Patrick R

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Everything posted by Patrick R

  1. The Weekly X Files Rewatch Thread

    Season Finale of Season 6, Biogenesis, is all my least favorite X-Files Mythology tropes rolled into one. Why is Mulder the only one affected by the SPACE RADIATION (tm) and why does Chris Carter love ponderous voiceover so so much? I've seen the show through season 7, but 6 is where I started to skip the mythology shows entirely.
  2. Julian Barnes

    On a Julian Barnes kick, so I just finished his latest novel The Noise of Time, a historical fiction about the life of Russian Composer Dmitri Shostakovich, as explored through three time periods in his life where he was challenged by powers that be and how they wore hm down. Typically great writing and definitely in the contemplative style of The Sense of an Ending, with a little thematic overlap as well. Certainly bracing to read about the life of artists under fascism now. I don't know anything about the history of life under Stalin or even Shostakovich (despite the fact that he's one of the most famous composers of the 20th century, I never heard of him before) so I can't speak to it's accuracy (though there's an epilogue where Barnes lays out all his sources) but I'd highly recommend it if you like The Sense of an Ending.
  3. Jake suggesting to use the Rockafire Explosion to scare away burglars reminded me of my favorite SNL sketch ever, Home Security Decoys.
  4. Ranking the Films of the Coen Bros.

    Yeah, Burn After Reading is definitely in my top 5 favorite comedies of the century thus far. I remember seeing it in the theater, being the only one cackling like a jackass throughout the entire thing. Must have been what it was like to "get" Lebowski early, though Burn After Reading lacks the warmth and lifestyle fantasy to ever become a cult favorite the way that movie is. And that ending is so fucking incredible. Feels like the exact opposite of A Serious Man's, in a way.
  5. Universal Harvester

    Universal Harvester is the second novel* by Wolf in White Van author and singer/songwriter of the Mountain Goats John Darnielle. I've been a huge fan of his music for a long time, and his literature feels like an extension of it. It has the same interest in geography, small towns, lonely people, and the rich interior lives of seemingly simple people. And it has the same tone. His song lyrics have been frequently described as "literary", so I guess it should be no surprise that his literature is so lyrical. Universal Harvester's initial premise (video tapes returned to a late 90's video store have certain sections taped over with bizarre and disturbing content) sounds like the premise of a horror story (in fact, it sounds like this one (trailer maybe NSFW)) but as the story unravels in it's frequently baffling way, the horror drops off to reveal sadness and damaged people looking to heal however they can. Wolf in White Van jumped around a bit in it's chronology but the way Universal Harvester jumps around between characters, places, times, and even tenses (there are frequent Vonnegut kind of interjections where it's unclear whether you are listening to Darnielle's or a character's thoughts, and even looking back I'm not 100% sure) seems over-aggressive to me at times. It feels like Darnielle deliberately tries to jerk the reader around, teasing them with a glimpse of What's Going On only to leap backwards or forwards in time 20 years, even in between paragraphs in the same chapter. The beginning of Part 4 of the book is such an intense fake-out I got completely flummoxed. I was frequently flipping back to previous pages trying to figure out if I misread or missed something, because an event (like the first time we see what's on the tape) would initially be presented one way only to be revealed later as being something else. I really want to re-read it because at this point I don't know if there is a thematic purpose to his obfuscating the plot so much or not. I want to say maybe it's my fault for assuming this would be a horror novel, but he's the one who set it up that way. Right now I'd say I enjoyed the prose but I'm not sure how much I actually liked the book. *He also did a 33 1/3 book called Black Sabbath: Master of Reality which, unlike the rest of the books in that series, was a fictional novella instead of a non-fictional work of criticism.
  6. Universal Harvester

    I liked reading this book but in the end I found it very unsatisfying and awkward, especially when compared to the absolute elegance of Wolf in White Van.
  7. Universal Harvester

    From what I understand from interviews, Darnielle wrote this somewhat stream of conscious (though he did outline), and I think there a lot of little details or lines that, in my memory, don't actually add up or make sense. I wonder if another read would do much to make them click, but even beyond the plot details he keeps deliberately vague (which I wasn't a fan of) there's a lot of character motivations I don't buy.
  8. Ranking the Films of the Coen Bros.

    Raising Arizona is an awesome looking movie and I respect that there's nothing like it, but I just am not on it's wavelength at all, and if you don't find it funny there are stretches of it that are interminable.
  9. Ranking the Films of the Coen Bros.

    I'm rather fond of this career overview of their work from the Dissolve. I have quibbles with which films the author thinks are best, but it sums up what makes their work unique better than I could.
  10. Ranking the Films of the Coen Bros.

    Do you really think of Blood Simple as a comedy film?
  11. It's super long and involved, branching out in a lot of directions and involving time paradoxes. I'll make a post here when I have the time but even putting in the work to unpack it all will be a lot. EDIT: I'll just do the broad strokes. Keep in mind I'm excluding comic books, novelizations, the Freddy's Nightmares tv series, and little easter egg gags like the Freddy Glove appearing in Evil Dead 2 or the Hellraiser box appearing in Jason Goes to Hell. 1. Jason Voorhees was a guest on the Arsenio Hall show, so all the following is either connected to our own actual universe OR part of a fictional universe that Arsenio Hall was secretly set in the whole time, despite appearing to be a non-fictional talk show. 2. Freddy Vs. Jason (and previously, for a moment, Jason Goes to Hell) permanently links the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th universes. 3. Freddy Krueger is the janitor of the high school in Scream. YouTube video says it's a lookalike, but it's clearly Freddy Krueger, who was canonically a high school janitor before parents found out he was a serial killer and burned him alive. In Scream Freddy Krueger is played by Wes Craven, director of Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Since this is pre-burn Freddy we can assume that all of the Nightmare on Elm Street series takes place after 1996, which is when Scream is set. Also, the opening scene of Scream confirms that A Nightmare on Elm Street is a fictional movie series in the Scream universe, so there's the first paradox. 4. Jay and Silent Bob have a cameo in Scream 3, which links the Scream, Nightmare, and Friday universes to the Kevin Smith Askewniverse. Two side notes: One: in the linked scene, Courtney Cox is leaving the set of Stab 3, which is part of the fictional film series based on the events of Scream 1 & 2, so there's some extra metafictional madness. Two: The tourist with the camcorder in the panama hat is Wes Craven, which means he is either playing Freddy Krueger or himself, which is important because... 5. Wes Craven has a cameo in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back as himself, director of a Scream sequel starring Shannon Doherty. Or, I'm just now realizing, because we never see any clapboard or crew jackets that say the word "Scream" on them, this could possibly be Wes Craven directing a Stab sequel instead. 6. Wes Craven's A New Nightmare is it's own little eternal spiral inside all this. If you haven't seen it, it's essentially the horror version of Adaptation, where the Nightmare on Elm Street series was a sort of totem that trapped a real demon version of Freddy in the realm of fiction, but once they stopped making Nightmare on Elm Street movies that means the demon was free to escape and kill people in the real world, including the cast of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven plays himself, Hollywood director who is saving the world by making horror movie sequels, in what must surely be the most self-aggrandizing director cameo of all time. -------- Also, the Friday the 13th series has some weirdness with chronology because they kept pumping out a sequel a year but also kept using the "the events of the last film happened many years ago" set-up, so by the end they were set something like 13 years ahead of their release dates.
  12. Ranking the Films of the Coen Bros.

    You Llewyn Davis people are gonna be the death of me.
  13. Ranking the Films of the Coen Bros.

    The Coen Brothers are interesting to rank because they've made so many different kinds of movies of such a consistently high quality that I really wouldn't be too shocked at any one order of someone's list. Like, I think you put Hail Caesar way too high, but it's still the kind of movie I can just imagine really working on someone. When compiling this list, I found that starting from the top was basically impossible, so I had to work out the worst ones first, which is the opposite of how I approached the Spielberg list. 1. Barton Fink 2. No Country For Old Men 3. Burn After Reading 4. Fargo 5. Blood Simple 6. The Big Lebowski 7. Miller's Crossing 8. O Brother, Where Art Thou? 9. A Serious Man 10. True Grit 11. Inside Llewyn Davis 12. The Hudsucker Proxy 13. The Man Who Wasn't There 14. Raising Arizona 15. Hail, Caesar! 16. Intolerable Cruelty 17. The Ladykillers Only the top 5 I have a real passion for, but some of these I haven't seen in about a decade so who knows.
  14. I could do it (I've seen them all) but I did the Spielberg one after specifically watching a lot of his movies in a year, whereas the last Coen Brothers movie I saw was Hail Caesar when it was in theaters, so it'd be a lot more wishy-washy. Also, A Serious Man would be my Jurassic Park, as far as movies that just don't do it for me go.
  15. Now that I've finished I can say this was a really good episode. If the fantasies you guys spin are going to continue to build on each other, might I suggest someone start a wikia for the show? Even someone who started with episode 1 might not catch references to coversations on older Idle Thumbs episodes. Also, Wes Craven was a crazy guy who was really into building metafiction, so there are connections in some of his films that build a Mobius Universe (which is how I always thought of the paradoxes that arise from the St. Elsewhere thing), but will take a lot of time for me to type out.
  16. When you specify you don't give a fuck about Jaws, do you mean you're a crazy person or that you think it's slanderous towards sharks and therefore politically inexcusable?
  17. Have you guys ever thought about trying not introducing what the premise of the show is? It always sounds a bit awkward when you try to explain it, and I don't know many other comedy shows that try to explain their approach to humor up top, unless it is something as pithy as "an advice show for the modren era" or something.
  18. Movie/TV recommendations

    Clip Party. This guy named Chris E (who I only know of because he's friends with film critic Mike D'Angelo) does this for his birthday every year. All his cinephile friends come and submit the best (or weirdest) movie clips they can find that are 3 minutes or less, which are edited together and watched at his party. Then at the end they vote and give awards for best clip, funniest clip, WTF clip, etc. Starting at a certain year he started posting the clips to Vimeo, and they're a ton of fun to watch. Wide variety, all genres, eras, styles. It's like a grand curated buffet of cinema. I was such a big fan that I started to do the same thing for my birthday, which lead my friend Jim to start doing the same thing for his birthday. We post our clip parties here. Maybe start with a lightning round, in which the clips have to be less than a minute.
  19. Get Out

    Get Out is not a scary movie. The scare moments are mostly played for awkward/nervous laughter. The gore moments aren't too intense, largely implied, and cathartic. Worth seeing with an audience. EDIT: My spoiler-free capsule review.
  20. I am curious what you mean by "the current fashion of excessive social and political opinion" and "contemporary diversionary politics".
  21. Another point on the graph: Mystery jazz theme plus shitty early 90's drum loops equals
  22. Movie/TV recommendations

    Hey hey hey, there's a thread for that. This thread is for talking about the scene in The Trial of Billy Jack where Billy Jack slaps Jesus in a dream sequence for no reason.
  23. Movie/TV recommendations

    I vote we do a new movie club except only watch Billy Jack movies.