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Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (October 2019)

Universal released a behind-the-scenes video on the making of Sam Mendes’ upcoming WWI drama 1917, which provides the first look at the way it was uniquely lensed to appear as one continuous take to create a real-time experience.

...

Filming largely on location in England, Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins created long takes with camera movement, choreographed to appear as one continuous take for an immersive, real-time experience. Respected director of photography Deakins — who won an Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 and was nominated an additional 13 times — previously worked with Mendes on Skyfall, Revolutionary Road and Jarhead.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: October 01, 2019 at 03:56 AM | 589 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   101. Egregious Hidden Genitals (CoB). Posted: October 03, 2019 at 10:00 PM (#5886272)
flop
   102. Srul Itza Posted: October 03, 2019 at 10:33 PM (#5886284)
Clint Eastwood


Consider Tightrope. It was the point at which people began to reconsider Clint Eastwood as a performer and the movies he made, although he did not direct this one.
   103. Srul Itza Posted: October 03, 2019 at 10:46 PM (#5886288)
From what I've read, the greatness of that book is its portrayal of New Orleans. But I had a hard time getting through the book because Reilly just does a whole bunch of selfish, self-unaware stuff and ruins good people. So I didn't like it.


That is taking the narrative a little too seriously. Where a character is so thoroughly bizarre and his thought patterns so orthogonal or surreal, you cannot take it so seriously; you have to go with the flow.

But I understand not watching a show because you don't like the characters. I work very long hours, and have only so much time at home; I am not going to spend it by "inviting" a group of characters "into my home" that I would not want to spend time with. That was Seinfeld and Everything't Sunny (and 90% of all sit-coms) to me.

Mad Men, however, I enjoyed as a period piece. I also loved the way Don Draper talked, either in private or in meetings. They gave him some great dialog.
   104. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 03, 2019 at 10:51 PM (#5886291)
I mentioned the final season of Haven earlier. I also need to catch up on Season 3 of Man in the High Castle. Ditto for True Detective (skipped Season 2 because of horrid reviews) once Netflix lets me have the discs.
   105. Greg Pope Posted: October 03, 2019 at 11:01 PM (#5886294)
That is taking the narrative a little too seriously. Where a character is so thoroughly bizarre and his thought patterns so orthogonal or surreal, you cannot take it so seriously; you have to go with the flow.

I am an extremely literal reader. So I admit I may not really get the book. But I didn't like it.

I am not going to spend it by "inviting" a group of characters "into my home" that I would not want to spend time with. That was Seinfeld and Everything't Sunny (and 90% of all sit-coms) to me.

I've tried Sunny. Gotten through about the first 6 seasons. There are a lot of funny parts, but I can't really say that I like the show. I certainly can't binge watch it. I can only take 2-3 episodes in a row before I start to hate the characters.
   106. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: October 04, 2019 at 05:20 AM (#5886339)
Reflecting a little more on this, I think a big part of what alienates me about those kinds of shows -- and why I don't celebrate that such "high-quality" shows are immensely popular the way I would if "high-quality" music was immensely popular -- is that, from what I hear/read, what makes people so obsessive over the shows is generally soap opera type stuff. "OMG, I can't believe they killed off this character," "So-and-so was a bad guy all along??" etc. Am I totally wrong about that?


EDIT - Long post, sorry. Trimmed:

On a related note, my wife and I watched the ST:DS9 fan-funded documentary What We Left Behind. Overall pretty good! Nana Visitor remains an absolute delight, Avery Brooks an enigma, and there were some pleasant moments and anecdotes. Ira Steven Behr definitely enjoyed being on camera a lot. I wanted a lot more focus on certain episodes and aspects, but I also wouldn't have cut much of anything, so few complaints. (And Visitor's shtick over the closing credits captured a lot of my requests, plus she got a tribble!) Andrew Robinson gets to play with the structure, Terry Farrell is given a little space to vent her frustration with her departure, and J.G. Herztler in the extras does a rather good Brooks impression.

The relevance is that Behr and his writers' room - Ron Moore came back too - made it clear: characters first, plot second. The plot is an engine to drive character interaction, conflict, and decision-making that deepens the viewers' understanding and enriches every line. DS9 was a relatively early adopter of serialization, particularly in a relatively staid franchise, and I thought did a great job of balancing continuity with character growth and change. You can't make every episode a cliffhanger season after season, because the viewers get weary, it looks pretty artificial, and payoff is seldom satisfying. But you also need lasting repercussions for decisions, or else each episode is meaningless in its outcomes, which I think of as being what sunk ST: Voyager for me.

I definitely think that when a show gets big, a number of people are watching for plot. A stabs B, C cheats on D with E. Things happen, it's absorbing, and sometimes spaceships shoot at each other or there's a cool dog. But a lot of shows didn't start off big, and got big because they had some interesting characters put in novel predicaments that they addressed in a believable fashion, the show got buzz, and more and more people decided to latch on to see what the fuss was about. Sometimes shows let that lead them by the nose and decide to chase those viewers - Game of Thrones seems like one, I understand that Walking Dead may be similar. I've also not watched Sopranos, but the impression I get is that it did rather better.

And I think a lot of the time 'Can you believe that X did Y' is a proxy for 'whoa, a lot of plot happened that I didn't expect!', but it can also often be a shorthand of 'My understanding of character X was that Y was something that would be beyond their intent, and looking back at X's history, I'm not sure whether my comprehension of X was realistic or not. What do you think?'
   107. Rennie's Tenet Posted: October 04, 2019 at 08:52 AM (#5886350)
"Confederacy" is saved because it's no joy ride for Ignatius, either. Towards the end, he says sadly to his mother, "I told you that this would happen if I went out to work."

   108. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5886381)
I read Confederacy of Dunces many decades ago in high school and my memories of it are scant. I remember thinking it a fascinating and worthwhile book that was still not super enjoyable.

I remember more about the backstory of the author* than I do specific plot points.

* Spoiler: His life did not go well.
   109. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 04, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5886383)
I read Confederacy while on a grad school Xmas break visit to my mom's house, so going on 37 years ago. Jesus.

About 2 years later I read Richard Farina's Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me & found it very reminiscent of Toole's novel, though AFAIK there was no chance whatsoever of any sort of cross-pollination.
   110. Baldrick Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5886396)
I read Confederacy while backpacking around Europe. My travel companion brought it and was chortling the whole way through the book. So I had to borrow it and see. I enjoyed it immensely, though to be honest I don't really remember much of the details. It's possible that it was a perfect book to read in that moment, but that I might not enjoy it much if I tried to read it again.
   111. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5886398)
Also read it when I was around 19. Also don't remember anything, except that I enjoyed it a lot.
   112. Baldrick Posted: October 04, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5886414)
I recently re-read some books that I first read right around that time. One, Emma, was literally the book I read immediately after Confederacy on that same backpacking trip. After liking it fine the first time, I adored it the second time through. I'd now put it among my all-time favorites. I also re-read Anna Karenina, which I've long described as my favorite book. I enjoyed it a lot this time, but not as much as Emma.

Not sure if there's anything significant to glean from that.
   113. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5886445)
I recently re-read Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, which I was totally enamored with at age 17 or so. Didn't even finish it this time. Lost 100% of its charm.

While I was rereading it, a younger acquaintance saw it in my duffle bag and said "Oh are you a Vonneguthead too?" And pulled up his sleeve to reveal a Kurt Vonnegut tattoo rather like this one.
   114. Lassus Posted: October 04, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5886453)
I have never been able to get over the concept of the finite time I have to read books; and a re-read means one more book I'll never get to read. Hence, no re-reads.
   115. Davo Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5886455)
Martin Scorsese on Marvel movies: "I don't see them. I tried, you know? But that's not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being."

James Gunn in response:
@JamesGunn
Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film. I'm saddened that he's now judging my films in the same way.
   116. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5886458)
I have never been able to get over the concept of the finite time I have to read books; and a re-read means one more book I'll never get to read. Hence, no re-reads.


Other than Phil Dick's 42 or so novels, about 90% of which I've read 2 to 5 times, I've re-read probably fewer than 10 novels in my life. The Puppet Masters, 'Salem's Lot, Island of Dr. Moreau, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Madame Bovary & 1984 ... that's probably it.

I'm more likely to reread nonfiction, I think, though again the number of books accorded that treatment are few & far between. William Manchester's The Glory & the Dream, the 1,000+ pages of which I believe I've read 5 times, skews the numbers somewhat.
   117. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5886459)
I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film. I'm saddened that he's now judging my films in the same way.
Oh please. Yeah, get up there on the cross, James.
   118. Lassus Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5886462)
It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being

The Wolf of Fucking Wall Street? Really, Martin?
   119. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5886471)
I have never been able to get over the concept of the finite time I have to read books; and a re-read means one more book I'll never get to read. Hence, no re-reads.


Very rare for me too, but in this case, I wanted to see how 20 years of age and experience would change my reaction. Reading the same thing at 17 and 37 and it's practically a different book.
   120. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5886476)
I find Scorcese's definition of "cinema" sadly restrictive. There's no rule that art needs to be about human emotion.
   121. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5886481)
‘Baldrick, your head is as empty as a eunuch’s underpants.’

   122. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5886483)
Is it possible to say that any movie is objectively better than any other movie? <ducks>
   123. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5886486)
Is it possible to say that any movie is objectively better than any other movie? <ducks>

I agree with your choice. The Mighty Ducks is objectively the best movie ever made.
   124. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 04, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5886487)
Diahann Carroll ("No Strings," "Julia," "Claudine," "Dynasty") has died.
   125. Egregious Hidden Genitals (CoB). Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:00 PM (#5886502)
Seriously, Gonfalon, how could you have overlooked this classic Carroll performance???

Somewhere, poppa Itchy sheds lonely Wookie tears ... at least I hope those are tears ...
   126. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5886512)
Drudge Report should rearrange today's headline stacking order.



Diahann Carroll Dead at 84...
________________________________________________________
The Real-Life Clown That Terrorized America's Kids...
   127. Egregious Hidden Genitals (CoB). Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5886515)
   128. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:17 PM (#5886517)
The Real-Life Clown That Terrorized America's Kids..
You helped him get elected in the first place, Drudge.
   129. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 04, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5886531)
Re-reads, even multiple re-reads, can be great if the book is worthy of it. There's something to be said for knowing a great book inside and out. You can start to see the world through its lens, and it can lead you to surprising places. It's reminiscent of Thoreau's line "I have traveled a great deal in Concord." Start to know the world by knowing one tiny corner of it inside and out.
   130. Baldrick Posted: October 04, 2019 at 05:22 PM (#5886601)
Re-reading for me is similar to re-listening to music. There are literally hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of songs that deserve my attention. And I do try to seek out new stuff very aggressively. But I also re-listen to the stuff I like a lot. The sense of comfort and familiarity is the same with books. And some books reveal all kinds of new elements on a re-read.

It helps that I read quickly, so re-reading isn't a huge time investment.
   131. Lassus Posted: October 05, 2019 at 06:06 AM (#5886740)
Time for this edition of Two-Word Movie Review!

Joker: ####### interminable
   132. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 05, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5886806)
"Mission:"?
   133. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 06, 2019 at 07:47 PM (#5887172)
Throw some black confetti into the air tonight... Rip Taylor has died.
   134. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 06, 2019 at 09:03 PM (#5887196)
His role as Artie in the Larry Sanders show is my favorite role he played.
   135. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:13 PM (#5887222)
Even more impressive are his exploits as a Time Master.
   136. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: October 07, 2019 at 06:49 AM (#5887263)
I've not re-read many books recently, though I did this a lot in my childhood/teenage years (lack of access to TV and Internet probably a contributing factor). I think the only non-genre book I've re-read more than once in the last decade might be Donna Tartt's 'The Secret History', which I found immediately compelling in a way that got me through the whole book in the space of about 36 hours when I should have been socializing on a family holiday.

For light comfort reading, often to pass the time on longish journeys, I used to end up with something from Larry Niven or Terry Pratchett. I mean, plenty of others as well, but those are the two that immediately jump out at me from my memory of enduring UK train timetable shenanigans. I'm about a third of the way through 'This Is How You Lose The Time War', which is fun, but the rhythms of it are beginning to worry me that it'll be a slog by the end.
   137. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 07, 2019 at 10:04 AM (#5887291)
His role as Artie in the Larry Sanders show is my favorite role he played.


Rip Torn died in July. He was a great actor. Rip Taylor was the flamboyant comedian and host of $1.98 Beauty Show.
   138. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5887313)
Torn: my favorite role of his might have been in Defending Your Life.
Taylor: never a fan. Was amused by an impression of him I heard recently on James Adomian's The Underculture podcast, which hits on a shocking number of references that connect with me.
   139. Lassus Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5887326)
Michael Moore's review of the Joker, which I don't have the energy to find, link, or quote, made me want to throw up.
   140. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5887334)
Time for this edition of Two-Word Movie Review!

Joker: ####### interminable


Why do they keep remaking this movie?
   141. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5887337)
Why do they keep remaking this movie?


It apparently set some sort of box-office record, as do just about all of the stupid comic book movies anymore (& probably the occasional nonstupid efforts as well), so the answer is obvious -- $$$$$. I mean, gullible enablers in this very thread contributed to that windfall.
   142. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5887338)
The real question is, why do people keep paying to see new versions of this movie?
   143. Egregious Hidden Genitals (CoB). Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5887339)
Well, this sounds worth checking out, I'll have to set the DVR to record it tonight:

Everybody’s gotta eat—including animation hero Genndy Tartakovsky, who after years of working on beloved but cultish animated cable shows like Dexter’s Laboratory, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Samurai Jack, finally reached the mainstream in 2012, when he directed the hit Adam Sandler vehicle Hotel Transylvania. True to their subject matter, the HT movies appear to be basically unkillable—the third made more money than the second, which handily beat the first. And so one might suspect that Tartakovsky might be ready to comfortably settle into a life of dining out on piles upon piles of vampire comedy cash. Primal feels like, among other things, a pointed refutation of that idea.

Set before the dawn of language, the new Adult Swim series makes clear that the passions that have always driven the most critically affecting of Tartokovsky’s work—violence, melancholy, slapstick, and the pure, kinetic energy of bodies in motion—are still firmly in control of his directorial instincts, sideline in the world of monster cruise ships be damned. As seen through the eyes of hominid protagonist Spear—occasionally resembling a Pleistocene Brock Samson, ripping and tearing his way through an anachronistic menagerie of prehistoric mega-fauna—Tartakovsky’s vision of the ancient era is a brutal, bloody, violent place, one more than happy to make an impromptu meal of the weak. Unmoored from his home by a sudden tragedy, Spear teams up with a friendly carnivorous dinosaur and wanders the countryside, inevitably getting into gorgeous and extended battles with all sorts of giant, hungry monsters.


AV Club review

YouTube trailer
   144. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:49 PM (#5887341)
It apparently set some sort of box-office record, as do just about all of the stupid comic book movies anymore (& probably the occasional nonstupid efforts as well), so the answer is obvious -- $$$$$. I mean, gullible enablers in this very thread contributed to that windfall.

The real question is, why do people keep paying to see new versions of this movie?

Fair point. Why do people keep paying to go to these movies?
   145. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5887345)
Because most people want the same things, over and over and over again. Why do the same 10 people write 90 percent of Top 40 songs?
   146. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:00 PM (#5887348)
It's interesting that in film it has become so common to just tell the same story again and again.

It used to be that storytelling novelty wasn't as prioritized. Popular music used to be much more oriented towards covers and standards. Folk music traditions even more so. Every painter would do his versions of the same Bible scenes. Shakespeare would adapt a a plot that some other guy in London did a year or two previous.

Most of that's gone ... but not in Hollywood! Apparently every generation needs its own Spiderman origin story.
   147. Lassus Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5887351)
There has never been a Joker origin movie, and this is not a remake or re-telling of any movie or any comic book that's ever been made.

So, guys, stop being so old, you look ridiculous.


I mean, it sucks for a lot of other reasons. I was dragged by my brother, or I wouldn't have gone.
   148. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5887352)
Because most people want the same things, over and over and over again.

They why not just watch the old version? I love Sunset Boulevard. It's a great movie. I've probably watched it 5 times in its entirety, and parts of it 10 more time. If a remake came out, I'd have zero interest in seeing it.

I mean, I didn't see the remakes of Ben Hur, the Producers, or True Grit. Why would I?
   149. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5887357)
They why not just watch the old version?
Because they want to think they want different things.
   150. Egregious Hidden Genitals (CoB). Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5887363)
Because they want to think they want different things.


Or because a good story can be told in different ways, though different lenses and perspectives and different actors, writers and directors.
   151. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5887366)
Or because a good story can be told in different ways, though different lenses and perspectives and different actors, writers and directors.

Sure, that can be done, but I'd argue a classic movie/book is not the material to choose. The re-telling will almost always come up short. Re-make bad or mediocre movies that have interesting potential.

As an example, I recently saw the John Malkovich ABC Murders, where he plays Hercule Poirot. It was a decent movie, and could have been a good detective story on its own, but claiming to be Poirot ruined it. The character he was playing only vaguely resembled Poirot.
   152. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:39 PM (#5887372)
Or because a good story can be told in different ways, though different lenses and perspectives and different actors, writers and directors.
As Snapper said, yes, that's entirely possible, and I'm sure there are some innovative remakes out there. But that doesn't get at the question of why such a huge percentage of non-indie movies are franchises and/or remakes and/or comic book/superhero/zombie/vampire, and why people keep paying to see more and more of those.
   153. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5887373)
In the case of Batman/Superman film remakes, the "classic" is a comic, not a movie, and it isn't even really a comic as much as it is a modern myth that has been created collectively by various writers, illustrators, producers, actors etc over a period of decades. So the New Ben Hur problem isn't a real problem. There's no ideal classic to live up to. The ideal is in our heads and is imagined differently be different people.

The question, though, is why the public has an appetite to revisit the story so quickly.
   154. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5887374)
But that doesn't get at the question of why such a huge percentage of non-indie movies are franchises and/or remakes and/or comic book/superhero/zombie/vampire.


Hollywood has become extremely conservative and doesn't want to gamble on films that don't already have a built-in audience of superfans.
   155. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5887376)
In the case of Batman/Superman film remakes, the "classic" is a comic, not a movie, and it isn't even really a comic as much as it is a modern myth that has been created collectively by various writers, illustrators, producers, actors etc over a period of decades. So the New Ben Hur problem isn't a real problem. There's no ideal classic to live up to. The ideal is in our heads and is imagined differently be different people.


Agree totally, I was just trying to related the issue of remakes to art that I actually care about, and have seen. I don't think I've seen a comic book based movie since Danny DeVito was the Penguin.
   156. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5887377)
Hollywood has become extremely conservative and doesn't want to gamble on films that don't already have a built-in audience of superfans.
Right, but it can't be just the superfans who are shelling out for all these movies.
   157. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5887379)
Hollywood has become extremely conservative and doesn't want to gamble on films that don't already have a built-in audience of superfans.

Which actually raises another question. Why are these superfans a thing? Why are there large numbers of 25-50 y.o. adults so enraptured with comic book or sci-fi franchises?
   158. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5887395)
Hollywood has become extremely conservative and doesn't want to gamble on films that don't already have a built-in audience of superfans.


Yes, and in the case of investments which run into the tens of millions of dollars - or hundreds, if you commit to a genre blockbuster - this makes a certain amount of sense.

But I think there are two other points: 1) You ideally want to make big movies that travel well, given how much potential box office is out there in China (as an example). Colorful people punching each other, cars going fast (furiously) and things exploding or shooting each other require minimums of cultural or linguistic context to market in other countries. And 2) Merchandising. Star Wars has a lot to answer for there.

Which actually raises another question. Why are these superfans a thing? Why are there large numbers of 25-50 y.o. adults so enraptured with comic book or sci-fi franchises?


Shared pop cultural context, and characters and settings that are now on their third or fourth generation of fans, so have some element of survivability built in. My father wasn't a big comics guy, but he's still got his Sterenko Nick Fury collector's edition tucked away in his library. My nephew's probably too young to watch a whole superhero movie and take it in, but he likes playing mobile games where Wolverine gets to "cat scratch" his enemies. Think of it as natural selection for escapist fiction.
   159. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:58 PM (#5887422)
Oops
   160. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:04 PM (#5887428)
The Joker's origin was told in 1951. I read it in an 80-Page Giant (though probably by then it was one of the adulterated 64-pagers -- booooooo) as a kid.

Probably it's been retconned a few times since then, because comics.
   161. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:13 PM (#5887431)
I was dragged by my brother, or I wouldn't have gone.

Your brother needs to have his brother taken away. And/or you need a new brother.
   162. The Run Fairy Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:13 PM (#5887432)
As an example, I recently saw the John Malkovich ABC Murders, where he plays Hercule Poirot. It was a decent movie, and could have been a good detective story on its own, but claiming to be Poirot ruined it. The character he was playing only vaguely resembled Poirot.


That's funny, I had the same problem with The Alphabet Murders, starting Tony Randall as Poirot. Although I'm not sure I'd call that version "a decent movie".
   163. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:14 PM (#5887433)
I wonder if in 1,000 years the average non-historian will be unable to perceive a difference meaningful between Zeus and Batman and Vishnu and Black Panther.
   164. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5887435)
I watched the remake of True Grit via Netflix (brain trauma would've had to be involved for me to shell out a ticket for ... well, pretty much anything, really). Hadn't seen the original in well-nigh 50 years; it's one of the handful of films I was taken to see as a kid, probably at least in part because of the Arkansas ties. (This is where I note that Charles Portis' nephew was wire editor while I was on the Little Rock City desk.)

Well worth watching, I thought.
   165. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5887436)
I've already written at length in this thread about my opinions on Poirot's mustache. Giving Malkovitch a goatee is an insult to Agatha Christie's memory.
   166. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5887437)
I wonder if in 1,000 years the average non-historian will be unable to perceive a difference meaningful between Zeus and Batman and Vishnu and Black Panther.


I am certainly entertained to imagine heated arguments between Reddit3000 users about whether stupid Information Age meatbrains really believed that Peter Parker was literally bitten by a radioactive spider, or whether it was always understood to be a collection of myths about several different New York teenagers, some of whom couldn't possibly have even been alive at the same time . . .
   167. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5887442)
I've already written at length in this thread about my opinions on Poirot's mustache. Giving Malkovitch a goatee is an insult to Agatha Christie's memory.

Yes. And the new origin story was ridiculous.
   168. The Run Fairy Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5887444)
Or because a good story can be told in different ways, though different lenses and perspectives and different actors, writers and directors.


I have a copy of the Paul Newman/Edward G. Robinson/William Shatner Western version of Rashomon on my PVR. It's been stuck there for a while because while I like to have proof that such a thing ever existed, I'm not sure I actually want to see the evidence. But I never delete it because the idea of Shatner (and Robinson) appearing in a Kurosawa remake intrigues me enough that I might actually watch it sometime.
   169. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5887445)
The Spidey origin is treated cutely in Marvel 1000, parts of which I read this weekend. (Thank you, eBay.)
   170. Egregious Hidden Genitals (CoB). Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5887457)
[168] Holy crap, I never knew that existed ... and Paul Newman plays the Mexican bandit!

The Outrage trailer.

I ... might just have to watch that.

(and just so we're keeping all this #### straight: Ryūnosuke Akutagawa wrote two short stories, "Rashomon" (1915) and "In a Grove" (1921), which Akira Kurosawa and Shinobu Hashimoto turned into the screenplay for the film Rashomon (1950), all of which Fay and Michael Kanin used in creating the broadway play "The Outrage" (nominated for 3 Tony awards!) and then the screenplay for the film (see above) of the same name ... strewth!)
   171. Egregious Hidden Genitals (CoB). Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5887460)
Seriously though The Outrage could be paired with White Comanche for a double-the-Shatner, double-the-awkward-ethnic-performance-by-a-white-guy, double-your-fun twin bill!
   172. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5887464)
double-the-awkward-ethnic-performance-by-a-white-guy

Mickey Rooney owning the all-time crown here, in Breakfast at Tiffany's. A performance that makes Al Jolson cringe.
   173. Davo Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5887476)
One of you guys compared me to Ray Carney in a post once, as a joke, probably in a “you’re both trolls” sense.

Whoever did that: I am forever grateful. I checked him out just to understand the reference, and found his writing very persuasive and insightful. And since most of his books were about filmmakers I did not know very well (John Cassavetes and Mike Leigh), I began watching their movies so I could better follow Carney’s books, and the combination of the two has just been wonderful, it’s opened up a completely new way for me to think about life and art. (If any of you follow me on Letterboxd, you’ll see that for the last few months basically all I’ve watched are old Mike Leigh movies.)

So. You never know what’ll stick!
   174. Lassus Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5887490)
Are you sure it wasn't Armond White?
   175. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5887492)
The "Oceans Eleven" remake was better than the original. The "Little Shop of Horrors" musical was better than the original with a 9-year-old Jack Nicholson as a panting dentist. The live action "Jungle Book" was the equal of the 1960s cartoon, even though it's part of an insidious trend. Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" is better, but who cares? I take it that "The Fly" with Goldblum is better than "The Fly" with Price (haven't seen either). "Twelve Monkeys" is much better than "Le Jetee," but that doesn't really count. "Casino Royale" doesn't count, either. Nor does "The Wizard of Oz" or "The Maltese Falcon." Both of the "Man Who Knew Too Much" movies are solid midrange Hitchcock; the second's probably better but not definitely. I didn't think the updated "True Grit" or "The Departed" were anything special.

I thought I'd come up with an improved remake that is also a very good movie in its own right. Either I didn't rummage deeply enough or there just aren't many/any.
   176. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:47 PM (#5887500)
I take it that "The Fly" with Goldblum is better than "The Fly" with Price (haven't seen either).


It is, much better.

A remake doesn't have to be demonstrably better than the original to be worth doing, as long as there's a different spin on it. The 1978 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" isn't as good as the Don Siegel 1956 one, but is still very much worth seeing.
   177. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:49 PM (#5887502)
Pitchfork's Top 200 Songs of the Decade. How many of them are you even slightly familiar with?
   178. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5887508)
Oddly, given my genuine fetish for '50s sf flicks, I've yet to see anything more than bits & pieces of the original Fly. In any event, as is fairly often the case, the excellent Cronenberg film is a "re-imagining" as opposed to a remake.

Ditto for the 2004 Dawn of the Dead, which -- however heretically -- I much prefer to Romero's original. I've noted before that it's the only movie I've paid to see on the big screen 3 times (matinee prices, yes, but still).
   179. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: October 07, 2019 at 05:15 PM (#5887532)
Pitchfork's Top 200 Songs of the Decade. How many of them are you even slightly familiar with?


How long has it been since Pitchfork focused on alternative, indie, metal, and other rock subgenres? It feels like the site devoted itself to pop and hip hop a decade ago now.
   180. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 05:17 PM (#5887534)
Pitchfork's Top 200 Songs of the Decade. How many of them are you even slightly familiar with?
Before clicking, I'm gonna set the over/under at three.
   181. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5887546)
Over. But not by that much.
   182. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 06:03 PM (#5887557)
After about 50 I'd heard (of) none of them, so lost what little interest I had.
   183. Omineca Greg Posted: October 07, 2019 at 06:14 PM (#5887560)
I'm going to have to recuse myself on the list, as I sometimes go through similar lists and check stuff out I'd never hear of otherwise. So it's impossible to say how many I would have got to under my own power, as it were.

"Last night was the first time I tried the latest cocktail. Vodka and prune juice. They call it the 'Piledriver'."

I'll miss Rip Taylor, or as he's known in my family, "The guy who's just like Carrot Top...except you don't want to kick him in the nuts and throw him down the stairs."
   184. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5887561)
If that list and the accompanying descriptions don't scare you about what it says about our society that that is what people want, I don't know what to tell you.
   185. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 07, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5887570)
I can call up 12 of the choruses easily, including a couple I'd rather not. I've heard many of the other songs on the Pitchfork list but they've left minimal impressions.

The list includes several major chart hits that would probably make most people go, "Oh. That." For example, Song #197 was used by multiple advertisers. And you'd have had to encase your head in cement to successfully avoid Adele.
   186. Baldrick Posted: October 07, 2019 at 07:16 PM (#5887621)
Pitchfork's Top 200 Songs of the Decade. How many of them are you even slightly familiar with?

I counted about 50 that I knew well enough to hum the tune, with about 75 more that I am certain I have listened to, but not enough to remember which specific song it is. For example, I listened to the whole damn FKA Twigs oeuvre in order to be certain that she definitely wasn't for me. I'm sure there's a few more that I listened to at some point but forgot about, but will recognize once I actually call them up on a playlist.

It's a very Pitchforky list, with a lot of good stuff but also a lot of 'eh, that's definitely the hipster pick' selections. In quite a few cases, they picked (what I consider) a far more boring song from an artist who should definitely be on the list. They have a few that will end up on my personal top 50 (which I'm compiling right now), and quite a few more that would challenge for a spot if I went all the way out to 200. But there's not all that much overlap because I generally dig melody and they generally don't.

If you're a grumpy rockist, let me recommend a few things from the list: the Cloud Nothings, Japandroids (but go with The House That Heaven Built or Fire's Highway), Courtney Barnett, Big Thief, Camp Cope, Phoebe Bridgers, Beach House, The National, Snail Mail, Sharon Van Etten.
   187. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 07:21 PM (#5887626)
If that list and the accompanying descriptions don't scare you about what it says about our society that that is what people want, I don't know what to tell you.


Which quotes in particular bother you? Just curious, not trying to start a fight.

We've much discussed Pitchfork's apparent mission to legitimize bad popular music by describing it with an avalanche of jargon and academese. Pitchfork has helped me find some music that I like in the past, but today it feels like a foreign culture to me. I have no idea how to parse the writing, and reading the reviews, I have a tough time predicting what I will or won't like. Beyond that, I couldn't imagine how anyone, even the most authentic and incisive and theoretically perfect critic, could attempt to weigh and rank DJ Khaled (#173), stoner-doom metal band Sleep (#172), and Adele (#171) on the same scale.

As for me, there are about a dozen songs I know very well, and at least 30 songs that I have certainly listened to but can't call to mind immediately.
   188. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 07, 2019 at 07:41 PM (#5887633)
Pitchfork's Top 200 Songs of the Decade. How many of them are you even slightly familiar with?


I knew 12. I only knew about 1/2 of the artists.
   189. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 08:03 PM (#5887645)

I knew 12. I only knew about 1/2 of the artists.


Probably around the same on songs, I knew maybe 25% of the "artists".
   190. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5887652)
As with every such list, there's a definite element of "We need at least one Taylor Swift song on here, let's try and make it a less obvious one."
   191. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 08:52 PM (#5887665)
Which quotes in particular bother you? Just curious, not trying to start a fight.
I mean, let's just start with the song titles. "Wonton Soup." "Smack a #####." "OOOUUU." "Bad and Boujee." "Come on a Cone." "Marijuanaut's Theme." "Dum Surfer." "2 On." "Hard in da Paint." "Wut." "Beez in the Trap."

Note: These are all actual titles, and that's just in the bottom 50.

We've much discussed Pitchfork's apparent mission to legitimize bad popular music by describing it with an avalanche of jargon and academese.
So, so much this. Let's just pick one near the top of the page:

"Two true things: Lil B is a beatific vessel for galaxy-brain-level peace, love, and understanding. He also once tweeted “buttcheeks party grandma.” But spirituality need not bend to reason, and over this decade the Based God remained committed to his vision of untrammeled optimism and unbridled creative confidence, evolving from Bay Area blog savant into legitimate folk hero for the new school. “Wonton Soup” is the peak from this early period, when he first exploded into semi-mainstream consciousness. All his stylistic trademarks are on display: endless “woop” ad libs, hazy production, a monotone delivery that makes his absurd lyrics—he brags about being able to achieve orgasm “like 36 ways,” then compares himself to J.K. Rowling—sound like blissed-out Zen koans. It’s the best possible argument for BasedGodism, even better than a sermon."

If thinking this is beyond f***ing absurd makes me a grumpy rockist, then by God, I am proud to be a grumpy rockist.

   192. Baldrick Posted: October 07, 2019 at 10:41 PM (#5887729)
If that list and the accompanying descriptions don't scare you about what it says about our society that that is what people want, I don't know what to tell you.

I mean, let's just start with the song titles. "Wonton Soup." "Smack a #####." "OOOUUU." "Bad and Boujee." "Come on a Cone." "Marijuanaut's Theme." "Dum Surfer." "2 On." "Hard in da Paint." "Wut." "Beez in the Trap."

Wonton Soup - man of color, rapper
Smack a ##### - woman of color, rapper
Bad and Bouiee - men of color, rappers
Come on a Cone - woman of color, rapper
Marijuanaut's Theme - old white dudes, stoner metal
Dum Surfer - white guy, rapper with post-punk and jazz influences
2 On - woman of color, R&B
Hard in da Paint - man of color, rapper
Wut - white guy, club/electronic
Beez in the Trap - woman of color, rapper

Are you really sure you want to double down on 'this art is bad and I know it without listening because the song titles sound weird to me'?

Even apart from that, many of these songs aren't actually popular. Some are (Tinashe has like 300 million views for 2 On, which makes sense because it's a freaking great song). But many are weird, niche artists producing weird, niche music. That's Pitchfork being a bunch of hipsters, highlighting music that's 'objectively' interesting but not particularly popular.

For what it's worth, most of those songs don't do much for me personally (apart from 2 On). They mostly fall outside my wheelhouse, but I'm not going to dismiss it all just because it doesn't fit my personal taste.
   193. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 10:48 PM (#5887730)
If any of those songs have anything substantive to say, I'll happily retract. Do they?
--
EDIT: I checked. They do not. Honestly even worse than I expected.
--
Also...let's not make this a race thing when I was just going down a list selected by other people. If they would have put songs in a different order it may well have been a bunch of white DJs I identified. I freely concede that there is plenty of drivel made by white people, and plenty of substantive music made by people of color.
   194. Baldrick Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:01 PM (#5887740)
If any of those songs have anything substantive to say, I'll happily retract. Do they?

Several are diss tracks, which are primarily about clever lyrics and delivery. Much like any number of Dylan songs. Bad and Bouiee is a deliberate misspelling of 'Bougie' and is a meta-commentary on the materialism of hip-hop, which plays on the tropes while also offering a performative critique of them. It's up to the listener to decide how seriously it's supposed to be taken. 2 On is a great pop/R&B song about being young and reckless. Much like literally hundreds of thousands of rock songs. Beez in the Trap is about getting drugs, but is interesting for the way it incorporates trap elements into other more mainstream genres.

Several of the songs feature extremely compelling vocal performances. Pretty much all of them have excellent beats.
   195. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:06 PM (#5887744)
You could write for Pitchfork ;).
   196. Omineca Greg Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:12 PM (#5887745)
I've never read much Pitchfork. My experience with them is reading jazz reviews.

On the one hand, they pick newsworthy releases to review. They're the albums that would be of potential interest to non-jazz fans, usually because the music isn't so hidebound...the musician has put creativity into falling in a crack between existing genres. Some jazz musicians make absolutely no effort in that direction at all, their music exists in a well defined context that has already been reworked countless times, so what's the harm in countless+1? Pitchfork apparently sees the harm, because they never review anything like that.

And then they go and write the strangest reviews of these creative jazz albums. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is that they do, but I've never read one of their jazz reviews and had a better idea if I wanted to invest my time in listening to the music in question...or not. That could be just my taste in reviews. I'm happy with simple statements like, "This sounds a lot like [another musician] in his early 80s phase. The entire thing is really well done, especially the pianist, who is an original soloist." For me, that's all I need. But Pitchfork reviews never give me anything as straight forward as that to work with.

I don't even bother to read them now.
   197. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:20 PM (#5887748)
While I also find the Pitchfork summary that Elroy quoted bewildering, I continue to disagree with his insistence that music needs to be "substantive," or that people can be judged by how substantive their music is, or (along with Baldrick) that one can determine the substantivity or substantiveness or substantosity of a song based on its title.

I think the "race thing" is worth pointing out, not to suggest that Elroy is racist, but to underline the fact that some of these songs come from a different culture/world than his own, which makes him an even poorer judge of their substantivity.
   198. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:24 PM (#5887750)
Guys, seriously. Just go look up the lyrics. You wanna continue to argue that they can't be described as non-substantive, be my guest. What is substantive about "I'm dissing someone else," "I have lots of money and purchase expensive things," "I go to clubs," "I enjoy doing drugs," etc.?

I wasn't using the title as a determinant of substance, just as a usually fairly reliable indicator. And it was reliable, at least w/r/t those songs.
   199. PreservedFish Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:33 PM (#5887754)
I didn't say they were all substantive. I said:

1. I don't care if they are or not, because I think it's unimportant (diss tracks don't bother me, at all)
2. You don't really get to decide if they are or are not substantive ('I have lots of money' tracks might sound very different, even substantive, to someone in a different situation than your own). And I'm not just making a socioeconomic point here. Assuming Baldrick's correct with his Pitchforkian interpretation, you may have badly misread 'Bad and Boujee' simply because you're critically unfamiliar with the context.
   200. Baldrick Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:37 PM (#5887758)
Emily Dickinson: "Just some woman talking about flowers and being sad. No substance."
A Hard Day's Night: "Boys like girls. Sometimes that makes them happy. Sometimes it makes them sad. Yawn."
Monet: "Guess what? That's right, more water lilies. Find something else to paint, man."
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