July 4, 2014

The World That I See: Reads and Listens #20


Back in the early days of podcasts, I devoured episodes about two topics: movies and theme parks. There were limited options in both categories, and Filmspotting was the saving grace on the film side. With theme parks, I became a regular listener of several Disney podcasts that offered good information, but were also overly positive about the “magic”. It was a relief to discover The Season Pass, which focused more on the industry and its creative forces. Hosts Doug Barnes and Brent Young brought insiders onto the show and delivered intelligent conversations that explored how attractions were made. They’ve delivered more than 270 episodes of content without charging listeners for any of it. Unfortunately, real life has intervened and forced them to adjust or close down the podcast. If you’re a fan of theme parks, I highly recommend The Season Pass podcast. They need listeners’ support to keep providing great material about an industry that keeps growing.

Here are some interesting blogs that are definitely worth your time:

I’ve only seen the first Transformers film, but I know enough about Michael Bay to realize the franchise (and much of his work) gives a limited perspective on women. Kyle Buchanan at Vulture outlines “7 Ways To Tell You’re a Woman in a Michael Bay Movie”, and it’s hardly a glowing portrayal. Female characters are introduced legs first, cower in the face of danger, and largely exist so guys can talk about them as physical objects. What’s unfortunate is how many people are seeing this image of women in very successful movies that could do better with a less simple-minded filmmaker at the helm.


It’s been refreshing to see Do the Right Thing receive such positive attention on the 25th anniversary of its original release. Unlike many films released in 1989, Spike Lee’s look at a day in the life of a Brooklyn neighborhood still packs a punch. It’s the testament of a great film when it still gets audiences talking and can divide viewers with similar political leanings. Michael Mirasol at the Movie Mezzanine does a fine job discussing his personal reactions to the film and how they’ve changed over the years.

I’ve enjoyed watching Community over the years, but there was a strong part of me that was ready for it to end. My interest waned even after Dan Harmon’s return, and I wasn’t sure what else they could do during a sixth season. Yahoo’s renewal has brought joy to many fans, including my wife. Alyssa Rosenberg at Act Four raises interesting points and connects this return to the dangers of drifting too much into fan service. She raises essential questions that go beyond Community’s return.

Glenn Kenny is one of the most interesting voices in world of online criticism, and he delved into the nastiness of Internet commenting in a recent post. What makes this piece on his blog Some Came Running so effective is that he turns the scrutiny on himself and identifies ways he could have done better. It’s rare to see this type of introspective writing that doesn’t feel self-indulgent. Kenny’s work is never dull and does a lot more than discuss the basics of the film universe. Here is an excerpt from this fascinating essay:

"When you’re a drunk, and have some facility for words, and things aren’t going so great for you, you can read something and infer that the writer’s situation is better than your own, and it can throw you into a frothing bloody rage. You think, 'Why is the world paying attention to this NOBODY?' or 'why is this NOBODY making more money than I am?' and 'why isn’t this NOBODY beset with paralyzing depression and fear like he or she deserves to be instead of me?' and so on, and then because you fancy yourself a critic or a perspicacious observer of the cultural scene, you mold these resentments into a theory that there is something VERY WRONG with the culture and that the person you hate is the one responsible for that thing being very wrong."

2 comments:

  1. That article about Michael Bay's treatment on women is among the many reasons why I loathe him. Mark Kermode states that Bay has this very pornographic view on women in the way he introduces them as sex objects and props rather than human beings

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    1. They're definitely props in Bay's films, and I feel like it's gotten even worse with Transformers. It's like he can't help himself and feels validated by the box office success.

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