June 27, 2014

The World That I See: Reads and Listens #19


A few weeks ago, I joined four other bloggers on the LAMBcast for a draft of international character actors that went beyond the expected names. In fact, there was a “do not draft” list of actors like Brian Cox, Jim Broadbent and others that have become too well-known beyond film aficionados. It was a fun podcast that lasted for several hours and included some questionable picks. I’m still irritated that my Timothy Dalton choice was shot down because of his two films as James Bond. Beyond listening to the podcast, you should go vote for my team, which was chosen in categories split by age. Here is my team of heavy hitters: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lee, Rutger Hauer, Peter Stormare, John Rhys Davies, Sean Bean, Ray Winstone, Robert Carlyle, Samantha Morton, and Mads Mikkelson. While the other groups are impressive, none include this level of depth and variety. Let’s take the win!

Here are some interesting blogs and other posts that are definitely worth your time:

My favorite band of all time, Midnight Oil, is being honored by a huge exhibition in Sydney that includes rare memorabilia, sound clips, and a lot of historical information. I’m really jealous that the Aussie fans have the chance to see all the greatness in person. This news clip gives a peek at the exhibit and includes an interview with drummer Rob Hirst. There’s a “bonus” near the end that has nothing to do with the main story but is such a strange transition. This online clip needs an editor! If four minutes isn’t enough, a devoted fan created a 19-minute (!!) slideshow from the exhibition.


I finished watching season two of Orange is the New Black, and it did not disappoint. The stories dug even further into the backgrounds of the diverse female characters that are so rare in this industry. The mix of comedy, raw human emotions, and the horrors of an uncaring institution combine to make something quite original. Alyssa Rosenberg at Act Four wrote an excellent piece about the show’s depictions of love and how it maintains hope within all the challenges. The warm, brilliant post delves into characters that do the wrong thing frequently yet remain likable despite their difficulties.

Over at The Dissolve, Noel Murray talked about the “dreaded PG-13-ification” of movies. It’s allowed for the bloodless violence that makes us immune to what we’re seeing, and that’s hardly a good thing. I also included this article because he discusses the great James Bond film Licence to Kill, which was the first to be rated PG-13. The harder edges of the drug world were so much different from the silliness of the late Roger Moore era. There’s no easy way to solve the issue, and it seems like we’ll keep seeing violent films that find ways to just barely avoid an R and mute themselves in the process.


Joel Bocko is a David Lynch expert, and he’s delivered a massive post that covers his entire career over at Lost in the Movies. I could spend hours digging into this piece and why it’s great. He’s essentially provided thoughts on every feature film, TV episode, and short that Lynch has ever directed. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about his work, but I know little compared to this expertise. I need to dedicate more time to dig into Joel’s post and all the avenues of Lynch’s work that I haven’t explored. I’ll close with a sample from Joel that talks about the confounding Inland Empire:

Inland Empire (2006) is a trap. If you enter into its universe looking for a narrative throughline, however obscure, you'll be confounded by non sequitur sequences impossible to reconcile with one another (no wonder - the film was improvised by Lynch over the course of several years; he would sketch out dialogue and action the morning of the shoot, later interweaving the results with footage from different projects, like Rabbits, featured prominently throughout). Yet if you give up on comprehensibility and attempt to embrace Inland Empire as a stream-of-consciousness flow of spooky images, cryptic dialogue, and jarring noises, you'll be equally stymied because the film never stops dropping clues that there is some larger puzzle to figure out.

14 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks! I don't know if I'd call myself a Lynch expert but he's definitely someone I've spent the past few months completely devoted to investigating. Hope others enjoy the post as well!

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    1. No problem! Either way, it's impressive to note how far you've dug into Lynch's work. I've seen all the features but The Straight Story, but I haven't seen any of the shorts.

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    2. My favorite shorts are The Amputee, Premonition of an Evil Deed, the trampoline episode of Dumbland, Darkened Room, and the Crazy Clown Time music video but those are admittedly eccentric choices. Most would recommend The Grandmother and The Cowboy & the Frenchman first.

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    3. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to watch a bunch of them at some point.

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    4. Looks like Criterion's Eraserhead, coming out in the fall, will contain 6 Lynch shorts (presumably the ones featured in their own standalone collection earlier) - so you may have your opportunity then...

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    5. Interesting. I caught up with Eraserhead a few years ago but might have to check out that release.

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  2. Any chance we'll see a top 10 songs by Midnight Oil post? (like you did with Bruce Springsteen).
    Speaking of The Boss, I'm currently listening to his albums for the first time, in chronological order.

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    1. Oh man. I'm not sure it would be possible for me to list only 10 Midnight Oil songs. Are you a fan? I don't meet too many of them these days. I'm glad to hear that you're checking out Bruce's albums, though some of the songs work much better live. The run from Born to Run to Born in the USA is pretty amazing.

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    2. @Dan: Haven't listened to Midnight Oil before(I guess you get that answer a lot!), I'm intrigued though.
      I don't think I'll ever be as big a Springsteen fan as you, but I'll certainly have enough loved tracks to make a top 10 or top 20 later this year.

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    3. I think what really makes the difference with Springsteen is seeing him live. I like his studio albums, but his concerts are something else. They aren't cheap but are worth the money at least once if that's ever possible.

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  3. Wow, Joel's Lynch post is incredible. Definitely going to spend some time making my way through that one today. Thanks for linking to it!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! He did another great post today too on Lynch.

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    2. Glad your interest has been piqued. It was a blast putting this past month's posts together, and with the Twin Peaks blu-ray on the horizon I'm expecting more where these came from, at least one Peaks-related post a month for the rest of 2014.

      Also hoping people get a chance to check out my Lynch video essay which is my favorite thing I've posted this month.

      Thanks to both of you for the interest & enthusiasm.

      Btw Dan - will there be more Godard posts forthcoming, or was Masculin Feminin the last?

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    3. Joel, I'm sorry to report that Godard marathon did end with Masculin Feminin. I'm sure that I'll watch circle back to him in the future, though. There's still a lot to see.

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