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Sunday, December 01, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (December 2019)

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have known each other for 60 years. They love each other. “I used to say that I love him, but with my fingers crossed,” says Townshend of Daltrey. Townshend, gangly and hunched, his angular face having grown into his long nose, sits in a Dallas Ritz-Carlton suite wearing gray clothes on a white-hot day. “Now, I like him too. I like all his eccentricities, his foibles, his self-obsession, and his singer thing. Everything about him.” Daltrey feels the same. He sits in a comfy chair later the same afternoon. “I’ve always kind of known Pete cares for me,” says Daltrey, crossing his legs in blue cargo shorts. He’s a little impatient because my time with Townshend ran long. “I hope he realizes I care about him. I think my actions through our career have shown that.”

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have known each other for 60 years. They tolerate each other.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: December 01, 2019 at 08:16 AM | 194 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. Greg Pope Posted: December 13, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5908466)
I now know that I have the opportunity to see Def Leppard, Motley Crue *and* Poison in a stadium near me at some point (I would assume) next summer. With Joan Jett as well. That's...something.

An interesting point about this tour. A guy at work brought this up while we were waiting for a meeting to start. Someone asked "Who's the headliner?". He answered quickly "Motley Crue. They still sell out stadiums by themselves." But now I've heard ads on the radio and they go something like "Def Leppard with Joan Jett! This summer! And also Motley Crue and Poison." Now, those ads aren't on the local Rock station, they're on the local Classic Hits station. Which is probably more geared toward Def Leppard than Motley Crue. I don't know if they have different ads.

When I google "Stadium Tour", I get a mixed bag of who's listed first. And on the video results tab it shows two pictures and the first band is different in the two.
   102. PreservedFish Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5908508)
My son just crafted a paper sword he's calling "The Sword of Plenty Mayonnaise."
   103. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: December 13, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5908510)
"The Sword of Plenty Mayonnaise"?

Hmmmmm.
   104. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 13, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5908516)
My son just crafted a paper sword he's calling "The Sword of Plenty Mayonnaise."
You should have your children taken away.
   105. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 15, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5908796)
Anna Karina, one of the effervescent bright lights of the 1960s French New Wave, has died.
   106. Hot Wheeling American Posted: December 15, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5908813)
The IFC Center is running a Da Films of Studio Gihibli retrospective for the next month. I've literally never seen one. Is there a particular deep cut on the list that I should try to see? Or just catch what I can, which will be no more than one to three? Above all, I suppose the preference is to avoid screenings with English dubbing.
   107. PreservedFish Posted: December 15, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5908815)
I'm a huge fan of Studio Ghibli. Spirited Away is probably the most celebrated film among American grownups. It is a fantasy of extraordinary imagination, a supernatural fairy tale. Princess Mononoke has more of a historical adventure feeling to it, and more adult, although it is also fantastical. Finally, My Neighbor Totoro is the most beloved and rewatchable of the movies. It's basically a kids' flick about a magical forest spirit, it has very little conflict, tons of heart, and is so lovingly detailed that you settle into it like a favorite couch. I think that most people would point you to these three.

Strongly agree on avoiding the dubbing. A recognizable American accent can ruin the atmosphere.
   108. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 15, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5908816)
Agree with PF - those are probably the big three. Grave of the Fireflies is really good but pretty grim. My daughter’s favorite is My Neighbors the Yamadas, but avoid it - it’s an episodic sitcom.
   109. PreservedFish Posted: December 15, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5908820)
I also wouldn't hesitate to watch any of the following:

Nausicaa
Howl's Moving Castle
Castle in the Sky
Kiki's Delivery Service

... all of which are entertaining and representative of the Ghibli house style. Kiki's Delivery Service is more of a kids' movie, and not quite as imaginative, but it is still very charming.
   110. CrosbyBird Posted: December 15, 2019 at 03:05 PM (#5908834)
My favorite musical sequence was "Up There," the Satan-does-Disney number.

Michael McDonald singing the crazy high part at the end gets me laughing every time.
   111. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 15, 2019 at 05:40 PM (#5908857)
All the above named Ghiblis are great, but so are Porco Rosso, and, in a lighter way, Pom Poko.
   112. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 15, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5908868)
A bit late to the Studio Ghibli question, but I pretty much endorse all the posts on the subject above. All of those are good. My favorites would probably be, in order,

"Spirited Away"
"Princess Mononoke"
"Kiki's Delivery Service"
"Porco Rosso"
"My Neighbor Totoro"

I also love "The Wind Rises", but I'm the son of an aeronautical engineer, so I'd have to, wouldn't I? It does bother me that Miyazaki combined a totally historically account of Horikoshi's career as an aircraft designer (everything about the airplanes in this movie is 100% accurate) with an unrelated short story that had nothing to do with Horikoshi that became his personal life in the film. It's a jarring combination, to me.

Among those Studio Ghibli films directed by others than Miyazaki, I really like "Only Yesterday", but I'd probably put that one behind the Miyazaki-directed films.
   113. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 16, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5909075)
This article isn't exactly on point WRT ElRoy's theories on modern pop music, but it is illustrative.
   114. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 16, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5909090)
We saw Knives Out last night in a cinema in Gothenburg. Pretty good! Not quite what I was expecting in terms of plot and screen time for certain characters, but it seems to mostly play fair. One thing I enjoyed finding out about Swedish movie theatres is that they start the trailers before the scheduled movie start time, but my hope that this meant the main feature would begin at the listed time didn’t pan out.
   115. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 16, 2019 at 05:01 PM (#5909091)
This article isn't exactly on point WRT ElRoy's theories on modern pop music, but it is illustrative.
Heh. She starts off promisingly, but then drops the ball in omitting the obvious conclusion that this is all properly blamed on Post Malone and Lil Nas X.
   116. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 17, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5909249)
   117. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5909541)
Heh. She starts off promisingly, but then drops the ball in omitting the obvious conclusion that this is all properly blamed on Post Malone and Lil Nas X.


I do wonder what artists like these will be doing in the next stage of their careers. Plenty of musicians (Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, and on and on) have made their name in pop and then moved into deeper, more experimental stuff.
   118. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:30 AM (#5909545)
Plenty have, but don't more musicians go the opposite direction?

Also, the 60s and early 70s have to be considered a special era, there was kind of an explosion in sonic possibility that many artists got swept up in.
   119. Baldrick Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5909547)
My top 50 songs of 2019 and top 20 albums. Spotify lists provided at the link.

tl;dr - I really like that Charly Bliss album.
   120. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5909556)
I'm not sure our tastes are aligned musically, but it sure sounds like you covered a lot of territory. How did you like Uppsala? I just got back from Gothenburg; my wife and I are considering a permanent move to Sweden some time in the next few years.
   121. Baldrick Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5909558)
Uppsala is wonderful. I'm here now and will be until mid-January. And hopefully will be back for a month or so in the summer. My wife is working at the university but I'm just hanging out in town working at coffee shops. It's great.

We took a trip up to Abisko over the weekend, which was out of this world. Didn't see any northern lights, but it was amazing anyway. Definitely would like to go back. Overall, Sweden is basically paradise and I would love to move here. There's some chance that my wife will end up having a full-time thing here. Not sure if that would really work professionally, but I'd definitely like to make it happen if possible.
   122. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 18, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5909565)
Interesting. We were heading over to scout out Uddevalla area, which I think was a little less green and more built up than we had hoped for. Some of the towns and villages on the way up are pretty attractive, however. We had a philosophy of 'if we like it in December, we'll definitely love it in spring', but it was maybe a bit harder for my wife to love the diagonal rain. Still, we did eat very well in Gothenburg, and really enjoyed our interactions with Swedes and Norwegians during the trip.

I've not been further north than Sundsvall, and would probably want to be in the south of the country on a permanent basis to make freelancer travel into the rest of Europe less painful. We're now thinking Vaxjo area as a target. Somewhere on a lake, enough room for a dog. Dogs. A cat and some dogs. Cats, dogs, and ferrets. It's going to be a crowded property if my wife keeps adding to the menagerie.
   123. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5909567)
Can I move to Sweden too guys?
   124. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 18, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5909573)
I don't know. Preserving your fish properly is not really what the people of the region seem to appreciate.
   125. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5909585)
Well if you're not man enough to appreciate a bracing can of Surströmming, maybe it's you that isn't cut out for the area.
   126. Omineca Greg Posted: December 18, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5909621)
Don't eat that! Eat this!

   127. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: December 18, 2019 at 02:00 PM (#5909631)
Screw that ... shark's a fish ... make hákarl:

Take one large shark, gut and discard the fins, tail, innards, the cartilage and the head (BTW, a very healthy oil is processed from the liver and used as a food supplement). Cut flesh into large pieces. Wash in running water to get all slime and blood off. Dig a large hole in coarse gravel, preferably down by the sea and far from the nearest inhabited house - this is to make sure the smell doesn't bother anybody. Put in the shark pieces, and press them well together. It's best to do this when the weather is fairly warm (but not hot), as it hastens the curing process. Cover with more gravel and put heavy rocks on top to press down. Leave for 6-7 weeks (in summer) to 2-3 months (in winter). During this time, fluid will drain from the shark flesh, and putrefication will set in.

When the shark is soft and smells like ammonia, remove from the gravel, wash, and hang in a drying shack. This is a shack or shed with plenty of holes to let the wind in, but enough shade to prevent the sun from shining directly on the shark. Let it hang until it is firm and fairly dry: 2-4 months. Warm, windy and dry weather will hasten the process, while cold, damp and still weather will delay it.

Slice off the brown crust, cut the whitish flesh into small pieces and serve, preferably with a shot of ice-cold brennivín.
   128. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 18, 2019 at 02:05 PM (#5909635)
There's a "yeah, I'm out" point in literally every sentence of the recipe above.
   129. Omineca Greg Posted: December 18, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5909641)
Don't eat that! Eat this!

Saffranskrans is the goods. Once you've tried it, you'll regret having lived for so long without it.
   130. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 18, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5909645)
Saffranskrans is the goods. Once you've tried it, you'll regret having lived without for so long.
Yeah, that does sound delicious.
   131. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 18, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5909647)
(reads 127)
I'm not eating again until this thread has moved to page 3.
   132. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5909669)
Don't eat that! Eat this!


I just did. Well, almost. My kid's hippie preschool baked Swedish saffron buns for St Lucia day.
   133. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 03:28 PM (#5909671)
I remember learning about the rancid shark dish some 15 years ago, through one of Bourdain's shows or books. Wow. Disgusting. Later one of those amazing BBC docs, Planet Earth or Blue Planet, introduced me to the uncanny Greenland shark, which can live for like 400 years and is blind because it carries specialized parasites on its eyeballs (you can see it in the photo). But what really double blew my mind was when I found out that the rancid shark delicacy and the blind, ageless shark were the same animal.
   134. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 18, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5909681)
But what really double blew my mind was when I found out that the rancid shark delicacy and the blind, ageless shark were the same animal.
I mean, if it's 400 years old, it probably isn't going to taste real fresh to begin with. Might as well let it go rancid and see if it gets any better.
   135. Baldrick Posted: December 18, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5909685)
Saffranskrans is the goods. Once you've tried it, you'll regret having lived without for so long.

I was really excited to try some and have ordered a couple in the past few days but have been distinctly underwhelmed. Very sad.
   136. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 04:12 PM (#5909688)
My favorite thing is cured meats and cheese, and when I was in Norway I was mostly shopping in crappy little corner grocery stores and they had all the same national brands of cheese and meats, and the cheese was all mediocre, and the meats were kinda bleh, and very little variety of either. Finally in Oslo I went to a hip gourmet shop that had the good ####, the cheese and meat made by dedicated artisans by hand, small scale ... and I blanched at the price. Couldn't do it. I mean, regular food is exorbitant there. I'm not gonna pay Jamon Iberico prices for some cured reindeer leg I've never heard of.
   137. Omineca Greg Posted: December 18, 2019 at 04:50 PM (#5909704)
...have ordered a couple in the past few days but have been distinctly underwhelmed

Oh, that's too bad!

The Apprenticeship instructor for BC when I did my apprenticeship was a really great baker. Totally dedicated to his craft, born the same month as my Dad, September '39...the difference being that my Dad was born in Edmonton and Hans was born in Germany. So, different childhoods to say the least.

Whenever you requested to make something that he liked, he would unlock the cabinet where they kept all the high end ingredients. The best marzipan, the best chocolate...and he'd let you use it. He would get so excited, he'd start talking a mile a minute about chocolate minutia and how special we should feel to get to use it, and how cheap the program was on ingredients. And how hard he had to fight with the administration to get these extra special ingredients.

When you're done making your product, he grades it, and then it goes out to the shop store (the school is in downtown Vancouver), where it goes on sale for about...well, less than half anyway, of what it would cost in a regular shop. Now, it is student work, and it's "as is", but the apprenticeship stuff is made by professional bakers, so it's just as good as anywhere, and the introductory, 10 month program...their stuff is a little dodgy looking sometimes, but it's the finishing that lags behind, at heart, anything you buy is perfectly good. And cheap.

But students and instructors get first dibs. And 35% off, the already cheap, cheap, price. And the order of dibs goes...

First: The Student Who Made It
Second: Other Apprenticeship Students
Third: Introductory Students
Fourth: Apprenticeship Instructor
Fifth: Full Instructors in Introductory Program
Sixth: Assistant Instructors

Now, usually there's not much interest from students to buy things, you get to eat products in the lab anyway (for FREE!), so you'd only buy something if you were particularly proud of it and wanted to show your family or something.

So Hans was scooping all these super cheap pastries, cakes, breads, for fractions of what they would normally cost, and then sharing them with all his ex-pat buddies. So when you asked to make something he really liked, there was a reason he was unlocking the good ingredient cabinet, because he was going to be buying them all. The really good stuff never hit the shelf.

Saffranskrans is one of the things he would load the flatdeck up with, and wheel them out to the Mercedes, his Teutonic eyes glowing with joy. It's not German, but Hans knew a good cake when he saw one.

Anyway, kind of a pointless story. One time I made up some Linzertorte, you know with the special almonds, and the special jam, and there was almost a scrap-out between the instructors. I took two, because those things are awesome, a couple of other students bought some, which was really an unusual thing to have happen...because those things are awesome! And Hans started to load up his flatdeck with all his ultra-cheap tortes, probably thinking how he was going to be großer Mann auf dem Campus, when the other instructors confronted him for being a Linzer torte hog. The Swiss guy, the English guy, the Dutch guy...it was great! Not exactly yelling and screaming, but a very intense ten minutes. Hans lost the battle and had to share, I think the premise being that no one man needed twelve Linzer tortes, but he won the war, because he offered bonus marks to the first team to request making it the next day...and he did get virtually all of those ones.
   138. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 18, 2019 at 08:28 PM (#5909773)
"Signs, Night", a propulsive rocker from Kaneyori Masaru's recently released first mini-album.
   139. Lassus Posted: December 18, 2019 at 09:56 PM (#5909786)
Don't eat that! Eat this!

Is this a Madness reference?
   140. Lassus Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:07 PM (#5909802)
Dear foodie nerds: I'm stopping in Cleveland on Monday evening on the way to Michigan. Where should I eat?
   141. Omineca Greg Posted: December 19, 2019 at 07:00 AM (#5909822)
Hey you, don't watch that, watch this!*
This is the heavy heavy monster sound**
The nastiest sound around
So if you've come in off the street
And you're beginning to feel the heat
Well listen buster
You'd better to start to move your feet
To the rockin'est, rocksteady beat
Of Madness
One step beyond!


No, it wasn't. Maybe subconsciously.

*A thing I knew: This line is a tribute to Prince Buster's Scorcher.

**A thing I didn't know: This line is a tribute to Dave and Ansil Collins' Monkey Spanner

And while I'm at it, #137 isn't some allegory about WWII. Like the Linzertorte let's say, doesn't represent the Anschluss Österreichs. And the Swiss guy doesn't personify the Schweizer Reduit/Réduit national/Ridotto nazionale/Reduit nazional. And the Dutch guy definitely doesn't symbolise Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, who they made a movie about, Soldaat van Oranje.

Why yes, if you watch the trailer, you do get to see a young Rutger Hauer fight some Nazis. And why yes, the film was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who you probably think of the man who brought both Sharon Stone's AND Elizabeth Berkley's ladybits to the silver screen.

Or maybe you think of Total Recall, depends on the person.

I know everybody here likes musicals, and they made Soldaat van Oranje into a wildly successful musical, you can go see it in Katwijk right now, only €80 a pop. Or you can wait until it makes its London debut, Fall 2020.

Anyway, my post had nothing to do with any of that. It was a story about Bakers.
   142. PreservedFish Posted: December 19, 2019 at 07:47 AM (#5909826)
I don't think I know a single thing about food in Cleveland, Lassus. Sorry.
   143. Greg Pope Posted: December 19, 2019 at 02:17 PM (#5910003)
Dear foodie nerds: I'm stopping in Cleveland on Monday evening on the way to Michigan. Where should I eat?

In Michigan.
   144. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5910043)
Well done. I laughed.
   145. manchestermets Posted: December 19, 2019 at 06:39 PM (#5910063)
   146. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 20, 2019 at 05:36 PM (#5910213)
Berni Wrightson's original "Frankenstein" cover art has sold at auction for one million dollars.

http://www.dailycartoonist.com/index.php/2019/12/13/1-million-for-berni-wrightsons-frankenstein/

If you've seen Wrightson's intensely detailed image, then you know the price comes out to 40 cents per drawn line.
   147. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 21, 2019 at 02:18 AM (#5910258)
The NY Times' Kyle Buchanan, on the movie "Cats":
It's amazing to see what Adult Swim can accomplish with a $100 million budget.
   148. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 21, 2019 at 06:03 PM (#5910344)
snowboiiii:
every scene in "Cats" begins with a new character appearing and being like “i’m peepety poopoo, the ass eating cat!” and then they sing a song with hardly any melody about how much they love eating ass then idris elba shows up and makes them disappear, this happens like 6 times

Anth765:
is idris elba at least a saving grace

snowboiiii:
there’s nothing to save it’s a masterpiece
   149. chisoxcollector Posted: December 21, 2019 at 08:50 PM (#5910361)
Dear foodie nerds: I'm stopping in Cleveland on Monday evening on the way to Michigan. Where should I eat?

I am not sure what kind of food you are looking for, but there is a regional chain that has really good sandwiches called Melt Bar and Grilled.

Here is a link to the food menu.
   150. Lassus Posted: December 22, 2019 at 07:30 AM (#5910387)
Thank you!

Been looking about, still trying to figure it out. We're going to be right in the heart of downtown and kinda feel like walking, that's I'm sure going to limit our choices. Eater and Thrillist rankings have been helpful.
   151. Lassus Posted: December 22, 2019 at 07:31 AM (#5910388)
Saw Rise of Skywalker last night. Ranking:

Rogue One
A New Hope (legacy ranking)
Empire Strikes Back
The Last Jedi
The Force Awakens
Return of the Jedi
Revenge of the Sith
Solo
Rise of Skywalker (Maybe. It's early.)
Attack of the Clones
The Phantom Menace
   152. Lassus Posted: December 22, 2019 at 07:32 AM (#5910389)

And, regarding things such as #148, here's me elsewhere being a petulant bitch who's angry with the internet:
Here's what I think about all these reviews of CATS I'm seeing, say, from Rotten Tomatoes:

"What, you may ask, the fuck?"

"Our best bet is to pack it into a crate lost deep within a warehouse next to all the other dangerous artifacts man was not meant to tamper with, before it kills us all."

"I felt as though I was unable to wake up, slowly sinking deeper and deeper into madness."

"Like the Ark of the Covenant, you won't be able to look away as it melts your face off."

"If you watch this movie on cannabis edibles, you will feel as though you are witnessing your own death."

It's the hip internet thing, nobody gives a shit about what happens in the movie, or the level of artistry in the dancing, or turns in the melody from the composer, or the poetry of T.S. Eliot, or the quality of the singing, everyone just wants to be the cleverest, one-liniest, instagrammiest, Twitteriffic pan review. Really tiresome.

This is the new insta-snark taking the death of a million bites out on principal ballerina of the Royal Ballet Francesca Heyward's career by people who can't walk up two flights of fucking stairs at a brisk pace without gasping for air.

Full disclosure, knowing gigging dancers and singers and actor triple threats, I'm annoyed and not objective; but ultimately fuck these reviews, and fuck all these people.
   153. chisoxcollector Posted: December 22, 2019 at 08:01 AM (#5910390)
Saw Rise of Skywalker last night. Ranking:

Rogue One
A New Hope (legacy ranking)
Empire Strikes Back
The Last Jedi
The Force Awakens
Return of the Jedi
Revenge of the Sith
Solo
Rise of Skywalker (Maybe. It's early.)
Attack of the Clones
The Phantom Menace


Other than Rogue One, our lists are very similar. Here is mine:

1. A New Hope
2. Empire Strikes Back
3. Last Jedi
4. Force Awakens
5. Return of the Jedi
6. Revenge of the Sith
7. Rogue One
8. Rise of Skywalker
9. Solo
10. Phantom Menace
11. Attack of the Clones

When can we talk about the new one openly? I don't want to spoil anything for anybody.
   154. PreservedFish Posted: December 22, 2019 at 08:11 AM (#5910392)
I'm just one guy, but I think I'm at the point where Star Wars spoilers mean nothing to me. If people are ranking it down by Episodes I and II then I'm not sure I'm even going to bother watching it in theaters.
   155. Lassus Posted: December 22, 2019 at 08:22 AM (#5910394)
I think it's thoughtful to hold off for a bit. I had to annoy Jules by seeing it without her, but it's just as likely I wouldn't want to be spoiled three days after opening.

Ranking it below Solo has something to do with the disappointmemt factor. I mean, that first preview gave me chills. But, like the Watchmen film, the product never lived up to MY expectations.

I know families already who loved it. (OK, one family) I wouldn't necessarily dismiss it out of hand. But also, seriously, for me and many it was a 40-year cinematic journey.
   156. PreservedFish Posted: December 22, 2019 at 08:35 AM (#5910396)
Full disclosure, knowing gigging dancers and singers and actor triple threats, I'm annoyed and not objective; but ultimately #### these reviews, and #### all these people.


What if I acknowledge the skill of the dancing & singing actors and of everyone else involved, while also declaring the Cats is one of the most bewildering and terrifying cultural phenomenons I've ever come across, and I cannot even begin to understand its appeal? To me it's on a par with, like, Insane Clown Posse.

I did see it on Broadway 25 years ago. Definitely one of the great "what the actual ####\" moments.
   157. PreservedFish Posted: December 22, 2019 at 08:45 AM (#5910397)
But also, seriously, for me and many it was a 40-year cinematic journey.

Yeah, I get that, but at this point for me it doesn't feel like an authentic conclusion to the journey. Lucas never really had the full multigenerational epic charted out, and if he were ever capable of fleshing out his vision, he lost that skill many decades ago. All of the new movies feel as if they were basically scripted by committee, with the marketers and toy manufacturers in the room. The recent ones were at least helmed by fanboys, which at least ensured some fealty to the appeals of the original trilogy, but also almost necessarily robbed them of any creative spark.

I liked this NYT opinion piece on Star Wars.
   158. Baldrick Posted: December 22, 2019 at 09:01 AM (#5910401)
I watched The Force Awakens when it came out, and really enjoyed it. Within a few months I felt a deep sense of fatigue at the prospect of endless more Star Wars films to come. I haven't watched a full movie in the franchise since then. Got about 45 minutes into Ep 8 and something came up and then I just never went back.

It's pretty weird how immediately my interest completed disappeared. I guess I would have caught up if the reviews of this one had been positive. But as it is...shrug.
   159. Lassus Posted: December 22, 2019 at 10:25 AM (#5910410)
I wouldn't really disagree with a word of #157, with the possible caveat that Johnson's had creativity but Abrams seems a corporate studio tool.
   160. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 22, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5910429)
We finished season 4 of 'The Expanse' on Friday. Really pretty good, but handicapped by the source material, which I maintain just doesn't matter enough to the ongoing story to get buy-in. (There is some relevance, but it's thrown in too late and too abstractly for me to really get sucked in.) I saw it suggested elsewhere that season 4 has more than a little in common with Mass Effect: Andromeda, dodgy animation aside. However: most of the main cast are better than ever, Bobby gets some good stuff in particular, and David Strathairn continued to impress - that is not what I would consider a Strathairn role! Season 5 is shaping up to be really good.
   161. chisoxcollector Posted: December 22, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5910431)
I wouldn't really disagree with a word of #157, with the possible caveat that Johnson's had creativity but Abrams seems a corporate studio tool


Same.
   162. Howie Menckel Posted: December 22, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5910434)
seriously, for me and many it was a 40-year cinematic journey.

wait, is it over?
and - I have been dodging those movies for FORTY YEARS?

wait, it does seem like that, come to think of it
   163. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: December 22, 2019 at 05:27 PM (#5910491)
What if I acknowledge the skill of the dancing & singing actors and of everyone else involved, while also declaring the Cats is one of the most bewildering and terrifying cultural phenomenons I've ever come across, and I cannot even begin to understand its appeal? To me it's on a par with, like, Insane Clown Posse.


Or, what if the reviewer was confused why a major film was released with shoddy and noticeably unfinished special effects, as several of the reviews that I read noted, such as:

I witnessed an entire man, knit cap and coat, just standing in a scene among a gathering of cats. I saw a terrifying gray statue looming over a character, only for it to blink and realize it’s a woman who is a cat, but they colored her and then forgot to add fur. In one scene, nearly all of Judi Dench’s hand is a fluffy blond like her the coat of her cat character, Deuteronomy. In another, it’s just her regular hand, replete with what appears to be a wedding ring. Most cats have human feet, but some cats wear shoes. Except for newcomer Francesca Hayward, a ballerina who does a long and gorgeous dance number on pointe. It’s a beautiful skill and the kind of thing you’d normally need to pay to see in a theater. Here you see it for the price of a single movie ticket! But they CGI’d out her ballet shoes and gave her digital toes that skitter weightlessly across the floor, engendering a powerful feeling as wrong as that Pixar baby 30 years ago.


And it was a common enough reaction that Universal is distributing a new version:

Cats, Tom Hooper’s memetic hazard of a musical, is receiving unprecedented treatment from its distributors at Universal. As shared by the Hollywood Reporter, the company is sending theaters an updated version of the Ozymandias-like monument to hubris and toxoplasmosis. This new version of the film, according to a memo sent to thousands of theaters on Friday—the film’s release day—will include “some improved visual effects.”


Link
   164. yo la tengo Posted: December 22, 2019 at 06:43 PM (#5910504)
Tomorrow night my wife and I are going to see Yo La Tengo at the Bowery Ballroom. We ended up with an extra ticket. Any NYC folks here that would want to go to this show? It is the second night of their Hanukkah residency this year. She and I are driving in and dining in the area before the show. We can figure out how/where to meet for a ticket handoff.
   165. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 23, 2019 at 12:15 AM (#5910526)
This new version of the film ["Cats"], according to a memo sent to thousands of theaters on Friday—the film’s release day—will include “some improved visual effects.”

Free blindfolds for the audience?
   166. . . . . . . Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:39 AM (#5910611)
Wondering what y'all thought of the Eddie Murphy SNL. I thought it was much better than I expected - Murphy showed some rust and flubbed some lines - but the good material (Gumby, the Elf sketch at the end of the show, the Baking Show) was so amazingly good.

I like comedy and go see it live in NYC a fair bit, and the most obvious thing about comedy when you see it in person is how unbelievably hard it is and how much work and practice it takes to be good at it. So Eddie Murphy coming off the ####### shelf at age 58 having not done live comedy for 30 goddamned years, and then not just being still good but still REALLY REALLY GOOD, like blowing Michael Che off the stage good (and Michael Che is a damn good comedian in his own right!) is both stunning and depressing.
Stunning, because it's like Josh Hamilton disappearing for years and then reappearing as one of the best players in the league, but after like a 15 year layoff (how many comics who work straight through their whole career are still in that sort of form near 60 years old!?)
Depressing, because Eddie Murphy was blessed with more comic talent than anyone within 25 years of him and just didn't dig doing live comedy all that much in middle age. Life would've been much FUNNIER if Eddie Murphy kept with standup.
   167. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 25, 2019 at 09:31 PM (#5910965)
Probably.
In general, though, I get the impression that if you wanna quit standup for other pursuits, it might not be a bad idea - not the best environment for a lot of people’s mental health.

Steve Martin quit too and though that didn’t mean that all that came next was quality, I’m glad for him that he did.

Anybody else see the bizarre John Mulaney kid variety thing on Netflix? Long periods of “why does this exist?” punctuated by unexpected hard laughs (the whole thing is pretty smart though). The last full segment (Mr Music) is great.
   168. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: December 26, 2019 at 07:45 AM (#5910982)
Visiting relatives in the midwest and getting to have venison bacon for breakfast like it's just part of the norm is incredible. And the wild roast goose with prune stuffing for Christmas was amazing. So glad the kids get to have these experiences though the lack of snow totally sucks.
   169. McCoy Posted: December 26, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5910987)
I keep seeing reports about how great Eddie was and I am not seeing it. As mentioned he was rusty. His timing was off, his acting was off, and the material was largely tired and derivative. I think the baking skit had so much more potential but was badly acted and a bit short on the writing. The writing part I can kind of excuse because that's SNL but not acting. Masked Singer added nothing new and wasn't really funny. Same with Gumby though it was mildly more funny with him going after Michael and Colin. Black Jeopardy was a flop and the North Pole news report could have been so much better. It was basically a 15 second joke stretched out over several minutes.


As for standup and comedy in general it is really hard to stay on top of the comedy heap for years. Virtually every comedian from standup to actor only has a few years at the top before they become relics largely trading off their past glory (Take my wife, please!).
   170. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 26, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5911001)
I thought the family skit (the toast) was very funny. Gumby and Buckwheat are one note jokes that aren't that funny. I was never the biggest Eddie Murphy fan, but it was a good show.
   171. McCoy Posted: December 26, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5911008)
I forgot to mention the pretaped skit. It was probably the most developed and well acted skit out of all of them. That is the benefit of pretaping them. It was decent but compare it to Eddie Murphy going under cover as a white person pretaped skit.
   172. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: December 26, 2019 at 07:53 PM (#5911129)
I am down with flyover country. Lots of outdoor activity during the day and goose sandwiches with cranberries and stuffing for a casual dinner. I am sure there will be bourbon or rye later. So good
   173. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 27, 2019 at 12:20 AM (#5911164)
While I'm not a scrooge, I love taking down the tree and everything on the 26th, which I did today, as it was 66 ####### degrees in central Indiana today. Tons of people outside at night. We had our fire pit going, as it was 'only' 52 degrees around midnight. Last year I took down the tree on Christmas night when people were dozing off. Our big thing was Christmas Eve, I have a Italian sister in law, her parents are from Italy, and she does the seven fishes, hard core, with a world class Cioppino, and then crab cakes for good measure. I can't wait to make the fish stock for us with the shells and scrap.

I briskly watched those Eddie clips, meh. I've read an interview (WSJ) where Eddie wants to do stand up on more time, I hope it works out. He was really good.
   174. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 27, 2019 at 12:23 AM (#5911165)
Eddie's white man skit is one of the best segments of entertainment of all-time. I thought so when I first saw it as a adolescent, and I still think so today. I'd like to see someone, say 18, watch that today and see the reaction.
   175. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 27, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5911216)
I'd like to see someone, say 18, watch that today and see the reaction.
A hundred bucks on “too long and lame.”
   176. Hysterical & Useless Posted: December 27, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5911265)
RE: #173, my strongly held feeling & belief is that Xmas decorations should be kept up for the full 12-day period through Epiphany (El dia de los reyes magos).

Of course, this year we did zero decorating. Neither of the kids was coming for the holiday so we just didn't get around to it. Decorating was always something we did as a family, with half the family being no-shows...meh.

How 'bout those Mets?
   177. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 27, 2019 at 05:03 PM (#5911272)
“too long and lame.”


Shane Bradley references surely should go in the NBA thread.
   178. Srul Itza Posted: December 27, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5911282)
Saw Cats on Broadway and in the West End. I enjoyed it immensely, but in my mind it really is a theater thing. Musicals and dancing are so much better in the live theater, and I can't see it as a motion picture.

-----

Don't know how old the rest of you are, but I was in my last year of college when Star Wars came out, so I saw everything first run (Han shot first), and the first Star Wars, and the Empire Strikes back, were both revelations when they came out. They did a great deal to revive science fiction and space opera, and I wonder if Star Trek would have been revived, without the amazing success of Star Wars.

My list is fairly similar to that of others, but with Empire Strikes Back at the top (introduction of Yoda; "I am your father"; "I love you" "I know", Billy Dee Williams all help to take it over the top):

1. Empire Strikes Back
2. A New Hope
3. Last Jedi
4. Force Awakens
5. Return of the Jedi
6. Revenge of the Sith
7. Rogue One
8. Rise of Skywalker
9. Solo
10. Phantom Menace
11. Attack of the Clones

Rise of Skywalker should have been a capstone. The only reason it is not rated lower is that 9, 10 and 11 are truly execrable.
   179. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 27, 2019 at 06:16 PM (#5911286)

Don't know how old the rest of you are, but I was in my last year of college when Star Wars came out, so I saw everything first run (Han shot first), and the first Star Wars, and the Empire Strikes back, were both revelations when they came out.


Saw those two (the first came out a day or so before I graduated from high school) but lost interest after that. Even when I was a heckuva lot more interested in sf than I am now, space opera per se never really did anything for me, despite a fondness for the original Star Trek. (I don't think the Foundation novels count.)
   180. chisoxcollector Posted: December 30, 2019 at 10:17 PM (#5911853)
Just finished my 5th Robert Duvall movie of December, which wraps up my 2019 Blindspotting project. I watched 70 movies for the project, which includes the 5 per month initially planned, and two bonus sets of 5. This was a very fulfilling project, and I'm proud of myself for sticking with it.

I'm going to rank the 70 movies in tiers (they are in order within the tiers):

Great
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Witness (1985)
The King of Comedy (1982)
The Parallax View (1974)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Hud (1963)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

Very Good
Marathon Man (1976)
The Hustler (1961)
Scarecrow (1973)
Presumed Innocent (1990)
No Way Out (1987)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Barefoot in the Park (1967)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
A Bronx Tale (1993)

Good
Night Moves (1975)
Frantic (1988)
Tender Mercies (1983)
Silkwood (1983)
The Conversation (1974)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The Apostle (1997)
Parenthood (1989)
Dirty Harry (1971)
High Plains Drifter (1973)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
In the Line of Fire (1993)
Reds (1981)
Dark Blue (2002)
Sea of Love (1989)
And Justice For All (1979)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
French Connection II (1975)
The Verdict (1982)
Unlawful Entry (1992)
Straw Dogs (1971)
Papillon (1973)
Heartburn (1986)
Awakenings (1990)
Backdraft (1991)
Ishtar (1987)
The Natural (1984)
Far and Away (1992)
Used Cars (1980)

Decent
Regarding Henry (1991)
The Firm (1993)
The Gingerbread Man (1998)
The Last Detail (1973)
The Color of Money (1986)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Mean Streets (1973)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Escape From Alcatraz (1979)
All of Me (1984)
Out of Africa (1985)
Cruising (1980)
Valkyrie (2008)
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Slap Shot (1977)
The Mosquito Coast (1986)

Mediocre/Borderline Bad
Prizzi's Honor (1985)
Ironweed (1987)
The Jerk (1979)
The Outsiders (1983)
   181. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 30, 2019 at 10:24 PM (#5911856)
Wait, what?? Out of all those movies, The Jerk is one of four you rank as mediocre/bad?? It’s in my top 10 funniest movies ever.
   182. chisoxcollector Posted: December 30, 2019 at 10:27 PM (#5911857)
Haha, sorry! The comedy just didn't work for me. I guess I just don't like Steve Martin's schtick. I like him when he tones his act down a bit, but I really didn't like him in The Jerk or Little Shop of Horrors.
   183. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 30, 2019 at 10:39 PM (#5911859)
The best parts of The Jerk aren’t Martin’s schtick so much as the cleverly absurd lines that pop up from time to time. I like that type of humor a lot.

In any event, it was a great idea for a project and I’m glad you got a lot out of it.
   184. 185/456(GGC) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 08:51 AM (#5911910)
Not pop culture, but I see Lassus comes here and has read this book.

Lassus, you recommended Human Smoke in a Jay Mariotti thread that morphed into a thread about books and war nine years ago. I stumbled across this book earlier this month when I was trying to figure out how Patrick J. Buchanan could praise a Churchill fanboy like Boris Johnson and square that with his 2008 book on the causes of WWII. Baker was living the next town over from one of my brothers and I asked him if he heard of Baker. He actually knows Baker and gave me his book for Christmas. I'm up to Guernica. The other book that I’d like to read by baker is Double Fold, his account about his effort to preserve newspapers. Andy's mentioned that one a few times in different threads.

   185. PreservedFish Posted: December 31, 2019 at 09:43 AM (#5911917)
I wonder how different the Blindspotting project would have gone had your organized by director rather than by actor.
   186. McCoy Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5911926)
For me the rise of Skywalker was good 25 minutes of footage stuck inside 157 minutes of bloat. Was bored half way through and thought about walking out.

Pacing and tempo seemed to be off. Plot made no sense and seemed to just copy RotJ which seems to be JJ's MO. Has he ever had an original thought?

Out of the new ones i think TFA best captured the feel of the originals. TLJ tried to be the most interesting and thoughtful and thus need for star wars. The last one is similar to RotJ as well in that both got their story phoned in and just focused on toys. I mean special effects.

On a sidenote i think making Leia central to this trilogy was a crucial mistake. It was poorly written and poorly acted. Carrie just never had the chops to pull that kind of central role off. It was definitely a mistake to pretend like she hadn't died for the last film. Should have just let her die off screen and used Harrison Ford to carry all the family baggage and or Luke as Kylo had baggage with him as well.
   187. Lassus Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:42 AM (#5911935)
GGC Bach fan - Human Smoke is a great book for preconceived notions. I don't doubt the bias, but there is value in the copious, well-documented questioning. "...People are going to get really angry at Baker for criticizing their favorite war" encompasses a lot of the more hysterical criticism of the work.

His non-fiction is very good. There are things of his I still haven't read, and I do have his Sunday Comics collection, which I revere. I think he's a very important literary figure, although his output is somewhat scant, he knows his way around a sentence the way not a lot of writers do.
   188. Lassus Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5911937)
#180 - I'm saddened by your ranking of Ironweed. I wonder if you would have liked the novel.
   189. 185/456(GGC) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5911939)
Lassus, my handel is actually a splendid Splendid Splinter reference.
   190. chisoxcollector Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5911958)
The best parts of The Jerk aren’t Martin’s schtick so much as the cleverly absurd lines that pop up from time to time. I like that type of humor a lot.

In any event, it was a great idea for a project and I’m glad you got a lot out of it.

Absurd comedy is my favorite kind of comedy. And there were definitely some fun moments sprinkled throughout the film. But there was just so much of Martin's schtick that it overwhelmed the good stuff.

I'm continuing the blindspotting project in 2020. This year, I focused mostly on films from the 70s and 80s. In 2020, I'll be focusing mostly on the 40s-60s. I'm in the final stages of planning it out now. Unless you guys are sick of this, I'll post my initial plans soon, and definitely ask for some recommendations!

I wonder how different the Blindspotting project would have gone had your organized by director rather than by actor.

That was my original plan, as film is obviously a directors medium. But I pivoted over to actor in an effort to get my wife interested in the project. She watches lots of movies, but is only occasionally aware of who directed a film. Alas, she pretty much bailed after the initial Tom Cruise month. But I've gone this far with grouping by actor, so I will continue for the sake of continuity.

#180 - I'm saddened by your ranking of Ironweed. I wonder if you would have liked the novel.

I think you originally recommended the film. You and I usually seem to be on the same page, but I had a hard time watching this. I actually thought the performances from Nicholson and Streep were over the top and kind of silly. Still, I appreciate the recommendation and look forward to more!
   191. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 31, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5911972)
The Natural (1984)


It's mildly stunning to me that a BTF poster has never seen "The Natural".

Thank you for posting your reviews. I don't have much knowledge of mid-century film beyond Hitchcock and the odd classic like "Singin' In The Rain".
   192. McCoy Posted: December 31, 2019 at 01:39 PM (#5911984)
Apparently my wife thinks Field of Dreams is my favorite movie because in her view I'm always watching it. That's not really true. some channel on Comcast is running it constantly over the last two months and I think I've given up flipping channels a few times and just had it on in the background while I was playing with my phone.
   193. chisoxcollector Posted: December 31, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5911988)
It's mildly stunning to me that a BTF poster has never seen "The Natural".

Yeah, I'm ashamed to admit that until now I had never seen The Natural, have only vague recollections of seeing Field of Dreams, and have still never seen Bang the Drum Slowly, Sugar, or The Bad News Bears (gulp). I think I've seen most of the other big baseball movies.

Thank you for posting your reviews. I don't have much knowledge of mid-century film beyond Hitchcock and the odd classic like "Singin' In The Rain".

Other than Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and a few of the bigger classics, I haven't seen a whole lot either. I actually know quite a lot about the films of the period, but haven't actually seen very many of them. I'm excited to begin rectifying the situation!
   194. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 31, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5911997)
Bang the Drum Slowly, Sugar, or The Bad News Bears (gulp)


Never seen any of those, either, except I believe for a bit of Bang the Drum Slowly while I was taping it off cable more than 30 years ago. Or Major League. Or The Sandlot. Or The Rookie. Etc. etc. etc.

I'm probably forgetting something, but evidently I lost interest in baseball movies about 30 years ago after catching Eight Men Out, Bull Durham & Field of Dreams at various theaters while living in the New Orleans area. I don't think I've seen one since.

Edit: Well, except for 42, which I think of more as a biopic than a baseball flick.

Second edit: And at least two viewings, via "gray market" VHS, of Rhubarb.
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