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Monday, July 01, 2019

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

No summer doldrums this month — not when there’s a Sundance breakout drama, a new Pagan horror movie from the guy who gave you Hereditary and Quentin Tarantino’s valentine to old-school Sixties Tinseltown on the horizon.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: July 01, 2019 at 03:56 AM | 1020 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   501. Lassus Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5862651)
I haven’t seen THE COBBLER, though I need to point out the director’s follow-up to it...

THE COOPER?
   502. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5862669)
hence the run-out notations on the following year's 2LP Joy Division collection Still: "The chicken won't stop" (side A), chicken tracks across the grooves (sides B & C), "The chicken stops here" (side D).
Holy crap... I bought my copy of Still 32 years ago and never noticed the chicken bits in all this time. And I pull the LPs out of the sleeves and there it is. That's extremely morbid.
   503. Hot Wheeling American Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5862670)
re: Da Cobbler -

Armond White:

If Adam Sandler’s The Cobbler were from Central Europe like the dreary Oscar-winning Ida, it would be acclaimed a masterpiece. Instead, we must settle for it as a classic urban folktale. Sandler portrays Max, a shoe repairman on New York’s Lower East Side. Bitter about his fatherless upbringing, he holds onto his Jewish heritage and finds its surprising, almost magical benefits.

...

Sandler, underappreciated for his ethnic-focused ministry, uses the cobbler figure to stand in for Every-working-man. It’s a moving and amusing proposition (which the Coens might envy) when Max takes on a different personality each time he wears his customers’ shoes — a perfect illustration of Cinderella’s “Have courage and be kind” theme but in terms that suit the millennium. Whether or not film geeks are willing to acknowledge their own human need, Sandler dares to do so — which has made him a target for hipster cynics. Yet he’s ably supported by compassionate performances from Method Man, Steve Buscemi, Melonie Diaz, and Dustin Hoffman. The Cobbler is Cinderella for politically romantic, socially conscious adults.


Nathan Rabin:

Though ostensibly a change of pace for Sandler, The Cobbler has the kind of gimmicky, high-concept premise his self-loathing, mercenary character from Funny People would have lustily embraced, then hated himself for making. But if the premise screams “wacky,” the dour, sincere tone suggests the filmmakers genuinely thought they were making a film about embracing destiny and the importance of community, instead of an actual comedy.

The film casts Sandler as Max Simkin, a lonely New Yorker who sulks through his humdrum life as a cobbler. One day, he discovers a magical sole-stitching machine that allows him to slip into the skin of whoever’s shoes he happens to be wearing. This should be a moment of intense delight and whimsy, but the earnest, low-key tone that worked so well in McCarthy’s earlier character studies turns everything gray and dreary. The Cobbler is such a weirdly somber comedy that it would almost be in poor taste to laugh during it, though there’s not much danger of that happening.


And from Da Dissolve comments:

{the ending} is BANANAS. Worth the price of admission alone, as it catapults The Cobbler from "tone-mangled, vaguely offensive comedy" to "act of creative seppuku." The audience I saw it with lost it during those last ten minutes, and I'm 99% sure it's because the creators knew they had a dog on their hands, and decided to go out with a fully-committed, utterly insane bang instead of a whimper.

...

Can't wait for the inevitable straw-man filled review from Armond White, where he calls this movie superior and far more humane to the delusional misogynistic fantasies of Boyhood, and for some reason throws in an insult at Noah Baumbach!
   504. Man o' Schwar Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:42 PM (#5862672)
The cable company passed on a notice from Time Warner after the latter caught me downloading an episode of The Sopranos at my parents' house. That was 2006-7 and I've never used Bittorrent since. It was a lame download, too, as we had an HBO subscription at the time. Think I just wanted to grab a few seconds of either Tony or Christopher being upset about terrorism.

I got a notification from Comcast after downloading 2 episodes of Top Chef to give to my ex-GF to watch during a plane ride. This would have been around the same time.

I always figured nothing would ever come of it, but it was definitely not worth the risk to continue.
   505. Davo Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:02 PM (#5862685)
203- Again, haven’t seen it, but THE COBBLER was made by an acclaimed director who would direct the Best Picture-winner the very next year. That some found the movie interesting isn’t all that surprising.
   506. PreservedFish Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:03 PM (#5862689)
Well, Lloyd-Webber could trump all that. I don't necessarily see you belting out Aspects of Love ballads in high school or college.

I've actually belted out Jesus Christ Superstar two or three times, although not on stage. My parents took me to a lot of Broadway musicals, and I heard a lot of Lloyd-Webber growing up. I loved Les Miserables when I was, oh, 11 years old. I remember seeing a decrepit, cadaverous Carol Channing in a Hello, Dolly revival, which I found totally stultifying. I saw Rent before it was reviewed, which was pretty cool and I enjoyed. I've been dragged to The Producers and some of the other "can't miss" shows over the years. But I've got zero interest in the form, really. I haven't even ever listened to the Hamilton soundtrack.
   507. PreservedFish Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5862691)
Armand White thinks that everything Adam Sandler does is absolutely brilliant. It's fascinating. He's obviously a troll in many ways, and the way he shoehorns cheap shots at liberals into his reviews at the NR is pathetic and sad, but I have to assume there's some kernel of authentic weirdo in there, and it's an intermittent guilty pleasure of mine to read his reviews and try and guess at what he really thinks. It would take some insane kind of commitment to just randomly decide "I'm going to rave about everything Adam Sandler does, forever" and to actually stick with it for decades, if it's all just for yuks. He also has a kind of the Pitchfork Reviewer affliction whereby his language is so congealed with academese that sometimes one can only just barely guess at what the #### he's talking about.
   508. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 17, 2019 at 07:42 PM (#5862742)
I have to assume there's some kernel of authentic weirdo in there, and it's an intermittent guilty pleasure of mine to read his reviews and try and guess at what he really thinks.

I think it was A.O. Scott who finally articulated (here, I think) what I don't like about Sandler movies. To paraphrase, Sandler punches down a lot with some truly mean-spirited comedy. And I don't get many laughs watching a bully pick on the old, unattractive, fat, foreign or mentally handicap.

Maybe the only times he sorta punches up (among the movies I've seen, so probably everything before Click but I have no memory of The Wedding Singer) is in Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, where he is playing an over-the-top villain but still insists on framing the movie as if he is the good guy. Even then, I'm not sure spoiled rich kid taking on hard-working, successful, self made exec is really punching up.

And then is stuff that isn't really his, like Punch Drunk Love or 50 first Dates where he isn't frequently demonstrating how righteous his anger at the little people is (but those still suck).

So I've just stopped watching him because I don't find that type of humor funny anymore (like I did in my teens). But some people obviously love it. And maybe his schtick has changed over the last 15 years, I really wouldn't know.

Edit: to be fair, mean-spiritedness is typically something I love in comedy. Sandler's particular brand just doesn't land for me.
   509. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:35 PM (#5862773)
I agree with basically everything in 508.
   510. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:16 AM (#5862788)
I heard a lot of Lloyd-Webber growing up. I loved Les Miserables when I was, oh, 11 years old.

I'm trying to figure out if you've mistakenly connected these. I don't think so.


I haven't even ever listened to the Hamilton soundtrack.

Likewise. I feel like I'm never going to be let into Brooklyn again.


   511. Howie Menckel Posted: July 18, 2019 at 02:07 AM (#5862791)
Chicago was a GREAT musical movie.

I have a good "Chicago" story for the upcoming BBTF softball day in Central Park, but only if you haven't heard it before.

then again, you could hear it 50 times and it's still better than watching me try to run the bases in BBTF softball.
   512. PreservedFish Posted: July 18, 2019 at 07:16 AM (#5862795)
To be clear, Armand White is a huge fan of the later Sandler flicks, the ones that I've never heard a human admitting that he or she had ever seen or enjoyed: I Now Pronounce you Chuck & Larry, Grown-Ups, Jack & Jill, and so on. Such reviews tend to portray Sandler as one of our most insightful political artists, and generally proclaim that the work in question is much better than some other recent critical darling.
   513. PreservedFish Posted: July 18, 2019 at 07:16 AM (#5862796)
I'm trying to figure out if you've mistakenly connected these. I don't think so.

No. I'm just listing musicals.
   514. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5862813)
then again, you could hear it 50 times and it's still better than watching me try to run the bases in BBTF softball.

Watching you try to run the bases is great fun!
   515. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5862816)
512 -.I saw Grown Ups in the theater twice; the comedy isn’t for me, but it delivered some unexpected pathos (I cried both times).
   516. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:32 AM (#5862817)
Netflix has experienced its first-ever subscriber drop.
   517. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5862819)
   518. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5862842)
I haven't even ever listened to the Hamilton soundtrack.

I was so excited about the prospect of a musical that pulled its influence from artists like Mobb Deep. Turns out it was terrible, like all the music in musicals (certain Bob Fosse joints excluded), and other than the stolen lyrics was barely related to the rap music that supposedly influenced it. I couldn't even get through the whole soundtrack. Maybe it is less shitty in person when extremely attractive and talented people are performing it.
   519. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5862845)
But I've got zero interest in the form, really. I haven't even ever listened to the Hamilton soundtrack.
Likewise. There's just something off-putting about nearly all show tunes. I was in college when Rent first came out, and my theater geek friends tried to get me into the soundtrack despite knowing that I didn't like show tunes. "It's not show tunes, it's rock!" said they. "You like rock!"

So I listened to a few songs, and, nope. It was show tunes that were kinda trying to sound like rock, which was even worse.

I heard a couple of the Hamilton songs when the lead guy was being interviewed on NPR a while back, and same thing. Show tunes kinda trying to sound like hip-hop. No thanks.
   520. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5862852)
Alternative Disney songs ranking, with a wider net cast, and a more traditional number 1 choice: 30 greatest Disney songs (Guardian)

I heard a couple of the Hamilton songs when the lead guy was being interviewed on NPR a while back, and same thing. Show tunes kinda trying to sound like hip-hop. No thanks.


I haven't seen Hamilton, but several of the soundtrack songs stuck with me. I can't say they're the hip-hoppiest, however. I really didn't enjoy the Rent soundtrack though.
   521. Baldrick Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5862854)
I was so excited about the prospect of a musical that pulled its influence from artists like Mobb Deep. Turns out it was terrible, like all the music in musicals (certain Bob Fosse joints excluded), and other than the stolen lyrics was barely related to the rap music that supposedly influenced it. I couldn't even get through the whole soundtrack. Maybe it is less shitty in person when extremely attractive and talented people are performing it.

You certainly are entitled to not enjoy the form, but Hamilton is pretty clearly not 'terrible.'
   522. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:51 AM (#5862860)
Netflix has experienced its first-ever subscriber drop.

I don't think it actually dropped, I think they just grew much less than expected.

Their content has really gone down hill though. Very little beyond their own originals. We find ourselves watching Prime more often.
   523. jmurph Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:51 AM (#5862861)
You certainly are entitled to not enjoy the form, but Hamilton is pretty clearly not 'terrible.'

Yeah, I'm also not particularly a fan of the genre, but it's its own distinct thing. "This is worse than Mobb Deep" is unfair in my mind, they're doing different things.

Also the duel between Hamilton and Jefferson is extremely good.
   524. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5862864)
You certainly are entitled to not enjoy the form, but Hamilton is pretty clearly not 'terrible.'


I mean, for me it was. I am well aware that millions of people love it.

I've got a pretty high tolerance for sitting through lousy rap (I once listened to the entire Lil Cease solo album, desperate for something to enjoy, which was futile). I could not finish the Hamilton soundtrack and often could not even sit through entire songs. I found it actively painful to listen to.

   525. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5862865)
"This is worse than Mobb Deep" is unfair in my mind, they're doing different things.

My issue was not that it is worse than Mobb Deep (lots of things that I enjoy are worse than peak Mobb Deep). My issue is that the music sounded entirely disconnected from the music Mobb Deep made, other than the line biting.
   526. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5862866)
Have you anti-musical guys seen Kiss me Kate? The '53 version with Howard Keel is decidedly non-hokey, and very clever.

James Whitmore and Keenan Wynn doing "Brush up your Shakespeare" are fantastic.
   527. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5862869)
Turns out it was terrible, like all the music in musicals

This sounds a bit that you didn't like it, not that it was terrible.

EDIT: Sam Adams to everyone I guess.
   528. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5862870)
I've got a pretty high tolerance for sitting through lousy rap

Don Delillo wrote some rap lyrics as part of his short novel Cosmopolis. It was quite a bit worse than you can imagine, I think.
   529. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5862872)
You certainly are entitled to not enjoy the form, but Hamilton is pretty clearly not 'terrible.'

[citation needed]
   530. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5862873)
Prove the positive instead, how about?
   531. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5862877)
I'm absolutely horrified and devastated by the Kyoto Animation arson (I woke up this morning to find that the death toll is 33 and counting). Kyoto Animation has made many of my favorite anime productions, including "Clannad" and "Clannad: After Story", "Kanon", "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", "K-On!", and "Sound! Euphonium". It's probably fair to say that their work has meant more to me over the past decade than any other producer of TV shows and movies. Their works, especially "Clannad: After Story", have had a huge effect on my life. Just last week I saw the new "Sound! Euphonium" movie in the theater, the first time I've been to the movies this year. It's hard to comprehend why someone would do this.
   532. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5862880)
Have you anti-musical guys seen Kiss me Kate? The '53 version with Howard Keel is decidedly non-hokey, and very clever.


I remember enjoying that, though 'Shakespeare' is the only track I would associate with it. When my wife and I met she had the idea that I hated musicals - and certainly I've sat through enough bad ones - but Guys and Dolls is catchy, Willy Wonka has some good tunes, Avenue Q was a great deal of fun, Matilda had a showstopper number or two ('When I Grow Up'), Groundhog Day was clever . . . the form can really work for me.
   533. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5862882)
Willy Wonka has some good tunes
Yeah, fair point, that is an exception. "Pure Imagination" is a good song, and I celebrate the Oompa Loompas' entire catalog.
   534. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5862884)
I enjoy musicals, but Wonka never really worked for me as a musical. That is, it was never the songs that were memorable about that film to me, which I did love.
   535. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5862885)
I remember enjoying that, though 'Shakespeare' is the only track I would associate with it.

There are a few of others that are well know, but not necessarily remembered as part of this film: "Too Darn Hot", "I Hate Men", and "So in Love". There are also some really clever songs that don't get much notice: "We Open in Venice", "I've Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua", "Always True to You in My Fashion".

The dancing is pretty terrific too. Ann Miller is great. Bob Fosse is one of the dancers, but not the choreographer.
   536. PreservedFish Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5862887)
I celebrate the Oompa Loompas' entire catalog.

Especially their early stuff.
   537. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5862888)
Their content has really gone down hill though. Very little beyond their own originals. We find ourselves watching Prime more often.


I agree with this, and I'm also watching more and more things on Prime. There are a couple of Netflix originals I watch: Stranger Things, Ozark, and the occasional movie. However, Netflix's selection of other shows and movies seems to get a little worse every month. Most of their original programming just isn't that good.
   538. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5862889)
Especially their early stuff.
Never understood why "chews gum too frequently" was apparently right up there with gluttony and spoiled entitlement as a damnable personal characteristic, though. Seems oddly specific.
   539. PreservedFish Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5862891)
I actually have a greater tolerance for film musicals than Broadway musicals. I'm certainly not at all bothered by The Wizard of Oz or The Sound of Music or Singin in the Rain. I dug La La Land. But I just associate the Broadway musical with this weird trite yuckiness. Probably can't take the genre seriously ever since Planet of the Apes the Musical.
   540. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:11 PM (#5862892)
The dancing is pretty terrific too. Ann Miller is great. Bob Fosse is one of the dancers, but not the choreographer.
Speaking of not enjoying the form...yeah. Dancing. Don't get that at all.
   541. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5862893)
This sounds a bit that you didn't like it, not that it was terrible.

I'm not even coming close to understanding this distinction. At no point did I pretend that my statement was anything other than a representation of my opinion.

It's probably fair to say that their work has meant more to me over the past decade than any other producer of TV shows and movies. Their works, especially "Clannad: After Story", have had a huge effect on my life. Just last week I saw the new "Sound! Euphonium" movie in the theater, the first time I've been to the movies this year. It's hard to comprehend why someone would do this.

Sorry, man. One of the first things when I saw the story was to check what the studio had produced. None of their work had ever made it on my screen but I feel for you, that has to hurt.

Willy Wonka has some good tunes, Avenue Q was a great deal of fun, Matilda had a showstopper number or two ('When I Grow Up'), Groundhog Day was clever

In what way are Willy Wonka and Groundhog Day musicals?
   542. Hot Wheeling American Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5862896)
In what way are Willy Wonka and Groundhog Day musicals?

Any movie ever made gets turned into a Broadway show. Groundhog Day had its turn a few years ago.
   543. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:18 PM (#5862897)
I'm absolutely horrified and devastated by the Kyoto Animation arson (I woke up this morning to find that the death toll is 33 and counting). Kyoto Animation has made many of my favorite anime productions, including "Clannad" and "Clannad: After Story", "Kanon", "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", "K-On!", and "Sound! Euphonium". It's probably fair to say that their work has meant more to me over the past decade than any other producer of TV shows and movies. Their works, especially "Clannad: After Story", have had a huge effect on my life. Just last week I saw the new "Sound! Euphonium" movie in the theater, the first time I've been to the movies this year. It's hard to comprehend why someone would do this.
Having resolutely (and fairly successfully) avoided consuming news since Nov. 9, 2016, I was not aware of this until you mentioned it. Wow. Just awful. Early indications appear to be that it is a violent response by someone who felt the studio ripped off their IP, which is horrific.
   544. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5862898)
Don Delillo wrote some rap lyrics as part of his short novel Cosmopolis. It was quite a bit worse than you can imagine, I think.


In an odd coincidence, I just watched the Cronenberg movie adaptation of that last night. It was... I don't know. None of the characters spoke like actual human beings, but in some ways it was... compelling? Not like, entirely, but moments. I think ultimately it's slight, but worth watching.

There was a short bit of rap in the movie. I'm not terribly versed in the genre but yeah, it was not good.
   545. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5862899)
In what way are Willy Wonka and Groundhog Day musicals?


The first Willy Wonka movie has songs all through. Tim Minchin recently wrote a Groundhog Day musical, though it wasn't a huge success.
   546. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5862901)
Tim Minchin recently wrote a Groundhog Day musical, though it wasn't a huge success.
Do they keep singing "I Got You Babe" over and over again?
   547. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5862905)
The first Willy Wonka movie has songs all through. Tim Minchin recently wrote a Groundhog Day musical, though it wasn't a huge success.


Didn't know about Groundhog Day.

The musical interludes in Wonka can't take up more than a small percentage of the run time. That seems like a fairly expansive definition of a musical, or at least broader than how I interpret the term.

The would make practically every Marx Bros. movie and Disney movie a musical. Or something like The President's Analyst a musical. Just seems like a really big tent to me.
   548. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5862906)
At no point did I pretend that my statement was anything other than a representation of my opinion.

You did clarify after I wrote it, but I guess I take "it was terrible" as being critically different than "I really didn't like it". YMMV
   549. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5862909)
In an odd coincidence, I just watched the Cronenberg movie adaptation of that last night. It was... I don't know. None of the characters spoke like actual human beings, but in some ways it was... compelling? Not like, entirely, but moments. I think ultimately it's slight, but worth watching. There was a short bit of rap in the movie. I'm not terribly versed in the genre but yeah, it was not good.

I found that book so terrible, it inspired my only review ever on Amazon. And almost 15 years ago to the day, it's still there in the one-star section.
   550. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5862915)
Hey, has anyone seen the What We Do In The Shadows *movie*.

I saw the trailer and am going to watch it, but if it's as good as the trailer makes it seem, I'll want to own it and the "buy" option is only $4 than the rent.

Is it worth the buy?
   551. PreservedFish Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:42 PM (#5862917)
I've seen What We Do in the Shadows. I enjoyed it. It's pretty light stuff - half of the jokes write themselves as soon as you say "vampire mockumentary" - but enjoyed it nonetheless.
   552. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5862921)
The musical interludes in Wonka can't take up more than a small percentage of the run time. That seems like a fairly expansive definition of a musical, or at least broader than how I interpret the term.

The would make practically every Marx Bros. movie and Disney movie a musical. Or something like The President's Analyst a musical. Just seems like a really big tent to me.


I guess that's fair, but there's at least four 'main' songs plus the Ooma Loompa stuff, and the movie showcases them pretty thoroughly. I love the Marx Brothers, but I can't think of more than a couple of songs with vocals per movie - save 'Opera' of course.

Wikipedia calls Wonka an "American musical fantasy", for what that's worth. But it's certainly an arbitrary line that one can reasonably stand on either side. Of.
   553. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 18, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5862931)

In an odd coincidence, I just watched the Cronenberg movie adaptation of that last night. It was... I don't know. None of the characters spoke like actual human beings, but in some ways it was... compelling? Not like, entirely, but moments. I think ultimately it's slight, but worth watching.


I saw that too a couple of months ago. Very theatrical, but wearying. One of those cases where no-one's motivations or decisions seem to make a lot of sense, but the acting is fairly magnetic. Probably a lot to explore if you're gripped by it, but I was not.
   554. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 03:04 PM (#5862956)
The Ringer has an interview up with one of my favorite directors, Rick Alverson, whose new film The Mountain is getting a limited release tomorrow (though not near me):

With the 2012 release of his third film, The Comedy, the not-very-comedic work for which he is perhaps best known, Alverson acquired an enduring reputation for confrontation, antagonism, and all-purpose troublemaking. The New York Times suggested that The Comedy—a portrait of a wealthy, nihilistic hipster—was homophobic and misogynistic. Writing for The Boston Globe, the critic Wesley Morris accused it of “feel-good racism.”

But the film’s fiercest opponents seemed bothered mostly by its failure to satisfy convention: a refusal to punish bad behavior—or even to identify bad behavior as such—and evident antipathy toward narrative, resolution. Hipper places like Grantland, Chicago Reader, and The Oregonian published nuanced appreciations, and Alverson’s 2015 follow-up, Entertainment, which depicts a depressive comic on a tour of scuzzy Western dive bars, earned rave, if often shell-shocked reviews. Arguably his grimmest work, Entertainment doubled down on The Comedy’s subversions, establishing Alverson firmly as one of independent film’s most uncompromising voices. In an era when even app designers claim the title of “storyteller,” Alverson is an iconoclast: an auteur openly suspicious of the very idea of story.

With a budget of just a few million dollars, much of it provided by Vice Media, The Mountain is by far Alverson’s best-financed film to date. In a concession to producers, he wrote his first true script for the project—a departure from the virtually dialogue-free treatments that scaffolded his earlier films. (...)In a September 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jeff Goldblum, who’d signed on to play the doctor, described the script in magisterial terms. “It reminds me in tone of P.T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood or The Master,” he said. “Metaphorical critiques of the American psyche, in the vein of Death of a Salesman.”
   555. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5862957)
Filming a tussle over a suitcase between Susan and a hospital orderly, he said, “Go forward, go forward, as if trying to will a baseball foul or fair.” No two takes of a meeting between Fiennes and Susan’s father featured the same dialogue. But Alverson appeared oblivious, focusing instead on the slant of Goldblum’s shoulders, the way Lavant rose from his seat. He seemed almost to be gathering portraits, as if for collage, or a very unusual flipbook.

“Content comes after form,” Alverson said between takes. “I’m concerned with intonation, body language, blocking. Once you begin to focus on those elements, you can become consumed by minutiae—something happening in the corner of a frame, a single lighting fixture.”
   556. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5862962)
I think I’m in love
Alverson admires Tarantino. Along with Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson, he calls him “one of the last master craftsmen” in film. And like Tarantino’s previous movie, Inglourious Basterds, about a crack Army unit of scalp-taking Jewish Nazi hunters, Django was a definite accomplishment, humming with witty dialogue and winning performances from Hollywood’s first tier: Foxx, DiCaprio, Waltz. The results were wildly entertaining and Alverson’s fellow theatergoers, most of them young and black, cheered during the movie. But also like Basterds, Django revolved around transmuting a complex segment of history into a cartoonish revenge fantasy. Alverson found it troubling—an apotheosis of the most dangerous elements of current cinema.

“The fantasy of watching retribution played out, letting the audience feel liberated from the gravity of history—it’s criminal,” he said. To believe that we aren’t vulnerable in darkened theaters, to think that what presents itself as escapism doesn’t rewire our perception of reality, Alverson says, is folly. And in the South, where history is edited to bury the sins and fortify the dominance of the white ruling class, Django’s methods were especially disturbing. “I’m sure [Tarantino is] a nice enough guy,” he said. “But he’s a cinematic war criminal, too.”
   557. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5862968)
“I’m sure [Tarantino is] a nice enough guy,” he said.
What would give you that impression?
   558. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5862982)
I can't even.
   559. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 03:52 PM (#5862983)
Though I’d seen and enjoyed his last 3 films, I actually knew nothing about Rick Alverson, besides the name.

I am very pleased to learn he is a good man. It’s the exact opposite of my experience with Knut Hamsun!
   560. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 04:01 PM (#5862994)
“The fantasy of watching retribution played out, letting the audience feel liberated from the gravity of history—it’s criminal,” he said. To believe that we aren’t vulnerable in darkened theaters, to think that what presents itself as escapism doesn’t rewire our perception of reality, Alverson says, is folly. And in the South, where history is edited to bury the sins and fortify the dominance of the white ruling class, Django’s methods were especially disturbing. “I’m sure [Tarantino is] a nice enough guy,” he said. “But he’s a cinematic war criminal, too.”


I'm going to regret posting this, but I really don't want to do my work.

The real importance of Django, in my mind, is about all the stuff that happens before the final, absurd act (well, choosing to shoot the sister was significant but that's about it). Tarantino put the full brutality of slavery on screen. Instead of shying away from it he zoomed in. And his cartoonish violence becomes borderline realistic in that context and vividly drives home just how morally bankrupt and vicious the system was. It certainly moved me in a meaningful and powerful way.

So yeah, the ends of both Basterds and Django are the cinematic equivalent of whichever pill Neo didn't take. But the heavy-lifting in Django was already done when Jackson's character caught on to the ruse and I have no problem with him going off the rails after that.

I do have a soft spot for movies (and books even, back when I read) that don't really stick the landing so long as the rest of the story does what it needs to. Apocalypse Now springs to mind as my archetypal example, Huck Finn in terms of literature. I know that doesn't work for everyone.
   561. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5862995)
I know digital space is unlimited, but, still, I can’t believe The Ringer published an article THAT LONG on Rick Alverson.
   562. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5862996)
I want Tarantino's Star Trek to happen, but I might be one of those people that just wants to watch the world burn.
   563. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5863005)
I want Tarantino's Star Trek to happen, but I might be one of those people that just wants to watch the world burn.

Can't be worse than the actual IP the franchise has produced the last few years. I can't believe the high point of new Trek is that first stupid movie and a Discovery episode with Dwight from the Office. Everything else has oscillated between middling and "this is barely Star Trek and it sucks."
   564. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5863010)
So while he was waiting around trying to secure funding for his new film The Mountain, it appears Rick Alverson formed two folk bands and also built a house.
   565. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5863046)
   566. Davo Posted: July 18, 2019 at 06:20 PM (#5863058)
Any old people here have memories of BBC’s Play for Today program? I’ve started watching Abigail’s Party and was curious about its context.
   567. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 06:54 PM (#5863062)
I actually loved Discovery, but YMMV and all that. And I'm beyond excited for Picard, and even the lower decks animated thing from the Rick & Morty guy.

Also, I thought Star Trek: Beyond was better than the first JJ film, but that's something of a low bar. (Into Darkness was an abomination.)
   568. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 07:21 PM (#5863064)
I wanted to like Discovery so hard. But the end of the second season was a breaking point for me. I'm glad someone got something out of it.

I will probably watch Picard. But I'll wait until it is done and binge it. I'm done paying an outsized fee just to be let down every week.

I won't argue between the first and the third. They are both meh action movies loosely tethered to the Star Trek universe that have occasional moments.

That's the perfect word for Into Darkness. Ugh. At least I have my DS9 reruns.
   569. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: July 18, 2019 at 07:47 PM (#5863065)
Apocalypse Now springs to mind as my archetypal example


Would you elaborate, because to my mind, fat, tired Brando is exactly what I would have done.

Kurtz is very centered around the concept of will, that the Generals in Saigon didn't the will to do what was necessary to win the war (echoing actual post-defeat posturing by many in the US).

Based on his life experiences, he believes he's right, so he goes rogue, beyond their control and wages the war with his methods.

And he's right, they are successful, but he's wrong, because he finds that in the process, he breaks his own will.

Which brilliantly echoes what General Corman says in the scene where Willard is given the mission, "Every man has got a breaking point. You and I have. Walter Kurtz has reached his" but subverts it: Kurtz didn't break and go into the jungle; he went into the jungle and then broke.

Which then is a commentary on the "if only we had the will, we would have won theory", sometimes there are costs too high to the psyche, to the soul, to bear, even if they are successful.

Kurtz kills Chef to provoke Willard into killing him, because he knows that is the only way to end the mad experiment he had created.

Kurtz found out he was right, but then knew he was wrong.

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”
Nietzche

   570. chisoxcollector Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:13 PM (#5863070)
Hey, has anyone seen the What We Do In The Shadows *movie*.

I saw the trailer and am going to watch it, but if it's as good as the trailer makes it seem, I'll want to own it and the "buy" option is only $4 than the rent.

Is it worth the buy?

Well worth owning, IMO. I really enjoyed it, and bought the Blu-Ray shortly after seeing it. When it comes to humor, I'm drawn most to the dry and absurd varieties, and this film has quite a bit of both. It’s very quotable as well.
   571. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:19 PM (#5863072)
WWDITS: the movie was light fun and is probably rewatchable
   572. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:32 PM (#5863073)
Thanks for the feedback everyone, I went and bought it to watch after the Yankees/Rays game.
   573. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:33 PM (#5863075)
Would you elaborate, because to my mind, fat, tired Brando is exactly what I would have done.

I'll try!

I don't really disagree about what you wrote (if I were in a more academic mood, I might quibble about some of the details), I just don't think the end is where you learn this. Sheen's journey, and his journal, teach us all of that by the time he lands at Kurtz's camp. I don't think the end actually provides any additional insight into the war or Kurtz or Sheen's character. The entire story is in the river, the incoherent ramblings of Brando merely confirm what we already knew Nd the inevitable execution is just wrapping up the narrative.

I generally prefer AN to Heart of Darkness, but I think HoD was right to have him dead at the end. A mere conversation between two people is naturally going to feel superficial and superfluous after the deep, meditative lessons of the river and the jungle (and the war).

It doesn't make the ending bad for me. AN is a top 10 all timer for me. I've probably watched it all the way through 5 times (once the extended cut with that endless scene at the last French outpost) and at least 3 have been some of the most powerful movie watching experiences of my life. I just think ending doesn't add anything other than wrapping up the narrative aspect (which looks like a pretty obnoxious statement now that I see it in writing).

Do you think your take aways from the movie would be different if Brando was dead when Sheen got there or the movie ended right after Sheen disembarked (obviously not a realistic choice)?
   574. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:05 PM (#5863087)
(once the extended cut with that endless scene at the last French outpost)


Or as I like to call it, Apocalypse Now II - Electric Boogaloo.

I hate that cut, it adds nothing other some nice cinematography at the start of the Plantation scene and, of course, Catherine Deneuve.

Everything else is redundant, banal or flat out terrible. I'm looking at you 3 Stooges brawl with the fuel barrels.

Even the Deneuve scene is unnecessary (other than Catherine, of course). She tells Willard (paraphrasing), "You don't know what you'll do when you get there, you don't know yourself"

Well no ####, Francis, we've been watching the ####### movie for the last 90 minutes, that was blatantly obvious; but I'm glad you got Deneuve to come out to the jungle.

But as to your final question, yes I do think that could change things, was it explained in HoD how Kurtz died?
   575. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:25 PM (#5863094)
It's been a while, but I have this way wrong. I don't know how I got this so wrong but I was coming off a mushroom trip the last time I read the book and I like to blame things on drugs.

Kurtz is not dead when Marlow gets there. Should probably step back from comparing the movie to the book.
   576. Lassus Posted: July 18, 2019 at 10:52 PM (#5863109)
I saw Apocalypse Now in the Cineramadome in L.A. when I was 22. (1992) It was quite the experience.
   577. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 19, 2019 at 03:19 AM (#5863129)
Any old people here have memories of BBC’s Play for Today program? I’ve started watching Abigail’s Party and was curious about its context.


No memories, too young, but BBC radio plays are an interesting phenomenon, and radio dramas are still being produced sporadically. There was a Good Omens recording a few years back with a decent cast. There was a great version of Three Men in a Boat about 20 years ago that I should try to track down.

Play for Today was more of a kitchen-sink experience, from what I recall. Grim tales of working class families struggling to deal with social and/or economic change, middle class families struggling to deal with hidden secrets, upper class families struggling to deal with public opprobrium and falls from the top. The Day Today ably parodied them, though they were pretty easy targets. If you've seen The Boys from the Blackstuff you've got a pretty good idea. Our Friends in the North is broader in scope, but not dissimilar themes.

For middle-class families like my own, Radio 4 was kind of a default soundtrack to much of life, and ethically unassailable (because it wasn't TV, so you could do other things while it was on). Serious news reporting, light lifestyle pieces about quaint hobbies and agreeable European holidays, radio plays, and Footlights-style zany panel shows, plus Sunday morning church services. Test Match Special in the summer and odd hours in the winter. And the shipping forecast!
   578. Lassus Posted: July 19, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5863181)
So, everyone hates the CATS trailer, and the CATS musical, and everything about CATS.

I'm becoming very anti-Anti-. A have a former roommate from college who is very much a C-level comics creator, barely done anything, and he's all over the web with how shitty the original show is, and how shitty this new trailer is, blah blah blah.

   579. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: July 19, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5863184)
Indeed. To quote Abed, "I guess I just like liking things."
   580. Greg Pope Posted: July 19, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5863201)
I've only seen 2 Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, Joseph and Cats. I don't believe that there's any dialogue in either one. They're 100% singing. Is that just ALW's style? Are all of his musicals like that? Because I don't really enjoy that very much.

I like musicals such as Les Miserables, La La Land, Greatest Showman, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Beautiful, Oklahoma, Holiday Inn, etc. I think my problem is that with music I don't pick up all of the words. So if the plot is moving along and then someone breaks into a song about love or loneliness or fighting or whatever, I can enjoy the song and dance and then get back to the plot. But when it's all singing, I get lost.
   581. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5863207)
Speaking as someone who had no knowledge of or opinion on the “Cats” trailer until he saw it: you can’t tell me that #### ain’t creepy. Uncanny valley for days.
   582. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: July 19, 2019 at 01:29 PM (#5863209)
66 Questions About the ‘Cats’ Trailer


The much-anticipated trailer for Tom Hooper’s Cats dropped today, and it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand anything that’s happening, I wish I’d never seen it, and I’ve now watched it approximately 35 times.
...
None of it makes sense, and I have a lot of questions. (Disclaimer: I have never seen the musical Cats, nor do I know anything about its plot.)

1. What fresh hell is this?
2. So clearly this is a town for cats, created by cats—hence the Milk Bar. But what kind of milk are they drinking?
3. Cow milk? Do cows exist in this world? How would cats, which weigh eight to 10 pounds on average, be able to domesticate cows, which weigh—[Googles]—roughly 1,600 pounds? Or … uh … are they drinking cat milk?
4. If they’re drinking cat milk, why would they need a bar for that? Isn’t that kind of ###### up?


   583. Lassus Posted: July 19, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5863215)
Fuck that dude at the Ringer. People have no imagination or appreciation of poetry or stories? And no interest in myths and the suspension of disbelief? Shocking.

I have no problem with criticism. I have a problem with disrespectful, snarky, meme-hungry, shallow criticism.

I see that it's a crazy trailer about a crazy story about a musical that not everyone has liked; but the internet makes artistic criticism and value judgments worse for everyone and everything.

I suppose I'm being preachy. Whatever.
   584. Davo Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:17 PM (#5863222)
K. Austen Collins for Vanity Fair:

When Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Tackled Jeffrey Epstein

SVU is a curious object in that way. Its stories are familiar by design: headline fodder that’s sometimes on enough of a time delay to allow your active memory of a real scandal to erode, leaving gaps and pockets. SVU’s mission is to fill those gaps like hot concrete, with sensationalistic fictions that mirror and sometimes override real life.

You would think I’d find that dangerous—but I get SVU's logic. This being a straightforward procedural, the truth undoubtedly gets twisted, in part, so that the show will be protected from legal liability...and because, well, it simply makes for better television. For all its trashy, flashy, leaden seriousness, SVU can be proof positive that the truth, as an ideal, is best dramatized through fiction.

During my rewatch, I was surprised by how consistently and effectively the Epstein-like episode still nails this balance. On the show, for example, Jordan Hayes (nb: the Epstein stand-in) walks right into the police station and tells the story of the assault—with him as the victim. This did not actually happen. But it does allow the show to explore another, considerable point: as someone alleging a rape, the Hayes character manages to protect himself from being named in the press. It’s a slick bit of media manipulation—the kind to which Epstein, like the other mega-powerful men toppled by the #MeToo moment, is no stranger. Hayes is surrounded by his lawyers in this moment, which signals another long-running fixation of the show, to say nothing of what's routinely proven true by everyday life: justice is just another word for something that can be bought.

(...)Just last Thursday, Epstein’s lawyers argued that their client should be able to wait out his pretrial proceedings at home, in his mansion. Not allowing him to do so, they argued, would violate his “equal protection” under the law: it’d be picking on him for being rich.

SVU couldn’t have invented a better twist, though the one that ends “Flight” might rival it. All the usual avenues—the police commissioner, the mayor, a sympathetic judge—have been unavailable to Stabler and Benson during their investigation, because those avenues are all in the pocket of Hayes. Justice is hard won for just a moment—but just as quickly as they catch Hayes, the feds intervene to take him to a swanky white-collar prison, rather than a maximum security facility. It happens in a matter of seconds, with Hayes kicking up dust in the faces of angry detectives, a weeping co-conspirator, and a confused, unsatisfied TV audience.

It’s telling that it takes a man of Hayes’s power to get a show like this, predicated on satisfaction, to deny us the pleasure of a righteous ending—telling that extreme wealth is what it takes to throw the stories we tell ourselves about justice completely out of whack. It’s a sudden, disruptive, enraging conclusion. And it’s as close as the show will ever get to real life.
   585. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5863225)
I suppose I'm being preachy. Whatever.


It seems like you're jumping to conclusions about the people who are criticizing the trailer. You can have "imagination and appreciation of poetry or stories" and still think that the CG in the trailer looks bad, or that adding crass fat jokes with Rebel Wilson doesn't really improve on the material in the stage musical.
   586. Lassus Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:20 PM (#5863227)
Which part of "The CG in the trailer looks bad and bad Rebel Wilson fat jokes" is covered by the excerpt in #582 that I was directly referring to?

CGI is mentioned once in that article.

Rebel Wilson is mentioned zero times. But we do have more of this:
37. If some of this world is cat-sized, and other parts are human-sized, do the cats just run an underground industry below the human’s noses?

38. Are there humans in this world?

39. Do they wonder why their cats are wearing clothes?
I'm comfortable and confident regarding the accuracy of my statement regarding shitty, snarky, shallow criticism.
   587. Davo Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5863228)
One part of the Cats trailer I liked is the giant objects on the set (the huge door & couch, etc). To, ya know, make the people look smaller (the size of cats you might say!). It's like the most basic and oldest "special effect" in the world, and it makes me smile that they included it among all the garish zillion-dollar digital effects.
   588. Lassus Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5863230)
double
   589. Davo Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5863231)
(I am, it must be said, pre-disposed to like Cats, since I remain one of the few defenders of Hooper's previous musical, the Hugh Jackman/Russell Crowe Les Miserables. Which, despite its many Oscars, was viciously hated by the type of critics I read, and has only grown worse in stature since.)
   590. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:27 PM (#5863232)
Which part of "The CG in the trailer looks bad and bad Rebel Wilson fat jokes" is covered by the excerpt in #582 that I was directly referring to?


If you were only intending to refer to to one specific listicle, then maybe you shouldn’t have made a broad generalization like “the internet makes artistic criticism and value judgments worse for everyone and everything”.
   591. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5863233)
Also, since there was discussion of Adam Sandler in general and “Jack & Jill” in particular upthread, if you haven’t seen Red Letter Media’s two-part review of the latter, it’s very much worth a watch. Particularly the second half, which has some interesting discussion about production quality and product placement and the underlying economics of Sandler’s business model.
   592. Davo Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5863234)
Jack & Jill does have what's clearly the greatest thing ever filmed, Al Pacino's "Dunkaccino" commercial for Dunkin Donuts.
   593. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:45 PM (#5863237)
I wanted to like Discovery so hard. But the end of the second season was a breaking point for me. I'm glad someone got something out of it.

I honestly enjoyed it, and I actually like the S2 season ending. And like most of the Internet, I *really* want an Anson Mount-based Captain Pike series. (Anson Mount's Pike was a revelation.)
   594. Lassus Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5863238)
If you were only intending to refer to to one specific listicle, then maybe you shouldn’t have made a broad generalization like “the internet makes artistic criticism and value judgments worse for everyone and everything”.

So you want to talk about the fandom and criticism of Star Wars, or GoT, or Steven Universe, or Gamergate, or comics in general? Rotten Tomatoes?
It ain't one listicle.

Of course, everything is not terrible, and yes, that was a sweeping generalization. I do feel like too much of internet fandom and artistic criticism is shitty. I don't know how to fix it or what to do about it, but it is notable to me. YMMV.
   595. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5863241)
Of course, everything is not terrible, and yes, that was a sweeping generalization.


Good. I'm glad to see you acknowledge that you were wrong and retract your statement.
   596. Lassus Posted: July 19, 2019 at 03:04 PM (#5863243)
EDIT: Probably too late, but I've posted when I shouldn't have. THAT one I'm retracting. But not the one Vlad thinks I am.
   597. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: July 19, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5863244)
This is where the ability to post images would come in handy.

Insert Ron Burgundy ... boy that escalated quickly.gif here.
   598. Davo Posted: July 19, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5863248)
somehow I wasn’t involved
   599. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 03:31 PM (#5863259)
If your thesis is that the internet makes discussions worse, I think it’s cheating to deliberately post horseshit yourself in an effort to prove that it’s true.

There have always been shitty people with bad takes on things. They were around before the internet existed, and they’ll still be around after it’s gone.
   600. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 03:36 PM (#5863263)
Also, if you’re going to complain about “disrespectful, snarky, meme-hungry, shallow criticism,” you maybe shouldn’t start your post by saying, and I quote, “Fuck that dude.”

In this thread, you are exactly what you have been complaining about.
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