• Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

    What did we watch?

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky
      “Get ready to give me more of that bite.”

      God damn I love saying Darren Aronofsky’s name.

      One of those perfect movies, and by that I don’t mean it was one of my particular favourites (I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again), I mean that every element – character, plot, theme, and style – is perfectly chosen and bounces off each other and comes together into one complex yet elegant film; ballet and womanhood and power and arrested adolescence and art and Aronofksy’s style. I struggle to choose an element to focus on first, and I think I have to use the theme of power and control, because everything else seems to flow from that.

      Nina wants absolute control over her life, which is probably what made her fall in love with the highly-disciplined art of ballet independent of her mother pushing her into it but also has lead to her arrested development* – obviously, people of any age can enjoy stuffed animals and pink and hate parties and drinking and casual sex, but it’s pretty obvious that Nina’s choices come from an overwhelming fear of lack of control instilled in her by the failure of every authority figure in her life, from her mother to her director. L

      The movie is almost exclusively intense closeups and wides, because Aronofsky almost exclusively shows us two things: the relationship characters have to the space around them, and characters analysing what’s going on around them so they can figure out how to control it; this makes Lily stand out as the only character in the movie who’s not looking to control the people around her (drugging Nina’s drink being the sole exception).

      This spills out into the discussions the movie has about art. Like any good movie about a job, Aronofsky shows us the process of developing a ballet performance; the specific question it raises is discipline vs feeling, with Nina having a powerful discipline and little feeling, which makes her well-equipped to play the White Swan and not great for the Black Swan. If the movie has anything specific to say on the subject, I’d say it’s the emotional cost of deliberately swinging for either extreme.

      *yes, yes, that’s the name of the show

      LOST, Season One, Episode Twenty-One, “Born To Run”
      “Hey Sawyer. I want your spot, I’ll get your spot.”

      “This is track 2. It’s called Monster Eats The Pilot.”
      Another pretty great episode with a pretty poor set of flashbacks. Kate really reminds me of Skyler in that she simply has no clear singular goal, let alone two equally valid ones, except this time I really have no idea what the writer’s problem is. Maybe it’s a preoccupation with keeping Kate mysterious and keep us guessing at what she’ll do; this only serves to undermine her character.

      Everyone else gets powerful drama going on though. It’s kind of a repeat of Walt burning the raft with Sun poisoning Michael accidentally when she’s aiming for Jin, but a lot of great character is revealed – Sawyer spills the beans on Kate’s fugitive status and confidently doesn’t apologise later for it, basically saying “You forced my hand”, Walt confesses to burning the raft, and Sun being willing to keep quiet with Kate. Meanwhile, the hatch is moving along, as Jack and Locke agree to open the hatch over Sayid (sorry, Sayid, as a viewer I’m totally on their side). Walt giving Locke a mysterious warning after being lightly touched is, like, the cheapest way of advancing mythology, but it works.

      Ownage: N/A! Maybe the episode wasn’t that great.

      Also, I took a break from every other book so I could slam out Blood Meridian, but now I finished it and I’m working through The Big Nowhere again, and before I get any further into it I wanna say that Danny Upshaw is definitely gay so that when it’s revealed I can say I called it. Don’t say either way if he is though, I want to feel the smug sense of satisfaction when I’m right.

      • Blood Meridian is a goddamn beast of a book. For all its alleged difficulty, it’s a fast read, and the Judge is frightening. Harold Bloom believes it’s the most violent book he’s ever read, and if anyone would know that, it’s him.

        • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

          I’ll start a book thread, and I’ll bring my BM notes from the Avocado Book Nook over.

          • I lurk sometimes in the Avocado, but the conversations move too fast for me to keep up. Large internet groups intimidate me.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            I learned, after a while, that engaging in the “Politics Thread” for a long enough period of time on the Avocado was never a good idea. It became a little too Pavlovian for me, posting links to get up votes. At least here, there’s a more comprehensive conversation that I get engaged with.

        • PCguy

          In the Rouge Blood is way more violent. One of the main characters gets scalped which makes wearing his hat painful. It’s a depressing book.

          If you are interested in the construction of BM Sepich’s Notes on Blood Meridian is finally back in print. It’s the definitive catalog of the collage of historical allusions that make up the novel.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          It DOES have literal bushes of burning babies and I can’t think of any other book with those so yes, I guess Harold Bloom is right on that front (damn it I hate when Bloom is right).

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            I know it’s horrible of me but I always burst out laughing whenever McCarthy goes to the dead baby well, not because it’s actually funny but because the shock factor of it is that strong.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            No judgements here, I laughed at Beverly getting hit with tons of blood in It.

          • Miller

            -What do you get, he said.
            The Kid stared.
            -When you throw a babe on the thorn tree. What do you get.
            The Kid looked away at the Golgotha of infant mandibles and crania still slick with blood draped among the branches. A festooning of totems in the celebration of some dark god.
            -An erection, he said. You get an erection.

      • hellgauge

        No Ownage in Black Swan? 😉

        • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

          It felt kind of tasteless to even bring up the concept for this movie, to be honest.

          • hellgauge

            Yeah, I was just making light of the fact that you did bring it up a few times recently for movies where I wouldn’t expect to see it (though none quite in the realm this one occupies, to be fair).

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            I was very surprised to be able to mention it for Chungking Express. I actually also forgot to bring it up for Mulholland Drive, even though that has the hitman scene.

          • The ownage in MD is in Winkie’s Diner and Silencio, and it’s Lynch owning us. “Look, I’m going to tell you what will happen, and you know exactly what to expect, but I’m so good that you’ll still be freaked out or deeply moved.”

          • And now that I’ve stared at that gif of Watts for enough time, I’m kicking myself for forgetting – the audition where she takes control of that dumb uninspired scene is absolutely next-level ownage on Betty’s part, tinged with tragedy if we interpret it as ownage that Diane wishes she was capable of in “reality”, but isn’t.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            The hitman scene in “Mulholland Drive” seemed more comical to me, at least when I first saw it. (At least the first one, where the two of them are scheming in the crummy apartment building).

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            The initial murder that kicks it off definitely tastes like ownage to me!

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            Hmm…guess I should re-watch “Mulholland Drive” then, and see how it holds up!

      • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

        I think “Black Swan” might be a favorite Aronofsky of mine, because it explores a world I am completely foreign to (NYC ballet scene), and because it’s having so much fun playing around in that milieu, creating a scary psychological/semi-body horror world from (of all the things) Swan Lake.

        Given the durability of that ballet (credit to David Denby for that particular term), Aronofsky has a lot of room to explore the mythical elements, and transposing them over a modern-day setting is what makes it so delightful for me.

      • Cennywise The Ploughn

        A friend of mine pointed out Black Swan and the The Wrestler are mirror images – one about struggling with ideal feminism and one about struggling with ideal masculinity and now I have a tough time seeing them any other way.

        • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

          I believe Aronofsky said the former showed the horror in high art and the latter showed the beauty in low art.

    • Big Night – Wonderful movie, more complex than the premise would lead you to think. Two brothers from Italy run a fine but failing restaurant, competing with the trendy Italian restaurant across the street. The brothers are so well drawn, and there’s such a deep familial feeling between them, but it’s never said outright. You know they’re the kind of brothers who will yell and curse each other all day long, then hug and go home, and do it again tomorrow. The cast is amazing (Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Isabella Rossellini, Ian Holm, Minnie Driver, Allison Janney).

      And the food! Holy crap, it looked incredible. And the way it expressed the food was great – it was art, it was an excuse to gather, it was a service to others. Everything from the large timpano pasta to a simple omelette was treated carefully. Even if the dramatic elements stumbled, it’d be worth watching for the food alone.

      • Miller

        If Big Night is not a perfect movie it is damn close, and its ending is sublime. As you say the cast is great throughout but I really love Janney as the secondary love interest — she’s a great actress who usually gets more character-type roles and while minor this is a straight-up romantic role for her and she is ridiculously charming.

    • Kicking and Screaming. A frighteningly relatable movie, this, and I could hardly have seen it at a better/worse time in my post-graduation life. Everything rings true, save for a small handful of lines that unmistakably sound like Baumbach and not one of his characters being too impressed with himself, and there’s a tiny yet crucial editing mistake in the penultimate airport scene (in an inspired touch, the camera stays on the desk clerk for several seconds after she asks for Grover’s passport, but when Baumbach finally cuts to him, he’s only just raising his head to react, when he should have already been staring at her blankly for a while). But hey, when these are the kinds of missteps you’re making on your first movie in your mid-20s, you’re doing really damn well for yourself. There’s enough hilarious lines and on-point observations both verbal and visual to lose count of them several times over, there’s no weak link in the ensemble (and it’s always such a joy to see Chris Eigeman and Parker Posey work their magic with well-written dialogue such as this), and the two-scene ending is a killer. Went to see a discussion under D’Angelo’s old Scenic Routes piece afterwards, and of course the first thing I see is people slamming this for being about privileged douchebags who sit around doing nothing and complain about it, and apparently it’s a problem that the movie neither celebrates them nor takes them down, when to me that’s the best thing about it. (See also: certain works of Linklater, R.) Because, like, just basic empathy and honesty and understanding are good, right things, you know.

      • Miller

        I saw this a year out of college so I really can’t be objective, it is one of my favorite movies. But I think the dialogue could be obnoxious if you’re not feeling the mood, it is young people being anxiously clever to cover their inactivity as opposed to the young people of Whit Stillman, whose characters are also well-off but more urbane and generally less poseur-y. That said, good god is this movie hilarious and ultimately pretty cutting about how its characters hide from reality. Also, the soundtrack is fantastic. Now, give me eight movies about monkeys!

      • Spooky Narrator Man

        Ha, I didn’t see this until now. Now you can read Seventeen Magazine and finally get all the references.

    • hellgauge

      Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives: Sickness and death as communion with the spirit world. I suppose one might naively assume (as I did) that naming a film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is making a statement about the plot of the film. As it turns out, this is mainly just a character trait and not even that significant. Though having understood this, you are also approaching the mind space of this film, where the supernatural interacts with the everyday in a, well, everyday sort of way. Maybe I’m asserting too Western a view by saying this, but to me ghosts, spirits and supernatural creatures have always been structures and metaphors that guide, contextualize and explain the difficult aspects of life. So when here, for instance, a dead family member suddenly shows up at dinner when the two people related to her (by marriage and blood respectively) have just met for the first time in a long while, it’s only natural to interpret this as a metaphor for how the memories of loved ones are really ghosts that we summon forth when we talk about them or simply by being close to other people who also loved them.

      In any case, the film’s mixture of the mundane and the seemingly fantastic makes for fascinating viewing experience. For the most part, the film is very loosely composed and edited, but ultimately what Weerasethakul puts inside the frame is anyway conjuring something quite distinct. Very crudely described, it’s mundane realism meets folk tale mysticism. Which isn’t to say that the film avoids the political either. I’m unfortunately quite ignorant about Thai history, but there are some distinct references to military actions and political unrest that are hard to disentangle from the story the film is trying to tell. I remember hearing some accusations that the film’s politics were irresponsible, but again that’s hard to comment on. I did find it a bit troubling when the film so casually had the titular character talk about “killing commies” like it was the smallest thing in the world, though I think the rest of the film (while not really criticizing him personally) is still an indictment of the mindset that he represents. The use of the monkey beast ghosts (?) seems to imply a part of the population that have been hunted and alienated from the rest and the way this relates to Boonmee’s son is fairly interesting.

      As ensnaring as the film is, I’m not entirely on Weerasethakul’s wavelength. While some parts had me eyes glued to the screen, others appear more perfunctory. I also wonder how much more I would get out of the film knowing more about Thai culture and history. Still, I did like this a lot and I love how different an approach to cinema this is. The combination of the mundane and the normalization of the supernatural and the marriage of these in a slow cinema aesthetic is certainly not anything you’ll see in Western cinema (outside of pale imitations). I did also like this a bit more than Cemetery of Splendor, so if the trend continues I may yet find Weerasethakul film to truly love.

      • Crimson Pico

        I think overall this is my least favorite of his features – which is still like a B+ for me – mostly because of the looseness you mention above, but I do think the final twenty minutes or so are an absolute knockout. One thing I think Weerasethakul does better than anyone is use still photographs to create a kind of trance-like effect. It’s hard to explain, but after seeing images in motion, having the frozen images stay in front of your eyes for seconds at a time disrupts the rhythm in a really unnerving way, and when he uses that to show the first (and only) images of the soldiers, it creates this ghostly effect that, for me, is far more effective than the monkey suits (note the ill-fitting gorilla costume in the photos, almost as self-commentary). Like you’re communing with the echoes of the people who were there before, and who committed atrocities.

        Then when the timeline splits at the end? It’s an ecstatic moment for me. He gets under my skin in ways nobody else does.

        (FWIW the accusations of political irresponsibility came from a user who’s no longer hanging out here, and seem to contradict what Weerasethakul’s interviews and other films. But I’m not an expert on this, so…)

        • hellgauge

          I really enjoyed those moments you mentioned too, together with the sequence in the cave (especially as we see the water draining out of Boonmee as he’s dying, as if we’re seeing his spirit leave his body) and the sequence with the princess, those are for sure my favorite moments and they all worked really well. The rest was interesting, but less engaging. I think you probably connect more with Weerasethakul than I seem too, but I have no problem seeing where you’re coming from and if certain elements had landed slightly differently I could see myself having the same reaction.

          [That user was the first time I had heard about that, though I feel like I’ve since heard that accusation elsewhere too. I’m not super concerned by it though, especially since its hardly my place to critique a depiction of issues I know next to little about from half-way around the world.]

          • Crimson Pico

            I had an intense, almost physical reaction to Tropical Malady, and there’s something about his moments of the supernatural that get under my skin in the same way that Lynch does (I tried to explain Syndromes and a Century as “Lynch doing Chekhov”, which sounds like shouldn’t work, but hell yeah it does.) But I’ve had next to zero luck getting any of my friends to enjoy him, though, and it’s helped me better appreciate the idea of something being “not for me” when it’s my turn to dislike something. Some things are for me, and it’s okay if they’re not for other people, etc.

          • hellgauge

            It’s very understandable if people aren’t into him I’d say. His cinema is truly foreign in a meaningful way, compared to a lot of “world cinema” that is simply the same kinds of stories and structures told in a different culture and with slightly different aesthetics.

    • Child’s Play 2 – a really solid sequel, in fact it’s an improvement on the original in many ways. The puppet FX are better, the cast is solid and the big set-pieces and death scenes are inventive (especially Grace Zabriskie’s demise, which is hilarious). Bringing in a second protagonist to take some of the load off the kid was also a smart move (and she’s great). It does get a bit bogged down in “Chucky’s finally dead! Oh no he isn’t!” repetition towards the end but eh, that’s all part of the genre I guess. Good fun.

      • Miller

        The poster image was used in newspaper ads and scared the absolute shit out of an 8-year-old Miller, it’s pretty jokey but the decapitation theme really freaked me out: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YVX1D8ERL._SY445_.jpg

        • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

          Pity the Jack-in-the-Box.

        • That image always cracked me up. As a kid, the one that scared me was the poster for Fright Night. I loved being scared by it, I can remember exactly where it was on multiple video store shelves, but it spooked the shit out of me.

          http://www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/movieposters/8690/p8690_p_v8_aa.jpg

          • Miller

            Aaaaahhhhhh! Roddy McDowall! But yeah, that’s a creepy damn face, it hits the line of detailed enough to get under your skin while still being cartoony enough to support the exaggeration.

          • That and I didn’t fully understand vampires when I was little. I thought this was about some (now I know the term Lovecraftian) monster that was going to consume the house or it’s inhabitants. And maybe their spirituality or their souls.

            I don’t think I noticed the fangs or the vampire theme until I was in my 20s.

          • glorbes

            I’ve always loved that poster. I like the movie, too.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            80s Movie Posters as alternate movies is always fun to read, and your initial perception of “Fright Night” is no exception. Having a giant, sub-Lovecraftian entity approach and devour a house as a movie? Yes please!

          • Defender Of The Dark Arts

            Here’s the one I remember most vividly from the video store shelf. It freaked me out so much I’ve never used a toilet since. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c07b0713d6fa727152321830a61043dc7d8ca971fbbc3c86434841dee08a8410.jpg

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            Here’s a good one: It’s got titillation and entomophobia wrapped up into one!

            https://i.pinimg.com/736x/cc/54/88/cc54883066ddfa028ffcc25bfc6da9f7–cult-movies-horror-movies.jpg

          • Defender Of The Dark Arts

            In that same vein, here’s another: Notice the double-entendre of “Talking Box”. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe21362c81e882e0450c2a28f6a333ee694a6eacc60766913ced642fb2d49e8c.jpg

          • Miller

            Didn’t even have to click on the link. The movie is supposedly cheap garbage but that did not mean anything to a young Miller now worried about ass goblins.

          • Defender Of The Dark Arts

            Ass goblins prefer to be called proctologists and it’s 40 years and older Miller that needs to be worried about them.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Sleepaway Camp’s VHS cover and back cover scared me a lot.

    • clytie

      I finished my EZ Streets re-watch. I WANT MORE!

    • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

      A couple of brief reviews of recent watches:

      Baby Driver: Third viewing. I don’t know if I’ve written about it here, but Wright is the most musical-oriented action director around (to which many might say: No duh). The staging and blocking of any action set piece is more like a dance number than a messy fight. However, I think the problem here is the attempted morality in this cartoon world (where “The Butcher” wears a white three-piece suit and bears little in connection with reality). I think I can see what Wright was aiming for, creating a sense of moral culpability with the Baby, but he does kind of “skate by” in the end with sentencing, huh? Plus Spacey’s Good Samaritan turn never sat right with me.

      The Big Sleep: Two scenes make this movie a blast to watch: Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart talking about “horse racing” (sure guys), and Bogart talking with the Sexy Bookstore Clerk. It’s funny to compare this Marlowe to Bogart’s Sam Spade, with the former much more of a ladies’ man than Spade, who’s much colder and nastier. Also, the plot can be unraveled, but only if you watch the movie once, replay some of the earlier scenes, and read the Wikipedia plot summary (which I did). Still no clue who shot the chauffeur.

      Logan Lucky: A sweet movie, even more delightful the second time, once you understand how all the pieces fit together. Hilary Swank-as-Dirty-Harry grew on me this time around, as did Sadie’s rendition of “Country Roads.”

      • I thought Spacey’s Good Samaritan turn was largely expected. He may be an asshole out to get his, but he was protective of what he considered his property. I think he still considered Baby to be his property regardless of everything that happened before.

        • Miller

          It’s a bit weird but more fitting in the fairy tale being told than a lot of other choices, and it’s largely mitigated for me by him recognizing and calling out the Finding Nemo bit, which was one of my biggest laughs in the movie.

        • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

          I’ve flipped back and forth on Spacey, and I think my issue with him comes down to how menacing and threatening he is with Baby, but then suddenly turns around and offers him a way out, even though he singlehandedly screwed up a perfectly smooth operation.

          I don’t know if I’ve ever bought his Doc as a sap (“I was in love, once), so it only works if I stretch it out to Spacey pitying Baby, instead of identifying with him.

      • Miller

        I am on record with having lots of problems with Baby Driver’s morality and the sentencing is the most fantastical (in a bad way) thing Wright has done in his entire career. Big whiff there. The movie sets up some strong parallels with Elsort and Hamm but loses the thread by the end.

        • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

          I think it was at Mom’s place (prior to renovations, of course) where someone said it best: It would’ve taken one cop widow (or one security guard widow or family member, really, since we see at least two of those bodies) to put him away for 25-to-life, without parole. You’d think the Atlanta prosecutor’s office could’ve built a better case than they did!

          It’s one thing to introduce genre elements in your movie, it’s definitely another to deal with the law the way they did here. (So to answer Jon Bernthal’s rhetorical question at the beginning of the movie: Yes, the blood does wash off quite easily, thanks).

          • Miller

            Yes! So, so many dead cops. Baby is gassed about two seconds after that trial.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          But its a movie!!

          • Miller

            One that concerns itself with details when it feels like it (car chases, robberies, obscure music gems) but ignores them when they are inconvenient. It gives us a trial that is made up solely of people testifying in favor of Baby being a Good Boy (and lazily reminding us of shit we already know). Better to just throw him in jail and then let him out than so obviously stack the deck.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I wouldn’t disagree about the trial (you can tell that Wright wrote this chunk as a younger director) but the ending just makes emotional sense to me, so I don’t really care too much if its not logical.

          • Miller

            Just said this above — I can see the desire to get to that final scene and I think there is a way to do so in a satisfying way (not saying I have that way, just that it’s not out of reach and a smart guy like Wright could find it), but as it is the movie breaks down to end up there.

        • Delmars Whiskers

          I loved the movie, but I can’t defend that wrap-up. I know it’s not, but boy, it sure feels like a studio-mandated happy ending, like the Love Conquers All edit of Brazil.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            Especially when you consider Jamie Foxx’s and Jon Bernthal’s characters, and their views on Baby and his driving. Yes, they are both scummy (and scary) career criminals. Yet, what they say early on are so clearly Thesis Points for the movie’s theme, that to pay them out with this ending kind of renders the point toothless.

          • Miller

            Yes — I think there is a way to have a happy or at least satisfying ending for our central couple, but this is not it.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            Curious about how you thought “Logan Lucky” was more honest in tackling the same subject matter and themes that “Baby Driver” attempted. Especially since Jimmy Logan is still in the clear. At least when the movie ends.

          • Miller

            The short answer — Baby gets what he wants, the literalization of his fantasy. Jimmy gets something different than what he wanted at the beginning of the movie, and has matured to know what he wanted was impossible and what he has now is good. And Logan Lucky is arguably more cartoonish than Baby Driver (the prison stuff is a delight and therefore a huge fantasy) but it never breaks its style.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            Always forget to mention the “Game of Thrones” back-and-forth in the prison riot stand-off. So good!

          • Miller

            That absolutely slayed the theater I was in. And that is one of the more realistic things about a prison riot that is 1. as nonviolent as something can get while still technically being a “riot” and 2. obtained via an extremely small amount of grease — everyone is going along with this and only one guy is paid? But Soderbergh glosses over this because it is not necessary and the action makes it so, Wright’s trial/justification of Baby is the opposite of glossing over, it unnecessarily slams home the unreality.

          • To me it felt like a studio-mandated ending, but in the opposite way – like a Hays Code ending. “Okay, we’ll allow the couple to end up together, but only if you insert a pointless moralizing epilogue where he spends five years in jail before that”. I see what people are saying about Baby’s complicity in the crimes and the parallels between him and Buddy, but the movie’s overarching tone is that of a bright, drunk-on-itself fairy tale, should have just stuck to that and given the lovebirds their True Romance ending with no detours. The tone still wouldn’t have been entirely right, but Wright didn’t help himself any with that compromise he went with.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            Yes, keep them in the car, with Baby’s diminished hearing as a sort of punishment for his crimes. I suspect constructing alternate endings to this will become a popular film school exercise.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            That seemed to be a direction they were going in, when Hamm shoots near both his ears, so that I liked. But I guess it’s implied it all works out after the prison doctor inspected his hearing, and he got out after five years. (Even though, you know, parole might end up meaning that he can’t leave the state)

          • Delmars Whiskers

            And why include the loss of hearing, especially so close to the end, only to magically make it better a few scenes later?

          • Miller

            Bingo. Also, the prison montage itself is not bad, lord knows we don’t need another 30 minutes here, but it does not at all get across any sense of Baby earning his fantasy or taking the hardship he has bought with his actions (the main thing that would separate him from Hamm, per Foxx’s devastating assessment in the diner) — he looks the same coming out as he did going in.

      • John Bruni

        There’s no definitive answer to the question of who shot the chauffeur in The Big Sleep.

        • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

          Oh, I know that. I suppose I should’ve been clearer in saying how that’s just an amusing end note for my mini review.

        • Miller

          *narrows eyes*
          *pencils “John Bruni?” in list of chauffeur murder suspects*

        • Son of Griff

          Technically, he was beaten and/or drowned. Hell, they never really established a cause of death, although Brody is definitely implicated, at least for assault. The unexplained question is whether he was murdered or committed suicide after Brody stole the negative. Fascinating how this omission doesn’t effect the story in the slightest.

    • Delmars Whiskers

      Fame (1980)–I was at a comic book/video game emporium over the weekend, and there was a rack of clearance DVDs that had Mississiooi Burning, The Life Of David Gale and Fame–respectively, Alan Parker’s worst, most embarrassing and best-known movies. I passed on the other two, of course, but I had fond memories of Fame, and it was only three bucks.

      And guess what? It’s pretty good. Sure, it has some embarrassing marks of its era–The Tortured Homosexual, The Talented But Illiterate Black Kid, The Puerto Rican Played By A White Guy–but it at least spends enough time with them to give them some life. And the way Parker and his regular editor have assembled the film, it just dips in and out of its character’s lives; some get more screen time, some are vividly realized with only a handful of scenes. This kicked off a pretty impressive run for Parker–his next film was the great Shoot The Moon–that came to a crashing end with Mississippi Burning, possibly the most offensive American film of the eighties.

      • Miller

        Bwahahaha, your stereotypes sound like superheroes in the Clueless Liberal Social Justice League. Where are The White Paternalist and his sidekick, The Strident Yet Ultimately Deferent Feminist?

        • Delmars Whiskers

          Clueless Liberal Social Justice League would actually be a perfect description of Mississippi Burning–“We feel your pain, sad black people. Now step aside–white men are here to solve your problems!”

          • Miller

            “Oh no! It’s the Black Millitant!”
            “When will he realize — now is not the time for his activism!”

          • Cennywise The Ploughn
          • Miller

            Oh my god, that is amazing. It took me til the second one to realize what was going on. “Your fighting style is extremely problematic!” should be a meme/catchphrase for all sorts of asinine criticism. And the most important thing: Holy shit, new PBF!

          • Cennywise The Ploughn

            He updates really infrequently these days, like once or twice a year. I’m a dinosaur that still subscribed to RSS feeds and whenever a new entry pops up for PBF, it’s like Christmas morning.

      • I thought Pink Floyd’s The Wall was Alan Parker’s best known work…

        • Delmars Whiskers

          I thought about that, but Fame inspired a laughably bad TV series and a remake. Plus several albums by the adorably-named Kids From Fame.

        • Hrm. Not sure how many people think “Alan Parker” when they see it, though.

      • I wish Angel Heart was Parker’s best-known.

        • Delmars Whiskers

          I love Angel Heart, though the Parker film I wish was better known is Birdy. It’s the kind of quasi-inspirational hoo-ha that should be awful, but Parker’s relatively straightforward style–and a restrained Nic Cage performance!–really sell the hell out of it.

          • I definitely need to catch up with that one.

          • And a goddamn awesome score by Peter Gabriel, his first. Really, Birdy is a lot like The Social Network, a bunch of disparate elements (Cage + uplift + young uncertain Modine + Parker + Cimino-like locations + fantasy + American Graffiti + Gabriel) that don’t quite work together in a way that’s totally compelling.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            The location work in Birdy is stellar. Even at his most misguided–have I mentioned Mississippi Burning?–Parker always does a great job of evoking a specific time and place.

          • Son of Griff

            I’d go with THE COMMITMENTS, a come-back of sorts.

      • Son of Griff

        I re-watched it a few years ago, and I was surprised at how well it held up from when I first saw it in high school

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Oceans Eleven (2001) – The single word that describes this movie is cool, whether its that Elvis remix I used to listen to over and over as a kid or the casual fascination of Soderbergh with the glittering, gorgeous surfaces of the movie stars and their toys.

      Random notes:
      * This time I paid the most attention to Alan Garcia’s performance as Terry Benedict, as he’s given the most purely complex reactions to everything around him – there’s a world churning inside of him even if he won’t let it out. Benedict is ruthless but not without a certain grace, and I think there’s a dignified sadness to him as well when Tess leaves. He’s a classic stoic, a prince left alone with his fortune.
      * I’d forgotten about every single con, or was just really confused by them as a kid, so all of the twists were just a total delight. We never feel cheated, just enjoying how good the thieves are.
      * There’s a shot of I believe Clooney bathed in oranges and reds and its magnificent. Equal parts calm and passion.
      * The climactic montage of the Ten all staring out at the fountain, enraptured by the sheer magnitude of their ownage, is so beautiful. They’ve moved mountains here and they’re taking a moment to appreciate the power of this and of Vegas itself, a place where you can steal great amounts of money.

      • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

        If you get around to it, watch “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Thirteen.” Each one is a jewel box of a movie, encrusted with great movie stars (and great actors to boot!) with shimmering, lovely cinematography. Even the third one has its charms. (And you’re right about Garcia in this one. I don’t think he’s ever had a role as polished and smooth as this one).

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          They definitely sound like good rainy day movies! Some beautiful people having capers is rarely a bad thing.

    • glorbes

      Halloween III: Season of the Witch – A re-watch, first time for my wife. I like this movie a lot.

    • Spooky Narrator Man

      Kicking and Screaming: This is just as hilarious and sad as it was on first viewing. I’ll only add that I’m still impressed by how funny I find the All the Pretty Horses scene in this when I want to crawl out of my skin whenever I even think of Jesse Eisenberg bullshitting about reading The Metamorphosis in Squid and the Whale (especially considering I actually have bullshitted about reading All the Pretty Horses).

    • Vice Principals, “Think Change.” This was a goddamn masterclass in some elements of storytelling: how to integrate backstory without using flashback, how to manage the difference between what the characters know and what the audience knows, most of all how to create empathy with the most horrible people. The reveal that Lee had been bullied and sexually assaulted most likely throughout his whole childhood tells you the how of his passive-aggression (and the hugeness of both) and even the way he uses fashion as his armor, but it doesn’t tell you the why. It doesn’t justify anything, and Goggins never asks for sympathy (or, as Shield fans know, denies us a good shot of his ass). It was a horrifying and genuinely breathtaking moment, and Emily Johnson and Breeda Wool didn’t hold anything back either. This is what Jody Hill and crew do at their best.

      • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

        My main takeaway from the episode was less about Lee’s backstory, and more about the fact that both Lee and Gamby have been nice, seen the results, and taken two entirely contradictory lessons from it. We’re gonna see some kind of showdown here.

        • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

          As I wrote in my review, I think we’re going to see the core conflict emerge between Russell and Gamby; they bonded over their shared sense of resentment and inadequacy, but deep down Gamby cares about the school and Russell cares about himself. I expect next episode will start with the teachers approaching Haas saying that if it’s gotta be one of the two of them, they’d prefer Gamby.

          (I still think Russell was involved in Gamby’s shooting. My reservations that he was too convincing in his denial in the season opener kinda took a back seat when I saw how easily he could lie to his family.)

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            I was thinking about that, and I checked out the episode titles for the rest of the season (also, to see how long we have left), and I have my suspicions that the Gamby/Russel fight will come much sooner than we expected, and they’re gonna have to team up in the finale for some reason. “The Union Of The Wizard And The Warrior”?

        • ooo that’s good. It wasn’t just more information about Lee’s past, it was a clue about his future actions, which is what you need for drama.

    • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

      Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, The Mayor, and The Mick. I guess longer writeups when I have time, but damn, there’s a lot of good sitcom TV on right now. (Broad City took a backseat to us sometime last season, but it airs on Tuesday nights too.)

      • Broad City is on Wednesday night. After South Park. And last night’s episode was AMAZING. I mean, it was just…hilarious.

        • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

          My nights have been so busy I’m losing track of which nights the TV shows I’m watching actually air.

          (You may not be surprised to discover that the Hillary worship episode was what turned us off to the show for a while, though I’d been less positive on season three because they seemed to do more Srs Biz about the girls’ behavior, a la, well, Girls. You may be surprised to discover how much more negatively about the appearance my wife felt than I did.)

  • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

    What have we been reading?

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
      Finished this like a minute ago in a slight rush to be ready for the Book Nook. I often see works labelled nihilistic, and as someone inclined towards nihilism and pessimism I’m often frustrated, because often people conflate nihilism with violence and blood (Tarantino is about as far from a nihilist as you can get, and that includes The Hateful Eight, while conversely Zodiac is one of the greatest works of nihilism ever made). This, on the other hand, is truly nihilistic AND bloody and violent.

      The gentle prose makes the violence seem both inevitable and indifferent, as named character after named character shows up only to almost immediately and brutally die, no matter their personality; the kid’s indifference to things only elevates the effect. I think if there is an overriding theme, it’s “the ownage that built America” – the judge standing in, kinda, for civilisation.

      I enjoy the sparse prose, but thank fvck nobody rips it off because I think even a slight wavering would destroy the whole thing.

      I will need to sit on this work for much longer, I think.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        One of the only books that has given me nightmares.

    • Sort of half on-topic, I’ve been playing the Interactive Fiction game that @disqus_taofypGdX6:disqus recommended yesterday, “Hadean Lands” by Andrew Plotkin. It’s my first dip into the world of IF in years, and so far I’m really enjoying it – the puzzles so far have been of a sensible difficulty, and the writing and world-building is fascinating. I often find that fiction that conjures up a whole new world can be offputting – I don’t necessarily want to learn a new language to enjoy a story, which seems to be the case with some sci-fi, for example. This one manages to make its lexicon of alchemical terms intriguing and memorable, though – it’s clearly having a lot of fun with language but I feel like I’m in on the joke.

      • I don’t know how far you’ve gotten into the game, but there’s a certain point where the game basically builds its own vocabulary, not based on the alchemical language but on the mechanics of the puzzles themselves. I look forward to hearing what you have to say about it.

        • Not too far – I’ve opened a bunch of doors, built up an impressive inventory of strange objects and reset everything a few times. I very much like the way it lets you repeat rituals and move easily to places once you’ve done it “properly” once – removes a lot of the clunkiness I remember from previous IF excursions.

          • Yeah. The resetting is where the game’s real genius lies–not to spoil too much, but eventually, the specific puzzles become secondary to how you manage the resets.

        • Cennywise The Ploughn

          I must play this game.

          • It’s great! Are you a fan of Interactive Fiction/Text Adventures?

          • Cennywise The Ploughn

            It’s been years since I’ve played anything that fits the definition, but the integration of game mechanics into the puzzles and plot is something that appeals to me (like Braid).

    • The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson – When your cover blurb is from Stanley Kubrick, you know you’re in for an interesting novel (Thompson helped write The Killing. It’s a novel told by a police sheriff who’s actually a psychopathic killer, and even in our post-Hannibal Lector era, it still manages to disturb. I think the fact that he never quite enjoys killing, but rather it’s just what he has to do. He even calls those impulses “his sickness”, but he slowly gives in to them, leaving more and more bodies behind. There’s a good dramatic tension in it – once he kills for the first time in decades, he has to keep lying and killing to stay ahead of the police. Even the frankness of the sexuality is surprising, esp for a book from the 1950s.

      There was a decent movie made of it from 2010. I guess if you want to cast a nice guy who’s secretly a sexual abuser, Casey Affleck is a spot-on choice.

      • Miller

        I have that movie but haven’t watched it yet, I always pictured the lead as bigger than Affleck. I haven’t read the book in ages but there’s a moment of violence that has stayed with me since, Thompson does not fuck around.

        • Is it where Lou beats Joyce into a coma?

          Apparently at the Sundance premiere, people accused it of misogyny, which Lou definitely has. I wouldn’t say the book is, but it also never wags its finger, either. Nice and complicated and disturbing.

          • Miller

            Yuuuuup.

        • Son of Griff

          That’s the most nauseating scene in a film that I’ve seen in ages.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I read the book this summer. One of the things that makes this book is that you’re never seeing Lou from any other POV, so you’re forced to reckon with his cruel, eerie viewpoints. There’s an existential fatalism here that comes from the same writer of The Grifters, the sense of terrible, “Jesus wept” inevitability.

        • Miller

          Pop. 1280 is another disturbing viewpoint to be trapped in, Thompson leavening it with dark humor makes the slow reveal of rage and cruelty even more effective.

          • Son of Griff

            POP 1280 was my favorite non assigned literary discovery in college. I even did a screenplay outline of it that eventually didn’t even resemble the novel in the slightest.

          • Miller

            One of the days the Coens will get on an adaptation. Right? I mean, they have to, even if the clock has run out for John Goodman in the lead (and at least we have Charlie Meadows in Barton Fink, who is not dissimilar to Nick in Pop. 1280).

    • Miller

      Recently, some old Stephen King in Skeleton Crew. “Cain Rose Up” was a purposeful reread after Las Vegas and it didn’t offer any insight into that, which I think is a good thing. The story is what it is. “The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands” is good stuff, I really wish King would go back to the Club more but in the other hand I’m glad he doesn’t feel the need to explain its mystery. And “The Jaunt” remains brilliant, structurally it pulls off some neat flashback in flashback and the bowdlerization of the main story adds tension in the framing story that explodes at the end — that last page or so is inevitable but utterly horrific and King’s language is both clinical and intense. He doesn’t get enough credit as a stylist and here his skills are at their peak, especially with that infamous line of four words that last forever.

      Before that, White Jazz. The Ross MacDonald epigraph gives away the Lee Archer influence, Dave Klein is technically a cop but so corrupt and adept at working both sides he might as well be a private eye, and even more so than LA Confidential and The Big Nowhere, this is about probing rotted families and the way their corruption destroys everything around them. And Klein comes to realize the LAPD is its own level of institutional corruption, with two “parents” fighting for control and laying waste in the process. Good times! The strung-out language helps compensate for Ellroy revisiting familiar turf here and the pace is ridiculous, he’s writing at the same level Klein is acting, where pausing means death.

      • Either “The Jaunt” or “The Mist” gets my vote for the best thing King has ever done. Something about the long short story format was perfect for him: just enough space to allow for the Kingly digressions and touches, but not so much that the momentum of the single great idea gets lost. Also, they’re two rare examples where he sticks the ending.

        Also, Ellroy may have written better sentences, but there may not be a more essential one (OK, two), understanding so much about men, authority, and trust than “I’ve betrayed your trust before and I’m running out of options. Just keep the shotgun and try not to kill him.”

        • Defender Of The Dark Arts

          Little known fact: I went to school in the town where the scientist in “The Jaunt” first perfects the machine; New Paltz, NY. It doesn’t bare any physical resemblance to the fictional one King uses, but it was cool to see it in the story.

        • Miller

          Such a boss line. One of the best parts of Perfidia is filling in the blanks on how Dudley works the other side of that, we get a better picture in White Jazz of why Klein will work with Exley, warts and all, than we do with why he would entertain siding with Dudley beyond a “fuck Exley” mentality, Dudley’s cultivation of loyalty is fascinating in Perfidia and we can see how he maintains and contains the people who serve him.

    • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

      The Dain Curse: An interesting experience, since the chapters seem to come across more as a series of connected short stories than a unified novel.

      Regardless, I like the Continental Op’s grumpiness, as he “curses the detective business,” and having to put up with obnoxious Eric Collinson. At first I get skeptical when he determines Person X was murdered, instead of merely committing suicide. But Hammett manages to turn me around somehow.

      • Delmars Whiskers

        The Dain Curse is the only Hammett novel I actively dislike, though I was kind of meh on The Thin Man.

        • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

          Not sure I’ll make my way over to “The Thin Man,” if only because I’m enjoying his solitary “Continental Op” character too much. Curious as to why you dislike “The Dain Curse,” however.

          (As @disqus_hde7I14XwM:disqus wisely pointed out, the modern-day equivalent to the Op is Richard Stark’s Parker character).

          • Delmars Whiskers

            It’s been awhile, but I read it right after Red Harvest–which I loved–and it just felt very hastily put together and slapdash, with the weird cult stuff especially seeming like it was just included as an exploitation angle. But like I say, it’s been awhile, and I might like it better now. (I reread Red Harvest not long ago, and it’s still great!)

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            I own “Red Harvest” as well, and am very excited to dive into it after finishing “The Dain Curse.” I think it comes down reading the books of his that I own chronologically. I’m sure I’ll see an evolution in writing style and cohesion when I get to that one.

          • Miller

            Harvest comes before Curse, though (not by much). It’s weird how off Curse seems in comparison. The later, non-Op novels are good to great but become increasingly despairing, the Op might be Sisiphyean in his push against the boulder of crime but he still pushes, by The Thin Man the struggle is engaged in but without much hope.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            Now I’m wondering where “The Maltese Falcon” comes into play in this crime-fighting-as-Sisyphean-endeavor timeline of yours.

          • Miller

            Falcon is more about codes and honor in some ways, Spade is most concerned with avenging the partner he himself was cuckolding. It’s ultimately all about him.

          • Son of Griff

            Ethics

          • Miller

            Ha! But of course you mean etics.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            Oh, Red Harvest is so, so good, and the wellspring of so much pop culture. The Coens are obviously fans, and it’s still amazing to me that Hammett doesn’t get a story by credit on Yojimbo. (Or Fistful Of Dollars, or Last Man Standing, or…)

          • Miller

            Seconding this, as Departed Hunchbacker says, the seams really show on this one and the curse/cult stuff creates a bloated plot that doesn’t have the satisfying complexity of other Hammett.

          • glorbes

            Red Harvest is my favourite book of all time.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            Probably mine, too, right beside Dubliners.

          • Son of Griff

            Like some of Chandler’s novels, THE DAIN CURSE seems to string together three stories together, but in even a more episodic fashion. I think that’s why it’s kind of unsatisfying, it just can’t sustain tension.

          • glorbes

            The Thin Man is pretty great. It’s just as breezy as the movie, with a better ending, and it has an awesome digression ala the “Flitcraft Parable” from The Maltese Falcon. I seem to recall that there were some pronounced communist themes that came through in the book as well. Hammett is the shit.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            Too bad about the casual racism, though.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            That’s right. He did get some socialist (or was it communist?) sympathies near the end of his life, didn’t he? Fascinating man.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I didn’t love The Thin Man even though I adored the movie.

          • Miller

            Possibly because the movie is an effervescent delight and the book is as opposite in tone you can get while telling the same story? I love them both but they are fascinating in their divergence, and I’m very happy the film came up with its own style.

      • glorbes

        I need to revisit that one. It was my least favourite of his detective novels, but I don’t remember why.

    • Cennywise The Ploughn

      Just finished But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman which is a fun dip into stoner thought experiments. Conceeding that it’s impossible to know what values and technologies will shape the future, can we make any educated guesses on what from our era will be remembered in hundreds of years? Will our science be obsolete? Will the Beatles be the only remembered rock and roll artists? Where is our generation’s Kafka right now?

      Just started The Daily Show (the book) which is an oral history of the show during the Jon Stewart years, particularly right on the sweet spot when I was a regular viewer. I’m a sucker for any kind of freeform interview format (today’s article included!) and so a 400-page version of this is like a big bowl of candy that I eat instead of paying attention to things that I should be paying attention to.

      An unfortunate by-product of both these books – the specter of November 2016 (when TDS(tb) was released) hangs in the blind spot of more than a few statements. A reminder how unfathomable to future we live in today was, even for people attempting to peer into the future or diagnose politics.

      • Miller

        Klosterman aims for contrarian but his meandering, wishy-washy style winds up making him a jerk-off artist more and more frequently. Fargo Rock City is sometimes crude but at least he’s trying to make a point there, I got increasingly weary with his takes a while ago and speculative future history sounds like the logical endpoint of his opinions without scholarship.

        • Cennywise The Ploughn

          Can’t say the actual book would change your mind. It’s a jumping off point for a fun discussion, and retreats into this mode before it ever gets anyplace too high-minded.

      • I enjoyed the experience of reading But What If We’re Wrong, but ultimately, I found it kind of an empty experience. Klosterman goes so far out of his way to make clear that it’s impossible to know the future that not a lot of his predictions are that meaningful. Also, sometimes he seems to be going against conventional wisdom for the sheer purpose of doing so. I love Chuck Berry so much, but I cannot imagine a world in which he is the sole rock and roll star remembered and not, say, The Beatles or Elvis.

        • Miller

          Technically, that world could exist where Voyager ends up, right?

        • Cennywise The Ploughn

          I liked the first few chapters better than rest. I’m skeptical on the conclusions, too, but it’s a fun parlor game. When he gets into bigger concepts without specifics (science, politics etc) it’s still an interesting game, but not one he plays as well. The concrete guesses and the logic to get to them were the appeal of the conceit for me.

    • clytie

      I just bought an anti-Hillary Clinton book and a stack of books about Russia at a library sale, so I’m sure I’ll show up on some sort of watch list soon.

      • Cennywise The Ploughn

        You’ve been shortlisted for a cabinet position.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Out Stealing Horses by Pers Petterson, which is very Norwegian, very austere yet it breaks into moments of ecstatic reverie.

    • Delmars Whiskers

      The Secret Life Of The American Musical by Jack Viertel, a genuinely fascinating examination of the structural ins and outs of stage musicals, which are very different creatures from their film counterparts.

    • The Hate U Give–About halfway through. I’m enjoying it, but it’s got that YA fiction tendency to be way over plotted and way underwritten. Also, a lot of the characters are types that aren’t all that interesting to me. But I can’t deny how thrilling it is to see legitimate black radical politics treated with respect and nuance within a YA trope-fest, and overall, the book does a great job of parsing all the different nuances by which race affects people in a modern American setting.

    • Spooky Narrator Man

      Kicking and Screaming: This is just as hilarious and sad as it was on first viewing. I’ll only add that I’m still impressed by funny I find the All the Pretty Horses scene in this when I want to crawl out of my skin whenever I even think of Jesse Eisenberg bullshitting about reading The Metamorphosis in Squid and the Whale (especially considering I actually have bullshitted about reading All the Pretty Horses).

    • Man with a robot arm

      Getting into The Deuce made me start a reread of George Pelecanos’ King Suckerman. Set in 1976 it’s filled with period detail and pop culture references making it as vibrant as The Deuce. Pelecano’s is great at creating a setting you can hear the period music he mentions and smell the smoke as you read.

    • Son of Griff

      THE LATE SHOW–Michael Connelly is introducing a new character into his universe of L.A. crime, a female detective pursuing her own case when she’s not doing dead end work on the night shift. Pretty good, if tersely written, so far.

    • Crimson Pico

      Getting started on Y.B. Mangunwijaya’s The Weaverbirds, which is his most popular novel, but so far it isn’t gripping me as much as Durga/Umayi, which is one of the coolest books I’ve ever read. Mangun was an Indonesian Catholic priest who wrote a truly awesome experimental novel that I can only imagine gave the translator headaches: it zig-zags in and out of languages and dialects, making mush of grammar, but never losing its creative and moral force. This earlier book is more conventional and even a little clunky at times, but I’ll stick with it and see where it takes me.

      Recently finished some stuff by Jiří Gruša, Imraan Coovadia, and Katherine Anne Porter. Some good stuff in there, some less good, but nothing that really blew me away.

      And of course I just re-read Arcadia for the umpteenth time.

  • Miller

    Ha, it took me a second to get “Three Dollar Bill Cinema.” Great name.

    • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

      Me too! Same, that’s awesome.

  • Doing this type of interview is fun. I did move parts around for easier reading.

    Obviously, any typos and weird grammar here are mine and part of my first attempt at transcribing.

    I think there’s a lot of good info and insight into audiences, making films and getting films done. I think we actually could have talked longer but, you know, time and commitments and all that jazz.

    • This was great–thorough, accessible, well-edited. When I interviewed @ZoeZDean:disqus, I used “The Solute” instead of myself for the questions. Not sure if you want to follow suit.

    • Crimson Pico

      Really A+ interview here. Thank you!

    • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

      I’m a thuddingly dull outsider to all of this, so I found your, “So, for the uninitiated…” questions very helpful. I experienced this interview as warm and engaged on both parties, accessible to a variety and readers and focused on giving the audience something useful (like Tayara’s advice for would-be filmmakers and/or submitters.)

      I dunno, it read like an unusually solid interview to me. The only typo-type issue I noticed is a missed question mark, even. (It was at “…decades and have seen these stories every year.” and I only bring it up because I’ve seen paid “professionals” post shoddier work for sure.)

  • Crimson Pico

    Decline of the old site continues apace:

    https://twitter.com/AADowd/status/918262550864781313

    He says he may come back to it in the future, but I think the site’s trying to drive other traffic, too, and it probably isn’t a good return on investment given how much time it takes him to do these. Which is too bad.

    • hellgauge

      I’ve basically completely stopped reading the site, but that was one of the last worthwhile columns for me. Damn.

    • Shame. Dowd could let loose and do some of his best writing on those pieces.

    • Wow, this is as surprising as Soderbergh’s return to theatrical films. Not sure my heart can take two shocks like this in the same year.

    • Dammiiiiiiit. I haven’t even been to the site in like a month except to read movie reviews. Their film staff is tops, and I really, really don’t want to see them let go.

    • Delmars Whiskers

      Even if the column continued, it would be banished from the home page almost as soon as it appeared. It took me forever to find last week’s History Of Violence, buried under an endless number of Today’s Deals and Gizmodic cross-postings.

      • Miller

        Every few weeks or so I get drunk and ripshit about how shoddily the site is treating the reviews that give it substance. I recently laid into a Dowd review that posted at 11 at night and was politely informed by the man himself there was an embargo until that time, which made me feel like a huge asshole. But I followed up with a general comment about reviews being dumped late and got a “you’re not wrong” response from him, I think they’re trying to do what they can while recognizing the increasingly shitty conditions they operate under and I don’t blame him for not bothering with a column that as you note would just get buried anyway.

        • Delmars Whiskers

          Sean O’Neal had a response to someone the other day that basically amounted to, Look, we know you hate Kinja but stop ragging on the writers, blah blah it’s not our fault. They know how bad it is, and they’re barely even bothering to put on a happy face about it anymore.

          • Miller

            But is Kinja the reason the site’s update schedule has changed? That’s what’s so infuriating — location and comment ability are obviously fucked but this would seem to be in their control (I recall Kinja’s back end being touted) and appears to be a conscious decision. Gaaaahh.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            I just get the impression that nobody’s really in charge there anymore–the writers just provide content, and the Gizmodic overlords do everything else. Even before The Change, there hadn’t been any kind of editorial voice or vision at the site for quite some time, so it was probably easy for them to just relax, go to sleep and let the pods do their thing.

  • If you’ve ever wanted to see the cast of Thor: Ragnarok play rock-paper-scissors for 15 minutes, with The Goldblum himself as the referee/commentator, congrats:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVz_n93EsaA