Patrick R

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Everything posted by Patrick R

  1. WIZARD JAM 5 // Welcome Thread

    I'm excited! I am super busy this year and will not have time to participate but I will pledge now to play every game I am capable of (no VR headset or controller that connects to my laptop), and of course my soundbank is always available for anyone looking for quick music.
  2. Movie/TV recommendations

    My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea is an absolute treat of a movie, a completely beautiful and pleasurable experience that mixes the sensibilities of Don Hertzfeldt, Wes Anderson, and Bob's Burgers (among other things) into a hilarious doodle of an animated film. Really really tight balance between earnest high school emotions and bizarre sarcastic humor, with a highly rudimentary sketchy animation style opening it up to be endlessly expressive and weird. Can't recommend this one enough.
  3. I don't know if this makes it better or worse, but I think the green M&M character is a direct reference to the once popular urban legend that the dye in the green M&M's were an aphrodisiac. I heard that but the more popular urban legend at my middle school was that yellow Starburst shrunk your penis/testicles, which I think was a bastardization of the "yellow dye #5 lowers sperm count" thing.
  4. He is also the inventor of Mustache TV, one of the great games.
  5. Julian Barnes

    There's Nothing To Be Afraid Of, Julian Barnes' non-fiction book about mortality, is a play on words. What about death is there to fear? Nothingness. I tend to prefer when Barnes mixes his ruminative approach with fiction, but I definitely liked this book. Barnes is absolutely inconsolable about his own mortality. This is the only book I've read that refuses to force an optimistic look on death, and as such (like the passages on grief in Levels of Life) it somehow made me feel much better than anything else I've read about death. I tend to feel like people who talk about not being afraid of death are Martians. Or make me feel like one. Anyway, if you like Barnes' style, and are interested in the subject of mortality and faith (or lack thereof) as explored through the lives of him and many classic artists and composers he's researched, There's Nothing To Be Afraid Of is worth checking out.
  6. Idle Thumbs Streams

    Are there plans to continue streaming Wizard Jam 4?
  7. 13 Reasons Why

    Just finished episode 4. 13 Reasons Why is good in the way most shows are good these days, which is to say it is good at getting you to want to watch the next episode and only secondarily concerned with doing these characters, their inner lives, the themes of the show, etc. justice. I kind of wish it would just lean into it's trashiness and make Hannah some sort of Dark Knight Joker teen, an insane posthumous puppet master sociopath. The best parts of this feel like high school Gone Girl except Gone Girl had the good sense to not let good taste get in the way of it's fun. As is, I am in the market for teen feelings so it'll do. Omnipotent latino greaser kid popping up everywhere is a joke that never gets old. Also I got really excited that Josh Hamilton was playing Clay's dad because he was the lead in the excellent 1995 Noah Baumbach hipster comedy Kicking & Screaming, and then I realized that being excited that the dad played a cool cool guy in 1995 makes me the old man watching this, even older than I often feel when I see all these teenagers with neck tattoos. Is that a thing? Are high schoolers all tatted up these days?
  8. I don't think Chris Remo is featured in the linked newsclip, for what it's worth.
  9. If I could wake up tomorrow as a three year old with all my knowledge I think the first thing I'd do is plagiarize the rich and vibrant world of Banjo Kazooie and sit back and watch the bucks roll in. This was a very good episode and I think if I was trying to show someone what this show was about I would point them to this.
  10. Movie/TV recommendations

    If you are one of those people who says "Man, they never make mid-tier films for adults anymore", The Lost City of Z is in multiplexes as we speak. I enjoyed it, though partly for the novelty of a big budget (it felt!) character study that is not in any way shape or form awards bait or a big money maker. Amazon is sort of the king of swooping in to critically acclaimed directors and helping them get not obviously commercial films made. I think they're just invested in the idea that enough auteurs with enough money will eventually get them an Academy Award. So far: Chi-Raq (Spike Lee) Wiener-Dog (Todd Solondz) Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan) Love & Friendship (Whit motherfuckin' Stillman) Cafe Society (Woody Allen) The Handmaiden (Park Chan-Wook) Paterson (Jim Jarmusch) Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch) The Neon Demon (Nicholas Winding-Refn) The Lost City of Z (James Gray) Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino, the I Am Love and The Big Splash guy) The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Granted, they distributed, not produced, these films, so who knows at what point in the financing process they were ever involved. Indie film distribution in 2017 is a weird and woolly world, which is why every movie you see has 70 production company title cards before it. Anyway, The Lost City of Z is like Lawrence of Arabia with a smaller scope, and with some of the rougher, more challenging aspects sanded off. Still, well worth seeing.
  11. Movie/TV recommendations

    Harry & Tonto is a beautiful road trip movie about aging and is the best cat movie ever, hands down. Inside Llewyn Davis (which it resembles a little bit) is nothing compared to Harry and Tonto, and Paul Mazursky's image of America is beautiful.
  12. And serving those fear-of-change nerds is why I am always so cynical of these nerd-aimed reboots in the first place. Not that I can honestly promise that, if they did change the robots, I wouldn't have said "This is bullshit, the old characters (who I bonded with at the age of 12) were much better!" So I get it. But it probably would have been a better overall move.
  13. But you said something I forgot! I know new robots would have been a hard sell, but the new voices feel like a weird Twilight Zone between new characters and the old ones, and my brain can't quite handle it. Wish they just had Jonah build all new characters, so the comics voicing them could feel comfortable making them their own.
  14. Now that MST3K is such a bullet-proof cult-nerd darling the "let's put on a show" late night movie host aspect feels even less honest than when they were in movie theaters. Also, while MST3K always had and still has a full staff of writers, Joel Hodgson was a prop comic and Mike Nelson was a humor columnist for newspapers, and their skits always felt like personal reflections of that. Jonah Ray's comedy doesn't seem like it dovetails into the form quite as naturally. It feels like someone trying to perform someone else's style of comedy, and ends up feeling a bit precious because of it. I only saw Reptilicus so far, and even though I was all set to be super cynical, I can't deny it's about as funny as it ever was (definitely agree about it always being hit or miss). There's just two things I wish were different (that later episodes may address) 1. I wish they'd continue making super obscure jokes about exhibits at the Minneapolis Zoo and shit like that. 2. I wish they wouldn't step on lines in the movie so much. Old MST3K gave a much better appearance of being off the cuff, while this they had a habit of making a joke about a line reading DURING THE LINE READING. I am happy that they mostly kept it tween-friendly, despite the fact that on Netflix they can go as blue as they'd like. EDIT: I just double checked and Wikipedia doesn't mention Mike Nelson ever wrote newspaper humor columns. I don't know where I heard that.
  15. The Handmaiden

  16. Plug your shit

    So in July I'm going to be returning with Season 2 of Tracks of the Damned, my horror film commentary track podcast, but I've set up a fundraiser in the meantime to try to raise money for charity. I don't know if anyone here has listened to the podcast or would be into it (a podcast you sync up with a horror movie you watch at home is a very niche thing, I know) but if you are interested, the details are all right here. So far I've raised 132 dollars for the ACLU, International Rescue Committee, and the True Colors Fund, which is 132 dollars I couldn't afford to donate myself, so I'm pretty happy about it. If you are curious about my podcast, I was able to post an episode on YouTube with the movie already synced (because Carnival of Souls is a public domain film) so you can check it out here: The film itself starts at 10:14.
  17. For the record I posed this question to my partner and they just shrugged and said "Since when have I ever paid attention to red flags?"
  18. I watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for a second time and it opened up for me a little bit. I'll re-post my Letterboxd review here: ----------------- My second time seeing this, though my first time maybe qualifies more as an "attempt". It's clear Alfredson wants to formally evoke the nebulous world of spycraft, a world where nothing is for certain and honesty can never be assumed. He jumps around in time, space and perspective a little too quickly, cutting from establishing shots a little too soon, obscuring the subjects with foreground objects a little too much. There's a moment where we see a form being signed and at the very moment focus is racked to the point where we can make out what the form is he cuts away. If you can define Spielberg's work by narrative clarity, you can define Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by the opposite. It's only on this second viewing, knowing the story going in, that I was able to make head or tails of anything. And, in some ways, Alfredson's gambit pays off beautifully. Watching this really does feel like being suspended in amber, never quite getting enough air, never really able to grasp the whole picture. It doesn't exactly make us empathize with Smiley, the calm in the middle of the storm, but it does successfully get across the feeling that national intelligence is a gross and unappealing existential nightmare. The appropriate response to being in most situations in this film is to have a panic attack. Everyone wants to be James Bond, kissing a beautiful woman on the beach. I wouldn't trade lives with a single person here. However, all this discomfort and confusion cuts both ways. With a narrative that's near impossible to follow on a cause-effect level, and characters who are impossible to connect to on an emotional level, the best thing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy actually has going for it is it's weirdly fetishistic 70's Brit-drab aesthetic. Alfredson worships industrial tans and greys the way Winding-Refn worships neon reds, and somehow the result is nearly as striking. But Alfredson cuts too fast, shows too little of his sets, and makes the audience ask "Where and when am I?" on the arrival of too many new scenes. What does the Circus actually look like in this film? How is the office arranged? Where does who work and why? What does it all look like, their decor and equipment? In a film strictly concerned with narrative, all these could be shrugged off as irrelevant. In this film it feels like missed opportunity. In refusing to stop and take a breath, Alfredson teases us with his carefully cultivated aesthetic but never lets us enjoy it. Then again, this film is anti-enjoyment, anti-pleasure. Still, I prefer the narrative clarity and moral ambiguity of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold to the moral clarity and narrative ambiguity on display here. ----------------- I certainly liked it much more the second time around, but I know a lot of folks here (at the very least, the hosts of Idle Thumbs) like it even more than that. I wonder if, like the Harry Potter movies, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a film that works best when you've read the book, when you already know these characters and their inner lives (assuming Le Carrรฉ depicts their inner lives), and don't need to work out what's going on through the film itself. I would be curious to know if there's anyone who didn't read the book and had no problem following the story here. Also, Alfredson finally returns with a new film, The Snowman, this year and I wonder if his style in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (which feels like an escalation of his style in Let The Right One In) will continue to refine itself there.
  19. The Fast and the Furious series

    This series is interesting to me because it seems the reason it's become a critical darling (among a certain kind of critic) is the same reason I can't get into any of them, which is the cheesy "We're la familia, bro" stuff. There's some pretty good sequences in 5 & 6, but these movies are so long and have so much bad drama in them. I want to like them (they're super diverse and the story of the franchise's mutation is fascinating!) but I really can't. It sounds like you feel the same way about the melodramatic stuff, dium, and I'm impressed you got through them all (this is like, 15 hours of movie, right?) when you only actually liked one of them.
  20. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

    I should be clear: I also don't think reading the book is required to enjoy the film. I, in fact, enjoyed* the film. Clearly my theory that those who really love this movie are bringing knowledge of the book into it has been disproven (at least anecdotally). I like that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy trusts it's audience. I like films that are very impressionistic and only give you just enough info to make connections. The Blue Room is a really fascinating movie in this way (it has a highly typical romantic thriller plot, just fractured and approached from oblique angles and time-jumping), as are the films of Claire Denis. In fact, my favorite movie of all-time is Upstream Color for this very reason (among others). I've specifically been trying to think why that film (which is arguably more confusing and hard to piece together) speaks to me so much while Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy doesn't, and I've come up with a two things. Upstream Color is, for me, an emotionally driven experience. You may not know what's going on from time to time, but everything has a certain surreal emotional logic to it. I'm deeply invested in the characters, even if I don't know exactly what they're going through. While the big picture of Upstream Color is ambiguous, surreal and operates on a metaphysical level, on a scene-by-scene, shot-by-shot level, you almost always know what's happening. Why Amy Seimetz is piling rocks on the side of the pool is open to interpretation, but that she is doing it is never in question. I think the lack of emotional core can be just a taste thing (certainly not every movie needs to have one, and maybe you found Smiley's character moving in some way), but I think we may disagree on the clarity angle. I agree that all the info you need to follow the story is in the film. I think all the info you need is in the script. But, for me, the way Alfredson shoots it often seems intent not on giving the audience only what they need, but making it hard for the audience to get what they need. Unfortunately, to really show you what I mean I'd have sit down and take it shot by shot, edit by edit. But that's the way it felt for me, and I believe it was Alfredson's intent to do so. I just think that choice, matched with the already complex narrative told quickly and glancingly, was a counter-productive one. * Which is to say, I found it's depressing tone and oppressive atmosphere compelling, and liked the performances when scenes went on long enough to appreciate them. I called the film itself anti-enjoyment because of it's particular disinterest in providing the audience with levity and simple aesthetic pleasures.
  21. Life

  22. Movie/TV recommendations

    I have a theory that Veep is actually the only tv show that has ever been good? The only reason I'm not certain of that theory is that I've never seen In The Thick of It, which very well may belong by Veep's side except I've seen clips of In The Thick Of It and I've seen the movie In The Loop and those characters don't seem as well-developed and distinct as Veep's.
  23. Didactic Thumbs (Pedantry Corner)

    "Could The Next Star Wars Film Be Animated?" Content: Disney exec says in interview that they have no plans for an animated Star Wars film. Stuff like that.
  24. I feel like both Nick and Chris were agonizing over trying to say "I don't like the genre of high fantasy" without actually saying it and I found it a little strange. Did you guys mean something else by "If I saw a book with a cover that looked like Dark Souls I wouldn't read it"? And if you did just mean "I don't like fantasy", why not just say that? I left not quite understanding what they meant by "I don't like stories like that."