Patrick R

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  1. !!!!!!! This is the best.
  2. This is a good episode. I had seen the episode description several days before actually listening and was convinced that "Is the Law & Order theme song actually a dog?" was referring to to the clanging jail door sfx sounding like a dog barking and I was all "Yeah, totally, that clanging jail door sound sfx sounds like a big dog barking, what a good observation" and then I actually listened to the episode and it wasn't about that at all and then went back and listened to the clanging door sound and of course it doesn't really sound much like a dog.
  3. I recently spent two work days (I work at a video store) "watching" the Resident Evil series because there is a strain of cinephile who views these movies as highly progressive and experimental provocations in space, artificiality, and action staging and I was curious as to what there was to that. I can't stand these movies. I can't imagine a less appealing aesthetic, personally, and the action scenes bore me to tears. Granted, I had them on at work so I couldn't actually sit down and watch them start to finish, but I saw enough to be completely put off. Which is too bad, because the idea of Paul WS Anderson hijacking a video game adaptation series to be about how badass and awesome his wife (Milla Jovovich) is is very weird and appealing.
  4. The Haunting of Hill House is an absolutely extraordinary horror novel from Shirley Jackson, probably best known for it and her short story "The Lottery". The entire book (except for the opening and closing) is written from the perspective of a maladjusted young woman Eleanor who's just gone through a personal tragedy and is called upon for an extended stay in a notoriously haunted mansion. Because we see the story from her perspective, and because whatever spirits or ghosts occupy Hill House never come out and show themselves, the entire book is about the ambiguous space between Eleanor's sanity, Hill House's malevolent presence, and the awkward forced jovial relationships she has with the other people there, who come to rely on friendship and sarcasm to combat their fear of the mansion. It's a really amazing book that marries supernatural horror with social anxiety and, because of how it uses it's third person limited perspective, Jackson's prose constantly finds fresh ways to describe horrors in plain sight while still existing in a maddeningly ambiguous space. Really cool book.
  5. It really is the meticulousness that makes Boxer's Omen. To contrast, I recently saw Happiness of the Katakuris for the first time and while that is also a crazy and unpredictable cult movie, it feels a lot less focused and a lot more impersonal than The Boxer's Omen. There is a very specific vision of good and evil in The Boxer's Omen that is very refined and carefully constructed, even if it is also ridiculous and has a sense of humor about itself.
  6. The Boxer's Omen is a 1983 Shaw Brothers kung-fu/horror/black magic movie and one of the most wonderfully ludicrous things I've ever seen. The intensity with which it surprised me at every turn, while still being a completely earnest and well-constructed film about religious piety and good vs. evil, was absolutely baffling. It's pretty gross (it comes with the sub-genre of black magic movies), with a lot of bugs and maggots and goop and organs and bodily mutilation, but it all happens on a surreal operatic level that makes it much easier to take. This clip highlights the film's stream of consciousness structure and also it's amazing special effects bugfuckery. I could not recommend The Boxer's Omen more strongly to anyone who has an interest in cult or strange films.
  7. Top of the Pops Send-ups Top of the Pops is the long-running pop music show in England and they have a mime/lip-syncing policy for their performances, which some artists have opposed and mocked. I was first exposed to this phenomenon by Nirvana's legendarily bad performance of Smells Like Teen Spirit, but when I went on Top of the Pops' wikipedia page I learned it had a long tradition. This performance by Orbital, where they clearly don't have their keyboards plugged in are mostly just leaning in to touch random buttons every five seconds, is amazing. The audience doesn't really know what to do, so they just clap as a TotP dancer, the only performer in the room, raves out onstage. EDIT: I am also a huge fan of this clean version of "Sandwitches" that Odd Future did on BBC radio. "Mess with me and I'll scratch your cat!"
  8. Not to be the guy who says Bicycle Thieves (or The Bicycle Thief, sometimes, for a bizarre reason) is a great movie like that's something that needs to be said, but if you haven't seen it it's a completely staggering work. It's basically an entire season of The Wire's worth of urban observation and pathos crammed into 89 minutes through a very simple and emotionally absorbing story. Worth it just for all the location shooting in a remarkable city (Rome) during a remarkable period of time (just after WW2).
  9. Pitfall (1962) is a really funny and really bleak black comedy about capitalism, in which a migrant worker gets murdered for no reason and, as a ghost, goes back and uncovers why it happened and how the entire system was always set against him. Director Hiroshi Teshigahara is best known for Woman In The Dunes (1964), which is more surreal and esoteric but equally angry and anti-capitalist. This doesn't reach the nightmarish heights of Woman In The Dunes, but it does feel like a better entry point to Teshigahara's style, which is equal parts gorgeous, aggressive, experimental and satirical. Pitfall sometimes feels somewhere between Steinbeck and The Coen Brothers, and is definitely worth seeing. This trailer makes it seem way more avant-garde than it actually is, but gives a good idea of some of the strange experimental flourishes.
  10. Also, if the sneeze corresponds the your movement outside and/or you tilting your head back, it's something you have control over. On the other hand, I associate sneezing mostly with allergies and losing control of my body and feeling like a drippy itchy mess, so sneezes get a big thumbs down from me.
  11. I don't know how you can go from Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy to THE INTERNET'S OWN MCELROYS without it affecting you in some way. Most stand-up comedians have an arc in their career where their peak is before they have a fanbase and then after they're a big name their jokes slowly get less and less refined because everywhere they go they get laughs and applause anyway, so it's hard to chisel down into the perfect joke the way they used to have to. Late period George Carlin mostly alternates between him preaching to the choir and basking in applause (basically no laughs, just applause). Podcasting isn't the same thing (you aren't dealing with direct audience feedback the same way) but it wouldn't surprise me if a similar arc happened. I feel like early MBMBAM the tone was along the lines of "Why would anyone listen to this?" and now that's a disingenuous question, so the instinct to reign in the weird indulgences is probably a lot weaker. But I also basically consume zero McElroy #content outside of Car Boys, so what do I know.
  12. I kept thinking about "Hoist 'im, boys!" all day and laughing all over again. Good episode.
  13. Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career is a really great and thorough book about the making of Spielberg's first feature film, the excellent TV movie Duel, that makes a pretty convincing case for it being one of Spielberg's most impressive achievements. It's a combination of history and criticism that, while spending a little too much time recapping plot points for my taste, tells the amazing story of how Spielberg did pre-production, shot and edited one of his best films over the course 2 months. Also, the story of how Federico Fellini became the world's first Spielberg fanboy. It's a pretty quick read and a worthy companion to Carl Gottlieb's seminal book on the making of Jaws, The Jaws Log.
  14. It played a very limited run in America and is coming to video June 6th. Apparently the story didn't translate too well, and basically features no voice-over which, while usually a thing I applaud in book adaptations, removes one of the most defining aspects of the novel. I personally have trouble imagining how the story even plays without the subjective point of view, and fear that it'll mostly just be alternating between the flashbacks of the first part and the present tense of the second part. Maybe that could work anyway, but it'd have to be a very different thing, I think. My video store is getting it and I'll definitely be checking it out, if only because I think Jim Broadbent as Tony is really great casting. EDIT: Got the DVD release date wrong. Fixed it.