Last One Out, Please Turn Out the Light

Hello, readers.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this post has been a long time coming.

When helped start this blog a little over four years ago, I wasn’t sure if this day would come, or when it would come, or how it would look like. All I’ve had planned for this post was the title; everything I’m writing here is off-the-cuff. Well, more off-the-cuff than my previous posts.

Since I last posted–about four months ago now–I have moved, changed jobs, and gotten married (not necessarily in that order). Not that these things would normally interfere with my blog, but they do add to the pile.

Especially given how the world has been turning lately. And this medium I use–the Internet–hasn’t gotten any prettier. And I feel like I have too many negative or apathetic opinions about things.

And being negative and apathetic makes me tired.

I’ve been a lot more tired lately. I chalk it up to a new job that has me pulling morning shifts.

But I haven’t forgotten this blog. This little project that a few of my friends and I started as a class project. This vessel that I used to house my “unpopular” opinions about things.

And yet, in spite of not forgetting it, I feel like I have run out of things to say for it.

And I’m tired.

All this made incredibly short, I have come to the realization that I should formally bid adieu to The Correlation. As in, I don’t plan on writing any more posts for this blog. Not to say that I won’t stop writing. Who knows, I might pick up another project at some point. Launch another blog for it.

But I feel like I am content leaving my contributions to The Correlation where they stand.

I have nothing else to say here except what I have already said.

Last one out, please turn out the light.


Looking Back at the Hulk

Welcome to Part 2 of my analysis of the MCU from a Christian perspective. Today, we’re looking at the second superhero introduced in the series: the Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk is probably one of the weakest movies in the MCU, but I still like it. You just have to stop thinking about it as a superhero movie. It’s a monster movie, like Godzilla… or like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde if Jekyll went on the run from the military and then fought the Wolfman in the end. 

In the quest to find Christian-compatible morals in the things I like… the story of Bruce Banner is a story about self-control. The Bible tells us to be careful not to use our anger as an excuse to sin. Banner works very hard to ensure that he only releases his violent urges against people and things that he thinks deserve his anger, such as the Abomination or a giant flying centipede from space. 

Even beyond that, Banner tries to filter the consequences of his out-of-control anger. He doesn’t want his blood out in the world, and he’s willing to lose control in order to stop a monster created by his blood. A lesser man would deny responsibility for these indirect effects of his past sins, but Banner acts a bit like Tony Stark in that area.

In Age of Ultron, we see Banner lose control – more specifically we see him give in to the manipulation of the Scarlet Witch. Someone succeeds in taking control of the Hulk away from Banner, which has been his greatest fear ever since he started running away from the military. 

But in the same movie, we see the Hulk surrendering some control to Black Widow. Banner apparently trusts Natasha enough to give her the Hulk’s leash. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the full extent of that connection because it never comes up again after that movie, like so many other Hulk-related dropped threads. 

The takeaway from all this is that self-control isn’t just resisting temptation. It means taking responsibility for your actions – because you will mess up – and their effects on other people. It also means being careful with who is affecting you in positive and negative ways. 

Self-control is one of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians; if we stay connected to the True Vine, we’ll develop control over the monsters inside us. 

What are your thoughts on this topic? Let’s Connect!

Looking Back at Iron Man

Christian nerds, I present for your consideration: Holden Hardman. If you haven’t heard of this guy, go look him up on YouTube. He spent his quarantine showing his friends the MCU and getting their opinions. If that’s not nerd cred, I don’t know what is. 

Holden recently began a series called God in the MCU in which he analyzes Christian (or Christian-adjacent) imagery in Marvel movies. He does it with Scripture, good ol’ common sense, and a good-natured attitude. It’s pretty good. 

Watching this series made me realize I never got around to completing my own contemplation of Christian-compatible themes in the MCU. I’ve been inspired, so let’s jump into this, starting with Iron Man. 

The story of Tony Stark is a story of redemption and forgiveness. In the beginning of his story, he’s about as worldly as it gets, complete with the selfish ego that often comes from a life with very few consequences. When the consequences do come, he almost dies. 

After Tony survives, he spends his entire life – right until the end – trying to make the most of the second chance he’s received. No, he doesn’t give his life to Jesus, but in many ways, he’s a great model of the redemption process. 

And it is a process. Christians often emphasize the fact that we don’t need to do anything to earn God’s forgiveness. We just need to ask for it and accept it. God’s forgiveness is the easy part. Dealing with people is usually harder. Even after we’ve received God’s grace, we probably still need to do something about our past mistakes as far as people are concerned. 

Most of the bad things that happen to Tony Stark/Iron Man is because of something he did – someone he hurt – back when he was a more terrible person. Some of the people he hurt – Whiplash, Justin Hammer, the Mandarin – have no interest in reconciliation, so he has to rocket-punch them in the face. But he needs to swallow his pride over and over again to navigate his relationships with Rhodey, Pepper, Peter Parker, and Steve Rogers. 

He keeps making mistakes, but he keeps trying to be better than he was before. That’s what we can learn from him. 

What are your thoughts on this topic? Let’s Connect! 

@noahspud on Twitter

And in the comments below. 

Carrion: the Joy of Becoming a Man-Eating Creature

As I may have mentioned before on this blog, it feels rare that I’m hyped for a video game. If I am, it’s usually for about an hour or so after a trailer drops, and then I fall out of it. I go back to my daily life and mundanity.

However, this isn’t to say that I don’t occasionally get excited for new video games. It just has to depend on the game. I say this because every perfect now and then, a trailer drops that tickles my fancy, piques my interest, and I end up buying the game the day it comes out.

Case in point: Carrion, the latest from Devolver Digital.

Game over, man. Game over.

Now, cards on the table, I haven’t finished the game yet, but at this current stage, it lives up to the hype that I had for it when I saw the first trailer for it.

In the game, you play as a red tentacle monster, who is in the process of escaping a containment laboratory. Along the way, you eat people, mutate to gain new abilities, eat people, slink around in vents and passageways, eat people, grow to a monstrous size…did I mention you get to eat people in this game?

I don’t have a whole lot to say about the game’s story, as I’m still playing it and the story so far is fairly minimal. However, the lack of a story makes the game no less fun to play.

I have it on PC, which uses the mouse for movement and eating people. While I am aware the game is available on other consoles (Switch and Xbox, specifically), I don’t know how well it handles, but in PC, the tentacle monster moves as satisfyingly as Spider-Man does in Spider-Man PS4. Whatever Phobia Game Studio did to make the monster look and sound so fluid and squishy worked to perfection here.

For some perspective, Carrion is a connected-world 2D scroller (I compare it to Ori and the Blind Forest, but there are probably other examples out there). However, mostly because it doesn’t have a map and backtracking is encouraged, I got lost.

But, because of how easy movement is, I was able to work my way back to where I needed to be with ease (after backtracking almost entirely to the start of the game). Still, the lack of a map is my only complaint, but I bet they’ll do a physical release of this game and includes a map poster or some-such.

9/10~ Now, if you need me, I’m off to pretend to be a tentacle monster for a while.

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!

Star Wars Filibuster: A New Hope

For Context:

Star Wars, as it was humbly named at the time, was originally released in 1977. It took the world by storm and stayed in the public zeitgeist for long enough to get two more movies, a Christmas special, too many toys, decades worth of books, and ultimately…

…a re-release in 1997, as Star Wars: A New Hope, twenty years after its first release, with added scenes, improved special effects, and a lot of confused fans.

My History:

The remake is the version that I watched when I was a kid—the version that my father showed me to introduce me to Star Wars, which he saw in theaters when he was in high school. To this day, I haven’t watched the original ’77 edition. All the versions of Star Wars I have seen are from the 1997 VHS’s onward.

Not my first time on a farm; probably won’t be my last.

So, of course I have some thoughts about the Special Edition.

My Thoughts:

And I’m not going to share them.

Star Wars, broad stroke, is important to a lot of people. And I’m not gonna mess with that.

I know better.

7.5/10 ~ maybe I’ll share them some day, but today isn’t that day.

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!

A little more housekeeping

And then I looked up from the increasing chaos of current events to find that a month had passed and the blog was left untouched.

As for the aforementioned current events, I have nothing new or interesting to add to the conversation. My silence has been one of listening and learning and determining what is the best course of action for me.

Especially in regards to this blog.

See, since everything is starting to open back up and pop culture is clearly still moving. And by starting the “Star Wars Filibuster” series, I locked myself into a nine-plus week plan.

One which got interrupted by me having anxiety about uploading anything on social media for an entire month. WordPress included.

[I mean, not that I usually upload anything anyways, but you get my point.]

And, on top of it all, work has been picking up for me lately, and my small town of eleven-hundred people just got its first case of COVID-19, and I work in retail within the town. And, on top of that, I’m engaged to be married to the woman of my dreams, and our wedding date is set in September for the time being.

Long story short, it’s been a tricky month for me–a dance set to the murmurs of customers and Doom Days by Bastille.

And I’m tired.

So, I would love to keep doing “Star Wars Filibuster” posts. And I might next week. But, at the same time, I don’t really know what I’ll feel like writing about, if I feel like writing about anything, so I can’t promise anything anymore.

I’m definitely going to put more brain-power towards putting out more blog posts.

Until then, stay safe.

Wash your hands.

Cover your mouth and nose if you have to go out.

And be at peace.

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!

Star Wars Filibuster: Rogue One and Solo (but mostly Rogue One)

For Context:

Released in 2016 and 2018 respectively, the Star Wars Story movies were Disney’s way of keeping interest in the brand during the two-year development cycle of the mainline movies. A completely unnecessary move, mind you, as Star Wars had become such a strong piece of cinema culture that it could have survived with two years between movies.

Or with three years between movies. I mean, it worked for the Prequels.

All my Rogue One Sets
One drawback of being in college when this movie came out: these are the only two Rogue One sets that I have. Well, this and the buildable K-2SO who stands atop my bookshelf like some ancient cryptid.

My History:

I saw both of these in theaters. At the times of their releases, I was writing for this blog. As such, I already have reviews for Rogue One and Solo.

My Thoughts:

Well, sort of. I was trying to dodge spoilers when discussing Rogue One at the time, and I just did a review on Solo, so I’ll focus more on Rogue One.

I feel the compulsive urge to compare this entry with the rest of the Disney-era Star Wars movies. Most people I’ve interacted with regarding Rogue One agree that it is probably the best of the recent decade. From the production to the storytelling to the integration with the existing Star Wars canon to the fact that they got Donnie Yen to play a blind monk, Rogue One was undeniably made with a sense of competence and care that future entries arguably lacked.

But, to me, Rogue One was the beginning of the end for the Disney-era Star Wars. Sure, it was good. I won’t deny that. Because Rogue One was a product made with love for the franchise.

Note my wording: a product. I believe that Rogue One, by introducing a lot of new concepts into Star Wars (the grey morality of warfare, victories at great loss, Donnie Yen taking Stormtroopers out with a staff like nobody’s business), it raised the standards of Star Wars movies on an artistic level that Disney couldn’t corporately meet. The closest they got after this was Solo and maybe Rise of Skywalker (but more on that in a few weeks).

Nevertheless, they tried to meet it with The Last Jedi, only to fall short with heavy-handedness.

But, again, Rogue One was made with love for the franchise, and it shows. And I’m not sure if the rest were.

I don’t have much else to add.

I give Rogue One

8.5/10 ~ Also, why were they planning a Cassian Andor spinoff series? Chirrut and Baze deserve one more than pretty boy.


Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!

Fan Theories: Pixar, Inception, and Revelation

In the nerd world, there are basically three kinds of fan theories. All three use details from canon (what’s actually in the book/movie/TV show/franchise/story) to come to conclusions. These conclusions aren’t confirmed or denied in canon, but fans like to believe they’re happening between the lines and behind the scenes.

The three kinds of fan theories are Past, Present, and Future.

Past: this is where fans guess what happened before the story happened. These theories may explain why things are the way they are in the Present.
For example, in the Toy Story movies, Andy’s father doesn’t seem to be in the picture. Evidence suggests that he and Andy’s mother divorced shortly before the first movie. There is also evidence that Andy’s mom is Emily, the original owner of the Jessie cowgirl doll in Toy Story 2.
Fan theories concerning the Past are not likely to be confirmed or denied by the canon storytellers. They’re just fun to speculate about.

Present: this is where fans try to figure out what’s happening behind the scenes of the story as it’s happening. If there’s a mystery in the TV show you’re watching, for example, you may be able to find the clues and figure out what’s going on before the characters in the show do.
Sometimes fans make Present theories because of something the storytellers intentionally aren’t telling us. For example, Christopher Nolan’s Inception is intentionally confusing about what’s real and what’s not. Fans watch the movie very closely multiple times searching for clues, and Nolan may never directly confirm which theories are true.
Whether Present fan theories are confirmed or not, they make for fun discussions and debates. If they are confirmed, fans can rejoice that they followed the clues and found the secrets. Well done, nerds. And if they’re debunked by the canon storytellers, at least the fans got to play in the game, even if they lost.

Future: this is where fans use the “clues” in trailers and movie posters to theorize about what’s going to happen in a movie or TV show that hasn’t come out yet. Unlike the first two, I don’t like these kinds of theories. I think they take the fun out of being excited for coming attractions.

*And now, the Segue…*
“Fans” of the Bible theorize about the book of Revelation – essentially a “sneak peek” trailer for the real future of the real world – all the time. They’ve been doing it even more often these days, with the *gestures wildly* going on outside.
Speculating about the end times is 1) an irresponsible use of Scripture, 2) more likely to cause fear and anger than hope and joy, and 3) pointless. The Great Storyteller knows what He’s doing, and the story is going to end exactly the way He intends it to.
The only thing that matters is the good guys are going to win and the bad guys are going to lose. It’s up to us to join the good guys’ team before the curtain rises.

Nerds find great enjoyment in speculating about fictional stories because it gives us chances to use our clever minds without pressure or high stakes. It’s good fun. Just keep your theories to the behind-the-scenes, between-the-lines bits of the Past and Present and let us anticipate the future in peace.

Let’s Connect!
Twitter: @CorrelationBlog and @noahspud

Star Wars Filibuster: Revenge of the Sith

For Context:

Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005 and the hype for it was the heaviest I think I’ve seen for any movie—definitely for any movie of that time. Since then, it went from being a, “Phwew! That was over!” to a “Hey, we all grew up watching this movie,” to a “This is now an actual classic.” As evidenced by the sheer volume of memes that have sprung up from Revenge of the Sith, including this one which I created for this post:

Prequel Meme
I also have the 2005 Obi-Wan and the 2020 Anakin to make the inverse of this, but I chose not to.

My History:

In 2005, there were two kinds of kids: those whose parents let them see Revenge of the Sith when it came out, and those who didn’t. I was in the latter category, and I didn’t see it until at least 2008. However, much like Attack of the Clones, I still had access to the toys, action figures, books, video games, and the internet, meaning I had pieced the plot together by then.

In fact, I think I still have my old General Grievous action figure around here somewhere…

Right. Focus. Review.


My Thoughts:

Somehow, I keep coming back to this movie. I think it’s because it’s aged the best of the Prequels, and it takes me back to a time when the production of a film could take its time to create a worthwhile product.

To me, the Prequels showcase strong writing and worldbuilding, showcasing new and interesting worlds and events that the Original Trilogy didn’t have the capability to and the Sequels didn’t take the time to develop. Everything feels like it should exist within the realm of Star Wars, despite being things we haven’t seen before.

And neither of the Prequels capture this better than Revenge of the Sith, as a testament to where the series has been and to where the series will (chronologically) go. This is the send-off that Star Wars deserved.

And, though it has its flaws, I still find myself enjoying it.


8/10 ~ And, yes. I have heard the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.


Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!

Star Wars Filibuster: Attack of the Clones

For Context:

“Do I have to do this?”


“But I don’t want to–”


“You’re right. Here’s to a brighter tomorrow.”

It's okay buddy
“I just wish I was in a better movie.”   “It’s okay, buddy. How about a TV series and a few video games?”  “Yeah…that sounds fun…”

My History:

I was in a weird place with Star Wars where I was too young to watch Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as they came out, but old enough to have seen the other four (at the time) entries. I actually didn’t watch Attack of the Clones until 2006, thanks to a little movie called Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but that’s another story for another day. However, between toys, books, video games, and friends who had seen it, I was able to piece together the plot.


My Thoughts:

Now, sit me down, anytime anywhere, and I can break down why I believe Attack of the Clones is the worst of the Prequels, if not the Star Wars saga, in spite of having some of the best elements. But, I’m told that I need to be more positive. Besides, any negative criticism of this film can be broken down by people smarter than I.

So, instead of tearing into this dead horse, I’m instead going to give some thoughts about “Spoilers vs. Spectacle”.

Thanks mostly in part to the popularity of serialized TV shows and franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a culture of Spoilers (and avoiding them at all costs) has arisen. It’s hard to pin down exactly where it started, but it’s been roughly the same song: “If you haven’t seen it yet and want to, don’t listen/read/watch.”

Now, out of respect for those who seek to avoid spoilers, I try to be good about placing spoiler tags on my posts and reviews of new movies. However, tagging things for spoilers doesn’t feel right to me.

I mean, it raises the question: does the knowledge of plot points ruin the experience of watching a movie?

I believe that it depends heavily upon the movie in question. If your film relies on a second- or third-act plot twist or it’s a mystery, then spoilers would be detrimental to the first viewing.

Note how I said, “first viewing”. Maybe it’s because I grew up closer to a public library than a movie theater, but I prefer to gauge movies on their rewatch value as opposed to the first impressions they leave.

Which is where the Spectacle comes into play. If you have a movie that is fun to watch, that does cool things within its premise, then the movie has rewatch value. And I believe that movies with Spectacle hold rewatch value, regardless of spoilers.

And maybe Attack of the Clones is to blame. Because I enjoy it no more or less knowing how it ends, just as I enjoy Avengers: Endgame no more or less knowing how it ends.

I give Attack of the Clones a…


6/10 ~ in other news, anyone know where I could get a dummy seismic charge?


Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!



[You’ll notice that the ending tag changed. Our blog’s twitter kind of went belly-up. It still exists, but we can’t access it.]