This Week You Will Learn:
- What place a pink fuzzy pen has in law
- Why Tom Cruise’s jacket was changed for the new Top Gun movie
- How to spot a sham documentary producer
- Who played Mad Max and Furiosa in alternate timelines
- The secret to songwriting.
Thanks to Drunk Napoleon and Casper for contributing this week. Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
For Reverse Shot, Bedatri D. Choudhury muses on Legally Blonde and her own pink, fuzzy pen left behind:
Bracketed by an upper-class whiteness, Legally Blonde’s celebration of femininity and flirtation with feminism predates the toxicity of the “Gaslight Gatekeep Girlboss” avatar that upper-class white feminism has taken today. It is, in fact, a conscious distancing from that pantsuit world and an urge to not give up small pleasures like our furry pens that are a part of our core beings. Going against the grain of a professional world where one is constantly told to “grow up,” Legally Blonde asks us to hold on to the whimsies of our girlhoods and the lessons they teach us. The pen—and the reclamation of everything associated with it—thereby becomes a symbol of resistance against patriarchal co-option, and a reminder to hark back to the sisterhoods we think we have outgrown.
The Atlantic‘s Erich Schwartzel details the way China has learned from and exerted its influence over the Hollywood machine:
In some cases, the rise of China’s entertainment industry has deepened our understanding of a country and culture that remain misunderstood, even demonized. In more insidious cases, it has braided a censorious agenda into moviemaking, corrupting America’s most effective tool for selling democracy and free expression to the world. Over this next century, China wants to use the movies to rebrand itself, and it has learned how to do so from the best. All of this has happened before our very eyes.
Ian Leslie goes long on Get Back‘s depiction of genius emerging from banality and restlessness:
Immersed in all this banality, a funny thing happens to the viewer. As we get into the rhythm of the Beatles’ daily lives, we start to inhabit their world. Since we live through their aimless wandering, we share in the moments of laughter, tenderness and joy that emerge from it with a special intensity. When they get up on that roof at the end of the final episode we feel exhilarated, joyful, and almost as thrilled as they look. I think we learn something along the way, too: that the anomie and the ecstasy are inseparable.
Witness this oral history of the casting of Mad Max: Fury Road excerpted at Vulture:
Mark Sexton (lead storyboard artist): This is something I don’t hear about very much and that George never admits, but I have a very, very, very strong memory of George talking about Eminem for Max. […]
George Miller: We did get in touch with him, though that’s as far as it went because we were going to shoot it in Australia at that point, and he simply didn’t want to leave home. I think he had the impression that if he could do it out of his home state, then he’d be up for it.
BuzzFeed reports on activist Eli Erlick discovering a documentary crew tricking people into participating in an anti-trans film:
Erlick didn’t know the exact budget of the film but estimated the crew, equipment, and travel would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. On Feb. 3, she said she and Lynn spoke on the phone, but the producer was “fumbling” over her words and sounding like a “sympathetic cisgender person.” On the roughly 12-minute call, Lynn said Erlick would be asked what she considers to be “standard documentary questions” but didn’t go into detail about what, exactly, the conversation would involve. They talked about both being from California, and Lynn mentioned she attended California State University, Northridge. “When she mentioned it, it was strange because [the school] has a prominent trans resource center,” Erlick said. “She had never heard of it before. … Anyone I have ever talked to there had heard of it.”