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New on DVD and Blu-Ray

Well, we’ve got quite a bit of stuff out this week, but how much of it is even slightly worth your time is much less encouraging. New titles are a complete loss, with Oren Moverman’s instantly-forgotten The Dinner being the sorry highlight in a bunch that includes Snatched, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid film. Catalog titles are better, albeit in the same way that .3 is a greater number than 0. Criterion has another gem for you to get now that the Barnes & Noble sale has been extended a week, and that’s Michael Curtiz’s To Have and Have Not adaptation The Breaking Point (which marks the Criterion debut of John Garfield). Aside from that, well, you’re on your own. The Warner Archive Collection gives us Stanley Kubrick’s favorite film of 1974, Freebie and the Bean, Shout Factory gives us both Teen Wolf films, and Kino gives us not one, but two mediocre Elvis movies. Universal at least has the decency, in the middle of a large collection of 90s mediocrities, to give us a Blu-Ray of Bowfinger.

The Babe (Universal)
BASEketball (Universal)
Bowfinger (Universal)
The Breaking Point (Criterion)
Clambake (Kino)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (Fox)
The Dinner (Lionsgate)
EDtv (Universal)
The Exception (Lionsgate)
For Love of the Game (Universal)
Frankie and Johnny (Kino)
Freebie and the Bean (Warner Archive Collection)
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner)
Problem Child (Universal)
Snatched (Fox)
Teen Wolf (Shout Factory)
Teen Wolf Too (Shout Factory)

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    Bowfinger! Such a fun movie. “This film is only for Madagascar and Iran. Neither of which follow American copyright law.”

    • Fresno Bob

      Chubby Rain.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Chubby Rain is just plausible enough as a stupid script idea.

        • Balthazar Bee

          “CIA operative Todd Del Monaco drove his ’53 Buick to meet Keith Kincaid. It had rained that day. But was it normal rain? Or was it chubby rain?”

          When catalog titles like this get a blu-ray release it makes existence perceptibly more manageable. Heck, just imagining Eddie Murphy trying to run across the freeway in heavy traffic sends me.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I laughed just thinking about that. That and Heather Graham literally sleeping her way to the top.

          • Balthazar Bee

            Ha ha, yes!

            “You slept with Jiff!”

            “So?”

            “Well I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

        • IN A WORLD where Cypher Raige exists, it certainly is.

          • Balthazar Bee

            I don’t think the results of an online search have ever made me laugh so hard. I knew you had to be telling the truth, but I just…I had to see it for myself.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            You’d think Will Smith would have the good sense to go “That name, uh, needs work.”

          • Past a certain level of power and wealth, no one’s willing to tell you when you’re being stupid. Quite the opposite, really.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Seems like a good place to repost this 30 Rock / Frinkiac mashup:

            http://i.imgur.com/edBuRD9.jpg

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    Gotcha Suckers!!

    What did we watch last night?

    • Drunk Napoleon

      Community, Season One, Episode Sixteen, “Communication Studies”
      “Oh good, now it has arrows. That’s safe.”

      “The last thing I remember is.. you were dancing like that girl… in that movie… Kids in detention?”
      Breakfast Club.”
      “Dear God. What have you done to me.”

      It’s Valentine’s Week! Jeff gets a drunk dial from Britta, and Abed realises the sitcom implications of Jeff now having power over her. What separates Abed from 99% of the other vaguely austistic pop-culture-obsessed characters on TV (let’s go with Sheldon as our counterexample to him) is that he always has one foot in the real world. He knows Jeff isn’t every White Male Slacker Protagonist ever, just one example of it with his own desires and goals; what his vast TV knowledge gives him is an understanding of social dynamics and all the ways things could play out, as well as possible solutions to problems.

      Jeff realises Abed was right, and works with him to solve the problem by creating his own drunk dial. Abed doesn’t normally drink, but he’s willing to in order to create the story, justifying himself the way so many of us have by the fact a famous director did it. At first, it appears to have gone horribly wrong, with Slater mad at Jeff and Britta seeming to have fallen in love with him… only for it to turn out Britta was messing with him, and she saves his relationship by showing Slater the message. It turns out all the work Jeff has been doing to become a better person has paid off to the point that his underlying drunken psychology simply goes with everything he’s learned.

      Meanwhile, Troy and Pierce fake having girlfriends for Valentine’s Day, which causes Chang to humiliate them; Annie and Shirley get revenge for their boys on the evil Chang, only for it to blow up in their faces when the boys are further humiliated. We get another variation on Troy redefining his manhood, coupled with the group all becoming closer.

      Neon Genesis Evangelion, Episode Sixteen, “Splitting Of The Breast”
      Here is the point where the series finally crosses from moody character-driven action piece to full-on psychological cosmic horror. I’ve never really bothered talking about the Angels, because they were really just devices pushing the story forward – like the suitcase in Pulp Fiction, something mysterious and weird that forces the characters to act, and while they’ve been getting weirder – from “giant vaguely humanoid thing” to “giant daddy-long-legs that cries acid” to “giant octahedron with a drill” – this is the first time it’s crossed into something totally alien, and its attack isn’t physical, it’s psychological.

      At first glance, this Angel appears to be a giant zebra-patterned sphere that hovers menacingly. At the start of the episode, Shinji took the lead for the sync ratio tests, and Asuka spitefully tells him to take point if he’s so good; Shinji is in the best mood he’s been the entire show, and cockily takes her challenge on, rushing in headfirst; this is how the Angel gets him, pulling him into its shadow like cartoon quicksand, and his screams of terror make the scene a difficult watch. What they quickly figure out is that, in fact, the shadow is the Angel, and the sphere is actually the shadow caused by the particular way it defies physics.

      (From a technical perspective, I see this scene as fairly straightforward literary plotting – the Angel presents a superficial surface, and a character acts, revealing a truth, which is then expanded upon.)

      From there, the episode is divided between NERV’s desperate race against the clock to save Shinji, and Shinji trapped in the Angel. What becomes apparent outside the Angel is that Ritsuko (and through her, Gendo) prioritise retrieving the Eva much higher than anything else, including Shinji’s life, which offends and disturbs Misato. We also have Asuka smugly mocking Shinji for his actions, only to have Rei walk up to her and drop an awesomely passive-aggressive question: “Do you only pilot Eva for the praise of others?”

      What’s more interesting – certainly more spectacular – is what goes on in the Angel. At first, there’s the simple horror of Shinji realising he’s going to die, shifting from balls-out panic to grim acceptance, but then he starts to have visions, hallucinating that he’s talking to his higher self. When wallflower wrote his article on Stan Brakhage, I remarked that it felt like he’d had a strong influence on NGE, and revisiting it I was even more right than I realised.

      NGE has a very Jungian take on psychology. The scene is established with a fish-eye shot of Shinji’s face as he sits in a train, then shows him sitting across from a shadowy, younger version of himself. When Shinji speaks, we cut to a Brakhage-esque vertical reverberating white line on black; when Shinji’s shadow-self speaks, it’s a horizontal white line. As you might expect, the shadow-Shinji tells him things he tries not to think about and doesn’t want to hear.

      (Or maybe you don’t expect that, because you don’t have a 101 knowledge of Jung. This is the downside of a literary approach; I consider NGE a spectacular mix of psychology, Anno’s personal issues, Brakhage-esque style, and the Giant Robot genre, but obviously if all you care (or even know) about is that last bit, then obviously the show will become a bit of a struggle)

      Specifically, it tells him he’s afraid of what others think of him – and it specifically tells him by saying something like “I am the Shinji Ikari that exists in your mind, just as there exists a Shinji Ikari in Misato’s mind, and in Asuka’s mind, and in Gendo’s mind”. This seems like a needlessly complicated way of saying it, but it factors into how the scene plays out, as Shinji imagines what Asuka, Misato, and Gendo would say in this situation and familiar images keep flying by.

      The conversation is pretty straightforward after that, as Shinji’s higher self keeps poking and prodding at his emotional walls. Shinji wants to feel pleasure and wants to avoid pain, and fears pain too much to chase pleasure, and doesn’t understand why he can’t have pleasure without pain, and tells himself lies just so he can function. It concludes with one big clue, when he has a vision of both a female and a monstrous presence, both of which are comforting, and cries out “Mother?”.

      These visions work for me for me for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t think I’ve seen a better cinematic representation for my internal thought process (to the point that I’m kind of embarrassed about saying that) – not in terms of, like, being depressed and self-loathing, but in terms of an internal dialogue. Secondly, it’s rooted in a kind of reality – Shinji might be effectively tripping balls, but his visions are based on things that actually happened to him, and they factor into his decisions going forward (even if he’s spinning in circles).

      (This is comparable to Inception, where even if you believe the whole thing was a dream, by the story’s own logic there is still a ‘real’ Cobb waking up somewhere and feeling better about himself because of the movie’s events)

      Before NERV can put their plan in effect, the Angel begins to bleed, then bursts, and the Eva climbs out in what is simultaneously horror and absolute ownage. Like much of the horror going forward, it depends heavily on the reactions of the characters, as they’re all awestruck by the blood-soaked Eva pulling another impossible maneuver – it shouldn’t have any power at all at this point. Misato finds herself wondering what the Eva’s purpose will be after they destroy the Angels.

      Misato is the first to get into Shinji’s entry-plug, weeping; both Rei and Asuka visit him in the hospital, Rei shamelessly and Asuka with some embarrassment. Ritsuko and Gendo contemplate the Eva as they clean it, and Ritsuko cryptically asks if the Evas hate them. She observes that if Shinji and the others knew the secrets of the Angels, they’d never forgive them.

      (A little googling reveals that I’m apparently the first person to ever draw a connection between Brakhage and NGE, which I have to admit feels pretty fuckiing great. Also, the director of the episode revealed that Shinji is actually in conversation with the Angel, which I didn’t know about til now; it doesn’t matter, because it neither reinforces nor undermines my emotional reaction))

      Steven Universe, Episodes Fifteen and Sixteen, “Onion Trade” and “Steven The Sword Fighter”
      Watched two episodes today because I was sick of SU being one behind everything.

      “Onion Trade” delves into Onion, a side character who wandered through the background of older episodes. Steven is preoccupied with a lost toy, and eventually discovers Onion has a copy of it (words cannot express how boring the leadup to discovering Onion had the toy was). At first, we simply have a Day In The Life of Onion as narrated by Steven. Onion spends a few minutes each day with his father, and the rest of the day being violently weird – at one point, he throws a bunch of sauce packets on the road, runs over them in a moped, then deliberately crashes the moped causing a wall of fire.

      Steven comes to him and asks to trade a bunch of shit toys for the good one, but Onion silently refuses (Onion apparently does not speak). Steven gets a magical replicator off Amethyst, and trades the replicator for the toy; Onion then causes chaos with the replicator that Steven and the Gems must fix. Long story short, Onion stole Steven’s toy, Steven realises Onion was lonely between his visits with his father, and agrees to give Onion his toy.

      “Steven the Sword Fighter” is another official Episode I Liked, having a complete story that starts at the start of the episode, finishes at the end, and wastes no time in the middle. Steven and the Gems watch a samurai movie, and Pearl criticises the sword play; an off-hand remark about teaching Steven swordplay was a clear mistake, seeing that Steven loves learning new shit (his most endearing trait to me).

      She demonstrates swordfighting using a hologram she generates, and it’s totally boss. It’s a clear mini-drama, with Pearl being forced to adapt and work. When Steven begs to be taught swordplay, she accedes, and shows him the most basic techniques; when he expresses boredom, it’s enough to distract Pearl and get her killed by the hologram. Steven freaks out, but learns that when Gems get killed, they simply retreat to their gemstones to heal.

      Two weeks later, Pearl still hasn’t regenerated. Steven’s room has become a mess, because Pearl usually helps him clean. He becomes bored waiting, and decides to try to use the still-active hologram to temporarily replace her (hilariously, they covered it with a sheet and repeatedly refer to it as ‘creepy’). Because it has about the sentience of a spambot, this fails repeatedly multiple times, and the various things Steven puts on it trying to make it Pearl are amusing.

      It climaxes in Steven giving up, only to accidentally set off the fight practice mode. Steven manages to defeat it alone when he remembers a piece of Pearl’s advice – “Wait for the perfect moment” – and realises it jitters occasionally; he jams a mop into it when it jitters, killing it. Pearl regenerates right when Steven is about to learn a lesson about patience, which is ordinarily a standard joke but feels like an overall aesthetic of the show – it never feels like things advance on this show! No hugging, no learning.

      (There’s also a funny runner where Amethyst tries eating the cloud thing she floats on and ends up being a balloon; things like this are much funnier when they actually have a story to interrupt)

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        One thing I love is that Abed is NOT asexual – a lot of that isn’t onscreen but this Abed, he fucks.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Only thing is, he probably would fix the cable.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            He’ll fix the cable and remind you of your distant father.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Game of Thrones – At last a glorious, terrifying battle with the dragons in Westeros. Whoever did the sound design here deserves an Emmy – the sounds of Dragon’s wings, the crunching of the armor, everything burning – really great stuff along with absolutely visceral direction (a highlight are the quick cuts to each of Bran and Littlefinger’s close ups). Pet peeve here is the AVC reviewer asking who we are rooting for which for me seems like massively missing the point. Reading your comments here has helped me understand what I felt while watching GoT, that sense of drama: I understand all the sides (even Cersei’s to some extent) and I sympathize with some characters and allies more than others but ultimately I don’t watch to feel any sense of good and evil battle. The entire point here is to see each perspective, especially any conflict doesn’t mean much when the White Walkers are coming.

      Rick and Morty – PICKLE RICCCCKKKK. This is one of those key episodes that balances silly insanity and something very essential to the show, that Rick’s silly insanity is entertaining but also poisonous and as Dr. Wong says is just lazy and easier than the work of being around others. That Rick & Morty can make this cognitive dissonance (we love Rick’s bullshit but know he’s basically awful) the key factor is a miracle.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Last time I watched GoT, I came to the conclusion that it had a perfectly solid dramatic construction undermined by a Ship of Theseus problem – unlike, say, The Shield, there’s no one story holding the whole thing together, and eventually I just get burned out on it.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          The White Walkers and the Iron Thing are what hold all of it together really but it depends I think on if you need more of a core element, which isn’t an issue for me. GoT has tons of others problems though: it’s gotten broader every year, some of the writing is far too exposition heavy, and it was pretty rapey (I cannot emphasize enough how much at least half of the sexual violence didn’t need to be there, though I’d make a case for Sansa because it makes dramatic sense). That all being said, it has the absolute best action spectacle on television and at its finest it nails these moments of horrror and loss as you see the wars consume the entire continent.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            Yeah, I need people I care about; the end of season three killed off most of the last few characters I gave an actual shit about, and it was only when I heard about the oncoming rape scene between Jamie and Cercei that I realised I just didn’t give a shit about what was happening anymore and needed an excuse to stop watching.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            That was a weird, weird example of the entire creative team not knowing how to direct or write the scene properly.

            I mean I’m there for Tyrion, Sansa, most of them! Except for Littlefinger. I’m down for Littlefinger being just gone.

          • DJ JD

            There are a lot of places that the show suffers from issues the book doesn’t have to even consider, and the whole use of erotic material is a big one for me. The rapeyness just “feels” different on a screen than it does on the page, and they just make problems for themselves out of thin air along the way. I’m not really a fan of the whole sexposition thing for a similar reason: I get the point, but then you have characters like Ros that you have to, you know, do something with in a cast that’s already overstuffed.

            Sansa: as a fan of the books, I was more surprised that Sansa came out of the experience structurally intact, like with all her limbs and bits still attached. I get why they didn’t go with poor Jeyne Poole, but putting Sansa there still felt like something of a cheat. Of course, since the books haven’t / won’t come out, who knows if this is where she was heading anyway.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            It felt like narrative streamlining to me so that seemed reasonable (people who love the books/hate the series do seem to forget that they’re two wildly different mediums with different storytelling methods).

          • I feel like the ideal version of this story is somewhere between the show & the books. The books need better editing and focus, but the show overindulges on the worst temptations of the setting. There’s so much greatness in there to work with, but neither one has fully found it all.

          • DJ JD

            I feel like the books started strong and then lost their way. I *loved* the cold hard slap to the face those books offered on the “noble king” and “justified force” and all the other Goode Kinge Arthur tropes and cliches we’ve absorbed and Disneyfied without really looking at. I mean, I found it almost a liberating experience to read. Then the last book happened and oy…

            I don’t know if this is true or not, but I had a commenter at AVC tell me that Dany went to Meereen because Martin wanted to comment on American involvement in Iraq. Incoming personal bias here, but I could totally see that because the tone, plot and forward momentum of the books just ground to a halt there. How much time did we spend with Tyrion bumming around siege camps while everyone around him shit themselves to death?

          • The first book had a solid through line – “Who Killed John Arryn?” – and as the books progressed, they get bogged down in their own minutiae. The Harry Potter books did something similar (you can chart the bloat as you get deeper in both stories), but JKR had a strong line through all 7 books, whereas GRRM feels like he’s lost his. The fact he has more worldbuilding to do probably doesn’t help.

          • DJ JD

            That’s funny, because I was never that worried about who killed John Arryn–or where Unka Stark got off to, or Dany’s early anythings, etc. if I’m honest. I was much more interested Tyrion as a “main” character insofar as I cared about one. More than that, I followed the bigger-picture flow of the War of the Five Kings, and how that developed outside of any one person’s ability to stop the flow of events towards increasingly horrifying outcomes.

            But more than that, the whole thing read very “real” to me in a way practically nothing else does. I thought the way the nobility treats the smallfolk was very much of a piece with the way Froissart described the English and French ceasing hostilities to team up and murder the hell out of a spontaneous peasant rebellion during the Hundred Years’ War, so I read the first few books with a certain distance. (The intricate ways that Martin uses the device of the unreliable narrator help keep me at arms’ length, too. I respect those books for that, but they are complicated if you decide to dig deep.)

          • I was never fully interested in the answer to that question, either, but it gave motivation for Ned Stark’s adventures, which set him up vs Cercei, etc. As it expands, it does have the sweep of reading history than straight fiction, which I’m down with, except it slogs through its details instead of integrating them.

            You might like this: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2013/mar/24/game-of-thrones-realistic-history

          • DJ JD

            I did indeed like that! Martin himself said he wanted to capture very close to this: a sense of something as chaotic as the War of the Roses, only without the sense of historically-established foreknowledge. (I think his exact phrase was “when the two princes go up the tower, they don’t come back down again.”) That is also very close to what I enjoy about the books. By using movies as a primary source of widespread dissemination of history knowledge, we get an awful lot of anachronistic thinking associated with people who almost certainly didn’t think that way. ASoIaF is great about not making that mistake.

            (That said, no argument from me about “it slogs through its details instead of integrating them” and it’s gotten worse over time.)

          • If you like GRRM’s sense of history, have you read Guy Gavriel Kay? His novels are very close to history (to the point where if you know your history, you can figure out what’ll happen). He’s not as imaginative as GRRM, but his prose & characterization are better.

          • DJ JD

            I haven’t, but I’ll add him to my list. Thank you!

          • The Lions of al-Rassan is probably his best. Three main protagonists in a tangled romance amidst a looming war.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            It’s really clear that Martin had the first three books mapped out and ready to go– which is why he was able to turn them out so quickly– but then his plan beyond that was much less clear. At first he wanted to skip ahead in time, but that didn’t work, so he decided to just write all the stuff that happened in the meantime, which led to two books that took a decade to produce featuring a bunch of tertiary characters and characters we’d never seen before and like three important plot points to the major characters.

            I really don’t think he has written anything for The Winds of Winter that wasn’t supposed to be in A Dance With Dragons, and I don’t think he will.

          • DJ JD

            Me neither, on both points. I bet he gets WoW out in some form or another eventually, but I’ve given up any hope of him finishing the book series.

            I could really get behind your take on the series at large: I thought the first few books were propulsive in a way that just didn’t happen starting in book four. Storm of Swords had the Red Wedding, Red Viper’s entrance and exit, Tywin’s downfall, etc. etc. etc. and Feast for Crows has…Sansa pretending to be Alayne, a lot? Lady Stoneheart raises some hell but we never really see it and it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Yeah, I could get behind that take on the larger design here.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I think @ZoeZDean:disqus described it really well in one of our “What did we watch?” threads– in the first few books, a character will go on a journey somewhere in a chapter, we’ll get their thoughts and experiences, and by the end of the chapter they’ve reached their destination. By books four and five, that journey takes the entire book.

            Martin needed an editor terribly. It’s bad enough that AFFC almost completely veered away from the main plot for a bunch of side stories (Brienne rides around and discovers war is hell, over and over and over again!) and that ADWD bloated so much he had to simply cut off the climax for publication rather than edit down any of the repetitive dreck beforehand, but worse that his writing increasingly veered into irrelevant description, between-the-lines hints, and death fakeouts, instead of, you know, well-written characters taking action.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Bryan Fuller watched the infamous Sansa rape scene and commented that it was actually fairly tactful and PG-13, so to speak. Nothing’s seen, it’s all suggested, which is probably what made it so much worse for people.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I think if people didn’t have the baffling Cersei-Jaime scene the season before, the Sansa scene would have been much better received, both for being filmed (relatively) tastefully and for being plot-necessary. But fucking up the first time created a sense of, “No, you guys shouldn’t try this again” among a lot of people.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Which was likely for the best. Season six and seven are still enjoyably pervy but the sexual violence is very clearly gone because the writers couldn’t pull that crap anymore (the 180 on Sansa in season 6 is very satisfying).

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Re: Show vs books, re: rape… As much as the show has botched this in several ways, I’m reminded that the pilot actually shows Dany being raped by her new husband to consummate the marriage, and plays it straight… While in the book, where she is canonically thirteen, it’s written as “at first it’s rape but then she gets into it,” because… Well, because fantasy authors are a bunch of fuckin’ perverts.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        I’ve been reading some of the comments on Rick and Morty this season, and I’m seeing a surprising number that sympathize / identify with Jerry, or call him some kind of stabilizing influence on the family, and I just don’t see it. Being opposed to Rick, a toxic person in many ways, doesn’t by definition make him non-toxic. Jerry is still ineffectual and needy, constantly angling for validation even though he doesn’t really do anything to deserve it– and in many ways is just as self-absorbed as anyone else in the family.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I think that Jerry is pretty insufferable but I do think the one thing you can say about him as a person is that unlike Beth he seems to understand how Rick is destructive, and while that conflict comes from his lack of attachment to Rick (where Beth can’t confront Rick about literally anything) at least someone is aware of what’s happening. I wouldn’t say I identify with Jerry at all though, he’s a hilariously pathetic person (kudos to Parnell for his needling, endlessly meek performance).

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Yeah, I think that’s probably right. I just feel like he’s insufferable in a way that’s a definite character flaw, not a personality flaw, and a lot of people are overlooking that because they identify with his perspective on Rick. (Am I the only one who remembers that the major conflict of the pilot is Jerry wanting to put Rick in a nursing home, somewhere he most incredibly obviously doesn’t belong?)

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            He’s defined by his neediness pretty much. It speaks volumes that all the Ricks are fairly different but all the Jerry’s in one way or another are pretty much the same.

            In retrospect that’s hilarious because Rick would just escape in like 30 seconds and probably try to murder Jerry.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I could see Rick doing some kind of ironic punishment for Jerry, like fiddling with his brain so that he requires round-the-clock care but is still fully aware of his surroundings, like what sometimes happens to stroke victims. That would be really dark even for this show, though.

        • Jerry reminds me of Howard in In the Company of Men (the Matt Molloy character): a beta male who thinks that’s a morally superior position. The difference is that Rick is not Chad–he just doesn’t care enough about Jerry to destroy him. Jerry might be collateral damage in Rick’s schemes but not the target, and In the Company of Men that’s reversed.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Oh, “a beta male who thinks that’s a morally superior position” is so spot on, especially after I read some comments after last week’s episode, where Morty takes out some of his anger toward Jerry in Mad Max world, saying things like “You couldn’t stand up for yourself? Fight to keep your family together?”, to the effect of “Wow, Morty is kinda crossing into MRA territory, isn’t he?” …No, no, he isn’t, and it really worries me that so many people can’t see the difference between the two.

          • Man, last week was great, and so much about the way cartoons (especially this one) can be psychologically acute, sick-as-fuck, and fun all at once. The repressed was returning just all over the place with that one.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            It was pretty fantastic, especially how electricity ruins the escape Summer wants for herself and how the nihilism completely deflates when all the basic needs are met.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I also realized, thinking about it, that Jerry is very similar to Rich Sommer’s character in GLOW in this regard.

      • PICKLE RRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK. I don’t have a lot to add here except that I liked the episode the most in its first five minutes, which are hilarious as fuck. The deeper it gets into the psychology scenes, the less interesting it becomes, especially with that big monologue by the psychologist at the end, which I guess could have been cathartic but also feels sort of like a dump.

    • Twin Peaks, The Return, Part 13 – a little disjointed, in the same way as last week’s episode. The “we just made an 18 hour movie and chopped it up!” thing works wonderfully sometimes, but this last pair of episodes have started out with super-exciting plot-important stuff and then had 15-20 minutes of goofy weirdness tacked on the end, which makes for some odd pacing. That said, the musical callback at (almost) the end of this episode was so unexpectedly brilliant that I couldn’t stop laughing. Also, the Dougie stuff was delightful.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        It’s become increasingly clear, too, that what we’re watching is not exactly chronological.

    • Fresno Bob

      I re-watched Shin Godzilla, which is now my second favourite out of the 30+ Godzilla films. What played like a gonzo satire the first time I watched it has settled into a procedural drama with a lot of gravity, and an exploration of how disaster response moves through the mechanisms of a complex democratic system. There is humour, but this film is far more serious about its subject than it seemed at first blush, and it’s a highly accomplished entry in the series. The casting of Patterson is the only weak spot, not so much because she’s a bad actress, but rather that she was miscast as an American with Japanese background (she is clearly NOT American judging by her grasp of English and her accent).

      Also, the Italian howler Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man, which is apparently an attempt to cash in on the hard hitting style of The French Connection, but it misses the point entirely. It’s hilariously misguided, and the two “hero” cops are way worse than any of the bad guys, essentially killing and screwing their way through their job and failing miserably. It benefits from a manic tone, some pretty great stunt work, and generally being incomprehensible and stupid.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        The title Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man sounds like a very fun and stupid Adult Swim show.

      • Shin Godzilla is finally coming to my local indie cinema next month! I’ve only scratched the surface of the series, but I’m really looking forward to it.

        Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man has some really fun action scenes, but it drags a bit in between them. I keep meaning to watch more of those Eurocrime / Poliziotteschi (yes I had to look up how to spell this) films because they’re superbly trashy and insane.

    • I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of three scenes of Twin Peaks: E 13.

      The first is Audrey, who feels like she’s two people. Her story, right now, feels like she was cut out of the first two acts of the reboot due to contractual issues and is suddenly being readded after those disputes were cleared. But, this episode and season has been all about twos and Audrey might be something dual right now.

      This may be tied with Big Ed, who spends the last 3 minutes of the show eating soup and burning a piece of paper. But, there’s something off about this scene: his reflection in the window moves independently or out of sequence from real life Ed, and he takes note of that before burning the paper.

      And then there’s Mrs Palmer watching an old boxing match stuck in a time loop.

      Of course, these seem to tie in with James Fucking Hurley and the zombie twins singing Just You and I. Booooooo. BOOOOOOOOOO!!!

      I dunno if we’ll ever see what these loose ends mean, but good God are there a lot of balls in the air as we come into the final five.

      • I found this second Audrey scene much more intriguing than the first, largely because of the husband’s weirdo line that was something like “do you want your story to end?” which was just “off” enough to set my teeth on edge. Also because the long shots of him not answering her questions are hilarious.

        I totally missed the Ed stuff while watching but it seems to tie in with the end shot at the diner a few weeks ago where the patrons changed places between two shots and Shelley seemed surprised by it. There’s definitely something going on, but I’m not sure right now whether it’s actually plot important or just keeping us on our toes.

        • Seriously, this second Audrey scene had the power dynamics totally flipped in a weird way. Is that really her husband? I don’t even know because the first scene had Audrey so sure of herself and now she’s being torn apart. Billy is still missing. And why doesn’t she seem to care about Richard?

          • Now I find myself digging into Internet Theories, and the idea that she’s still in a coma and Charlie is the part of her brain that won’t let her wake up actually seems somewhat feasible… but it’ll probably turn out to be something even stranger that nobody considered.

      • Similarly, I fell down a rabbit hole of bizarro PC-culture related to GeekGirlCon, a women-first convention. This is a big fucking knot. So, hold on to your hats…

        On Sunday, the day of GGC’s big fundraiser, GGC’s operations team, a group of five volunteers, quit the convention and burned their bridges in a very dramatic fashion. Not only did they quit, but they sent a flaming letter enumerating their reasons to the GGC mail lists and briefly posted it on the GGC blog. They said that the newly appointed Executive Director, a woman of color, engaged in racism and sexism through her hiring policies and that there was also a huge misuse of funds. There was also a printing of material intended to kink shame one of the quitters, but that part has been kept quiet for now.

        Then all shit broke loose as the Twitterverse got up in arms about institutional racism and sexism, until they found out that the person promoted/hired in was a woman of color and the person passed over was a white dude. Suddenly, the whole universe flipped and the rage was directed at the quitters for using loaded language to protect their white asses. Nobody has discussed the idea that anybody can engage in sexist and racist cronyism, and it’s just as wrong when anybody does it. The reverse racism story got picked up at Bleeding Cool and The Mary Sue…and it’s becoming a thing.

        But that’s not the weirdest part. The weirdest part is about the misuse of funding.

        Remember back in the summer of 2015, when Bernie was in Seattle and was interrupted by two black women claiming to represent BLM. One of those women was Marissa J. Johnson, a former Sarah Palin-worshipping homophobe who had previously written anti-gay screeds for her school newspaper talking about tainted blood. Anyways, this year, Marissa teamed up with another woman, Leslie Mac, to start a For Profit company called Safety Pin Box (SPB). Named after the silly safety pin movement that happened in the wake of Trump’s election, these women have asked white people to pay $25-100 Per Month for the privilege of receiving a box with homework assignments to help them understand white privilege. They call it reparations and that it will help alleviate your white guilt to pay these two women money for doing…whatever. Incidentally, they also have a book coming out from Harper Perennial.

        Anyways, these women (or at least Leslie Mac) assert that some of the complaints in the quitting stem from SPB asking for a booth and asking for the space to provide a workshop from their for profit company. They were told they couldn’t be as confrontational with white people, until the GGC ED stepped in and apologized to SPB before donating money from their charitable funds to this for profit company.

        Between the misuse of funds, the mysterious kink-shaming printouts, and the diversity hiring practices…one of the quitters tried to get the board to replace the new ED, but the board held a meeting to discuss the issue and scheduled it so the complainant couldn’t be there or something (yay volunteer boards).

        TL;DR: Politics are a complete shitshow everywhere, and this incident is totally fascinating as each layer keeps coming down.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Jesus christ, that is nuts. It sounds like an endless tangle of sympathies and loyalties going every which way.

          • The Ploughman

            This is how World War I started.

        • clytie

          I had to read that twice it has so many layers.

        • Son of Griff

          I’ve been predicting something like this happening for about a year now. A shared opposition to white, male privilege does not automatically build a coalition.

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

          Is SPB now explicitly admitting they’re for profit? Originally their mission claimed to be to donate money to causes supporting black women, but they weren’t registered as a non-profit and their website contained language seeming to discourage anyone from trying to find out just how much of their profits they donated.

        • So, the development in the kink shaming is that one of the male employees had a sexual relationship (length not specified) with another volunteer (doesn’t specify male or female), who then wrote a long and detailed account of their relationship, including highly personal sexual details, to the board. The reasons for the letter were not made public – whether the relationship was a one night stand, whether the manager coerced the LW (though they do say it was between consenting adults) what the sexual details were, whether there was emotional or physical abuse, whether it was a recourse of a spurned ex, etc – leaving much speculation on whether it had worth at the boards meeting to humiliate the quitting volunteer. The ED printed up copies of the email and passed them out to the board, who immediately put the ED on a two-day administrative leave while everybody cooled their jets and the situation was “resolved internally.”

          Holy hell, though. If my ex got mad at me and tried to get me fired by sending a detailed list of my kinks, and then the ED of the company printed out and distributed that letter to my coworkers…I would be justifiably livid, and probably litigious. They do not say whether this is the same board member and manager who had an outside co-manager thrust upon his team after they claimed he wasn’t living up to their standards.

          This all came courtesy of Geekwire, who is trying to remain balanced.

          Seriously, this is all a huge and juicy hot mess.

          • Ryan Murphy on line two. He’s thinking of American Crime Story: Big Hot Juicy Tech Mess for 2018 and was wondering if you’d write up a treatment.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            That’s so obviously a lie! Like Ryan Murphy “plans out” his stories with “treatments”.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        I think something strange is going on with time in Twin Peaks. Your scenes 2 and 3 are part of that; it’s also clear we’ve been seeing stuff out of order. (The Sheriff’s Department discovers Major Briggs’ clues in episode 9; in episode 13 Bobby talks about having found them “today.”)

        With scene 1, I think the theory vomas posted is plausible, or else for some reason she’s been institutionalized. I think it’s increasingly clear, whatever is going on, that it’s decidedly not normal. (Supposedly, as with Big Ed, something strange is going on with her reflection in these scenes too, though I’ve had trouble catching either.)

    • Rick and Morty – A week behind, so this was the Mad Max pastiche. A welcome return, even if it was a bit on the nose, with the characters spelling out literally the moral of the story. Though Rick helping Morty ease into strangling the guy in the tub was great (“Now we’re both culpable.”).

      Joel McHale!

      • I’m worried that on-the-nose spelling out of morals is becoming a default for the show (it’s in the most recent episode, too). But this show is still funny as shit.

    • Baseball! No closeups, however, of Max Scherzer’s one blue eye and one brown eye.

    • Delmars Whiskers

      I Am Number Four–I have no idea why I sat through this adaptation of a shitty YA novel from James Frey’s book production factory, but as as far as movies that have no reason to exist go, this isn’t bad. Timothy Olyphant gets the Obi Wan/Mr. Miyagi part, it’s gorgeously shot by Guillermo Navarro and, best of all, it features a Noble Beagle, which really needs to become the new overused movie archetype. My dog would probably agree, but she’s too busy tipping over a load of laundry.

      • I sat through this too. I remember nothing about it. Maybe I’d have been more involved by the story if I’d seen the first three.

        *tumbleweed*

        • Delmars Whiskers

          You joke, but it actually kind of plays like a sequel, or maybe the kickoff to the second season of some nineties WB show.

          • Yeah, a lot of these YA adaptations / lesser cinematic universe movies feel like feature-length chunks extracted from TV shows that never existed. It’s a shame more of them aren’t spectacular misfires instead, that’d be more fun.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            At least IAN4 (as its fans would call it, if it had any fans) is pretty to look at, unlike your Divergents or your Maze Runners.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            The one Divergent movie I watched was a piece of shit, but importantly it was an ugly, ugly movie.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            If you like gray, formless CGI, you’ll love Divergent!

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            You want Miles Teller being the only person who doesn’t take this bullshit seriously, watch Divergent!

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          The only thing I know is it has Alex Pettyfer, who by all accounts torpedoed his career by being in bad movies and is an asshole (Channing Tatum hated him).

          • I think it was also supposed to be Dianna Agron’s breakout movie post-Glee, but she’s… not a terribly good actor. There’s probably also limited crossover audience between hyper-colourful musical theatre and dour sci-fi.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            *looks it up* Wow, Glee only started in 2009/ended in 2015, it feels like more than a decade ago!

          • Rumour has it that for some people, cut off from mainland communications, Glee never ended. As recently as last week, they’ve been found manning their stations on remote islands, just waiting for somebody to bring them home…

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            They keep singing mashups of “Message In A Bottle” and “Stranded” but no one hears them.

        • The Ploughman

          I did too (in the theater, no less!), but did not remember it until now. Is this like a Manchurian Candidate situation? Were we all captured and compelled to watch this?

    • DJ JD

      Still chipping away at Breaking Bad, and Jesse can cook!. Once again, there’s a possible way out of this where everyone gets what they want (sorta-kinda) but of course there’s no way that’s going to happen. (There’s also no way Walt survives this show, which was pretty clear fairly early on but is now really, seriously, ridiculously obvious.)

    • Bhammer100

      Logan

      “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

      “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me.”

      I think it would be interesting to watch this movie and The Wolverine back to back. With The Wolverine (which I haven’t seen since it came out in theaters), you could see James Mangold trying to make a different kind of comic book movie. And to an extent, I think he did. At least for a while. That climax didn’t work. The movie just turns into this conventional final-video-game-boss-like action spectacle. But with Logan? Holy hell, did they make a different kind of comic book movie.

      One of the sequences I can’t wait to experience again is the farm house sequence. I was shocked that they killed the entire family. I knew about the clone before watching the movie and I wasn’t too sure if I would be totally on board with it. But that moment where Logan sees X-24 coming down the stairs was fantastic. I think one of the reasons why the death of the family was so shocking is because it didn’t feel like they were in the movie just to die and give the movie some shocking violence. They had their own little story going on that this trio kind of stumbled into. It was like this little family drama that got violently interrupted by this mutant trio who leaves all sorts of carnage in their wake.

  • BASEketball and Problem Child are pretty good for what they are!

  • – Frank Oz is an underrated, if not indispensable, director. I suspect history will look back on him mainly for Bert and Cookie Monster and Miss Piggy and Yoda – and maybe that is how it ought to be – but his work behind the camera rarely produced anything that wasn’t at least somewhat fun and watchable. And he worked well with so many stars.

    – Ah, Teen Wolf. Written by Jeph Loeb. If you want to know why some of Marvel’s TV output – especially its animation – is so bland, look to Teen Wolf, one of the blandest movies of its time. While Loeb wrote some great comics, he is a dud as a screenwriter for the most part, and Teen Wolf set the tone for a mediocre career.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      He did some really good comedies!

      • Defense Against The Dark Arts

        What About Bob? directed by Frank Oz is a favorite of mine.

    • Fresno Bob

      Little Shop of Horrors (the remake) is a masterpiece. I love the original as well, but it’s a case of a remake (based on a musical based on an original) that equals or surpasses the original.

  • Delmars Whiskers

    Slip into some ankle warmers, strap on some skates and roll around interminably to some ELO–Xanadu was released thirty-seven years ago today! Still the only movie that has made me physically ill from watching it. Okay, I was probably already coming down with something, but that endless roller disco scene at the end did make me run to the bathroom and vomit repeatedly. I’m pretty sure that’s what they were going for, right?

    • Fresno Bob

      I will never not pass up the chance to mention that Xanadu had the same production budget as The Empire Strikes Back, which came out the same year. How that movie could LOOK so expensive and so shitty at the same time is something of a miracle.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Hint: cocaine.

        • Delmars Whiskers

          Yeah, this movie is basically Tony Montana’s coke desk magically come to life.

  • BurgundySuit

    Come join the fun for Year of the Month (from an idea by Elizabeth Lerner)!
    Possible books here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_in_literature Movies here: https://letterboxd.com/hfilums/year/1985/ And music here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_in_music

    August 9th: Jacob Thomas Klemmer: Vagabond
    August 10th: Drunk Napoleon: Back to the Future
    August 11th: Gillianren: The Black Cauldron
    August 13th: Balthazar Bee: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
    August 15th: Vomas: Summer Rental
    August 16th: clytie: Smooth Talk
    August 17th: BurgundySuit: Best of the Hot 100
    August 18th: BurgundySuit: Worst of the Hot 100
    August 19th: John Bruni: Neil Young’s Old Ways
    August 20th: Son of Griff: The Breakfast Club
    August 21st: Miller: Hard Rock Zombies
    August 22nd: Wallflower: Into the Night
    August 24th: The Ploughman: Ender’s Game
    August 25th: Jacob Thomas Klemmer: Tampopo
    August 27th: Bhammer: Ran
    August 28th: ZoeZ: Lonesome Dove
    August 29th: Lgauge: Hail Mary

    • Drunk Napoleon

      I just uploaded my essay to the Solute’s databases! Luckily only a little over half of it is about my relationship to the film instead of the film itself.

      • Balthazar Bee

        I kept struggling with that too. I suspect many of us were at or around the culturally formative sweet spot in 1985, so the way we experienced a lot of these texts has become an inextricable part of the story.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          I absolutely believe talking about my relationship to the film is a virtue in this case – I was born in 1990, so I’ll bet my reaction to it is a little different from those who saw it in theatres as kids (in fact, I’ll be interested to read other’s reactions along those lines!). I was just being self-deprecating.

  • Son of Griff

    Re-watched PSYCHO for the umpteenth millionth time, and the damn thing always provokes more thoughts and observations This is the first time I’ve revisited after a road trip to Arizona a few years ago, and the manner in which the automobile, and the hotel room, stands in as both a metaphor for the psychological state of its characters and as a proscenium for the viewer, is stunning orchestrated. If NORTH BY NORTHWEST was a guide through America’s present, overbearing sense of self worth in an era of unrivaled economic supremacy, PSYCHO is a meditation on how we constantly regress to the past. The anxieties of noir become overshadowed by horror here, and their is a distinct assertion of an evil here that transcends the mere amalgamation of economics and psychology.

    Paul Newman accused Hitchcock of being dismissive of the “Method”, but if there is a key performance in movie history that validates that approach, it is Anthony Perkins interpretation of Norman Bates. Perkins’ twitchiness aligns with the directors claustrophobic perfectionism to create a work that feels organic that, in less disciplined hands, might have felt self conscious. The rhythm of the dialogue scene where Arbogast interrogates Bates is unrivalled in its conversationally naturalistic rhythm in Hitchcock’s cinema. In the mirrored version of this scene near the climax, you sense that the director chose to cut the scene down because John Gavin just didn’t have the same chops to go against Perkins that Martin Balsam did.

    With PSYCHO and THE BIRDS, Hitchcock foresaw the cultural changes in movie culture that divided Classic Hollywood from the New. He sensed a changing taste and demographic shift in the audience, as younger people sought a new sensationalism in suspense in a more permissive cultural environment, and you sense that by the 70s, the rest of the industry caught on. It seems odd that, for the next three films, Hitchcock focused on material that diverged from these instincts.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      One of the most important aspects of Psycho is that Norman is likeable – compared to the novel its a change that has echoed in every iteration of the character, from the sequels to Bates Motel. What Hitchcock understood is that Norman is so much more unnerving in retrospect if he is kind and mild because we are forced to juxtapose these two aspects of his personality. Psycho is so powerful because like Dracula it supports a dozen readings. It preys on our deepest anxieties about exteriors and what lies beneath them, the secrets of the lonely young man, the possible horror in the parent-child relationship.

    • Hitchcock had a shot set up in I Confess where Montgomery Clift was supposed to walk out of a building and look in a certain direction – the actor asked Hitchcock what would happen if his character didn’t want to look in that direction! that’s what Hitchcock was opposed to: the kind of process that destroyed his specific visual plan for a film. fond as I am of Clift, I do find that story quite funny.

  • Not to go too soon again to the “let’s gripe about the AVC” well, but hoooooly shit, this overhaul of the comments looks like it’s going to be a disaster.