The FAR suggests old things are not used if you haven’t unpacked them yourself. Classic TV episodes, foreign films slated for remake, straight-to-streaming movies from last year, manga culture – if you missed it the first time around, it’s brand new!
Thanks to the always fresh and new scb012 for contributing this week. Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion and Have a Happy Friday!
Just in case it escaped someone’s attention, notoriously reclusive Simpsons writer Jason Swartzwelder consents to get interviewed by Mike Sacks for The New Yorker:
I never knew any comedy writers when I was growing up, or heard of anybody around town trying to make a living that way. So it was an unusual choice for me to make. And because it was unusual, it was hard to know where to start. When I told people I didn’t want to carry cement for a living, I wanted to write comedy and be a national treasure instead, I got some odd looks. Some people suspected I might be stupid. Others were sure of it.
In The Ringer, Miles Surrey points to great films released during 2020 that got buried:
What’s so great about The Empty Man? Director David Prior pulls from a lot of influences—urban legends, aughts J-horror, slasher films, Lovecraftian terror, the most sustained exploration of tulpas in pop culture since Twin Peaks: The Return—and mashes them together within the framework of a Fincher-esque procedural about a widowed ex-detective (played by James Badge Dale) investigating his neighbor’s missing teenage daughter and how it might be related to a death cult. The Empty Man somehow feels derivative—a terrifically terrifying scene in the woods certainly apes Ben Wheatley’s Kill List—while at the same time being unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The easily spooked should steer clear; for everyone else, don’t wait to experience one of the best horror films in years.
In the latest Senses of Cinema issue, José Miccio mounts a case for cinephelia:
I believe within this group there are three ideal types of anti-cinephile. First, the Theorist. Second, the Political-Moral. Third, a sad shadow of the previous two. The most organic attacks to cinephilia come from academics and militants (political, social, educational and religious militants). The first group accuses cinephiles of not being rigorous enough, of being impressionistic, of ignoring or celebrating their pre-theoretical condition. The second group accuses cinephiles of escapism and wankery. It’s fair to say that, in their terms, they are right. They propose alternative ways of relating to cinema, which they consider to be questionable. They use genres such as the academic paper, the thesis, the careful examination of a problem. On the other side, cinematic artifice is subordinate to more important causes, such as justice or spiritual health. For some, cinema is an object of study. For others it is a pedagogical tool. In both cases results are rarely memorable, but coherent in their own right. What is certainly notable is the third ideal type of anti-cinephile: this type repeats the academic’s and the militant’s objections but produces no knowledge or political action of its own. This type epitomises the intellectual of our times: a confused spokesman for other people’s ideas, of ways respected by others, judging from an empty stand, passing judgement on those lives that do not recognise his law. The erroneous lives.
Scott Roxborough on the increasingly tricky proposition of American remakes of foreign-language films at The Hollywood Reporter:
“Art house films can be challenging to adapt because they often bear the signature of their director, and that can be difficult to transport [into another culture],” notes Martin Moszkowicz, executive chairman of German mini-major Constantin Film, which has scored hits with local-language versions of mainstream Italian and French comedies. “True cinematic art is very difficult to adapt.” This may explain why so many international films optioned for remakes never get made. Paramount’s version of German Oscar nominee Toni Erdmann (2016), DreamWorks’ planned adaptation of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father, Like Son (2013), or Tom Hanks’ U.S. take of A Man Called Ove, the Swedish sleeper from 2015, remain, as of this writing, in development hell.