Greetings! Lots of good stuff from the past week, so I have an even longer list than usual.
On the 26th, Brian Grubb made a case against scary movies for UPROXX:
“Dammit. No. I’m not afraid. I just don’t like scary movies. And I’m tired of having my beans roasted about it every October. (Another reason October is bad.) I know there are people like me out there, too. I’m not the only one stammering his way through a needlessly defensive explanation of why I don’t want to see whatever horror movie is burning up the box office. And so, what I’m going to do here is lay out my simple three-part case against scary movies. This way, next time some goon gives me a hard time about it, I can just send them the link and be done with it. Yes, you. I’m talking about you. The person who is reading this paragraph. The person I just texted this to. You are the goon. Don’t look up at me.”
Also on the 26th, Joanna Scutts mourned the end of FilmStruck on Slate:
“Conversations about gatekeeping and elitism tend to equate cultural capital with actual capital, and assume that critics, artists, professors, and the kinds of people who make up film-festival audiences are able not only to persuade and educate but also to limit and exclude (hence the enduring power of attacks on “elites” making $40,000 a year). More powerful, and far more insidious, is the massive land grab by tech companies for whom culture is only a series of metrics, who have rampaged through media and the arts in pursuit of impossible growth, whose business practices are in thrall to the “move fast and break things” ethos, where the speed with which a company can “pivot” and fire its staff is a mark of health, not of shortsighted, rapacious, and deeply unstable management. Over and over again stories pop up about the climate of corporate terror that reigns at companies like Amazon and, just this week, Netflix, yet they remain models to which others aspire.”
Phil Hoad at The Guardian discussed, “Muriel Box: Britain’s most prolific female director you’ve never heard of,” also on the 26th:
“Box knew of what she spoke. Fifty-four years since her final film, she remains Britain’s most prolific female director. In the 1950s, she strived and scrimped, surmounted institutional prejudice and ill-health to make her 13 features. Now, they are being seriously re-examined, with major retrospectives at this year’s San Sebastián and Lumière festivals. Audiences are finding Box isn’t just worthy of interest because of her outrider status, but because of her quest to find adventurous new expressions of women’s lives.”
On the 28th, Jeremy Lowe ranked the top 10 Halloween movies of the 21st century for Daily Grindhouse:
“As a horror fan, I have certain weaknesses, that if these tropes are used in a film, I’m almost always guaranteed to at least enjoy the movie. Out of these plot devices, one of my favorites is setting the movie either wholly, or partially, on Halloween.”
On the 30th, Michael Gingold shared “10 Horror Movie Ads from the 1980s That Lied to Us” for Mental Floss:
“If one of the joys of being a horror fan in the 1980s was being seduced by the shocking and lurid come-ons in the newspaper advertisements for these movies, one of the downers was going to the theater and not getting all those ads promised. In the quest to sell tickets, movie marketing often exaggerated what the films themselves had to offer, and occasionally they flat-out lied to us.”
On the 30st, Gavin Edwards discussed the legacy and lost promise of River Phoenix, a day before the 25th anniversary of his death, for Vanity Fair:
“At 1:51 A.M. on October 31, 1993, River Phoenix was pronounced dead. He was just 23 years old. It was a tragedy for those who knew and loved him, and a shattering event for all the young fans who had hung posters of him on their walls, and for all the moviegoers who had been moved by his performances. It marked the end of a short but prolific career, encompassing 13 movies and one short-lived TV series. In life, River Phoenix was still figuring out what kind of movie star he wanted to be: pinup boy, hippie idol, scruffy activist? Now the question was asked all over again: what kind of icon would he be in death?
The assumption of many Hollywood observers was that Phoenix would take his place in the cinematic pantheon as the ‘vegan James Dean’: a symbol of restless youth, encumbered with more talent and beauty than he knew what to do with, coming to an abrupt, early end. That didn’t happen.”
Also on the 30th, Dahlia Balcazar interviewed Gabrielle Moss on about her book, Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of ’80s and ’90s Teen Fiction, which chronicles, “the golden age of YA literature,” for bitchmedia:
“I bought some Sweet Valley High books off eBay. They gave me a moment of peace, but I also found that I was analyzing them more than I had expected. I thought they would be, honestly, kind of crappy, and that I wouldn’t be able to engage with them in any way. But when I was reading them, I started really thinking about them. I, like a lot of women in our age demographic, grew up reading these. I would read like 10 a week when I was in elementary school, and I started thinking about how they had shaped so many of my ideas, even ideas that I’m pushing back against now as an adult. I started thinking that it would be cool to go back and really look at them, really see how they were made, what they reflected about the times in which they were made, and what we could figure out about how they have affected all of us who were exposing ourselves to them.”
Alan Sepinwall encouraged readers to stream St. Elsewhere on the 31st over at Rolling Stone:
“There’s a famous episode of South Park called ‘Simpsons Already Did It,’ where Butters proposes various schemes that he then has to abandon upon being reminded that someone on The Simpsons had previously tried it. It was a reflection of the innovation and influence of Bart, Homer and friends, and of the long shadow they cast over so many shows that followed them. It’s damn hard for any animated comedy — including The Simpsons itself, which, like South Park, is still making new episodes 16 years after ‘Simpsons Already Did It’ first aired — to try something that doesn’t in some way echo those classic early seasons in Springfield.
Eighties hospital drama St. Elsewhere didn’t have nearly as long a run, barely making it through six modestly-rated seasons. But those 137 episodes — all of which are now available on Hulu (which previously only had the first season) — featured so much experimentation, so many things that American TV had never tried before, that most of the great dramas of the last 30 years (as well as some of the comedies) could easily do a similar episode called ‘St. Elsewhere Already Did It.'”
Jordan Zakarin shared an oral history of Disney Afrernoon on November 1st for SY FY WIRE:
“This is the story of how a DIY outfit working with Mickey’s leftovers turned into a sprawling empire of its own, embodying Eisner’s time at the company, with all the major successes and challenges that Disney itself faced.”