Clytie’s Recommended Entertainment Articles (December 28, 2018-January 3, 2019)

Welcome to 2019, my lovelies. Here is what I have for you…

On January 1st, Eric Kohn of IndieWire argued that audiences aren’t getting dumber, they’re just overwhelmed:
“Of course, every generation assumes superiority over the one that follows it, so it was only a matter of time before the act of cultural consumption faced an existential reckoning. Movies may not be the preeminent artform of the 21st century, but they remain an appealing option as long as audiences know where to look. A few years ago, this may have sounded like a dystopian assessment, but it’s now the standard coming-of-age process: Younger viewers are creatures of algorithms, but as they age they become more aware of options beyond what machines tell them to do.”

Also on the 1st, Ivan Pagliaro discussed Disco and Communism through the lens of Saturday Night Fever for our comrades over at Jacobin:
“Cultural products should not be judged relative to some ideal of high culture, but instead in their own context, in terms of their meaning for their intended audience. Without properly understanding this context, we can understand nothing of the battle on the cultural terrain. If John Travolta sings in a forest, does he make a sound? Only if someone is there to listen to him.”

Emily J. Smith of Slate argued the TV antihero wore out his welcome in 2018 on the 3rd:
“Spacey’s Frank Underwood was always a villain at heart, and his ruthless machinations wore thin over five seasons. But like many, I kept coming back to House of Cards for one reason: Claire Underwood. Even before Spacey’s scandal, the show had positioned Claire to take the presidency from her husband; not a huge change, but a welcome one. Played by a perfectly icy and precise Robin Wright, Claire seemed to possess a depth that the other characters on the show lacked. She was at once a victim and a villain—the perfect antihero. But in Season 6 (where she has taken over Frank’s ability to break the fourth wall), the character’s depth seemed to have all but disappeared. It’s as if Claire were simply plopped into Frank’s ill-fitting and annoyingly still ever-present shoes, leaving us with a female version of her late, unlamented husband. She’s the same cold villain with different tools.”