Clytie’s Recommended Entertainment Articles (October 11-17, 2019)

Greeting and salutations, my dears. How are you? Do you love fall as much as I do? Do you enjoy shirtless Brad Pitt as much as I do? Anyways, on with the articles….

On the 11th, E. Reid Ross of Cracked looked at the storied history of the O.J. Simpson prank show:
“In 2006 — which, for those keeping track, would be precisely one year before he was sent to the Graybar Hotel for armed robbery — Simpson was the star of a hidden-camera program called Juice’d. His antics really pushed the envelope, then savagely opened it. Although the fruits of this ignoble endeavor were released on DVD, the show mercifully never aired on any network. Maybe they didn’t want to be associated with the nation’s most notorious double murder acquittee. Or perhaps they didn’t trust the judgement of the producer (who happened to be the same esteemed mind behind Bumfights and Backyard Wrestling). But more likely, they just watched the damn thing. It included such epic moments of hilarity as … O.J. in old white man makeup, annoying senior citizens by reading bingo numbers poorly.”

Jen Chaney of Vulture asked if we should be happy for Jesse at the end of El Camino, on the 14th:
“El Caimno deliberately doesn’t tell us which interpretation is right, although the tiny smile that Aaron Paul flashes at the very end suggests he’s closer to being in a good place than not. Still, the ending to the Jesse Pinkman story is just as ambiguous — maybe even more ambiguous — than the one we got in the Breaking Bad finale. That feels right. We shouldn’t be able to see the end of this winding road or where it will take him next. Walter White got something finite. His penalty was death. Jesse gets life, but not his own.”

On the 14th, Mariela Santos Muñiz explained how books are adapted, over at Book Riot:
“While book-to-movie adaptations are common, there is still some mystery surrounding this process. There is the author who creates the source material of course, but who else is involved? Why are some books turned into movies, while others aren’t? And what makes a book-to-film adaptation successful? Keep reading to find out.”

Stephanie Talmadge interviewed H. Jon Benjamin, for GQ, on the 15th:
“Materially, the two shows Benjamin stars in couldn’t be more disparate. Bob’s storylines explore the tribulations of a working-class family running their own restaurant and the tedium of being married and raising kids. But Bob and his wife Linda relish the mundane, evidenced by her ongoing soap opera about the raccoons behind their house. Archer, on the other hand, parodies different spy tropes, with the characters traveling to frozen tundras, distant galaxies, and exotic islands. On one such remote locale, Archer is taken hostage by pirates, only to accidentally become the Pirate King, and eventually dragging half the team into his mess. Truly, Archer and Bob—and the shows themselves—are perfect foils. There is parity in the way they’ve both inherited their parents’ work, but the only other major through-line is Benjamin.”

Also on the 15th, David Fear of Rolling Stone, reflected on Fight Club and its legacy:
“As we come up on the 20th anniversary of what’s considered a jaw-droppingly stupendous year for American filmmaking, it pays to single out David Fincher’s contribution to that annus mirabilis. Two decades ago today, after a premiere at the Venice Film Festival and countless arguments with studio executives, his adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel slipped into theaters. It was coasting on the strength of two movie stars — one newcomer with a few Oscar nominations already under his belt, another older one coming off a series of shaky leading man roles — and a hot director just starting to hit his stride. It caused a lot of handwringing while blowing a decent number of minds (its real rabid fanbase would discover it on DVD a few years down the road). Numbers-wise, it was considered a flop. Now it’s a modern classic. It cast a subversive shadow that looms large over everything from superhero movies to our current fucked-up political climate. It’s a cult movie, and a “cult” movie, that hit folks as hard it could and still continues to throw haymakers.”

Angie Han talked about how Gone Girl gave a face to the “monster myth” for Mashable, on the 15th:
“Amy was neither a realistic figure nor an aspirational one. (I doubt few, if any, Gone Girl fans harbor fantasies of having their husband executed.) Nor was she some avenging angel for the sisterhood; Amy expresses only contempt for other women. But at a time when the conversations about gendered violence and male privilege and microaggressions hadn’t quite tipped over into the mainstream, and were often dismissed when they did manage to break through, Amy served as a cultural release valve, an expression of our extreme frustration.”

On the 16th at Texas Monthly, Sean O’Neal argued against the reboot of Walker: Texas Ranger being “gritty”:
“A grim Walker reboot threatens to ignore one of the most salient aspects of the original, and the major reason why it lives on in syndication and your dad’s DVD collection: Walker, Texas Ranger is absolutely ludicrous. Although rarely intentionally comedic, it is nevertheless one of the funniest series in TV history, the alchemical blend of ambition and incompetence that begets the kind of surreal comedy any Adult Swim show can only thirst for, even when it’s a direct parody. It wasn’t just the excessive violence, every blow of which Walker luxuriated in—often repeated from multiple angles and rendered in enough slow motion that each hour-long episode would have run about fifteen minutes without it. Nor is it just the dialogue, which alternated between clunky exposition dumps, growled menace, and corny puns, nor the fact that Norris seems to visibly strain when talking to people he’s not supposed to hit. After all, these sorts of glorious imperfections are the stock-in-trade of all of Norris’s films, along with the entire B-movie lineage to which both they and Walker belong.”

Also on the 16th, Tatiana Siegel talked about how China is censoring Hollywood for The Hollywood Reporter:
“From Mulan actress Crystal Liu to the Lakers’ LeBron James, most top stars are taking no chances and are lining up to either side with the Chinese regime or denounce any criticism of its authoritarian tactics. Similarly, companies like ESPN (which used a controversial map on SportsCenter that indicated the self ruled island of Taiwan was part of China) and Apple (which removed from its online stores the so-called Hong Kong protest app and quietly dropped the Gere series Bastards, despite picking it up straight to series late last year) appear to be toeing the party line.”

Tim Maleeny of Crime Reads, discussed humor in crime stories, also on the 16th:
“Only a handful of crime writers seamlessly incorporate humor into their stories. Despite the number of mysteries published each year, a small cadre of writers seem to find mirth amidst the mayhem. Not all the time, and to varying degrees of hilarity, but a subversive smile always lurks below the surface, and there is something about the characters, even the villains, that you just love.”