This Week You Will Have Your Timbers Shivered By:
- good “guy” movies
- bad Oscar years
- bad hypocrites
- bad game reviews
- good museums
- great speed!
Thanks to scb0212, Casper, and Miller for unfurling the sails 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!
GQ‘s Gabriella Paiella investigates the enduring question of our time: Why are so many guys obsessed with Master and Commander?
If you kidnapped a hundred of Hollywood’s top minds and forced them to work around the clock, they could not engineer a more exquisite Dad Movie. Though Master and Commander is ostensibly about the Surprise sailing to intercept a French enemy warship, the battle scenes, exhilarating as they may be, are few and far in between. The bulk of the film—and the heart of its charm—is instead a meticulous rendering of daily life at sea: the monotony of hard labor, the palpable threat of scurvy, the dirty-faced sailors who sleep in close quarters and grin through yellowed teeth. (You know it smells crazy in there.) Even better? All the screen time devoted to close conversations between Aubrey and Maturin, and their two-dude violin and cello jam sessions. You come away with a sense of satisfaction at their accomplishments and camaraderie, and just a bit of longing over a bygone way of life.
At Rolling Stone, Marlow Stern pinpoints the worst Oscars in history:
One figure loomed large over the 2003 Oscars: Harvey Weinstein. The then-Miramax executive (and now twice-convicted rapist) was at the height of his awards-season powers, with his films receiving a total of 46 Oscar nominations, including a hand in four of the five Best Picture nominees: Gangs of New York, The Hours, Chicago, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. While Weinstein’s involvement in the first three films was rather straightforward — he produced and distributed Scorsese’s Gangs, helped produce Stephen Daldry’s drama The Hours, and distributed Rob Marshall’s movie-musical Chicago — his executive producer credit and profit participation in the LOTR trilogy is more complex. It stems from the property first being developed at Miramax, where Weinstein notoriously pushed to combine all three volumes of Tolkien’s sprawling fantasy into one film, going as far as threatening to replace director Peter Jackson with Quentin Tarantino if he didn’t acquiesce. Jackson ultimately won the battle. Weinstein (and his brother Bob) were given $10 million in turnaround fees and a slice of the backend to kick rocks. Jackson took his passion project to New Line, who backed his three-film vision. And the rest is history. As a final fuck you to Harvey, Jackson reportedly modeled one of the orcs after him.
Defector‘s Laura Wagner uses a recent John Stewart interview to refute the usefulness of pointing out political hypocrisy:
Stewart had clearly carefully diagrammed the interview, and yet the whole thing felt like a chore to watch. The logical and ethical holes in Dahm’s repeated deflections and talking points—more guns make people safer; guns don’t kill people, people kill people; fentanyl and obesity kill more people than guns; fatherlessness is the real scourge at the root of gun violence in the U.S.; background checks are an infringement on the right to own a gun; what about knives?—were so gapingly obvious, Stewart should have driven a bulldozer right through them. Instead, he took Dahm far too seriously and what could have at least been a satisfying dismantling of a total dope was instead just nearly 10 minutes of painful middle-school-debate-club rhetoric. […] Watching the video, I was struck by how intensely unimpressive and anticlimactic it was to see Stewart spar with a local politician clearly just looking to raise his national profile: Dahm was the more pathetic of the two, but it shouldn’t have been nearly so close.
For Kotaku, Sisi Jiang reports on an unearthed G4 review that points to gaming’s racist reception of JRPG games in the past:
I’m all for people growing into a better version of themselves. But let’s take a moment and recognize that what’s racist right now was still racist back in 2006. There’s no such thing as “it was a different time.” Jokes about the great replacement theory were always dehumanizing, and they made Asian Americans feel like dogshit. The main difference now is that public figures who make racist comments might have to read some mean tweets about it.
At Dissent, Joanne McNeill looks at the Fall River Museum of Contemporary Art, which focuses on local, working class art that has meaning for its place, not the elite:
The fastest human-made object in history was a manhole cover launched into space by a nuclear test. Rebecca Harrington has the story at Business Insider:
[Astrophysicist Robert] Brownlee replicated the first experiment, but the column in Pascal-B was deeper at 500 feet. They also recorded the experiment with a camera that shot one frame per millisecond. On August 27, 1957, the “manhole cover” cap flew off the column with the force of the nuclear explosion. The iron cover was only partially visible in one frame, Brownlee said. When he used this information to find out how fast the cap was going, Brownlee calculated it was traveling at five times the escape velocity of the Earth — or about 125,000 miles per hour. “The pressure at the top of that pipe was enormous,” he told Insider in 2016. “The first thing that you get is a flash of light coming from the device at the bottom of the empty pipe, and that flash is tremendously hot. That flash that comes is more than 1 million times brighter than the sun. So for it to blow off was, if I may say so, inevitable.”