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Wednesday, August 01, 2018

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (August 2018)

After watching the pilot episode of “Deadwood,” I got up, lowered the blinds, dimmed the lights and burned through the rest of the DVD in a fugue of wonder and excitement. I didn’t leave the series until the next day, staggering limply into the harsh sunlight like Ray Milland in “The Lost Weekend.”

It was 2004, and I had been the chief television critic at The New York Times for about a year. HBO had sent me advance screeners of its new western. And I was discovering binge watching.

There are dramas that are arguably better or more widely appreciated than “Deadwood”: “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” or “Breaking Bad.”  But of all the shows I have reviewed over the past 12 years, “Deadwood” is the one I would most like to see again for the first time.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:06 AM | 1210 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   601. Lassus Posted: August 13, 2018 at 10:39 PM (#5726150)
Nat King Cole: singer OR tremendous pianist
Nat King Cole would be the closest to Collins, most people think of him as a smooth singer, but his piano is very highly thought of by the cognoscenti.


They'd be wrong. On a scale of 1-10, if Cole is a 8 as a pianist, he's a 24 as a vocalist.
   602. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 13, 2018 at 10:41 PM (#5726151)
Stephen Fry: too many things to count


Oh, let's count them.

The genius in Fry & Laurie, or the omnipresent comedy guy?

The memoirist of Moab is My Washpot or the memoirist of all his later memoirs?

The reason to watch QI or the reason not to watch the BAFTAs?

All in all I'd say he has more good things on his ledger (his mental health documentaries, his turn as Reginald Jeeves, his audiobook work) than bad ones (his aggressive atheism). But I will always respect his willingness to be nobody and nothing but himself.
   603. PreservedFish Posted: August 13, 2018 at 10:50 PM (#5726158)
Some of those examples are better than others. Captain Beefheart's painting career, for example, would be unknown were it not for his music.

Obviously Collins was massively more popular as a singer than as a drummer, but at least the drumming came first, and he had a really fervent fanbase for it.

I think that Chomsky is a great example though, because although more famous as a political thinker, many must be surprised when they learn that he is a towering academic figure in an unrelated discipline. I know I was.
   604. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 13, 2018 at 10:56 PM (#5726160)
Guitar players rave about Glen Campbell. Much like Phil Collins, behind his boring songs and boring appearance Glen Campbell was apparently an incredible virtuoso of the electric guitar.
   605. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 13, 2018 at 11:02 PM (#5726166)
597-Heh. And yep, per the director, the movie was named after the song (guy was a big Beefheart fan).
   606. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 13, 2018 at 11:08 PM (#5726172)
I have no idea whether he’s *actually* great or if he’s coasting on name recognition, but Steve Martin is a widely acclaimed banjo player, having won multiple Grammies in various bluegrass categories.
   607. Omineca Greg Posted: August 13, 2018 at 11:26 PM (#5726177)
They'd be wrong. On a scale of 1-10, if Cole is a 8 as a pianist, he's a 24 as a vocalist.

Ya' think so? Well, obviously you do, because you said it. I think of him as a one of a kind pianist, but I suppose that's true of his singing too.

Is it that you find his piano playing really good but his singing fantastic (your number rating would imply that) or is it that you think is piano is just OK, and singing was his true calling (which is what the 'they'd be wrong' is implying)?

I like his piano playing; it's quite easy to hear its influence in subsequent players. There's a smoothness and sparseness to it that I enjoy.

Captain Beefheart's painting career, for example, would be unknown were it not for his music.


Good article on that subject.

He made a lot more money as a painter. A lot more.
   608. PreservedFish Posted: August 13, 2018 at 11:48 PM (#5726186)
Phil Collins is a striking example of what is of course an extremely common career transition - from hip/underground/challenging to mainstream/lame/rich. There's a reason that "I like his early stuff" is a cliche. The switch from fussy technical drummer to pop balladeer is an interesting one, though.
   609. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM (#5726190)
Good article on that subject.

It is good, but the article doesn't bravely assert that Van Vliet's art career would have ever stood on its own two legs were it not for his musical fame. The writer acknowledges that there's a feeling of "would anyone care if he weren't Captain Beefheart?" already hanging over his works, and concludes that our appreciation of the artwork actually relies upon our knowledge of his music:

When viewing Don Van Vliet: Works on Paper at Michael Werner Gallery, one can’t help but wonder if their appreciation isn’t misguided, if they are buying into the novelty of viewing visual art works by one of the American avant-garde’s most seminal songwriters and cult figures. But I am here to tell you that you shouldn’t divorce yourself from what you know about Captain Beefheart’s music in order to fully appreciate his artwork. Instead, his music gives us a greater sense of what he achieved with his visual art works.
   610. BDC Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:23 AM (#5726197)
Erik Satie was once an accompanist for cabaret singers and wrote several popular songs. Not unusual for a young composer, but Satie was in his 30s, and had already written the Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes and other famous piano pieces.
   611. Omineca Greg Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:44 AM (#5726202)
It is good, but the article doesn't bravely assert that Van Vliet's art career would have ever stood on its own two legs were it not for his musical fame

No, in fact it says the opposite; Van Vliet leveraged his musical career, which was never that lucrative for him, into a fine art career, which proved profitable indeed. The question though is "Is there anyone in the world who knows Van Vliet as a visual artist first, and a musician second?"

I'm just guessing, but I'm going to say, "Yes. There are a small number of people like that." People who are into fine art more than avant-garde pop music, they go out to galleries because it's what they do for fun, they see Van Vliet's paintings, someone explains to them that he used to make music, and that's as much as they ever look into it.

But I really don't know. And I'm not too invested in what the answer is. He's somebody who came to mind when I was making my list of people who had success in a multiple fields, and I'd rather have a discussion about him than leave him off the list, so here we are.
   612. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:06 AM (#5726211)
I was last in Vilnius 15 years ago, but the place where I'd recommend having lunch is still in business!
...
Have you been to Gruto Parkas, the sculpture park (aka resting place for Communist statues)?


Just wanted to backtrack and thank Crispix for this recommendation a few hundred posts ago. I found something that seemed like the restaurant you mentioned - shared an address, anyway - and had a rather good lunch, though I did pass on the traditional "witch's tears", and they were out of the dark beer I wanted to try. Hazards of visiting after a sunny weekend, apparently.

I didn't get to the sculpture park as it was too far away to manage in a day and still make my flight, but I did visit the Budapest park about a decade ago. Fascinating stuff.
   613. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 14, 2018 at 07:57 AM (#5726217)
Hedy Lamarr - Actress and Inventor.
   614. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2018 at 08:15 AM (#5726219)
It's Hedley.
   615. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5726235)
I found something that seemed like the restaurant you mentioned - shared an address, anyway - and had a rather good lunch, though I did pass on the traditional "witch's tears", and they were out of the dark beer I wanted to try. Hazards of visiting after a sunny weekend, apparently.


Glad it worked out for you!
   616. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5726238)
behind his boring songs and boring appearance Glen Campbell was apparently an incredible virtuoso of the electric guitar.


It's a Wow! to me that anyone would think Glen Campbell's songs are boring. Mileage varies, of course.

As a twelve-year old paper boy, part of my route was a senior citizens complex. I used to collect every Tuesday night because literally every old person would be home, Glen Campbell going full blast on the TV.
   617. BDC Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5726240)
Quite a few writers have also been painters. Some (Blake, Rossetti) worked art and words together, or illustrated their own books. But then there are others like Günter Grass who had careers in both fields somewhat independently. August Strindberg is one. A couple of times now I've been in galleries of Scandinavian art, where there've been seascapes by Strindberg, and it takes a moment to connect his name with the playwright and realize they're the same guy.
   618. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5726243)
Chumbawamba: Tubthumping OR anarchist punks


Definitely the latter for me. I started listening to them around 1987, a decade or so before Tubthumping, & saw them in Memphis in 10/91 -- one of the best gigs I've ever witnessed; band members' scuffles during the first song with a bunch of Vegan Reich types probably didn't hurt. The LP they were supporting, Shhh, is on my personal top 10. (The ones immediately before & after it are excellent as well.)
   619. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:37 AM (#5726246)
Nat King Cole: singer OR tremendous pianist


A local native. I drive by a mural devoted to him every workday.
   620. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5726263)
I'm just guessing, but I'm going to say, "Yes. There are a small number of people like that." People who are into fine art more than avant-garde pop music, they go out to galleries because it's what they do for fun, they see Van Vliet's paintings, someone explains to them that he used to make music, and that's as much as they ever look into it.


Fair enough, and there was no need for me to be so nitpicky. I do remember reading a feature in a British rock magazine some 15 years ago that had a professional art critic assess the paintings of rock stars, people like Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan. He thought they were all different levels of rubbish, except for Van Vliet, who he said was good enough to win the Turner prize. I don't think outsider art would realistically have a chance in such a competition, but it does support the idea that he was painting on another level than the dabblers.
   621. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5726283)
I have abandoned my attempt on the Gormenghast Trilogy. I read about half of the first book, Titus Groan. I was most disappointed by the lack of world-building - there are only about 10 characters and it became clear really early that those 10 characters would do everything in the book, even though most of them seemed more like Dickensian secondary characters, simplistic creatures with funny names that are defined by their memorable quirks. He invented a fascinating world - a small aristocratic family that slavishly follows traditions it doesn't even understand, living in tremendously large castle that is a totally self-contained ecosystem, itself also only kept alive only by inertia and tradition. It should be a world with a million amazing details and mysteries, but instead he chokes it of life. This might be intentional, to underline how claustrophobic the society is, but the effect is to render the thing much less exciting than it could have been. What goes on behind the innumerable closed doors in the labyrinth of passages? I don't need to know, but I at least would like a suggestion that there are other unexplored stories, things worth dreaming about. The combination of the small roster of simplistic characters and the enclosed world mean that essentially all of the drama of the book is driven by a single character, a chameleon-like Machiavellian superhero, who I unfortunately found to be singularly unconvincing.

I guess that although the book was an important one in the development of the fantasy genre, it basically been surpassed by its many descendants. Maybe not the quality of the prose, which is impressive, although sometimes verging on purple.

Anyway, thanks to all for fantasy recommendations that I asked for a month ago or more. I'll dive back into that old thread and give it another crack.
   622. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5726293)
Anyway, thanks to all for fantasy recommendations that I asked for a month ago or more. I'll dive back into that old thread and give it another crack.


Must've missed that. Have you ever read Thomas Burnett Swann? Haven't read him in decades, having finished his oeuvre at the time (except for the posthumously published Queens Walk in the Dusk; I need to dig up my copy & remedy that) -- I very rarely reread anyone other than PKD or HPL, & even them I've not revisited in probably around 15 years -- but I found his books charming. Otherwise, for whatever reason I pretty much avoid fantasy.
   623. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:41 AM (#5726298)
Thanks Gef. For context, I've read Lord of the Rings, and I've watched Game of Thrones, and that's just about it, except for some other dorky stuff I read when I was in 7th grade and don't remember. When I was 15 or so I read a couple hundred pages of that endless Robert Jordan series, but it didn't take.
   624. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5726304)
I remember reading a book or two of Michael Moorcock's Elric series when I was young. I think I liked it.
   625. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5726335)
Michael Moorcock
That's either a very unfortunate pen name or a rough, rough childhood.
   626. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5726341)
As a twelve-year old paper boy, part of my route was a senior citizens complex.
You know, we don't really talk about it as another dire consequence of the death of print journalism, but a lot of twelve-year-old boys are unemployed or down in the coal mines because of it.
   627. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5726352)
I remember hearing a Blue Oyster Cult song or two about Michael Moorcock's Elric series. They were great.
   628. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5726372)
If you're going to mention Arnold, you'll have to throw in Reagan, who had two pretty successful careers. Same with Jesse Ventura and Al Franken. But then, a bunch of people leverage "fame" in something into politics, like John Glenn or Bill Bradley or Michael Bloomberg.

You mentioned Will Smith, but he bears repeating; very few have been as successful as Will Smith in even one of music *and* TV *and* movies, and he had strong peaks in all three.

Sticking with entertainment, the Rock switched from wrestling to acting (some say that's not much of a switch, though).

-------------

That being said, I think the original question about Collins is more along the lines of people who reinvented themselves within their discipline in some way. Guys like Bruce Willis or Tom Hanks, who were originally "just" fluffy comedic actors, morphed into leading men (albeit along different paths). If you only knew Robin Williams from Good Will Hunting, "Mork and Mindy" would surprise you. Same with Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine vs. Ace Ventura) and Bill Murray (Lost in Translation vs. Caddyshack). Or James Woods on "Welcome Back Kotter" :)

   629. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5726385)
If you only knew Jeff Daniels from "The Newsroom," you'd be amazed by his ability to pull off explosive diarrhea in Dumb and Dumber.
   630. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5726418)
Going to Bone's this Sunday for a nice Sunday dinner of lots and lots of meat. Will probably break out a Gaja for this one.
   631. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5726419)
I have abandoned my attempt on the Gormenghast Trilogy. I read about half of the first book, Titus Groan.


I managed the entire first book, but back when I was young and stubborn. I admit I enjoyed recently reading the synopsis of the entire trilogy online (Wikipedia I think). It answered any questions I had and removed any trace of any desire for reading more.
   632. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5726427)
I didn't hate it, but knowing there was at least one other book in the series made me more cynical in calculating whether or not it was worth the effort.
   633. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5726489)
but a lot of twelve-year-old boys are unemployed or down in the coal mines because of it.


I'm pushing 60 now, but I think I had more completely unfettered income then than I've had at any point since.
   634. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5726494)
I saw a film last night (How Heavy This Hammer, 2015, Radwanski), and it led to a question/observation:

A leitmotif throughout is an aria (“Casta Diva”) from Bellini’s opera Norma. And, in reading up on the plot of Norma, it’s pretty obvious that we are intended to have its themes in the back of our mind while watching the film. (In the opera a parent considers killing her two sons to save them from a life with their treacherous father; the movie is about a profoundly disturbed father of two sons who gets kicked out of his house by his wife, and in one scene he takes his two sons up to the roof of a tall building and....)

But I digress. Because I have a question: what percent of viewers would hear that aria and even know which opera it’s from, much less the plot? Gotta be like 1 in a thousand, right?

(And I’m part of the 99.9% here, I only found this out by reading the end credits and doing some Googling.)
   635. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5726508)
Another really good episode of Better Call Saul yesterday. Not sure why Venture Bros is coming on at midnight though perhaps it is because this season is kind of a clunker so far. Sadly it looks like Venture Bros might have stayed too long and no longer has a story to tell.
   636. BDC Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5726512)
I've never seen Norma and would not have recognized "Casta Diva."

Allusions, though, can work in two ways. One is "Ah, I know that background, I get the point." The other is exactly how you experienced it. You didn't know the reference, but something made you seek out the source and now you do. (And now I do too :)

Take T.S. Eliot's Waste Land. The bane of English majors because how can he expect us to know all those allusions. But maybe he didn't. Maybe he wanted the reader to start with The Waste Land and work outward by reading Dante, Goldsmith, Verlaine etc. And whatever he wanted, that's what most people do.
   637. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5726518)

But I digress. Because I have a question: what percent of viewers would hear that aria and even know which opera it’s from, much less the plot? Gotta be like 1 in a thousand, right?


I've always been mystified by this because directors love to put a ton of subtle tidbits (ok, obscure references) in their movies. Some of them I can understand because their subtle choices are trying to elicit primal non thinking reactions from us. Like in Alien how the alien is channeling male rape. But then you get stuff like in Stepfather where there is a stuffed crow in the background and we're supposed to realize in some mythology it is a warning of doom to come. A lot of times I just think they are being too cute by half.
   638. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5726547)
BDC, you're a walking appendix. Can you point to some examples of allusions that truly enhance the experience of the work?
   639. Morty Causa Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5726548)
Take T.S. Eliot's Waste Land. The bane of English majors because how can he expect us to know all those allusions. But maybe he didn't. Maybe he wanted the reader to start with The Waste Land and work outward by reading Dante, Goldsmith, Verlaine etc. And whatever he wanted, that's what most people do.

I think the meaning and the power of the poem can be apprehended and appreciated without knowing a lot of the cultural allusions. More and more, readers are appreciating that Eliot was a lot less the cold, calculating intellectual he promoted himself as being and a lot more the poet who wore his heart on his sleeve. Like all great poets, you feel what he means from the poem as a whole thing.
   640. BDC Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5726571)
Can you point to some examples of allusions that truly enhance the experience of the work?


Well, there's the moment in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where the two guys show up with the sword skills, and Harrison Ford reaches for the gun to shoot them … and has forgotten his gun.

Is that the kind of thing? Where it's really much better if you know the reference, and where the filmmaker could assume most of the audience would.

Something more literary … in "Ode to a Nightingale," Keats mentions being able to hear the nightingale just like "Ruth, when sick for home / She stood in tears amid the alien corn." So it isn't just one depressed Romantic poet hearing the bird, but he's part of a long tradition of hearing birds going back to this archetypal displaced person. Even today a lot of people know Ruth, because so many wedding services mention her, "whither thou goest, I will go," etc. Even more so when an audience of mostly Christians would have known the Bible better.
   641. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5726577)
Take T.S. Eliot's Waste Land.

Take it far, far, far away. I can't ever read it again after hearing a recording of him doing so.
   642. Morty Causa Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5726579)
There's a case to be made that learned allusions are a barrier to immediate, skin to skin appreciation. Philip Larkin, I think is one such person who made such a case. Although he did allude to the Beatles given us all permission to engage in sex here in the western world.
   643. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5726677)
Is that the kind of thing? Where it's really much better if you know the reference, and where the filmmaker could assume most of the audience would.

What's the reference beside Harrison Ford had dysentery and didn't want to spend all day shooting the shot?
   644. BDC Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5726736)
He had the dysentery on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark; Temple of Doom alludes back to that scene.

This is the kind of allusion I get, but I didn’t know “Casta Diva.” Fish’s faith in me may be misplaced :)
   645. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:26 PM (#5726742)
My sister is a pianist, so I grew up in a house with a ton of classical music. I’m not an expert at all, but because of that I’m okay at identifying pieces and composers when they pop up in movies.

But when it comes to opera, I’m sorry, I nope the #### out. But kudos to those who admire it!
   646. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 05:55 PM (#5726820)
Take T.S. Eliot's Waste Land.

Take it far, far, far away. I can't ever read it again after hearing a recording of him doing so.


What if it were Alec Guinness reading it?
   647. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 14, 2018 at 07:51 PM (#5726889)
Last night I saw a movie set in the present day, about a struggling actress named (of all things) Elizabeth Taylor.

She was played by an actress named Elizabeth Taylor.
   648. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:13 PM (#5726914)
Speaking of books, I have these two to give away. I'll even pay postage:

Baseball
Analysis and
Reporting
System
1992 Major League Report
Bill Welch, with Jeff Moses

and

Baseball Prospectus 2004

Someone who appreciates them better should have them. Let me know if interested.
   649. Howie Menckel Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:20 PM (#5726918)
Take T.S. Eliot

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

(Bob Dylan said that)
   650. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:21 PM (#5726920)
648- Ok to pass that along to the Bad Place? Lots of stat guys still in the Lounge.
   651. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5726923)
That is a great idea, but I can do so - thank you for the idea - -
   652. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:55 PM (#5726930)
UPDATED for one added book:


Speaking of books, I have these two to give away. I'll even pay postage:

Baseball
Analysis and
Reporting
System
1992 Major League Report
Bill Welch, with Jeff Moses

and

Baseball Prospectus 2004

and

Front Page Sports
Prima's Secrets of the Game
BASEBALL '94 THE OFFICIAL PLAYBOOK
by Bill Kunkel with Andy Hooper
(That's one book)
   653. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:56 PM (#5726949)
Not sure why Venture Bros is coming on at midnight though perhaps it is because this season is kind of a clunker so far. Sadly it looks like Venture Bros might have stayed too long and no longer has a story to tell.

Gosh, totally disagree. I couldn't be happier. I think its come back totally reinvigorated and is drawing extensively on it's back story to move forward the show's universe in an exciting way. I've also laughed really, really hard.

I'm rewatching old episodes now because I've enjoyed it so much. (Also, because I'm suffering from Babylon 5 fatigue. Made it about half way through season 4 very quickly. Whoever rec'd it, I loved it.)

I can't believe how unbelievably terrible Adult Swim's streaming site is.
   654. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:19 PM (#5726961)
It’s....it’s definitely something. Most episodes are stand-alone (or 2-part arcs), but events in them still loosely carry over throughout the season. But it’s never the focus. It’s a show about war, and the typical episode is “The Jedis are under attack, and need to do XYZ to win the battle,” and then they do XYZ.

Aw, dude, it gets so much better. I totally agree with your criticisms of the first season. But by the first third of season 2, it moves past a lot of it. The episodes start appearing in order too!

If you want examples from the first season of what the show becomes, the episode where two Jedi try to capture Grievous and the last arc of season 1, the liberation of Ryloth, are blueprints that the show uses going forward. Also, the finale, with Anakin and Cad Bane is an example of the show escalating what it does. It gets a lot more sophisticated and morally gray as it goes and poses a lot of interesting questions about the ethics of the Jedi.

I was where you are when I watched season 1 the first time. Stick with it!
   655. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:49 PM (#5726967)
Oh, I plan to! That Ryloth arc was pretty solid--and Cad Bane is a helluva character, one of the most interesting so far. (Though I was a fan of Chairman Chi Cho too, in his brief appearance.)
   656. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 07:24 AM (#5727013)
I remember many years back watching what were considered the best story arcs from the show and I guess if I was 8 I would find them enjoyable.
   657. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 15, 2018 at 07:39 AM (#5727014)
Take T.S. Eliot's Waste Land.

Take it far, far, far away. I can't ever read it again after hearing a recording of him doing so.

What if it were Alec Guinness reading it?



What if it were Gilbert Godfried reading it?
   658. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:02 AM (#5727022)
Also, I can see why people avoid the Lounge - sheesh.
   659. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:21 AM (#5727026)
Ha. What did you find there?
   660. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:24 AM (#5727027)
Well, I've been there before, but it's like one of those 70s acid-trip movie montages. Please, everyone quiet down and back up a few steps.
   661. BDC Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:06 AM (#5727042)
You saw polar bears and seals. You saw giant Antarctic eels.
   662. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5727044)
Okay, I'll bite: is the lounge a real thing? The couple times I've seen people link to it, it goes to a list of threads that are months or years old. Is a "link to the lounge" like a "key to the amphitheater"?
   663. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5727053)
Yes, Virginia, there IS a Lounge!
   664. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5727063)
oops
   665. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5727065)
Wrong thread. More interested in your mumblecore reviews.
   666. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5727068)
Pretend that link was to Fox panning Matthew Porterfield’s Putty Hill by saying it wasn’t as good as Dunkirk.
   667. jmurph Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5727089)
Was listening to The Watch podcast (The Ringer network, with Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan) on the way to work, and they were talking about various content providers battling with Netflix, and while this wasn't the entire point of the conversation, there is a frankly overwhelming amount of "prestige" tv about to be dropped on us all. I'm forgetting most of it but this is the one that was maybe the most intriguing that I had yet to hear about: a show about Bob Fosse, starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Coming to FX.

Then there's a new Matthew Weiner anthology with all of the famous people coming to Amazon, and so many more things I can't even list. At first I was like oh this is interesting, and then I was just overwhelmed.

EDIT: Oh, a Shogun remake. That was news to me, too.
   668. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5727113)
Interesting because I was reading the other day that HBO was going to be moving away from prestige type work and going after ratings. I believe HBO got gobbled up and the old model was to go after awards and attention which would then transfer to subscribers and rentals. Apparently the new overlords don't think that is the best way to grow the network.
   669. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 15, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5727124)
I'm forgetting most of it but this is the one that was maybe the most intriguing that I had yet to hear about: a show about Bob Fosse, starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Coming to FX.


A full day's supply of mincing between every commercial break!
   670. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5727125)
Thinking over my relationship with art, more and more I reach the conclusion that no work has shaped as much as Farrah Abraham’s album My Teenage Dream Ended did—it was my gateway into the world where Great Art isn’t made just by Great Artists, it’s open to even untalented amateurs, that the real test isn’t “mastery,” it’s just honesty. My drift from Oscars/European art-house to mumblecore is just a natural extension of this. And to think: my very first listen was just on a lark! I put it on just to mock it, to make snarky posts about how bad it was!

So, thank you again, Miss Abraham. (One of her songs popped into my head on my way to work, and now I’m listening to that album again for like the thousandth time.)
   671. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5727178)
I can't believe how unbelievably terrible Adult Swim's streaming site is.


Hey, bumps get harder and harder...

I mean, I shudder to think how much time and effort went into creating that androgynous naked cat person that I find extremely unsettling.
   672. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5727196)
Davo, I'm trying to pinpoint what it is about your art commentary that bothers me so much. Moving past the fact that it's a classic contrarian move to laud a widely reviled album, I think it's at least partly because your opinions never seem to even approach a holistic appreciation of the work in question. They are scattershot. You'll pick out one attribute and speak as if that one single attribute is essentially the only thing that matters. I don't know if it's a communication problem or an appreciation problem.

Does this mean that you now think that every song ever written should be judged primarily on its honesty? To boil down a musician's job to pure "honesty" just doesn't make sense to me. I can't connect with that at all. Sometimes I like honesty, sometimes I like artifice, sometimes I like bombast, sometimes I like humor. I don't even know how to judge how honest most songs are, beyond the lyricist who wears his heart on his sleeve, or the particularly emotive instrumentalist. Is "Maggot Brain" an honest song? Is Chopin an honest artist? Is "Stuck Inside of Mobile" honest? Is \"####### Brew" honest? Is Kanye West honest? Is Shakespeare honest? Is the Odyssey?

Is Farrah Abraham's album honest? It could be! Girl pours her heart out on the page, ok. There are so many other things that are important about music, and you address none of them.

I listened to it for a few minutes just now, and I actually see a Shaggs-style appeal for its strangeness and amateurness, and the minimalist production also has its charms. But was it "honest" of her to contribute essentially nothing to the music beyond the vocals? Was it honest of her to lay on the au courant Autotune so thick?

The irony is that it makes you seem like a particularly dishonest reviewer. When you said that honesty is "the real test," did you mean it? Or was it just something you said?
   673. BDC Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5727203)
Heh, I was just in a film. No mumblecore for me, though, I sat up straight and spoke clearly :)

The university is doing a film on the extinction of the Neanderthals. When they thought of Neanderthals they apparently thought of me. I did some commentary on fiction about Neanderthals, Ken-Burns-talking-head style. Very interesting to watch them work on the video.
   674. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5727205)
Clan of the Cave Bear? Author Jean Auel is a favorite of crossword puzzle constructors.
   675. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5727207)
EDIT: Dammit, how do you get smaller text in HTML that this site will read?
   676. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5727209)
Davo, I'm trying to pinpoint what it is about your art commentary that bothers me so much.


For me it is the attitude much more than the content. Maybe I am incorrectly attributing an attitude of contrarian to be contrarian, condescension towards all other opinions, utter facile certainty, and a huge amount of it is only great if it is kind of poorly done, unappreciated, and generally unpopular; but that is what drove me wild about his commentary.

Now I just skim until I find out what he is gushing about and file it under "likely crap and certainly annoying" and move on to the next poster. It is possible I miss a gem that way, but I am willing to take the risk.
   677. BDC Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5727220)
Clan of the Cave Bear?


Yes. One of the shots has me going up to a bookshelf and taking down a copy of that book.
   678. jmurph Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5727225)
Started reading Don DeLillo's Underworld last night on my kindle- no one told me this was 832 pages long! There's basically no chance I'll finish it before it's due back at the library. Might have to actually pay for a book, gasp.
   679. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5727233)
Yes. One of the shots has me going up to a bookshelf and taking down a copy of that book.


My sister (the youngest) wanted me to read that series years ago, but I never did. I am a bad brother.

Is it a good book/series?
   680. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5727236)
Davo, I'm trying to pinpoint what it is about your art commentary that bothers me so much.


Best albums by porn stars? I think Jenna Jameson put out an album. I know Traci Lords did way back when, it was electronica music and it was BAD.
   681. BDC Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5727238)
Is it a good book/series?


I like the original Clan of the Cave Bear, which Auel published in 1980. It's a strong story, and it has excellent world-building, speculating that Neanderthals were telepathic and cognitively gifted (no speech, but extraordinary memories). The sequels, for my money, are not nearly as good: less SF and more fantasy/romance.
   682. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5727244)
Oh man, I know ####-all about music, and that was true b4 Farrah and is true After Farrah. So no change there. It changed the way I thought about other art though. Let’s see:

One type of movie that I had always hated was the amateurish one about just “normal people,” movies with very simple plots, basic/improvised dialogue,, a ‘low-budget’ look—the type of movie where after it was over I would think “Jeez, I could have made that!” Best example might be Jarmusch’s Strangers in Paradise—I was so puzzled the first time I saw it, with this “Well ANYONE could have done that, there’s nothing special, nothing complicated going on!”

(At this time, my favorite movies were the ones made by Capital A Artists: Wes Anderson, Joe Wright, Tarantino, Welles, Fincher, etc. Guys who made movies about Big Issues and made them as Big as possible, with all sorts of camera tricks, puzzle-laden screenplays, exaggerated displays of emotion—well, you know their movies, you know what I mean. The guys whose movies were clearly the product of tons and tons and tons of hard work and careful deliberation, work that would sho up on every single frame.

And Farrah changed everything. Because here was this young woman with absolutely no musical background, no songwriting training, no ANYTHING, and she just sat down one day and made an album that utterly transformed me. Her lyrics are ultra-literal teenage confessional poetry (not a metaphor in sight); the music a harsh electronica, and her voice a bored semi-incoherent auto tune....and yet all that objective “badness” made the album so deeply personal, it was impossible to hate (or even mock—which, again, was my intent when I learned that the former reality tv star of Teen Mom had recorded an album. I expected Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” just a painfully inept imitation of successful pop music; never in a thousand years did I expect the rawness of My Teenage Dream Ended.

My love of that album really changed me—it really made me go back and check my priors on what I wanted Art to be. And I realized it wasn’t....it wasn’t, you know, Steven Spielberg employing a bunch of skilled technicians to tell a familiar story with a happy ending for a 45th time, what I wanted was for people to make Art that actually means something to them. And the harder I looked, the more I found it lacking in Hollywood, and over time I began to sour on the whole industry, its most basic modes of production seemingly breaking those artists down before they arrive.

I found what I was looking for in B-movies and in indie movies. I know this sets me apart from most, but....don’t blame me. Blame Farrah Abraham.
   683. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5727250)
N. MI report:

Seems to be doing OK overall. 31 between Mackinac and Charlevoix was usually packed. Plenty of out of state plates. That said, the pace of development certainly seems to have slowed or stalled. Things really don't look that much different from 15 years ago. Compared to all the stuff in the late 90s and early aughts (the golf course boom especially) not much has been built. The migrants picking fruit continue to lay down some roots, if the new Mexican food spots are any indication, which is the sort of multi-culturism everybody should be able to get behind.

Winery near my mom's house is producing, wine is pretty #### though. Oh well, still better than cow pastures imo.

Drove over to Alpena area to see an old ex and saw the meteor shower from a pontoon boat on long lake. That was pretty neat. Saturday night the smoke from the PNW blew over and it was poor viewing, even with absolutely no light pollution around. Kinda sad.

Back in Seattle and it's smokeville here. I feel like I'm in Charles Dickens' London when I look down the avenue it's so smoky. Seems way worse than last year imo, but last year it lasted about three weeks and this is supposed to push out later this week. We'll see. Their was a plume of smoke the entire fight back that obscured the farmland in Wisconsin, the plains of the Dakotas, the Rockies and then finally the Cascades and even Rainier. Landing in Seattle was interesting. It wasn't a marine layer is was smoke.

If this is the new normal it's seriously impacting quality of life here. Particulate levels are at "unhealthy" for all groups today. If I breath in too hard through my nose I sneeze. Unlike last year at least it's only 85 and not in the 90s so you can get a little cool breeze at times.

   684. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5727251)
I'm trying real hard to get through the first Martin GoT book but then you see Delta has Super Troopers 2 available and I'm like I'd rather watch that. Though I did smile when I got to a sentence in which Martin notes what Ned was eating and the sentence managed to be less than 80 characters long and didn't turn into huge paragraph.
   685. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 15, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5727258)
EDIT: Oh, a Shogun remake. That was news to me, too.


Wow. On a random whim I just rewatched the original mini-series on YouTube and it held up quite well. I'll have to check out more details and what the cast list looks like.

Ken Watanabe for Toranaga would be pretty sweet, not sure who I'd get for Blackthorne ... maybe Liam Neeson from 10-15 years ago?

[edit] Soooooo many fantastic casting choices in that original series ... John Rhys-Davies as Rodrigues, Vladek Sheybel (SHOUT OUT TO "THE APPLE") as the Captain of "The Black Ship", Yoko Shimada as Lady Mariko. Going to be interesting to see who this new production chooses ...
   686. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5727267)
My love of that album really changed me—it really made me go back and check my priors on what I wanted Art to be. And I realized it wasn’t....it wasn’t, you know, Steven Spielberg employing a bunch of skilled technicians to tell a familiar story with a happy ending for a 45th time, what I wanted was for people to make Art that actually means something to them.


I want art (note the lack of the upper case of pretension) to mean something to me. Different strokes for different folks I guess though.
   687. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5727270)
Oh also read the Godfather book finally. I can see why they they cut a bunch of the Johnny Fontane crap out of the movie, those chapters were painful and seemed mostly to introduce some tawdry scenes that would sell copies. The book did a really great job profiling Sonny and Michael and the Don but a poor job with Hagen and Fredo imo. Fredo apparently is shell shocked and then we don't see him again until he's transformed into a "lady's man" in Vegas and it's never really explained how he got to that point. In the movies Hagen is incredibly well fleshed out by Robert Duvall's mannersisms and facial contortions but in the book I'd have liked a bit more of his inner monologue during his time as "wartime consiglirie".
   688. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5727279)
I don't have a prescriptivist attitude. If you can't enjoy First Blood and My Dinner with Andre and Love & Death and Touch of Evil and Gates of Heaven and Mad Max: Fury Road and Wall-E all for their own charms, then it sucks to be you.
   689. Greg K Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:19 PM (#5727280)
And Farrah changed everything. Because here was this young woman with absolutely no musical background, no songwriting training, no ANYTHING, and she just sat down one day and made an album that utterly transformed me. Her lyrics are ultra-literal teenage confessional poetry (not a metaphor in sight); the music a harsh electronica, and her voice a bored semi-incoherent auto tune....and yet all that objective “badness” made the album so deeply personal, it was impossible to hate (or even mock—which, again, was my intent when I learned that the former reality tv star of Teen Mom had recorded an album. I expected Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” just a painfully inept imitation of successful pop music; never in a thousand years did I expect the rawness of My Teenage Dream Ended.

My love of that album really changed me—it really made me go back and check my priors on what I wanted Art to be. And I realized it wasn’t....it wasn’t, you know, Steven Spielberg employing a bunch of skilled technicians to tell a familiar story with a happy ending for a 45th time, what I wanted was for people to make Art that actually means something to them. And the harder I looked, the more I found it lacking in Hollywood, and over time I began to sour on the whole industry, its most basic modes of production seemingly breaking those artists down before they arrive.

This is not meant as an insult (except perhaps to insult myself) but this sounds very similar to the 15 year old me reading Kerouac and Burroughs for the first time.
   690. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5727283)
I am still just a young pup.
   691. Greg K Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5727284)
I don't have a prescriptivist attitude. If you can't enjoy First Blood and My Dinner with Andre and Love & Death and Touch of Evil and Gates of Heaven all for their own charms, then it sucks to be you.

Speaking of allusions...would my appreciation of the Community episode where Abed re-creates My Dinner with Andre be improved by actually watching My Dinner with Andre?

It may be a moot question, as it seems like a movie I'd enjoy anyway, and has been on my list to watch for a while. So the answer would not effect whether I see it or not.

I often wonder about this with Simpsons parody episodes of movies I haven't seen. They still work for me, but I wonder how different it would be if I was more familiar with the source material.
   692. BDC Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5727291)
When I was a kid, I listened to Allan Sherman records and read MAD magazine. I didn't know there were any originals; I thought everything was a parody.
   693. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5727295)
My appreciation of art undoubtedly stems from my appreciation of food. If you're gonna turn your nose up at 90% of the food that's offered to you, you're an #######, but worse than that is that you're missing out on some really great ####.
   694. Morty Causa Posted: August 15, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5727319)
The discussion of parody brings us back to T.S. Eliot and the art of literary allusion. You can love, and laugh at, Bullwinkle reciting poetry without knowing the source, but if you know he's making fun of Woolworth and others, there's an added layer of enjoyment:

"The Daffodils"
   695. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5727397)
A big difference is that Hollywood’s raison d'être is to make money. Yeah, they’ll give lip service to artistic expression and creativity, but, end of the day, they gotta make a profit.

Since the barrier for entry is so much lower in music and books, you don’t have that big of a problem. Yeah, whichever corporation owe the rights to John Grisham and Taylor Swift has eyes on the bottom line, but there are freakin zillions of people making songs and writing books who don’t care at all about making money.

The popularity of movies makes them a different beast.
   696. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: August 15, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5727398)
Paging Omineca Greg: Could you stop sending us your smoke, please?
Back in Seattle and it's smokeville here. I feel like I'm in Charles Dickens' London when I look down the avenue it's so smoky.
I was going to ##### at Greg some more, then I looked up this map and scrolled out. Yikes.
   697. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5727407)
There's a tension in Hollywood between art and profitability. Always has been.

Moviemakers are more beholden to the moneyholders because of the high costs of making a film. But the tension exists in all sorts of other arts too, and has for ages. There are miles of gray area between Taylor Swift and Jello Biafra.
   698. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 15, 2018 at 04:23 PM (#5727408)
And of course I don’t hate ALL blockbusters. There are a few type of directors (or type of movies) where the studios just don’t care enough to intervene, so you’ll find these random intensely personal moments popping up in the middle of an (otherwise) very stupid movie. It’s why I like M Night Shyamalan, the Wachowski Sisters, David Wain and Paul WS Anderson so much (I wept during Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and let me assure you, it wasn’t out of empathy with the monsters or zombie-dogs.)

And I’m also not a robot: when I see them, I really do admire the craft of spectacle. (I caught Skyscraper the other day and, amidst all the fascism on display, it’s still awe-inspiring to consider all the work that went into the thing, to make such impossible things seem real.)
   699. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 15, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5727412)
I would TOTALLY do a 14 hour marathon of Nicholas Cage insanity, though I'd swap in a couple of films ... Face Off ... Bad Lieutenant ... but, yeah.

What kind of masochists would attend an all-night Nicolas Cage movie marathon? What kind of sadists would program seven of his films in a row? If one wants to observe the famously extravagant American actor for 14 hours straight, why not do it from the comfort of your own home?

I ponder these questions en route to the Melbourne international film festival’s overnight Cage-a-Thon, and think about how I might answer them myself. I have always been a fan of Cage’s work, perhaps even a big one, but did I really understand the reverence he elicits from his fans? I did not. Any casual observer can see that Cage is entertaining, charismatic and wildly flamboyant, but what is it about the 54-year-old performer that deserves seven movies, played back-to-back?

Five years ago, in a Reddit AMA, Ethan Hawke described Cage as “the only actor since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the art”, by taking audiences “away from an obsession with naturalism into a kind of presentation style of acting that I imagine was popular with the old troubadours.”


The Graun
   700. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 15, 2018 at 04:28 PM (#5727413)
Speaking of allusions...would my appreciation of the Community episode where Abed re-creates My Dinner with Andre be improved by actually watching My Dinner with Andre?


I had the same question. In the end, the real thing left me pretty cold, but I wasn't giving it 100% attention all the way through, so that might be on me. The Community episode, though, is golden. If only for the Abed line about 'everyone else is growing and changing all the time, and that's not really my jam.' Which is both yet another meta line, and a rare moment where Abed's self-awareness fails him. (The line 'I've always thought of myself as more of an acquired taste' remains one of my favorite descriptions of myself.)
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