The FAR is all about consensus, so long as said consensus agrees with its very correct opinions! Let the masses edit our fan sites, watch our aging actors in terrible movies, embrace or reject oddities, listen to our parents’ music! What’s the worst that can happen when mobs rule?
Exuberant cheers from the crowd for scb0212 and Miller for their contributions! Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and have a Happy Friday!
“With Bruce Willis, there’s almost a model for how he features in these movies,” [film distributor Adam] Champ theorized. “One of my clients calls it a ‘geezer teaser’: You have Bruce Willis at the intro of the movie, so people are like, Great, this is a Bruce Willis movie. But he’s actually a secondary character who shows up sporadically.” […] The audience being teased by these brief performances seems to consist largely of men older than 35 who spent their teen years renting Jean-Claude Van Damme movies from their local video stores. In that era, as Bertrand Reignier, another Daro Films executive, puts it, action stars like Seagal and Van Damme made relatively cheap movies “with nothing to sell them except for the artwork on the box and maybe an action-packed trailer.” This demographic has now helped fuel the multibillion-dollar VOD market, a virtual replica of a Blockbuster Video.
One artist who seems to me representative of this turn in American culture is the filmmaker Rian Johnson. He is quite good—you have to be, to make successful middlebrow art. His movies seem to challenge us, but the challenges and provocations they offer are thoroughly premapped: We are invited not to wrestle with our feelings but to engage in a kind of self-absolving or penitential agreement with his message. Watching a Johnson film, you don’t reconsider where you stand; you stand where he points, and stay put.
James Whitbrook reports at Gizmodo on the galaxy-sized Star Wars fan hub and resource Wookieepedia finding themselves in controversy over a vote to end deadnaming in articles about real-world trans and non-binary contributors to the Star Wars universe whose work was credited to their birthnames:
Wookieepedia doesn’t just archive relating to information that is part of the Star Wars universe, but media in our own as well. Authors, artists, creatives who worked on the films, and other people of our galaxy who helped build Star Wars sit alongside the likes of fictional heroes like Leia Organa and Rey Skywalker, with their pages held to the same validity and archival standards. It’s here that the site found itself at the center of a furious controversy—and part of a progressive sea change in the growing acceptance and embracing of trans and non-binary identities in fan circles and beyond, at a time when trans and wider queer rights continue to be challenged on state and federal levels.
J. Hoberman at Sight & Sound examines the film maudit and whether it can exist in a more democratized critical environment:
As the mass audience eroded, social media has rendered film maudit superfluous. In simultaneously undermining a critical establishment to react against and elevating the opinions of unaffiliated cinephiles, the net has fostered a cinematic counterculture capable of embracing, defending and blessing nearly anything. Is Southland Tales, a movie Richard Kelly declared was about “the end of Western civilisation as we know it”, the last of its kind?
And in an interview with Steve Hyden at Uproxx, folk-prog guitarist Ryley Walker talks about his new album but mainly about what people miss when they dismiss Genesis and (most of) its offshoots:
RW: I think Phil Collins, he’s a really brilliant guy. And, obviously, for his contributions to the band to just be boiled down to whatever shit people want to talk, is completely unfair. He took on, in my opinion, one of the hardest jobs ever and he did it very well. And the pop direction they went is also just genius. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. I can’t help you. I don’t know what sickness you have, but I can’t help you and I encourage you to explore more.
SH: What’s your stance on Mike + The Mechanics?
RW: Mike + The Mechanics is a psychotic experience that should only be viewed in the rearview mirror as a fatal mistake. It’s one of the worst bands I’ve ever heard.