The FAR will seek riches anywhere: in the back catalog of a beloved character actor, in the latter-day work of rock stars, in the patterns of all music ever written, the religious subtext of space operas, the ground, and even… on film twitter.
Thanks to our own treasures Miller, Belated Comeback, and Rosy Fingers 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.
For rogerebert.com, Scout Tafoya writes about the best films he saw this year, the short works of Haaniyah Angus:
Perhaps more important than any victories in her films as beautiful prose poetry is the creation of herself as a character in her movies. Angus is now a character with which other people can identify and she didn’t have to compromise in any way. Everything from her struggles with an eating disorder to her regiment of medication is in here, for all to see. That’s how it should be, how it must be if honest progress is to be made, even if movies like this seem to be something the mainstream is physically incapable of producing. She created a space for herself in cinema by simply being herself.
In Religious New Service Jack Jenkins interprets The Mandalorian as a parable about religious pluralism (includes recent spoilers for the show):
At its best, Star Wars reminds us of these flickers of inspiration and reveals a bit of how real-world religion works: Ultimately, the greatest historical legacy of a faith isn’t the size of its temples, the scope of its power, how passionately it worships or even how cool its members look when waving lightsabers. It’s how its devotees treat other people, including — or, perhaps, especially — those least like themselves.
Stuart Heritage ranks the 20 best body swap films of all time, which apparently accounts for all of the body swap films of all time considering the ones at the bottom:
The late 1980s were a boom time for body-swap films. Some of them were good. Others were like this. Starring Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron, Like Father Like Son [(1987)] asked the question: “What would happen if a Native American potion accidentally transplanted a teenage boy into the body of a respected surgeon?” The fact that the answer is not “gallons and gallons of negligent bloodshed” means that this film can only qualify as a failure.
Van Morrison superfan Elizabeth Nelson reviews the man, the myth, the incredible crank’s latest work: Songs protesting coronavirus lockdowns:
I love Van Morrison’s music so much that I almost, without exaggeration, cannot contemplate life without it. Simultaneously, he is transparently insane. These factors came to a head these past couple months as the pandemic worsened and Van started releasing a series of “anti-lockdown songs” which was completely consistent with his long-running position that everyone and everything is a particular conspiracy against his interests. “Copycats took my words/ Copycats took my songs/ Copycats took my melodies” he once complained about anyone else that ever used an instrument and language to make a song.
But don’t worry Van, anyone trying to copy you will soon be caught and re-educated by Spotify and its new patent identifying patterns in music, as Murray Stassen informs us:
As explained in the filing – and as our songwriter/musician readers will already know – a ‘lead sheet’ is a type of music score or musical notation for songs denoting their melody, chords and sometimes lyrics or additional notes. Spotify’s invention would allow for a lead sheet to be fed through the platform’s ‘plagiarism detector’, which would then, “having been trained on a plurality of preexisting encoded lead sheets”, immediately compare the composition in question to all other songs stored in its database.
Daniel Barbarisi for Outside reveals the identity of the finder of Fenn’s Treasure, and a decade-old mystery ends as bizarrely as it began, with the chest of riches being unearthed by a former contributor to The Onion best known for a retracted Buzzfeed hit piece on the Oatmeal cartoonist:
People have died looking for the chest. Others have gone bankrupt. Many more have spent countless hours in search of it, and they want some degree of resolution. On our various excursions out West, my search partner and I both found ourselves a little too obsessed at points, and it took its toll. There are real human costs to this search, and knowing the final location could offer the desired sense of closure so many are now seeking. [Jack] Stuef says he’s sympathetic to those feelings. “This is the most difficult question to answer, because I know there’s so many people who just want to know. They worked on this for a long time. And they just want to be handed the answer. I totally understand that. But doing that, I think, is a death sentence to this special place.”