters system isnt working properly and it would be better without it. In the same WoW I have different races for different classes, it's diverse and it's interesting, while here all of classes are the same pestered Au'Ra. And to change your race costs your money as well so... yeah. 8. I thought that FF14 has a unique craft system Well, yeah. Its interesting. With buts again. Separate crafting class is the most stupid idea for this kind of game. Shortly, you need to gather resources, mats. Resources are in the open world. In the other world there are monsters that want nothing more but to have a piece of your ass, literally. You cant do anything in your gathering class, you can only use your Stealth skill. So you need to switch from gatherer to battle class constantly -- why? Why you cant just gather your ore as your battle class, having a needed skill and a pickaxe? Craft itself is cool, liked it. Its like an interesting minigame. But making it a separate class is a stupid idea. Whats the difference if you WAR will sit and craft himself an armor as a crafting class or this WAR himself but who just took a hammer? So yeah, crafting system is interesting but controversial. I think the best crafting system is in TeSO. 9. I thought that FF14 has loads of additional activities And it does, but aside from Triple Triad, Mahjong and those casino-style games in Saucer everything else was already been in WoW and other MMOs, implemented poorly and not new. Chocobo races is a total nonsense and a poor parody of Festival Races in WoW, these ostriches are just uncontrollable and riding them gets boring after couple of races. Vermillion is a casual thing that want to seem complicated. Pokemons in WoW are much harder in terms of combinations. 10. I thought that devs of FF14 treats community good It differs from time to time. But awful overall. When its not needed, they do listen to community. When its needed, they do not. Lets take cutsenes in main scenario dungeons as an example. Theres two main scenario dungeons in which theres a lot of long cutscenes that previously could be just skipped. But casuals and new players started to whine on forums that "we miss bossfights blah blah", "they forcing us to skip cutscenes in order to do a fast run blah blah". So as a result they made them cutscenes unskippable and now completion of 1 dungeon can take you a freaking hour! And no, you cant just go in and then go afk because you will get kicked. And given that you need to go through it every day via roulette, just in a few weeks you will you will rip your ass hair, just to not look at it again. And ignoring them completely is extemely unprofitable since they give you a lot of tomestones and it will be hard to cap on them without main scenario roulette. Lets also talk about ban system in this game. It is simply a masterpiece. Shortly, FF14 is a haven of casual players that just do not want to learn to play. This game is completely absent of DPS meter. Not just absent, its forbidden! You dont have a right to install and use an external DPS meter, its forbidden as well, but since it does not fiddle with ingame files and just read logs, you sorta cant get banned for it, its in a "grey zone". But if you just lightly hint at someone that: "dude, your DPS is a bit low, we cant kill a boss like this" -- you get banned after couple of reports. You dont have a right to tell a player that he has some mistakes. Its forbidden in FF14. If you cant kill a boss because of a couple of players who doesnt know how to play their class -- you cant fix that. You will all fight with eachother because one player will keep blaming another that he is to blame for our wipe or you will just disband while that casual low DPS bard wont give a damn about his rotation or about your party in general. And it's not even about insulting the player and to tell that he sucks but to just politely ask him to put more effort into his damage -- you will get banned. So, the developers policy towards the players is awful. Its a real indulgence toward casual players who does not want to learn how to play. Thats it I guess. Theres a lot of small flaws that could be mentioned, like no auto-dismount in a battle, extremely inconvenient console interface, sharp unnatural animations, sluggish controls -- when its all together its starting to put real pressure on the brain. I played this game for a year and got disappointed in it too much. Under a very pleasing visuals which in the beginning causes the real eyegasm hiding patterned and monotonous dud, devs of which does not want to take risks and unleash the full potential of the game. Which mechanics are on par with free to play korean cookie-cutters. Its hard for me to say this, but: Final Fantasy XIV is unworthy of attention.
Wealth Formula Episode 195: Wealth Secret #1: Know, Like and Trust!
Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/195-wealth-secret-1-know-like-and-trust/ Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is my very good friend and partner Tim McLeary from Western Wealth Capital. Tim has been involved with the financial services in real estate industries for 25 years before joining Western Wealth Capital. His resume is extensive including oversight of more than a billion dollars in assets at TD Bank Financial Group and that was of course before our current run at Western Wealth. Now he is Vice President of Investor relations at Western Wealth Capital and he is obviously you know the face that many of you who have been an Investor Club already have seen and met in person if you've come to our meetups in Phoenix in Houston and of course he'll be in the next one as well. Tim, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast man. Tim: Yeah thank you Buck. Buck: So you know obviously you know we've been talking within investor club and you know pretty much every day with regards to properties that we're looking at etc, but it's great to finally have you on the program to kind of you know expose everybody who's not necessarily part of the investor club to what you guys are doing. So everyone you know obviously people in the investor club already know at least you through the webinars. They may not have seen your pretty mug like you can on the video version here, but tell us a little bit about your past and you know how you ultimately ended up from you know these positions where more traditional financial market into multifamily real-estate. Tim: Well this is always a common theme and I've always worked in an environment dealing with or connecting with people and institutions anywhere from as you mentioned TD which is you know institutional money management business development leadership with the major chartered financial banks. So again the common denominator is the ability to connect with people and my last position from my last job you know I was pretty darn comfortable feet up you know not being challenged, golfing a couple times a week sometimes I would play these sound like their president real calm and actually wanna one of my good friends a gentleman I used to play a little hockey with in the past because that's what we do up here in the frozen tundra is play a lot of hockey, he was the CFO of actually a very large local developer and he had just joined this small little firm in Vancouver called Western Wealth Capital and at the time and I think this nuts he went from you know CFO of again one of the largest developers in Vancouver just real estate company called Western Wealth Capital and out of the blue he gave me a call and introduced me to the CEO of Western Wealth Capital, Janet LePage and that meeting I basically sat there and said I'll do whatever it takes to come and work with his organization. I just knew it was a rocket ship, she's an amazing lady and then I met David Steele the other co GP and that was two and a half years ago and I loved every day and I'm learning as we go as well too and it's been a phenomenal ride and I'm looking for the next 10 or 15 years. Buck: So you know obviously you're smart guy and you're heavily involved with day-to-day operations and yet God you know really your pulse on every part of this business so when you look at it from that perspective and you know what's going on in the economy etc, why multifamily real estate right now? Tim: Well you know multi family is kind of the darling play in that real estate asset class right now you know more and more people and groups are running to this asset class and there's you know a couple simple reasons you know one there's you know multifamily is a very low risk profile asset class you know you look at the stock market and the fluctuations you know I'm still a junkie I look three or four times a day to see what the Dow and Nasdaq are doing but they're basically up and down with the Dow and Nasdaq and you know the market that general market that really depends on I say it is moved from a fundamental market to an emotional driven market you know it depends on tweets from certain people then also you know market move one way or another you know where as you know multifamily is just it's boring it's a real boring asset class but again it's also something you can touch and feel it's not emotionally driven it's you know it's real property it's something you can touch and feel and then you know also plain and simple, people need a place to sleep and a multi-family provides that. You know there's a thousand people moving to Texas a day, they need somewhere to sleep and you know and this is the reason why we love Dallas and Houston you know there's more and more employers moving from the west coast you know to you know to these states such as Florida and Texas and Arizona and all those new new workers need to need a place to sleep and multifamily provides them affordable place to live you know it's very much workforce housing and that's what we look for. And then lastly cash flow I mean you have a low risk profile asset class and and then you're receiving a yield I mean it's basically the best of both worlds. Buck: Yeah I mean you know I think the the thing that you said that really resonates with me in general and I've said it on the show number times recently is that boring is good right, it's good boring is good this is and take it from a you know a serial entrepreneur type guy myself I mean I've chased enough shiny objects and what's always amazing to me through that period over the last decade is that through everything that has failed and that has gone well, one thing just keeps doing well it's boring but it's called multi-family real estate and that's been my experience you know. So again just advice to just general advice not financial advice don't stay away from something cuz it's boring. Don't go chasing things because you look bright and shiny they look exciting because weather exciting there's inherently more risk. Boring is good. But let's talk about the Western wealth capital because when you think about the Western Wealth Capital model you know it is quite opposite from some of the more boring ideas of when you think of REITs and stuff, it's actually pretty electric. I mean Ken McIlroy who we you know we had this meet up as you recall it was about a year ago in Phoenix Scottsdale and Ken was there and Ken was obviously has known Dave Steele for you know a very long time and they're friends you listen to what you know Dave had to say and he called it a quote money machine right, and that's pretty high praise from a guy like Ken you know and a lot of people trust can I trust Ken. So what exactly is it you know that makes this machine what it is? I mean it's annualized returns of 30 percent for investors through all divestments and you know the speed at which things are working. What is it that makes this different? What is this money machine? Tim: Well firstly I mean that super high praise from a guy like Ken I mean he's had massive success in this space and you know as you mentioned Dave Steel can go way back and that's huge praise from Ken and that was fantastic when he did say that. Our model you know is pretty simple you know what buck really what it comes down to his execution of her plan you know. I'm a big believer and you know you may have the best business plan on the planet the best digit whatever it is but if you can't execute guess what it's useless and you know our our system our process is repeatable scalable we execute on day one and that means day one of take over when we take over a property but before we take over a property you know we already know what color we're gonna paint the building, we know what the pool furniture is going in, we know what the monument sign is gonna look like, you know the Landscaping's been you know taken care of, the leasing office is basically going to be remodeled as well on day one you know we're putting fliers under the doors of the tenants and we're saying hey do you want an ensuite washer and dryer you know all the statistics that we read that that was the number one ask from tenants is an actual ensuite washer and dryer and it's mind-blowing to me that property owners out there that have pre plumbed washer and dryers but actually don't put watch her dryers and you know we simplistically threw a flyer on the door and said if you will it would like a in-suite washer and dryer you know for an extra forty or fifty dollars a month just to let us know we'll install it and on Tuesday you'll have a washer and dryer, the balance a month no charge but you know as of the next month you know there will be a forty or fifty dollar charge and you know what you got to look at is that the installation that washer and dryer for for you know four-year $50 a month based on a cap rate it works out to about an increase in equity on a per door basis of about ten thousand dollars. And again like you said it comes down just simple math and then you know we throw in our goal start renovations where you know we can turn a unit and about you know eight days at a cost of about 60 to 50 to turn that and you know if we're charging a hundred and twenty-five dollars for that goal style renovation you know based on a certain cap rate buck you again that per door you know equity in valuation has gone up by $30,000. So it really what it comes down to simplistically math and the ability execute and that's something that we're good at both. Buck: Yeah you know the way I think about it in and tell me we think of this analogy because you know, listen at the value add real estate is not a new concept you know there's a lot of opportunity for a long time, but to me what the difference when I look at it is that most value add operators and I'm talking about even you know a lot of well-known ones they're really operating at a boutique type level of business right, I mean they're sort of like the you know the if you look at in terms of restaurants they're the cafe around the corner run by the mom-and-pop and you know they've got an idea and they you know they run it well they get some good stuff going on they get nice ingredients but the reality is there they may not be infinitely they may not be running it quickly and as profitably as it can be. What's remarkable to me when I look at what you guys have put together there is you've got effectively a you know a McDonaldization right like a you've taken something, a substrate like apartment buildings you know 25-30 million dollar 70 million dollar apartment buildings and commoditized the turning of those in such a manner that it literally reminds me of a Mcdonald's type you know or you know some kind of industrial boom boom boom boom get it done kind of thing and whereas you might think well that's not gonna you know result in as good a product, the reality is the repetition the repeating the same thing over having the same type of you know operations over and over make you better and better and faster and that I just don't see anywhere else and I'm curious kind of what if that's the same you know what you see is the difference from others. Tim: Yeah we're constantly working on our processes and you know you said it's repeatable and scalable and you can call the McDonnells ism theory but you know that that's what drives us very much and again you know it does come down to execution as you mentioned you know there's a lot of syndicators out there that really say they're in our space or they’re in the value-add space you know but they really don't spend that equity they don't have that team in place that can actually execute and that's one thing that's different about Western Wealth Capital is you know Jan and Dave do spend the money we do have the right people in all of the asset locations that we are situated and and we're not happy with six out of ten you know we live in a world where ten out of ten makes make sense. Buck: The other part that I think is really different is speed right, because and again from from the standpoint of a guy who's interested in looking at things from you know mathematical way I mean I like equations I like things that have definitive you know ways of looking at things, the one thing that people don't usually think about is speed right. So you're going to do this at scale you're going to turn this you're gonna get so much you know increase in apartments and net operating income but if you can contract the amount of time it takes to get there you've effectively doubled your return and that presumably is a you know that that's why you're getting the kind of returns you are I mean don't you think that speed is probably the variable that is most unique? Tim: Very much so and how I look at that is you know we're a very conservative organization all of our models are they're cookie cutter we were big believers and under promising and over delivering you know Janet's math background she’s a computer scientist by trade exactly you know it's very math based you know we have a Wow program we had a while but 1.0 we now but while 2.0 but so what we're trying to do is just increase the speed of how you know how quick we execute and really what that comes down to Buck is you know for our investors is we're you know we're de-risking their investment from day one. We're increasing the value of that property so quickly that we are literally moving the cap rate from let's say by a five to six or six and a half because of the execution of our business plan. Buck: There's another part of that speed and you know that that that's really pertinent to investors and that is the idea of getting your money out of the deal we always talk about in terms of Western or in terms of the Wealth Formula you know mass times velocity times the leverage so velocity being like how quickly you get your money back out of a deal. One of the things I think is really interesting is the use of the supplemental loan program. Can you explain kind of how that works to people who don't know about it and you know some of the advantages of doing that. Tim: I mean just very high level you know when we buy a property and we're gonna use some round assumption numbers here but let's say we buy a building for twenty million dollars you know we're typically using agency debt, the lender will actually provide us with a loan you know 100 percent valuation of that property loan to cost and so let's say the full twenty million dollars however they will not you know of course fund us that full amount. Typically it ranges anywhere from you know based on our models sixty five to up to seventy two percent you know of that LTC. Then as we create that value in that property as we execute and at the speed that we do or you are you know we creating value quickly we can go back after twelve months to our lender and instead of doing a whole refinance package which typically is quite expensive we just go back and and have our lender revisit the financials and basically pull a supplementary, so again if that building goes from 20 million 25 million, they will release anywhere between 65 to 70, 72 percent of that additional five million dollars in equity that we've created what we do with that equity well we give it back to our investors. So our whole model is and we've again under-promise and over-deliver here but you know what we pro forma is to return 50 percent of the investors equity between a 24 to 36 month period and then another 25% so up to 75% between a 36 and 48 month period and then up to a hundred percent of their original equity back between a 48 and 60 month period. So they still retain their original percentage ownership in the building the same number of units, however as you just mentioned Buck what it does do is it puts money back into their pocket a lot quicker. They can in turn reinvest that into something else and you know again the velocity of their money is in the velocity returns. Buck: And that's really the key you know is that the cash out refi model is nothing new, but you usually don’t see it for about five years and then you get you know maybe you get a refi and hopefully you get your capital back out of the deal and you've got what we call infinite returns but what we're talking about here is really unique because I know you mentioned 24 to 36 months just looking over the history it looks like the average has been about 18 months where investors are getting about 50 percent of their capital back and then you know a year later whatever they're getting over the next year or two they're getting the rest of it back. By the way the model does not allow for a split until then so in other words the operators not getting paid you know and any part of the equity until a 100% of capital is returned. Well what that does is it allows you to take you know not wait for years but wait you know assuming it's 18 months 24 months whatever and if you get if you invested a hundred grand take 50 grand back and put it into something else now you've got an opportunity to make money in two places at the same time with the same capital and that's where the numbers really go off the hook right that is kind of the the thing and then as Tim mentioned it's also derisking. So tell us a little bit about like you know kind of your track record in terms of doing this kind of stuff. Tim: Well I mean I'll tell you a little story about one of our investors you know he started with us it's actually five years ago now we're six year old company but it took about a year of research for him to give us his his first dollar but so it's been about five years ago he started investing with us he spread $750,000 you know throughout a couple of deals he started coming in and you know we do the dip your toe in with a certain amount and then you know the investment level got a little bit larger and so his total investment you know with Western Wealth Capital was $750,000 and you know he's funny he comes to offer wine and cheeses and he basically said I'm not gonna give you any more money I'm done but I promise you this what I'm gonna do is every single penny that you give me I'm gonna reinvest it. So you know through all of our refis are just divestments dispositions which we've had 31 to date so every penny he's given back to us he's actually equity level and ownership of properties with us is just now under four million dollars five. Buck: So seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars total investment over like you know spread over several deals or the last five years is not worth about four million bucks. Tim: And he's just continuing to roll it yeah he's doing. Actually should I should ask him and I show the top the pin but he loves to talk probably I should take him on tour with me. Buck: I want to get him on the podcast. That comes out to roughly an eighty nine percent annualized return on capital. Well what's interesting to me is that with you know these kinds of returns people assume there's got to be a lot of risk right I mean how do you hit thirty percent annualized returns how's this guy get a nine percent annualized return, but in fact you know the two elements and you've alluded to this before that tend to theoretically make these opportunities even more stable than most offerings is that first you know you've obviously got a heavy capital expenditure budget because this whole thing is about turning you know really neglected properties into really high quality properties, if anybody's ever been on a Western wealth tour you'll see it's just amazing, but so it's a huge you know it's a it's a big investment up front that's raised from the capital from the equity. But one of the beautiful things about that is hey you're not you know we're not gonna just try to expect that we're gonna generate all this income from the property right and that creates this level of cash that's sitting up front. That is one thing that in my mind significantly de-risks the opportunities is that there's a huge capital stack sitting there waiting, but then there's also the other idea that where as we're driving equity into this and we're making a profit hopefully by driving cap rates up dynamically in real time, you're essentially creating you called it de-risking the property right I mean those are the two main elements, is that kind of how you see it in terms of mitigating risk? Tim: Yeah hundred percent I mean not only mitigating risk but also you know it comes to returns you know when we model a property and then when we send her a basically executive summary though you know we're not showing 30% returns and that's what we've actually achieved in our past, we've had 31 dispositions for an average hold period 29 months for an average return of 30 percent annualized so we're not showing that you know what we're basing our math typically is working out between 17 to 20 percent annualized returns based on the property very conservative based on how the performance exactly you know when we have a property with say 200 units we're not saying we're gonna execute our value add proposition on 80% 85% we're saying we may do sixty sixty-five percent. And that's where we come up with these 17 to 20s you know plus our refinance of 50, 75 and a hundred you know but again the whole goal Buck comes down to is again under-promise and over-deliver and as well as you can and under-promise and over-deliver but you better be able to execute and and the speed and again we're very good at we're obsessed actually that's the word we use we're obsessed with execution. Buck: That's pretty obvious. How big, because we talked about how this has been, this has been a lightning bolt of a business in terms of growth. How much how much property is under management now? Tim: We're just under 16 thousand units. Buck: And what does that come out to in dollars? I’m putting you on the spot but you move so quickly. Tim: So last year actually 2018 we purchased 16 buildings. In 2019 we purchased 19 buildings. Our goal this year is 24 you know however you know we do have you know different sources of that's gonna be a billion dollars we're nowhere well we're over 2.2 billion 2.2 billion. Buck: Okay so we've got all this good stuff going on and there's skeptics out there and for good reason that say well gosh you know what's you know what are you gonna do when the market changes I mean we talked about some of the things that you can do to de-risk that like you know you're decompressing your own cap rates by creating this dynamic you know driving of net operating income but what happens in that scenario and typically you know a cycle like that might last a couple years. If you have a situation where you decompress cap rate so and you you're certainly in a position to be safe because you got about a bunch of money in the bank you know you've driven up your income, but then what do you do then to to you know to try to maximize yield? Do you just you know hold on to the property and and wait for better days or what do you do? Tim: I guess the worst-case scenario is as you mentioned you sit in cash, again, we're a bit unique we don't have to borrow our capex we raise our capex so you know we'll sit on a lack of cash you know if required we can still continue implementing our value-added program because again you know in a crunch period of time try and get money from a bank or your agency you can't so all of a sudden syndicators just have to stop we raise that capex so we can keep going if we want but I mean worst case scenario is is we sit in cash flow you know but we also what we look at is in the markets that we deal is you know or where we have assets for the markets that we really like is you know we take a real look at the A type of properties existing or being built and you know we love buying buy a right you know a C or C plus type of building right beside an A because you know the individual is that you know that's paying 20 to 50 a month for an eight hundred square foot a type of property you know when that market does change you know are fifteen hundred and fifty dollar 1100 square but newly renovated unit plus completely upgraded and amenities is it gonna look fantastic and save that individual seven hundred dollars a month. So you know again it comes down to de risking and your investment and you know that's one of the aspects that we look at is that a type of property in the area but again worst-case scenario is yeah yeah we stuff it full only cash flow. Buck: So I mean just to be clear we're talking about C-C plus you know probably now what you guys call C me it's probably more C plus moving it up to like a B-Bplus in it you know like you're in a area or something like that is effectively the idea you know speaking of the markets though one of the things that I think is how you know when you right now I've been saying one of the most critical aspects of buying real estate right now is picking the markets because you know when times when things are hot and things are you know markets are flying that's when you get like these you know you get these tertiary markets that are people start chasing yield where in situations where you know if the market turns there's really no natural growth there, there's no not new industry there's not that I mean how much of that goes into market selection can you kind of talk about your process there? Tim: Yeah you nailed it Buck you know we're seeing a lot of other firms you know chasing yield, chasing returns, there's a lot of equity out there but there's also a lot of kind of startup syndicators trying to make a mark and so they're trying to chase returns and and what they don't see in what we see with we know over a hundred transactions maybe, they don't see the deal flow that we see you know we're seeing 22 to 30 deals in about twelve different cities a week but you know we see other firms you know buying in those first rate markets and that you know we'll never do that you know you know. So when the market does correct you know the place to such late such as you know Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix these these markets that are in your top five to ten type markets for economic growth when there is a correction, yeah they may correct a little bit however if you're buying in a market at right now is ranked number fifteen fifteen sixteen seventeen and it's there now just because it's kind of you know, when the market does turn guess what's gonna happen it's gonna go from fifteen sixteen to thirty thirty-one. You know our philosophy isn't you know we don't buy and cross your fingers and hope that the market goes up you know that is just not our value proposition again we're going to markets that are stable strong economic growth there's companies moving there and then basically it comes down to executing your model. Buck: Yeah and you know and I think that's an important thing. There is this constant sort of tension between finding yield but also staying within markets that have strong job growth and you know population growth. And so the nice thing about you know major markets you know you know Houston and Phoenix and some of these markets that are you know they're not New York and LA but on the other hand they're growing like gangbusters they at the end of the day even if you have a change in sort of the overall real estate market you have this this other opposing force which is the growth in population and that isn't gonna presumably that's not going to stop people are moving there for a reason. Tough economic times they're only gonna make them move there even more. Tim: Just a funny story Buck I was talking I was in Calgary last week which is a part of Canada, talking to a farmer last week and he explained this this way Tim he says I have a chicken and I want to make sure my chicken is laying eggs but in the long run I want to make sure my chicken’s safe at the end of the day. It's so simple and you're giggling but really that's what it comes down to. I want my eggs but I want to make sure you preserve my chicken and that's definitely Western Wealth Capital. Buck: Capital preservation. For a group that's plugging out those kinds of numbers capital preservation you know being part of the equation is a nice relief as well. So tell me what's the plan again for this year 2020 west from wealth capital? What Mark do we looking at? What's the goal? Tim: Well I you know we're currently in five markets I just discussed San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, second largest owner operator in Phoenix there's about twelve cities that know we followed very closely our goal for 2020 is to add two new cities so that means not you know not to have assets and five to have have them in seven you know the type of you know type of markets we're looking at is you know whether we're looking to Nevada so we're looking at Vegas we're looking at Denver of course at Denver Florida many centers and Florida as well to you know Washington, Washington State, Seattle, Portland, Nashville as well too. So you know we have a six member acquisition team and we always joke I'm not sure who lives in airports more of them or them or myself but we're kicking a lot of tires, but the goal is again here to be into you know two new cities we just don't move in a city unprepared we do a lot of homework we do a lot of back check. We don't you know we actually are before we move in a city we don't want to buy one building we're gonna go in and typically buy three buildings you don't you know we want to get you know we want to have a thousand fifteen hundred units. Buck: That's part of the exit plan too. I mean and and that's one of the things that I think is important to one of the reasons that you end up getting paid more for these is you're not selling when building at a time you're wrapping it up to like seven or eight buildings at a time and selling it at a premium to a big you know to a big institutional buyer. Tim: Yeah and for numbers we're probably looking at I gained one a month so probably twelve twelve deals this year so for on a deal full perspective so another ambitious ambitious goal first rate. Buck: I’m just curious one thing and I don't know how much you've actually looked into it but it's funny that you mentioned Vegas behind I brought that up too because I remember the economist that we had at our last meet of in the growth in in in you know just in people moving into Vegas is insane right, well the question is is it real this time right? Tim: It is you know you look at the the jobs I believe it you know not that long ago over sixty percent was you know in that hospitality sector I believe that's under forty percent now you know so that just shows that there is there's other types of opportunity now in Las Vegas and it's not solely dependent on the casinos and you know and again it's you know it's another state. Buck: It’s just one of those things where it's like what's the difference between living in you know in a climate wise say Las Vegas Nevada in Phoenix Arizona and people are in Phoenix is growing very quickly and then Vegas all of a sudden now they've got a you know they're gonna have a football team they have an NHL team it's starting to seem like a normal thing to live in Las Vegas. Tim: It's like anywhere Buck, it's any state or city you live in there's tremendous opportunity in great pockets I've I know a lot of people that live in Vegas and you know you joke the first question is about the strip and it's like any city you live in they all just kind of chuckle and say you know we may go this trip once a quarter you know it's like me going downtown for dinner with my family it's right you know it's the same concept. Buck: Well Timmy I don't want to keep you too long. It's been great to have you on the show and for those of you who want more of Tim you can read about them you know Western Wealth Capital website otherwise you can join Investor Club if you are an accredited investor and that's where Tim frequently does webinars for us. Tim again I want to thank you it's great to have you on the show finally. Tim: Thank You Buck, I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. Buck: We’ll be right back.
NOTE: LONG READ. Ok so its that time of year that casting is getting close and lots of people are asking questions on casting (hell I get DMs from people asking for advice due to past posts of mine). I have Applied for 10 years, several locations, both ways (online and open calls [both kind] and have moved on several times) Don't ask me show advice as i stopped watching the show as its become such a cartoonish version of its former self that my knowledge is probably too advanced and or dated for todays game. (and i'm probably way to smart for it [survivor is my interest if any for a show now]. Hell ive had people tell casting producers at open calls right to their face that they should pick me over them to move on along with other complements during these open calls from applicants) Ill break down some info on the early parts of casting for you guys interested in it to get a better understanding of its working. First thing I want to get across is for the most part stop listening to former players on their "casting advice". The advice they are giving (yes including Dan) is advice that worked for them, that season, in front of that casting producer, surrounded by other specific applicants that year, to fit that seasons theme. This advice from them probably wont help you much if any. So many variables from season to season change where specific casting advice like this doesn't help you. Hell, you could have your video/open call in front of a producer just having a bad day and everyone for the most part is screwed HA! All my advice is from observations and actually studying the casting process. Worrying about getting a call back: These happen at all different times and have so many variables (like this whole process) on when they happen. These come down to Time you applied, where you are located, who is in charge of that region, if there is an open call in your area, that years theme, etc... When people ask questions "when should i expect a call back?" Well you shouldn't as they are extremely rare in general, so start moving on in life (I wish i focused more on my life and less on trying to get on this show looking back at it) If you get a call you get a call then plan from there. Open calls vs Video. Open calls (I like better for me but find what fits you better). • These have 2 setups Casting producers or affiliate calls. A casting call with a casting producer have several different setups but will usually take place at some type of social environment location such as a banightclub. I've done them where they are 1 on 1 (rare) and in group sizes ranging from 3 to 10 people. The way these work is you will go in as a group and be asked for the most part basic question(s) depending on the casting producer. Some only get 1 question for each group and some will have an open discussion among the group (I kill at these and have been told to stop talking by the casting producer, i expected my shot was done at that point but later found out that they already knew they wanted to move me on and wanted to hear from the others. I ended up doing one of the longest semi finals interviews that casting producer did that year.) There is no real way to go into prepping for this due to all the variables that can come up, but if you research enough into it (like i used to do), you can have a chance to prep for it if you can figure out WHO the casting producer is. They all have different personalities and how they cast. One of the worst but cant remember her name has a very basic cookie cutter casting process. If you don't go into it fitting exactly what is in her mind, you are already dead in the water before even walking up to the table/booth. There are others that are great, open to listening and willing to give people a chance to shine if they are able to. Oddly enough with the one that was the cookie cutter casting producer, i managed to sneak my name on the "recruited list" of "applicants" at that location while talking to the casting producers assistant even though I wasn't recruited to attend that particular open call. Call backs for these work the next 2-3 days and if you get one you will be doing your semi final interview later that week at a hotel. • An affiliate call (ive done a couple but avoided them if i could) is where a local business and a news station team up with cross promoting to promote their stuff. They don't care about who or what get cast for the most part (with exceptions). These usually take place at local businesses such as mattress stores, malls, car dealerships, casinos, etc... How these work is you show up, fill out an application, get a number, and wait in line. When its your turn in line, you go stand in front of a camera and are given 60 seconds to talk on camera about why you would be the "ultimate house guest". The camera person will ask you that question and for the most part just let you talk until your time is up (if you even make it 60 seconds, believe me some cant) Rarely will they ask another question in between. One when i went, I went with my friends who wanted to do it but I didn't due to the type of open call. I stood in line with my friends and when it got to their turn, I kept making comments and jokes with the staff and other applicants that the guy in charge told me to apply and do the video. (some got mad HA!) but I went in and just improvised the whole thing. It went longer than 60 seconds no question (probably over 2 min) and several questions were asked. So it IS possible to stand out at these but its rare due to the setup. (still suggest avoiding these) • Online Video application. These are good if you want more control over yourself and what you say while not having to be nervous and quick on your feet at an open call. You can shoot over and over until you have something you like (but try to have as little amount of cuts (in the audio at least if you are showing highlights of your life). Casting producers say they "watch every video" but not fully. They watch the first 15 or so seconds to see if you have grasped their attention. So the first few seconds of your video is really important. Call backs on these work based on several variables. If you apply early enough and are in an area that has an open call, you might be asked to attend the open call to get more of a feel of you, or just asked to come to the semi finals interviews taking place that week. If you apply in an area that doesn't have an open call scheduled or after a time period where they cant get you to the open call/semi finals interview, they will do one over the phone and or skype depending on the casting producer. Remember all casting producers have different styles and time frames of how they work so its hard to say a specific time on when to expect a call. If you pay attention to others on here, you will read all different time frames from same day applying online to 4 months from applying online/affiliate call. However, in person at an open call with a casting producer, you will know in 24-48 hours (rarely longer depending on how busy they are) Keep in mind this. You could be in front of a casting producer (in person or video) that just doesn't see any thing in you, but if some how that was in front of a different producer that season, they could have fallen in love with you and heavily pushed you. Aside from what this show has sadly become, one of the biggest things that turned me a way from applying was listening to advice Robyn gives and then what actually makes it on the show sometimes contradicts each other. If the person head of casting contradicts themselves, how are you suppose to get accurate casting advice? So the odds of getting even a call back are rare, and the control you have over getting one and moving on is extremely slim due to it having TONS of variables. Even with all my knowledge and understanding of it, i never made it on the show. My final advice is. Apply whatever way you like, then forget about it. That's why I really like open calls (among several other reasons). You don't have to do anything leading up to it and will know 48 hours after if you move on or not. Least amount of time spent applying for this show. If you get a call back then go from there, otherwise move on and start doing other stuff in life. There is so much out there to do that is amazing. Don't miss out on all the other adventures you could be doing stressing out on a call back that most likely wont happen like I did a few years. They also seem to not like to cast smarter people (easier to control idiots) so play down your common sense and knowledge as they usually only cast 1 loser nerd. Good Luck to everyone and don't stress out over something that most likely wont happen. Save the stress for if you actually get on the show, you will need it HA! If anyone DOES have any questions, feel free to ask here or send me a DM. I'm willing to give whatever best advice I can for you guys. But I rarely come on here so Ask soon before I go missing for a while again (maybe ill pop into the survivor sub every now and then while the show is active)
I actually did see the movie today, so it's not another parody thread. I thought it was a pretty huge improvement over both TFA and Rogue One and probably the 3rd best SW movie. I'd give it a solid 8/10 Hamill is surprisingly good as a brooding Luke Skywalker and the scenes with he and Rey work really well, it was probably his best performance as Luke Skywalker. The throne room sequence is one of the best action scenes in the SW franchise and the larger segment as a whole is really well done and builds tension tremendously well, as does Luke's final confrontation with Kylo. The greater emphasis on Snoke was also a welcome change and gave the film a real villain as opposed to just being stuck with Kylo in the first film. The John Williams score was very good and a big improvement over his score for TFA which I thought was generic and reused past music too much. Here when themes were reused it was in very good contexts, like using the Han/Leia love theme from Empire in some important moments between Leia/Kylo (maybe a minor spoiler). I think that's one of Williams's most effective pieces of score and pretty underrated considering it doesn't get singled out that much. After seeing the film I really wish they were just handing Rian Johnson the third film as well seeing as how he did such a good job with this. I also think he should maybe go on the Bond director shortlist. The casino themed planet immediately became one of the most interesting Star Wars worlds (unlike the generic planets in TFA) and felt very Bondian. The throne room set was also outstanding and felt like a classic Ken Adams villain lair. There were a few flaws. The "mission control" plotline with Finn/Leia/Oscar Isaac/Laura Dern was dull and I always wanted to go back to Luke and Rey when those scenes would come on. The narrative was a bit jumbled on the whole but I can forgive that because it did so well with character and tension. There was also some pseudo-philosophical nonsense being passed off as profundity, but that's par for the course for Star Wars. My expectations for this were actually pretty low coming in, so I may be going a bit easy on it on the first viewing, we'll see what I think on a rewatch. I just like that in an era of safe cookie-cutter blockbusters someone finally went for it a little bit and took a few chances and gave the audience some surprises. This movie just has way more "soul" than TFA/Rogue One (or the MCU) for lack of a better word, so it resonated better with me.
I feel like I need to preface this by saying that I don’t think S2 was a bad season. I just don’t think it lived up to S1. Then again, I never expected it to. I thought S1 was one of the single best seasons of television I’ve seen in the last 10 years (although it’s easier to be great in only 8 episodes than say 15 or 22 episodes). In any case, on to my specific criticisms of S2:
Overstuffed – I think this one is fairly obvious, but there was WAY too much stuff included in S2 for 8 episodes. I mean you had four main characters, a boatload of supporting ones, and then a complicated multi-layered conspiracy along with two tangentially connected murder plots (Caspere and ’92 riots). I don’t think any of those things are bad. In fact, I liked the breadth of characters and the complexity of the conspiracy story. BUT…they only had 8.5 hours to work with. There was easily enough material there that this could’ve been a 22 episode network season.
Slow Start – One of the things that turned a lot of people off early (and thus the downward slope on ratings) was the slow start to episodes 1-3. Not a ton happened in those episodes, and they contained a lot of (failed) attempts to develop the 4 main characters. Then all of a sudden, they had to quickly wrap things up in episodes 7 & 8. I’ve seen a lot of people talk about how great episode S2:Ep7 was, and that it was their favorite. And with good reason! Tons of stuff happened. Think about how little happened in the beginning of the season, and then look at all the plot points in ep7: Ray outs Blake, Frank confronts and kills Blake, Russians buy out Frank, Frank makes plans for escape and taking down the Russians, Frank burns down the casino & club, Ani gets her sister & dad out of town, Ani returns the missing person, Ani & Ray hook up, Davis is killed when she’s supposed to meeting w/ Ray, Paul figures out who the dirty cops are, Paul is confronted by Holloway/Black Mountain/Area, Hall of Records Shootout, Burris kills Paul. I mean, Holy S! Of course everyone liked it, all that stuff finally happened! Spread that stuff out a little and maybe the first half of the season wouldn’t have been so slow. Just saying it’s a “slow burn” doesn’t really excuse this problem.
Mommy/Daddy/Parental Issues – I get it, I get it, the theme of the season is parental issues. Do we have to be beaten over the head with it? In an eight episode season, I count at least 12 or 13 variations on the M/D/P theme: Ray being a good father to Chad/is Chad even his kid, Ani’s mom having committed suicide, Ani’s strained relationship with her dad who was apparently more committed to his “cult” than his family, Ani’s apparent un-interest in actual attachment & starting her own family, Paul’s almost weirdly sexual relationship with his ex-stripper mom, Paul not having a dad around growing up, Paul having a Baby-Mama of his own, Frank & Jordan battling infertility issues, Frank’s issues with his abusive dad, the accidental Oedipus relationship with Caspere & Erica/Lauren, the fact that the murder of Lauren & Leonard’s parents in ’92 kicked this all off, and Ani/Ray having a kid at the end of it all. Heck, there’s even the subplot where Frank goes and talks to Stan’s grieving kid. Having a theme is nice, but all of those things happened and/or were discussed in only 8 episodes.
Location – I feel like S1 did a great job setting up the look/feel/geography of Louisiana. I think S2 attempted to do that, but ended up with 32 different highway interchange shots. Seriously, someone was fascinated with highway interchanges. I wish someone would make a super-cut of all the highway interchange shots from S2. I’m being a little glib in making fun of the interchanges, but my larger point still stands that I don’t think location was used as well in S2 as it was in S1, which is weird, because California is a great backdrop to work with.
Character Development – The biggest casualty of overstuffing the season was the character development. I thought only two characters were decently developed, Ray & Ani. That leaves two more main characters, Paul & Frank, as well as the rest of the supporting cast & antagonists that we didn’t really know anything about. Paul’s death was surprising (in a good way!), but had no emotional impact to me because he felt like such a one-dimensional character. I mean, I know they tried to develop him with the mom/baby mamma storylines, but those both felt extremely rush. Same with Frank, he seems like a pretty cookie cutter “I’m trying to get out, but I’m getting pulled back in” mobster. And the Frank/Jordan relationship was (to me) one of the low points of the season. May have just been lack of chemistry between them or something.
Frank - This has kind of been beaten to death, but the character of Frank did not work for me. I loved the decision to cast VV in that role. I think he’s been really interesting in the past when he plays “dark” roles. But for some reason this just didn’t work. My biggest problem was with the way Frank talked. I don’t know if that was VV’s acting, some sort of decision made by VV & NP, or just the way the dialogue was written. Whatever it was, it completely turned me off from the character. Frank always seemed to speak in bursts of 3 or 4 words in a sentence (think: “Am I diminished?”). I’d love to see some statistical breakdown of words/sentence for all of the characters in S2, lol. Ray & Paul actually did some of this too, but not nearly to the same extent as Frank. There also seemed to be a problem where the words on the page must’ve felt more weighty/important than the words on the screen. Again, I don’t know who’s fault that was, but you could see with the dialogue that VV was given, that his character was intended to be a little more “stylized” than the others. There were a handful of scenes where Frank seemed more real (roughing up the motorist, killing Blake, threatening Ossip on the phone), but those were the scenes that felt more like vintage VV than Frank. I wish more of his scenes had that feel.
Ani – As I said previously, Ani was one of the characters that they did a better job of developing. She felt like a real person, and was consistent for 7 episode…until the finale. You had this great character, a bad-ass chick who doesn’t take order from anyone. And then she what, falls in love with Ray over half an episode and is mostly sidelined for the finale? I think it totally betrayed Ani’s character to have her run like that. It’s one thing for Frank to convince Jordan to run, it’s another for Ray to convince Ani to run. We also spent the whole season with this picture of how cold & heartless Ani is to men, and basically uses them like a stereotypical guy loving them and leaving them. And then all of a sudden she sleeps with Ray, and everything changes? Less than an episode or two ago she was basically shaking her head at him with thinly veiled disgust when Ray turned up at a meeting after his drug-fueled bender and it was obvious he hadn’t done any actual detective work to track down the girl from the pawn shop.
Paul – Honestly, Paul could’ve been removed from the story fairly easily, right? Was his character even necessary?
Underuse of Interesting Secondary Characters – There was a ton of potential for interesting secondary characters in S2. Tony Chessani, there’s a guy I’d like to spend more time with! Heck, all the Chessani’s in that mansion! Pitlor seemed extremely weird/interesting. The Jewish jewelemoney launderer, the Armenian bakers. Ossip. All those were really cool characters, or at least could’ve been. Would’ve rather spent more time with any of them then say Paul’s mom or babymama (or even really Paul for that matter).
Who Were These People? – There was an awful lot of screen time devoted to talking about a character (Tascha) who was never seen (other than a blurry photograph), and another character who was only in the background like twice (Stan). Tascha was a literal plot device, and Stan was really only a plot point so that Frank could come to the conclusion that Blake killed him (although it took Frank long enough!).
Nails/Felicia – You know how you know that you skipped over character development? When you need two exposition scenes in the season finale to explain those character’s relationships to one of your main characters.
Ray’s Death – This totally should’ve worked better than it did. Ray not getting the message out to Chad before he died actually had some actual impact. But the biggest problem, to me, was that we’ve known since episode 3 that Ray was going to die, and pretty much exactly how. For 5 episodes I expected him to get into a chase in a wooded area with some bad guys and die (I expected it to be back at the Party House, but still). And that’s exactly what happened. That scene would’ve been soooo much better without that. Or, at the very least, Ray’s vision of his Dad could’ve been way less literal so we didn’t know exactly what was coming.
True *Detective* - You know what was great in S1? Watching Rust & Marty as partners doing the detective work and solving the case. You know what was missing a lot in S2? Detective work. Sure, they did some (mostly Dixon & Paul), but I thought that aspect was really lacking. I mean, how many times did they have to hear about “exclusive parties with girls”, etc, before looking into that? And the big break at the end is Ray randomly remembering that Erica/Lauren momentarily talked to the set photographer months ago. Really?
Set Pieces – I actually liked many of the set pieces in S2 (raid on Amarillo, raid on Party, Paul under the Hall of records) but all of them paled in comparison to the single-tracking-shot Drug Raid from season 1. That was awesome. The raid on the Party was probably my favorite in S2, and had a great Noir feel to it. The final raid on the upstate cabin where Catalyst/Russians was extremely dissapointing. After Frank’s shopping list to the Armenian’s in ep7 I was expecting a Victory Motel level shootout to happen. Instead the Catalyst/Russians mostly came out of the same door, allowing them to be mowed down one-by-one. Didn’t care at all when Frank shot McCandless, because what did we really know about him other than he wore a suit, but Frank’s parting shot to Ossip was great.
Antagonists – We got to see/learn/know so little about any of the antagonists (Burris, Holloway, T.Chessani, McCandless, Ossip, etc), that it really didn’t do anything for me when some of them were killed. At least with Burris they hired an actor who frequently plays those weasely/bad guy roles so there was easy shorthand for not liking him.
Inept Security – If Black Mountain/Ares is working for Catalyst, they sure did a bad job of providing security at the party. Aren’t these ex-elite military guys? Same thing in the Hall of Records, where Paul (although he was one of them) took out a whole team? Why didn’t Burris (who was apparently providing support for Holloway) spot Ray at the train station when he showed up early? Ares/Russians again didn’t do a good job at the cabin w/ the cash drop. And then the swat team looking for Ray in the woods was borderline incompetent. This all bothered me, probably more than it should.
I have a couple of more nits, but I think that list tackles the majority of my thoughts on the problems with S2. And again, I don’t think it’s a bad season of TV. It’s still way better than a lot of stuff out there. I just don’t think it matched the high bar set by S1. In all fairness I should probably go back and watch S1 again, for a fair & proper comparison. But really, the thing that I remember the most is that I always felt like I was watching a great season of TV during S1, while I never really felt that way during S2.
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