Clytie’s Recommended Entertainment Articles (December 27, 2019-January 2, 2020)

A belated HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, my dears! How is 2020 treating you do far? Have you made any resolutions? Anyways, on with the articles….

On the 27th, Stacy Lambe‍ of Entertainment Tonight, gave a run down of true crime in popular culture from the past year:
“Ever since Serial, the investigative journalism podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig, became a sensation in 2014, there’s been an explosion of interest in the true-crime genre. Fascination over these kinds of stories was further buoyed by the success of the docuseries, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst and Making a Murderer, as well as the anniversary of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which was revisited on the FX anthology series, American Crime Story.”

Simon Reynolds of The Guardian, talked about the fracturing of audiences in the 2010s, on the 28th:
“It feels like there are fewer household names, more cult figures – and the gulf between the universally famous and the known-to-just-some grows wider and wider. A discussion about music with an old friend or a new acquaintance can go quite a long way before you find something that you have both heard. Not only there is a sprawling span of contemporary niche sounds and micro-genres, but there are several generations of ageing stars and tenacious fringe figures still out there gigging and recording, Meanwhile, the reissue industry constantly rescues obscure artists from oblivion and repositions them as deserving of attention and ear-time, while the amateur archivists of YouTube and album-sharing sites mop up anybody and everybody else remaining with a scintilla of significance.”

On the 31st, Fletcher Peters analyzed the 2019 movies that featured squatting, over at Film School Rejects:
“A handful of films in 2019 showed heightened anxiety regarding the idea of squatting. Storylines have protagonists living in a house that’s not their own, but what exactly does this show about the current state of homes and property ownership? While the world in which these characters live is in no way a utopia, the houses of these films serve as the only way out — herein lies the gut-wrenching fear of hierarchies, as they’re presented through one’s living space.”

Also on the 31st, Robyn Bahr of Variety, discussed the need for puppetry:
“No disrespect intended to the talented artists and animators who bring computer graphics to life, but CGI should be used to enhance, not replace, the unvarnished wonders of animatronics, prosthetics and puppetry. One of the reasons classic films like E.T., Babe, Gremlins, Alien and Jurassic Park continue to endure is due to the sensorial enchantment of their central creatures: the curious eyes that connect you to a fluffy or rubbery new friend, the alarming jawlines lined with teeth that could slice you to shreds. These pics imagine verisimilitude where the very concept is not possible in a real world devoid of aliens, talking pigs, gremlins and dinosaurs. Imagine if David Cronenberg’s The Fly or an American Werewolf in London were remade today — no doubt the animated special effects would neuter any deliciously revolting, adrenaline-pumping shock of gore and body horror. It’s why the wholesome but tactile brilliance of Disney theme parks will forever outstrip any thrill-inducing 3D simulation at Universal Studios.”

Mike S. Ryan of Filmmaker, talked about what an eventful decade the 2010s were for independent film, and what that means for their future, also on the 31st:
“As we look ahead today, the question is what future do art films have if it’s been decided that they don’t work with viewers on the streaming platforms and streaming is the only distribution path that can connect viewers to films? Indie seems to have morphed into a minor-league farm system for the streaming services, whose feature-film content looks more like TV movies of the week while their TV shows strive to be more cinematic. Where will the indies that are more like art films go if there is not room for them in the streaming-dominated world, where the mega corporations control via exclusive actor/director contracts through development, production, festivals, award shows and now, even, exhibition (they can own theaters again!). Feels like we need to carve out a whole new space/path for art films that don’t aspire to being TV.”

John Halle, a comrade at Jacobin, defended Kenny G, on the 1st:
“Music has for centuries functioned to reinforce social hierarchies and define the boundaries of elite class identity. Those exhibiting musical talent in the approved ‘high’ genres have been able to transcend their economic status, gaining access to elite circles, as have those who have shown a full assimilation and deep understanding of the aesthetic and social norms associated with the high arts. Conversely, demonstrating an excessively non-ironic affinity for ‘low’ musical genres and cultural products, however these are defined, is a recipe for exclusion from them.
It is in this sense that a preference for Kenny G, as suggested above, ‘invites social ostracism by elites and by the professional managerial classes (PMC) that serve them.”

Also on the 1st, Kacie Lillejord lists life lessons we can all learn from Clueless, at 25 Years Later:
“However, Cher breaks the stereotype of spoiled rich girl in a few significant ways. One, she’s not exactly boy-crazy. She’s waiting for the right one to give herself to and truly be with. The high standards she holds herself to make her different. Even Dionne has fallen for the high school boys that Cher detests. When you look at the 1990s fashion and hygiene on the guys in this movie, you can’t really blame Cher for wanting more.”

Finally, Maria Sherman of Jezbel, talked about how hard it still is for female directors, on the 2nd:
“Contrary to all of the ‘women in film’ rhetoric of the last few years—especially that which followed Wonder Woman, the movie that was supposed to save feminism—Hollywood is not actually that inclusive. Shocker!”