• Drunk On EggNogpoleon

    *posts an article specifically for the comments section*
    *Disqus shits itself*

    What did we watch?

    • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

      LOST, Season Three, Episode Nineteen, “The Brig”
      “The magic box is a metaphor, John.”

      “Well, how ’bout that.”
      “How ’bout what?”
      “Sawyer’s my name, too.”

      Another ‘on-island flashbacks’ episode – come to think of it, they come up exactly once a season, and they anticipate the structure of the entire fourth and fifth seasons.

      Ben argues that John needs to kill his father to become a whole and happy human being, and not only can I take that as a general metaphor for overcoming your past, and not only can I see in retrospect how right it was, with this being the next step on Sawyer’s path to becoming the functional heroic character he is in the fifth season, it actually works as a metaphor for the show’s switch to action-adventure story, when it stops wallowing in backstory and in fact becomes concerned with the future.

      Locke needs Sawyer to kill his father – I am prepared to go far enough to say that Locke murdered his father using Sawyer. In return, Sawyer needed Locke to be able to kill Anthony Cooper. Locke explicitly separates himself from community at the end of the episode, which is true but the episode itself shows how and why we need community; there are people who give us second-hand experiences we couldn’t get on our own.

      In terms of the whole ‘what defines a person, their facts or their presence’ thing, Locke has both Sawyer’s facts AND his presence, which lets him fulfill two life dreams.

      Cooper gives us the first direct reference to the purgatory theory, and it sounds totally boss coming out of his mouth. In fact, this episode has two scenes that are basically exposition; Kevin Tighe has the advantage in that he already has a character to work with, and so his repetition of facts we were already well aware of becomes eerie and ghoulish. Marsha Thomason holds her own (waHEY) pretty well though.

      Ownage: Ben owns Anthony Cooper over the head. James Ford kills Anthony “Mr Sawyer” Cooper.

      It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Season Seven, Episode One, “Frank’s Pretty Woman”
      “Charlie, stop wearing clothes you find under bridges.”
      “We boil it. We boil all our denim.”

      “People change, Frank. Look at me. I went from a tiny twink to the musclebound freak you see before you.”

      “Can I offer you a nice egg in this trying time?”

      ZoeZ said how surprised she was that Dennis’ iconic “implication” speech came in season six, and I was shocked this episode had like eight iconic Always Sunny lines.

      The thing about Charlie’s scheme in this episode is that it’s terrible in execution and he botches the execution, which feels like the heart of every Gang scheme. Meanwhile, Dee can casually switch from straight man to joke machine on a sentence-by-sentence basis, best shown in her scene with Roxy at the clothes shop where she openly mocks the salesman and then apologises for the gay jokes.

      First appearance of Fat Mac! I love the casual reveal of him, and I definitely think the funniest part is how strongly he believes he’s a beefcake in the face of the Gang’s clear and loud denial (though I think he’s cute!).

      Also, I was thinking about Glenn Howerton leaving, which got me thinking about what it would be like to add a cast member. The obvious route would be to upgrade a supporting player like Rickety Cricket but I’ve become enamoured of the idea of introducing a character the same age now that the Gang were when the show began and slowly corrupting them the same way Frank got corrupted.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Another sweet moment here, Always Sunny style: “I like boiling denim and banging whores, Charlie! That’s who I am!” Frank is weirdly endearing in part because he’s the one Always Sunny character with no insecurities whatsoever. He wasn’t born into this lifestyle and embraced it head on.

        • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

          It’s kinda like Rick Sanchez in that he’s so enthusiastic and his lifestyle is so obviously a choice he gets a thrill out of that it’s impossible not to get some vicarious joy out of him.

    • glorbes

      I watched the first episode of Ash Vs. The Evil Dead.

      This…was pretty great. It is certainly familiar, and really leans into the nostalgia for and style of the original films. But it does so in a way that feels right. Bruce Campbell is such a natural screen presence, and basically oozes charisma, even when he’s playing such a smug, revolting piece of shit as Ash. You can’t help but love the guy, even when he’s being gross. The gore and content is even more intense than the films, and the Raimi style is present in spades. This very much feels like a natural continuation of Evil Dead II.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Hells. Yes. Enjoy my friend!! And they do a great job giving Campbell a lot to chew on – Ash is still an asshole but you see how deeply the previous movies have affected him (you find out a little about Linda and him in episode 4/5 and its pretty low key heartbreaking).

    • Some of the Cavs-Lakers game. The Lakers are not good yet, but it won’t be long. And Lonzo Ball has potential.

      Star Trek: Obsession – the first time Trek went to the Moby Dick well, but in a far less obvious way than later. Shatner doesn’t really play angry obsessed Kirk that well, but otherwise handles the material nicely. Great scene for Majel Barrett in here as well.

      • PCguy

        The most entertaining game I’ve watched this year. It was my first time watching Lonzo Ball in the pros and I came off mildly impressed. I thought he played a decent game for a rookie–he made an attempt to run the offense and I liked his movement off the ball–but that boy has one fucked up shot. He swings the ball up from his groin and lets it go from a seemingly random release point in front of his face. It just looks wrong even when he was on a night when he’s hitting them. It reminds me of Trump’s putting stroke. There’s a washing machine type of motion where your whole body gets involved in something that it shouldn’t.

        Commentator Reggie Miller had a good dissection of Ball’s shot during the broadcast and there was also a good article in the paper on the subject this week.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/sports/lonzo-ball-shooting.html

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Suicide Squad, at least the last two acts because it was on HBO. Holy fucking shit this is bad. I listened to at least two movie podcasts discussing it at length but I was still not prepared for this level of shit. The movie is a mess and even if it wasn’t it’d be at least incredibly tacky and racist, sexist, the whole nine yards. It’s one of the worst blockbusters I’ve ever seen and some of the worst CGI ever clumsily rendered post 1994. Fifty Shades Darker came on after and while its also stupid in a very different way I could actually appreciate its genuine competence as a film and how James Foley and co. can direct and edit a fucking shot. Not to mention that Dornan and Johnson are naked and very beautiful.

      • Jake Gittes

        This happened a couple of days ago too and cracked me up

        https://twitter.com/gemko/status/940795550827507712

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I don’t even know who heard Jared Leto’s shitty old man laugh in rehearsal and said “Yup, that should work.”

          • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

            If I still don’t plan on a rewatch, Babalugats still changed how I saw this movie, and the part I might be most thankful for is the idea that Joker is that one jerk that nobody likes and needs to just eff off, but can’t/won’t take the hint. I hadn’t seen it at all at the time (partially because I don’t think Leto was going for that), but as an unintended reading on the Joker it’s actually a pretty brilliant parody. His iconic nature always gets so played up that we never stop and think, “Yeah, but what if he should just shut up already?”

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I totally like this interpretation but I just don’t give the movie credit enough to think like that.

      • Defense Against The Hark Arts

        I heard someone describe Suicide Squad as Hot Topic The Movie. I thought that was pretty funny.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Following up Heath Ledger’s Academy Award winning masterpiece of a performance with Jared Leto’s overacted old man laugh TWISTED bullshit is like having Dane Cook on the bill after Bob Newhart.

      • glorbes

        It really is shocking how terrible Suicide Squad is. Batman v Superman at least has some scenes/set pieces that you could imagine working really well in a much better movie. But Suicide Squad is genuinely incompetent.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Batman vs Superman at least is also ambitious – Suicide Squad is going for LCD, saccharine trash. I didn’t like Ayers’ last movie but Fury indeed was competent.

      • Rosy Fingers

        If you only caught the last two acts then you missed the wonder of the first seven, when the movie begins, and then it begins, and then it begins five more times.

        Did you at least catch the side story about Climber Guy, the guy who can climb things?

    • Star Wars: The Last Jedi – If TFA ripped off ANH, this one certainly rhymed with ESB, to much better results. It deepens the mythology of the series, esp the Force, and brought more inventiveness that TFA, and the battle scenes were greater than R1. Ran a little too long, and it had maybe multiple climactic moments, many could’ve served as the ending. I cried several times throughout – the opening crawl & getting to see a new Star Wars yet again, Leia owning people, Luke owning people, and the final dedication to Carrie Fisher.

      If Ep VII was Han’s movie, this was Luke’s, as everyone suspected, which makes me sad for Ep IX, which I assume would’ve been Leia’s. Also, seeing what Johnson did, I’m even less interested in JJA getting a second shot.

      I’m still not invested in the new characters, though, except for Kylo Ren, who’s wonderfully complex. That’s probably me more than the movies. Benicio del Toro was great and weird, and Laura Dern’s officer was strange to see after a year of Diane on Twin Peaks.

      There was so much greatness in here. I think there’s an argument to be made that it’s #3 SW movie, behind IV and V.

      The big theme here was “hope”, which is particularly apt in our Trumpian world, though bitter to swallow on the day net neutrality was killed. Like the Resistance, fight we must.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        So excited to see this. I wonder who floated Rian Johnston as a director because clearly getting somebody who didn’t entirely fit into the SW mold was a stroke of genius.

        • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

          I’m not even reading comments about it because I’m seeing it tomorrow, but when I first read his name attached to it I may have made a small “squee”ing sound.

      • Belated Comebacker

        Space Monaco though was pretty neat. Probably my favorite world when it came to new planets (followed by Salt Land).

        • The visual effects of red-on-white were striking. And I thought Space Monaco was a drag, but I think I caught a reference to 1927’s Wings in the push-in shot across the tables, which made me feel clever.

          • Belated Comebacker

            I suppose I’m easy (like Sunday morning), but I was cool with Space Monaco. Thought it was a nice diversion from the tick-tock of the space battle and other stuff, in favor of new scenery.

            Seeing this again might complicate that for me, since 1) it is a narrative detour, and 2) Johnson missed a pitch-perfect chance to throw in a Billy Dee Williams cameo

    • jroberts548

      Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

      Omg you guys. That was great. It’s as good as people are saying.

      Like how The Force Awakens borrowed story elements and plot points from Star Wars, this borrows from Empire. Unlike TFA, it never feels like it’s just copying; it doesn’t telegraph anything. It doesn’t fetishize the past or nostalgia, but respectfully turns away from it. Giving episode IX to anyone other than noted Podcaster Karina Longworth’s boyfriend would be a grotesque crime. Seriously. The FTC should only let the fox deal go through if Johnson gets to make IX.

      Also, everyone’s talking about porgs, but don’t sleep on the crystal foxes, aka vulptex.

      • jroberts548

        Without going into story details at all, this is probably the funniest Star Wars, but it never feels like a comedy.

        • Some of the humor felt like 2nd-rate MCU jokes, though. Part of that is likely that I don’t dig the new characters, so instead of them being naturally funny, it’s sitcom jokes wedged in there, so everyone has their zingers.

          • jroberts548

            There were a few of those, like Poe being a dick to Hux , but there was also some really funny world building details, like the church lady toads, chewie eating roast porg, and Luke milking those loch ness monster things.

          • I’m a squishy meat-eater as it is – if I liked vegetables, I’d give up meat altogether – and I was dying laughing in the roast porg scene. Also kudos for SW making a joke that dark. “Let’s spend money making something adorable – then having it get eaten!”

      • Belated Comebacker

        *eta: Apparenrly Johnson turned down IX. Sigh.

        But on the plus side, Johnson did get a literal blank check to make a new trilogy of “Star Wars” films after this one wraps up. So given how well this has done (I enjoyed it), I’m sure he’ll have plenty to surprise us with for the new iteration.

        • jroberts548

          I’m looking forward to those.

          On the other hand, a lot of the best moments in TLJ came from undoing things that were set up in TFA. It cleared out a lot of backstory. I don’t know what JJA will do with IX, especially since some of the puzzles he set up (who is Snoke? Who are Rey’s parents?) were more or less answered here.

    • clytie

      I continued season 2 of Stranger Things. I want more scenes of Steve and Dustin hanging out together.

    • pico

      Personal Shopper: immediate lock in my best-of list for 2017. Even with some confounding and sloppy sections (it’s Assayas, after all), it builds to a creepy, unforgettable catharsis – that last scene burrowed so deeply under my skin that I had to sit with the tv off for a few minutes afterwards. Maybe not as perfect as Irma Vep or Summer Hours, but still great, and easily Kristen Stewart’s best performance, somehow exceeding even her work in Sils Maria (which is also great). I don’t know how/why Assayas saw Stewart and thought “she really needs to be cast not as a movie star, but as their assistants” in more than one movie, but the dynamic works, and it’s pulling consistently great work from her. I loved this movie.

      • Babalugats

        I liked this movie a lot, and agree that it’s Stewart’s best performance. I’m curious about your read of the ending, because I didn’t have a clear read on it. My thoughts at the time:

        I’m not sure what to make of the ending. Part of this is that I have a hard time taking the existence of ghosts seriously, the ending seems to be playing at some ambiguity there, but the film wisely commits to a definite answer early in its run time, so I’m not sure. Maybe it’s something about how much we create our own meaning and interpretation when dealing with digital communication? That point seems made better and more directly earlier on. I don’t know, I’ll have to think on this one.

        And I’m not any clearer now. I think the scene earlier would have been a stronger finish, but I’m happy to be persuaded otherwise.

        Also, when I was watching that scene in the theater the lights came on, and a woman asked, “Lewis?” to much laughter from the audience. So that took me out of the moment, a bit.

        • pico

          Spoilers, obvs.

          So the ending was mostly affective for me – actually, a lot of the film was affective for me, in that I felt the tone more than the ideas per se? But I got actual goosebumps once the thumping started – I don’t know why, it’s such a corny effect, but there’s something about the moment, and her reaction, and the visceral feeling that this is really, finally happening, that I bought into it completely. Then there’s this sudden shift from the thrill of “it’s Lewis, finally” to the horror of “oh god it’s not Lewis but something possibly malevolent” to her emotional confusion of “what if it’s never Lewis?” that just messed me up in the best way possible. There is an afterlife and it doesn’t matter. Where do you go from there?

          I’m not explaining this well, but I found a kind of cathartic epiphany in the likelihood that her grief would never find its anticipated catharsis, and that that itself was freeing in some paradoxical way. And I think the thumping is actually what sells the moment, because it had me, like her, straining to hear if each question would find a response, and going through that process of anticipation-fear-disappointment along with her.

          • Babalugats

            I think you’re explaining this very well.

            It’s definitely a movie the works better on an emotional level than a thematic one. The grief feels real. Not just in its sadness, but in its uncertainty and listlessness. In Stewart’s absence from the world. The emotional throughline is very strong, even when the plot gets a little sloppy.

          • pico

            The emotional throughline is very strong, even when the plot gets a little sloppy.

            We call that “the Assayas special”!

    • edwardsmsteven20

      Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Feel like I’ll have much more after the inevitable second viewing, but it is so refreshing to see the general beliefs and structures of a Star Wars upended. I was surprised, emotional and thrilled throughout. May rub some people the wrong way but I love how willing Johnson was to flip your expectations and let the story direct where things went. Think the Canto Bight sequence will be the most controversial, but it still was fairly entertaining. Really loved it though and think that the one big addition to the use of the force is fascinating and leads to some great moments.

    • Good Bee Balthaslas

      The Last Jedi: Damn enjoyable. No substantial sourpoints, aside from the conditions of the experience itself, which were…not ideal.

      It was following a day’s worth of meetings and an evening supervising a volleyball tournament, and entailed rushing across town to sit in a packed theatre in front of some kid who kept obliviously kicking the seat (Seinfeld: “I gave him the half-turn!”). And the dude next to me positively slamming food and drink into his mouth between texts. What have we become?

      But there’s no way I wasn’t seeing this on opening night. And my son really loved it. (Lately I’ve been getting caught up on the newest iteration of Twin Peaks — coincidentally, EPISODE EIGHT BROKE MY BRAIN — with him, and the fact that he recognized Laura Dern made me beam with pride.)

      As others have remarked, the second viewing will really tell the tale; there’s a lot to absorb here — more pointedly, this sumbitch is packed. Every time I had a reservation though (too busy, too long, too derivative), a moment of colossal awesomeness would come along and shake the branches.

      One thing though — as with The Force Awakens, the real thrill comes from the old timers. Whenever Mark Hamill in particular was off-screen for too long, the story lost some of its gravity. Who knew this dude had (a) so much talent and (b) so much screen presence?

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Well I sure did, GAWD. The Joker man.

        • Good Bee Balthaslas

          I’ve heard some of his performance work as the Joker, but rarely in the context of a complete episode of storytelling. (Maybe Mask of the Phantasm? Was he in that?)

          It’s mostly snobbery on my part; he hams it up real good from what I’ve heard (and that’s what the part requires), but to be able to do that and be as subtle as he is in TLJ — clearly I’ve underestimated him.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            That’s fair – I know him from voice acting mostly in multiple parts (The Batman cartoon from the 2000’s was pretty terrible but he was awesome in his guest spot as Tony Zucco) but I knew his stage acting was also acclaimed. His interviews are genuinely great too! It seems like Hamill is a terrific guy – he’s a really geeky cat so I don’t think he ever felt cheated out of stardom in a career in weird parts and movies.

          • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

            Family Guy once joked that Harrison Ford was the only actor from Star Wars not to have his career destroyed by the movies, and apparently Hamill got really offended by that because he genuinely was pleased with how his career had gone.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            That’s one of those jokes that is funny but also inaccurate.

    • Rosy Fingers

      Couple episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which I find increasingly aggravating. I’m happy to settle into comforting 1950’s period costume fetish drama, but the rapid fire patter just sets my teeth on edge. The dialogue just substitutes repetition for wit. (Paraphrased sample: “Have you consulted your Dr. Spock?” “No.” “But you have your Dr. Spock?” “Maybe.” “But you’ve read your Dr. Spock?” “I’ve skimmed it.” “One does not merely skim your Dr. Spock.”) and the patter isn’t close to being period-appropriate. At one point characters keep repeating variations on “I got this.” The cultural references are so foregrounded as to become bludgeoning. It’s like Mad Men for idiots.

  • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

    I really enjoyed your discussion here, but I find I’m having a hard time nailing it down as a guiding principle going forward. I’m probably just not used to it and/or haven’t fully learned it, but it’s a super interesting idea. It reminds me of @disqus_Pvn3kEV3Sl:disqus and I talking about Suicide Squad, where elements that just made me recoil hit him/her/it (I respect his/her/its privacy) as communicating something useful that I’d utterly missed. I’ve had that experience with a lot of movies, and I’ve enjoyed other movies mostly because I had some cue as to how to watch it going in (lookin’ at you, Pain & Gain.)

    Anyway, framing a movie’s tone and the audience’s interaction with that tone as a M-B personality type match/mismatch is a super interesting idea, and it gets around a lot of the problems one can run into when one tries to codify “tone”. I’m repeating myself repeating myself but I like this thinking a lot.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      A bit like Freud (though my typical defense of Freud is “He was born in the nineteenth century, whaddya want”), the Meyer Briggs scale is psychologically dubious but artistically uncanny and opens up texts.

      • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

        My undergrad degree is in Psych and take all the shots you want, if he wasn’t right about everything, he wasn’t exactly wrong about everything, either.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Yeah I’m really not a Freud hater. More of a Jungian at heart but the guy created a good chunk of the framework of how I think.

      • Babalugats

        It’s always read like a horoscope to me.

        • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

          It’s funny, I’ve seen bits of that too, but I ended up deciding that that was unavoidable for any attempt to categorize personalities. It’s something of a fool’s errand to begin with, but it’s a very human fool’s errand.

          • Babalugats

            I think people need to feel like their personalities, and the personalities around them, are more concrete and stable than they really are. Ask me if I’m an introvert or an extrovert and it depends. How tired am I? How hungry? Are my feet wet or are they dry? Am I thinking type or an intuitive type? Well, am I on a date or on a job? Also, at best these things can only ever tell us what we think about ourselves. I can make the test say whatever I want it to say, so how does that tell me anything. If you really want to know me, you have to ask around.

            On the other hand, perhaps the fact that my answer to every question is, “could you expand on that?” says something about my personality. Not sure what, though.

            I’m year of the Dragon, which is the best one.

          • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

            Yeah. The other thing that grabs me about M-B, on that point, is how dependent our personalities are on the personalities around us. Certain people can make me taciturn, or perceptive, or competitive, or downright charming, and it’s almost impossible to model that sort of thing except by an endless hypothesis/extrapolation process–to diminishing returns, natch.

          • God Rest Ye Mery Gentploughman

            I wonder if a desire to categorize one’s personality is an effort to crystallize it and deny how malleable our souls can be.

          • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

            That is such an ENTP way of looking at it 😉

            What I think is tripping you up, though, is that you’re treating individual words as slightly more concrete and precise than they actually are. Yes, my ability to socialise depends on my mood and whether I’ve gotten enough sleep and who I’m talking to and what we’re talking about and all that jazz, but at the end of the day, people tire me out and being alone energises me. Yes, I can logically think through my decisions and create an A -> B -> C chain of thinking, but at the end of the day, I have more fun noodling with concepts and am the last person on Earth you want if you have to make fast executive decision-making. There’s an actual, qualitative difference between me, who has fun by consuming pop culture and talking about it afterwards*, and my dad, who has fun by going to the pub and talking to strangers.

            Like, I come from this having a particularly distinct personality, both in terms of it staying the same from situation to situation, and in terms of it being unique enough that meeting new people always has a fairly predictable breaking-in period as they get used to me; I look back at my life and I see both the same ideas playing out in increasing sophistication (e.g. starting with talking about pop culture with my mother and building all the way up to writing essays on pop culture for fun), and long periods where I was clearly trying to be someone I’m not and becoming increasingly unhappy, and I can see a connection between my MB type and that situation. You say “at best these things can only ever tell us what we think about ourselves”, but I find that too useful to ignore; thinking something will make me happy is the first step to finding out if it will make me happy.

            Also, if I were watching a show, and the story had two characters take a personality test, and one said “I can make the test say whatever I want it to say, so how does that tell me anything”, and another said “I can make the test say whatever I want it to say, so I’m going to make it say something meaningful”, I’d consider that thoughtfully constructed cast building 😉

          • Babalugats

            One thing all these tests agree on is that I’m severely I. But then, they don’t know me like you do.

            It’s not so much that I think these terms are concrete and precise (although if they aren’t concrete or precise, and they aren’t, then what use are they?), it’s more that I see this putting things in conflict that aren’t necessarily conflicting. I’m also a little foggy on some of the terminology. What’s the difference between feeling, and sensing, and intuiting. These are vague terms describing inconsistent things, measured by dubious methods. I’m also skeptical of any test that keeps producing flattering results. The end of these things isn’t, “you know what your problem is?” it’s, “hey special flower, everything you believe about yourself is true!” And what are the odds? Have you ever met anyone who was 100% correct in the way they saw themselves?

            Honesty, I think this whole conception of personality is wrong. The idea that there’s this inborn core to a person (in 16 flavors) that is largely unchanged over time. One thing that always frustrates me with those tests are the way the conflate wants with beliefs with behavior. Those are three separate layers of personality and they’re all way more dependent on external factors than anyone is comfortable admitting. I also find talking to people draining, but find me some smart clever fella who’s willing to discuss the nature of personality and the necessary lies we tell ourselves and the way these untruths shape the larger culture; and I can go on forever. Why does one “count” and the other not. It’s easy to say, ‘well none of us are at or best when we’re tired’, but I know people who’ve been tired for decades. These temporary states are as authentic as any other, because every state is temporary.

            If I were to describe personality, and in the way used by these tests that also encompasses a lot of morality and behavior, I would say it’s a complex interconnected set of skills that improve or degrade over a lifetime and are used in service of a complex and interconnected set of urges that are largely dependent on external forces. Which is, you know, difficult to quantify.

            Having said all that, I do think these things are good jumping off points for creating characters, which are never going to have the complexity of actual human beings. And I like the idea of a work of art having a personality. I’d comment more directly, but none of this terminology comes intuitively to me.

          • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

            I think there’s a basic conceptual difference between how we’re treating these tests and what for, which is what’s leading to our vastly different reactions to them overall even when we have superficially similiar starting points – I, too, was frustrated by the overly flattering descriptions, which is why I was drawn to typeinmind for its more grounded and specific articulation of the same ideas. Its main value to me is in forward-moving decision-making, and from that perspective it doesn’t matter if it’s actually true so long as it’s effectively so – it doesn’t matter if Myers-Briggs is all bullshit cooked up by corporations to make money off people’s anxiety (which is something I’ve genuinely considered and still think might be true), because it’s allowed me to articulate an overall direction to move in as well as the smaller step-by-step process of getting there.

            Like, you’re caught up in the test as the ultimate arbiter of people’s MB type, when to me it’s more the jumping off point for both reflection and practical testing – I don’t just think I’m intuitive in an introverted way because I took an internet test told I am and that that’s awesome, I think it because of all those times I got lost in thought, even when it would be drastically inconvenient for me, and because when I lean in on it in a deliberate and structured way, I’m a lot happier.

            (The upshot of this approach being that the various words do mean something specific – though I wouldn’t use the word concrete – to me, even if I can’t fully articulate it)

            And the flipside is that it IS useful as a way to move forward with other people as well – I look at your specific example, and I do see something that can be quantified: someone who finds navigating unfamiliar social situations draining, and finds exploring a new idea stimulating, and so it makes sense to me that this person would, when exposed to someone they can fairly well predict the actions of and who has an interesting new idea for them, would be able to talk for hours. And I can act upon that by building upon the conversation (rather than, say, carefully shifting the topic to something that works for us both, or entirely dropping the conversation).

            To bring it back to pop culture and to your last paragraph, it’s like The Shield. There are a few aspects to these characters that don’t change – Dutch will always solve puzzles, and will always care about Claudette, and will always care about what people think of him. It’s not that one of these counts and the others don’t, it’s that these all interact with each other, and with his interests (distinct from what he finds stimulating, no less important) and with his history (which continues to expand) to create a specific person on a specific journey, constantly in flux and constantly learning but with a few key unchanging elements in his worldview that make him Holland ‘Dutch’ Wagenbach.

            To me, the difference between this and reality isn’t conception, but scale – real people have a lifetime of history as opposed to 90-odd hours, and many traits as opposed to a few. I agree 100% with your second-last paragraph, with the addition of one sentence: “But there’s a distinction between ‘difficult to quantify’ and ‘impossible to quantify’ and especially ‘impossible to at least meaningfully get the gist of’.”

          • Babalugats

            I’m using the test and the theory interchangeably, which isn’t entirely fair. I think the theory is wrong (bullshit cooked up by corporations to prey on people’s anxiety, says you; a scientific veneer over the same old superstition, says I) and the test illustrates the ways in which it is wrong. Mostly by arbitrarily putting traits in conflict with each other, and by drawing broad generalizations out of a specific reaction to a specific circumstance.

            I think it is impossible to quantify someone’s personality. I think it’s impossible to even meaningfully get at the gist of it. I think the best we can do is get at the gist of a couple of significant traits, assuming a lot of fixed variables and no major life changes. Which are both foolish things to assume. We’re all one good bonk on the head from becoming entirely different people.

            As for my example, it’s not so simple. It’s not that I find unfamiliar social situations draining, it’s that I find certain (most) individuals draining, but some individuals I find stimulating. Some of that is the way we communicate, and some of that is the subjects we discus, but not all of it. The all of it is impossible to quantify. And to be clear, I’m not arguing that introversion isn’t a personality trait. Only that it is impermanent, and that there are more than eight others. That trying to express a person in four traits is oversimplifying to the point of meaninglessness.

          • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

            It’s a difficult worldview to get my head around, to the point that I think our points of view are completely irreconcilable. If it’s so much meaningless, or at least incomplete data that cannot be meaningfully understood, then how do you operate around people? How do you make sure your needs and the needs of others are met? Like, from here, it looks like you’re missing the forest for the trees, seeing individual emotions and not the patterns on a broader scale. Plus, it just straight up doesn’t jive with my experiences. I’ve known people who learned and grew, who degraded, who went through drastic life changes, but there was still a core to them.

          • Babalugats

            Yes! This is it exactly! This is what I mean by necessary lies. When I say people need to believe that personalities are more stable than they really are, I really mean that it is a basic human need. I’ve seen enough people’s personalities completely transform in my life. I’ve had enough people who I’ve known until they did something or I learned something completely irreconcilable with my image of them. I know enough about history and culture to know that people, operating with the same equipment I’m working with, have gotten radically different results under extreme conditions. If you move to a new climate, get a different job, change your sleeping habits, and your diet, and the amount of exercise your getting, surround yourself with different people, listen to different music and watch different movies; that’s going to change your personality in profound and unpredictable ways. But there’s no way to operate in the world knowing that everyone in your life is an unknowable enigma, and that your own sense of self is built on a random set of variables that are mostly beyond your control. So we lie to ourselves and say things like ‘I’m going to love my wife forever’ or ‘I would never be one of those murders/nazis/slave owners that I’ve read so much about’, because there’s no other way to live. But needing it to be true doesn’t make it true. I like these sorts of ideas, where you follow the logic of a thing until you come to something strange and dark and unworkable, it’s not a practical idea and you either need to be able to hold two contrasting truths in your mind at the same time or be able to say, “Babalugats is full of shit.”

            If you want a practical application of this view, it’s that we’re all capable of change. I’ve said before that empathy doesn’t always come naturally to me, but I’ve gotten a lot better at it over the years. And it hasn’t made me any less analytical, in fact, quite the opposite. Intelligence is also not an unchanging pillar of personality, but another complex and interconnected set of skills, and those skills can be improved. I’ve done it. I’m probably never going to enjoy making small talk with strangers, but there’s no reason I can’t get good at it, if I’m willing to put the work in. It’s also good to recognize that although the people in our lives are unlikely to change without some major external force, sometimes they do. You don’t need to hold on to grudges forever, because the person you are angry at has died and been replaced.

            You’re right when you say our views are irreconcilable. I’ve never been trying to convince you, just to introduce you to a different set of ideas. I think the best compromise we could come up with is a personality test that had a few hundred categories, and you would say, “this is unwieldy and has no practical value” and I would say, “at best this is only a snapshot of your personality at this exact moment” and neither of us would be happy, but we could both accept the core of the thing.

      • Son of Griff

        What you just said about Freud’s usefullness was my great takeaway from 4 years of a liberal arts education.

    • Babalugats

      His, is fine. Or it. Or her. I’m not that sensitive.

      • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

        Normally I have a firm rule about assuming everyone on the internet actually is the literal realization of their avatars, but since you’re wearing a mask I thought, “Ooo, he/she/it is hiding something!”

        (Also, I’m staying away from @drunknapoleon:disqus during the holidays, in related news.)

        • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

          I should give you all a beating but I really have to fly!

        • clytie

          Yes, I have been Jonathan Rhys Meyers this entire time.

          • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

            It’s confused me before, no doubt, but not nearly as much as when Glorbes wasn’t old and Japanese for awhile there.

          • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

            Also, I really thought that was young Ewan McGregor. I didn’t think those two looked that much alike, before.

          • clytie

            Nope. It’s a screenshot from I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
            https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3e/ab/b9/3eabb9cf67486e0672b875eb681dbf89.jpg

          • Rosy Fingers

            For whatever reason I just thought it was a photo of you. I thought you were quite handsome.

          • clytie

            I’m a woman and I’m not nearly that pretty.

        • Babalugats

          I was trying to hide that I was the guy who liked Suicide Squad!

          I’ve read everything Napoleon’s ever written in Bender’s voice. Can’t help it.

        • Defense Against The Hark Arts

          I don’t really look like Yoda on the outside. Inside I’m a small green frogman with poor sentence structure.

          • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

            Aren’t we all?

            Also, your holiday names are always the best.

        • Festive Narrator Man

          I have been known to stress-dance to “Don’t Worry About the Government”. And I have, on occasion, interrupted dinner parties by talking about menstruation.

    • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

      If there’s any specific guiding principle, it’s in better articulating what I like and what I don’t like, and to some extent coming to terms with not liking things. Steven Universe has been bumping around my head since I watched it, and it took writing this article to fully understand my “I hate this but recognise that people are positively reacting to SOMETHING” reaction.

      • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

        Well, and we all have that, right? One of mine is that I could never stand Seinfeld; it hits that useless comedic narcissism in a way that just left me fantasizing about large heavy objects falling on the cast, constantly. (I was the only person laughing at the series finale in a large room full of people. It would’ve been awkward if I hadn’t been laughing so hard.) Codifying those mismatches by personality type…either I didn’t really get what you were saying before or you took it farther this time, because I like this idea a lot. I feel like I have a lot of reading to do before I’m ready to test its generalizability, but I like it a lot.

      • It’s a pain for me to work out, because I always test as INTJ, which is not one of the artistic temperaments. Funnily enough, literally everyone I’ve ever dated was an INFP, which means 1) I apparently have a type, and 2) this is why they drive me up the wall, even in the best of relationships.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          ENFJ’s or extroverts for me generally.

  • Defense Against The Hark Arts

    A question for anyone who cares to answer: I have an iPod nano with a 2.5″ screen. Because I’m a bit of a contrarian and I always hear directors say movies are meant to be seen on the big screen, I thought it would be fun to watch a movie on the tiniest screen I can think of. What movie would be ideal to watch on it?

    • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

      It’s a good question, because I watch movies/shows on my iPhone sometimes, and I think about it as well – I watched Mad Men on my phone sometimes, and when I told people this they seemed aghast. But I also watch Rick & Morty, The Simpsons, and Always Sunny on my phone all the time and frankly that seems the ideal way to watch it. My vague and mostly useless answer would be that spectacle is the worst thing to watch on it, and you’re better off watching something that’s mainly intense closeups.

      • Babalugats

        Just hold the phone closer to your face. It’s not about the size of the screen, it’s about your field of vision.

        I don’t generally watch anything longer than a YouTube video on my phone, but I used to watch pan- and-scan VHS movies on a teeny tiny tube television with wonky color, and nobody ever gave me shit about it.

        • Good Bee Balthaslas

          I’ve been thinking a lot about McLuhan designating television as a “cool” medium (in that it requires viewer participation in meaning making because of its involving nature) in connection with my childhood experiences watching programming on a 13″ B/W set.

          Specifically, watching The Exorcist on late-night TV was a really memorable event, and I have to think a lot of it came from having to put my face up close to the tube to make it out (and not, via sound, alert my mom in the next room that I was watching something inappropriate).

          I don’t miss the box itself, but I sometimes miss the intimacy and involvement of those formative experiences. Plus, a lack of colour really did “cool” things off, as my brain had to fill in that information itself.

    • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

      Hah! I suspect I’d reframe this question as, “What’s your favorite movie with distractingly terrible CGI?” Rogue One (Tarkin)? 2nd Matrix? AngLee!Hulk?

      • Defense Against The Hark Arts

        The new movie Downsizing with Matt Damon would work. From the trailers I’ve seen the special effects look pretty bad.

        • Babalugats

          Well nobody’s going to beat that answer

          Edit: How about Terror of Tiny Town for second place?

          • Defense Against The Hark Arts

            I had no idea this movie existed. “A novelty picture with an all midget cast. The first of its kind ever to be produced.” This was before Rain Man of course.

          • pico

            Coulda been worse. Coulda been Tiptoes.

    • More verbal/dialogue-driven shows. I watched both Blackadder and Chappelle Show on an iPhone between classes with no enjoyment lost.

    • Rosy Fingers

      Lawrence of Arabia, for sure.

      • Defense Against The Hark Arts

        I think I’m going to need something that’s 1:85 or I might go blind trying to watch it.

      • Son of Griff

        BEN HUR and HOW THE WEST WAS WON are even wider. Your image will look like a tunnel on a black sand ant farm

  • pico

    Haven’t seen the movie, but I’ll co-sign this on principle: https://twitter.com/AADowd/status/941506636287488000

    I mean, it’s a great song. Plus, back in 2012 I was saying “Zero Dark Thirty” by Aesop Rock > Bigelow’s, so this is a doubly satisfying echo.

    • That’s the only Stevens song I’ve heard, and I was blown away by it.

      • pico

        He has two possible slots in this year’s Oscar for Best Song category, and they’re both really good, too. (I’m partial to “Visions of Gideon,” but I think there’s more support for “Mystery of Love.”) I’m kind of an obsessive fan so I won’t write you a 10,000 word comment on what to listen to, except to say: he has a rich catalog and it’s worth exploring.

  • pico

    Also, bit of an early Oscar shocker: the presumed front-runner for Best Foreign Film, BPM, didn’t even make the shortlist. That gives strong odds to The Square, I suppose, unless voters find it too weird, otherwise…? Even odds around?

    • Jake Gittes

      Same thing as with Elle last year. Clearly something’s not working.

      I’m increasingly curious if Zvyagintsev can sneak up and take it. Didn’t like the movie but I dunno I’d laugh. Don’t have a dog in this fight since I haven’t seen any of the other contenders (and few of them look all that enticing).

      • pico

        I haven’t seen it yet, but hardly anyone was super-enthusiastic about it?
        Well… make-up awards are b.s., but I liked Leviathan a whole helluvalot more than Ida (and the superior The Return wasn’t even a contender), so I figure, eh, I won’t hate it if he finally goes home with something.

        • Jake Gittes

          It’s got a good bunch of nominations and wins all over the place, from both critics and awards bodies. Plus Leviathan clearly came very close in 2014. Plus the movie isn’t too inaccessible aside from the bleakness.

          And as with Leviathan it’d be funny to see Russia get an Oscar for a movie so critical about Russia. You just know some people here are gonna break out in hives.

  • BurgundySuit

    Year of the Month Update!

    Here’s some of your possible topics for the rest of December:
    https://letterboxd.com/films/year/1964/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_in_music
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_in_literature

    And here’s who’s covering them (mark your calendars)!

    Dec 15th: Anthony Pizzo: Mary Poppins
    Dec 17th: Conor Malcolm Crockford: Band of Outsiders
    Dec 18th: Joseph Finn: Viva Las Vegas
    Dec 19th: Pico: Kwaidan
    Dec 23rd: Jacob Thomas Klemmer: The Naked Kiss
    Dec 28th: Jacob Thomas Klemmer: Woman in the Dunes
    Dec 29th: Clytie: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

    And for the new year, we’ll be going back to the very beginning (well the oldest year in the random number generator, anyway) – 1928!

    https://letterboxd.com/films/year/1928/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1928_in_literature
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1928_in_music
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1928_in_art

    NO DATE: The Ploughman: The Circus
    Jan 8th: BurgundySuit: The House at Pooh Corner

    • pico

      Put me down for 1928’s The House on Trubnaya, no date yet.

      • Jake Gittes

        Good man. Bring that Russian representation.

      • BurgundySuit

        See your piece on Kwaidan tomorrow?

        • pico

          Yup – should be showing up in the scheduling queue. Is it not?

          • BurgundySuit

            There it is!

          • BurgundySuit

            And there it is!

    • Son of Griff

      I’ll do SHOW PEOPLE. I’ll pick a date later (and I will get my 1964 piece finished, I swear).

      • BurgundySuit

        Don’t worry about it, sounds like you had plenty to deal without that! And Year of the Month is fully insured against acts of God.

        • Son of Griff

          What I’ve written so far is, in my opinion, pretty good, so I’d like to get it up before the month.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Alright I’ll take Steamboat Bill Jr. for…January 20th? It’ll take some time as I’m starting a new job.