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October 04, 2015, 04:11 am

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1  Forum / AV Club / Re: The Kanye West Thread on: August 31, 2015, 11:51 am
WOW Taylor Swift is condescending.
2  Forum / General Discussion / Re: Anonymous Facebook Status Thingies on: August 20, 2015, 09:30 am

A lot of fictional cartoons and lullabies for children derive from stories of death and evil dramatic as it sounds, why so?

whoa messed up if true
3  Forum / General Discussion / Re: Anonymous Facebook Status Thingies on: August 12, 2015, 04:24 pm
I came across one of my old high school science teachers on fb and he's worse as a person than he was a teacher (and he was a very bad teacher):

Cool! Cool person molding the minds of our nation's youth.
4  Forum / AV Club / Re: What book(s) are you reading right fucking now on: August 07, 2015, 12:17 pm
Ooh I just finished Beloved a couple weeks ago. So good. Morrison gets right to the heart of what freedom means to a person, what it means to have it taken away. She punctures the myth of "nice" slaveowners really effectively, too. It should be required high school reading.
5  Forum / AV Club / Re: TODAY I WATCHED... on: August 02, 2015, 09:26 am
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDbqcMfUdlI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDbqcMfUdlI</a>

These six brothers have been kept in their Lower East Side apartment by their parents for their entire lives- getting outside a couple times a year, max. Their perceptions of the outside world are shaped almost completely by films- their dad has a collection of thousands. They make their own versions of their favorites, Be Kind Rewind style, meticulously transcribing the scripts by hand and typing them up with a typewriter, making elaborate costumes and props out of what's on hand. It's great, and really moving, because in spite of their restricted, emotionally volatile upbringing, the kids are charming, funny, introspective, and thoughtful. Just really lovable and sympathetic as documentary subjects; the filmmakers were given a lot of access and made an excellent film out of it.
6  Forum / AV Club / Re: MOTHERFUCKING MAD MAX: FURY ROAD on: July 03, 2015, 07:32 pm
I finally FINALLY got to see this and I loved it so much. Tonally it felt a little bit like Snowpiercer, with this really heightened reality and comic book sensibility, buuut everywhere that Snowpiercer fell kind of short or got muddled, Fury Road just nailed it. So much characterization in so few lines of dialogue, everyone was awesome and human for such an overblown, ridiculous setting; I loved it and want to watch it again immediately.
7  Forum / Food / Re: What the hell do I do with all of this ______________? on: June 07, 2015, 09:38 pm
The savory version sounds delicious!
8  Forum / Food / Re: What the hell do I do with all of this ______________? on: June 07, 2015, 02:45 pm
It's also good in an omelette or in slices on crusty bread with fresh tomato slices and olives on the side. You can also wrap slices of it in phyllo pastry, fry it in oil, and drizzle honey over it. This is super delicious and easy, especially if you buy the pastry pre-made.
9  Forum / AV Club / Re: Mad Men on: May 21, 2015, 12:12 pm
I also read the ending cynically and also really loved it. As Snips pointed out, we were watching Don give up all these material things and thinking he was maybe headed towards some kind of spiritual enlightenment, but Don is a product of consumerism as much as he is a perpetrator of it. His first, most memorable pitch of the Kodak Carousel showed him selling his own family memories while in the present, he was growing ever more distant from them. His breakdown in the Hershey meeting came from his boyhood memories of longing for a Hershey bar. One of his first big fights with Megan occurred when she didn't understand the hold over him that Howard Johnson's held. Being a poor, rural kid in an increasingly industrialized America, brands have always signified success and happiness for him. Even if we, the viewers, see the ending as Don selling out his own spiritual happiness to sell soda, for him, the two are not only NOT mutually exclusive, but inevitably intertwined. He's always believed in the feelings that he's sold, and his epiphany is not just about finding peace and empathy, but in how to sell that to other people. So I kind of read it as cynical and completely earnest at the same time.

Is the Coke ad the first time a countercultural movement was co-opted to sell stuff? It's at least got to be one of the earliest examples. We still see the same thing in the Dove "Real Beauty" ads or the Virginia Slim "you've come a long way, baby" ads of the 80s. I'd love to read an essay just on that, if anyone has a good one!

Peggy, Joan, Sally, and Betty are some of the best developed women characters on television, and maybe ever? And I love them all and will miss them a lot. I'm bummed we won't be getting an Olson-Harris spinoff (but loved the detail of Joan using her maiden and married names as her company name).
10  Forum / Dumbtown / Re: nerds fucking suck on: May 21, 2015, 10:52 am
And both Shawn of the Dead and The World's End (and Spaced, as he points out in his essay) are about getting your shit together and the negatives of that regressive manchild mentality.
11  Forum / AV Club / Re: Winter is coming (HBO's Game of Thrones) on: May 20, 2015, 10:02 am
Hoo boy that URL. I feel like this is kind of the same argument, that given these characters (particularly Ramsay), rape was narratively inevitable, which just makes me ask why we are being given those characters and this narrative.

A friend of a friend on facebook said this, which I thought was really good:
the thing about fantasy is that we get to create worlds. we get to live in those worlds. we get to use the worlds to discuss and criticize issues in our real lives -- and that last bit is a beautiful and powerful thing that has kept the genres of fantasy and sci fi vital and relevant in spite of how niche they often feel.

but -- and i forget who said this -- what is the point of creating new worlds if we're going to give them all the same limitations, traumas, and tragedies as the old ones? what is the point of dragons and the others and the watchers on the wall as symbols and metaphors if they don't push us to anything, if they don't tell us anything we don't already know? why imagine what we already see?

and what, really, do you get, on a personal or artistic level, out your show about dragons showing rape and sexual assault with such regularity and solemnity and fervor? what do you do? do you sit on your couch and go "ah yes quite good, i needed my fantasy show to remind me that the world i live in is horrible for women, without this violent extended rape scene that i am watching, i might forget that"

And this kind of ties into my broader problems with the show (I haven't read the books), where I feel like brutality and sudden character deaths and coincidence are used to avoid actual interesting conflicts that have been teased along for awhile. Like Joffrey is about to marry someone he thinks he can get along with, and who seems smart enough to manipulate him, and he's such a psychopath that this should be interesting! But then he dies. Or Arya and the Hound, journeying to the Vale for weeks, not even knowing that Sansa is there, but then they get turned away at the last second. There's potential for this conversation between two sisters who never really got along anyway, and who've been so transformed by their experiences that they could either find each other even more unrelatable, or maybe they are able to identify with one another in a way they couldn't before?? I don't know, I was so looking forward to that! Poor Brienne hasn't had anything interesting to do since season 3. And then between Ramsay's torture of Theon and Ros the prostitute being a character invented solely to be brutally murdered, I guess I just keep asking myself why I'm still watching? There's a nihilism and despair that's just exhausting after awhile. However, I'm out of town this weekend, so when I get back I can rely on the internet to tell me whether or not this storyline resolves in an worthwhile way!
12  Forum / AV Club / Re: Winter is coming (HBO's Game of Thrones) on: May 19, 2015, 03:40 pm
I think it's completely gratuitous, both in the context of the narrative and in the greater context of this tv show that has a lot of issues with how it depicts sexual violence already. In the narrative, Sansa's already been nearly married to a psychopath who sexually humiliated her by ripping off her dress, she was nearly raped in the aftermath of a Kings' Landing riot, she's had to submit to Littlefinger's advances (and here she is beginning to exert some agency, at least, she's attempting to manipulate him), and through all of this we've seen her outgrow her belief in chivalric myth and learn how to assert herself politically. So what do we learn from seeing her robbed of her agency and violated at the hands of an incredibly boring psychopath? Ramsay raping Sansa is the least interesting or surprising thing that could have happened, especially because it was so heavily foreshadowed between Ramsay's creepy behavior and Myranda's warnings. It's a narrative crutch that all lazy storytellers fall upon when they decide a woman needs to be given some trauma to overcome.

And in the context of the show and its creators, rape has been used lazily and its victims made invisible over the course of the whole show, so I don't have a lot of faith that they will handle this well either. Even ending the sequence on Theon's face, as if it's his reaction we should care about most, makes me pretty wary. I'm not opposed to entertainment that tackles difficult subjects, but GoT in general, and the character of Ramsay Bolton specifically, have been an exercise in sadism perpetrated on the audience.

I take your point that this scene is kind of the inevitable outcome of these characters in this position, but that doesn't mean those characters are all GOOD. I also found the season-long arc of Ramsay torturing Theon to be really lazy and repetitive. He's got no motivation beyond being eeeevvviilll (as Diego pointed out) and doesn't fit into the world of complicated morality embodied by richer characters like Cersei or even Boring Stannis.

I can imagine a version of this same story where Sansa isn't entirely robbed of her agency. The wedding night is inevitable, but what if she'd been able to take Myranda's warning to heart and steel herself, knowing what was coming and managing to play the role, the way she played into Littlefinger's carrying a torch for her mother? She would have to disassociate herself, and cut off a part of herself without knowing whether she could get it back. It would still be completely grim as hell, but it would go along more with what we know about Sansa and the choices she's been forced into making. It would also parallel her sister's journey to becoming No One, but in a more immediate and viscerally necessary way.

I don't know, I still hate that idea; I'm just tired of a pretend world that's as shitty to women (and particularly feminine women) than our real one, without DOING anything with all that shittiness. It's exhausting.
13  Forum / Dumbtown / Re: ROOMMATE REDUX: A Tale of Two Ryans on: April 29, 2015, 08:22 pm
An hour late!
14  Forum / Dumbtown / Re: The "EFHRK and Snips are moving to LA to live with Boron" thread on: April 21, 2015, 02:44 pm
Do you have a parent who'd be willing to cosign on the lease? That's how I managed to get apartments in NYC as a student. Or can you ask the USC financial aid office for a special letter explaining your circumstances?
15  Forum / The Futuredrome / Re: I am drunk and I have OPINIONS on: April 10, 2015, 01:47 pm
Barcelona is great, you should go! Spain is great for vacations, especially if you want to eat dinner really late, stay out until the wee hours, and have a recovery nap in the afternoon. They take siestas seriously.
16  Forum / General Discussion / Re: Creative Works on: March 19, 2015, 10:43 am
I love a good difference matte! In this case, the Tims never overlap (by design) so a feathered garbage matte was definitely the quickest method. And I think the background of multicolored book titles might have complicated a difference matte, so if they did overlap I'd probably have had to just roto it anyway. There are always a bunch of ways to approach something like this and usually the specifics of the shoot determine the best one! Thanks for subscribing too, it is hard to build a ~web presence~ so every bit helps.
17  Forum / General Discussion / Re: Creative Works on: March 18, 2015, 09:32 pm
boron, I think Tim might take you up on that! I think you guys are facebook friends, that's probably how he'll be in touch.

Wibblewobble- good question! Each layer/instrument is shot separately, and I used a compositing program called Nuke (though it could also be done in After Effects or even Final Cut, just not as easily) to draw masks around each Tim and layer them that way (the piano plate is what I used for the background), so it's not a multiple exposure or anything like that. Basically the way you can select something in Photoshop and copy it to another layer? Like that, but with video. I hope that makes sense!

We had two cameras- one for the wide shot that we kept in the same place the whole time, and one for the close-up of each instrument, and Tim was listening to a guide track from an mp3 player (you can see the wire for the earbud in a couple shots I think) so that as he played each instrument it would sync up, and Tim mixed the different instruments in Cubase afterwards. It took probably five or six hours for the different camera and mic setups and getting good takes of each of the four instruments, and there were windows at camera left, so to eliminate problems with changing light we blacked them out with garbage bags and just used practical lighting.

Thanks so much for your feedback guys. I really appreciate it and know Cam does too.
18  Forum / General Discussion / Re: Creative Works on: March 18, 2015, 12:17 pm
I passed on all your comments, guys, thank you so much for taking a look. We've recorded another cover and a couple of original songs too.

The cover is 'Hood' by Perfume Genius, who I'm kind of obsessed with at the moment.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dGHroKVi8E" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dGHroKVi8E</a>

This is 'Prophet of the Rose & Crown', an original song about a barfly in an English pub:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv8AS1p2Vvc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv8AS1p2Vvc</a>
This was the craziest to shoot because of limited space in our apartment- we didn't have sandbags to keep the tripod steady and I definitely bumped into it at least twice in between takes of the wide shot and shifted it out of position. I was able to stitch it all together with a little post-production witchcraft, though, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

And this is 'Strangest Joy', which is a straight-up heartbreaker. This one's also original, about growing old and watching your partner also grow old and slip away. It slays me, don't listen to it if you don't want to cry.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVX3cKft3L0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVX3cKft3L0</a>

So much of my experience in the past five years or so is just at a desk, editing and compositing, so it's been fun to get behind a camera again and dealing with all the on-set issues. All of these are live sound, too, no lip-synching, though I'm looking forward to doing some artsier videos with a pre-recorded track.
19  Forum / AV Club / Re: TODAY I WATCHED... on: March 08, 2015, 09:53 pm

I also watched Whiplash this weekend, and while I wasn't crazy about it sort of justifying the abusive-man teaching method, I really loved everything else about it. And while the ending storywise was a bit weak for me, it succeeded in being so entertaining and brilliantly edited that I didn't mind. The first two thirds were such an effective horror film, and the performances were excellent.
20  Forum / AV Club / Re: TODAY I WATCHED... on: March 08, 2015, 12:21 pm

Hoo boy I did not think this was a good film! I felt like none of the points it was trying to make about acting or theater or film rang true, the characterizations were one-note and cliche, most of the character arcs didn't lead anywhere, the theater critic was a cartoonishly villainous strawman, and the ending was nonsensical. I hated that the attempted rape was brushed off with a one-liner from a character who was a sexist parody of every actress cliche, and thought it was odd that most of the supporting cast all but disappeared by the third act of the film. And ultimately I felt like the script couldn't make up its mind about any of the dichotomies it posed. Are superhero films low-brow trash or some kind of redemptive freedom? Is theater a higher art form than film, or is it an enterprise propped up entirely by agenda-driven critics and arbitrary standards? Blah blah social media?

For a film about acting I also found most of the performances either too inert or over-the-top. The stage scenes are mostly shot from behind the actors, which is a deliberate choice I guess, but left the quality of their performances pretty ambiguous and made those scenes feel more anticlimactic than they should have been. The play didn't seem very ...good.

A lot of other smaller things bothered me too, like the film just taking at face value Norton's assertion that he's a fraud everywhere but on stage. That's how some actors think of themselves, probably, but there's also heaping piles of insecurity and doubt in there too. He very much cares what other people think of him! That the film never punctures the characters own bs was a constant irritant.

Anyway I'm not surprised that the Academy loved it, but I am surprised at the almost universally positive critical reception. I can only guess that the scary theater critic in the film intimidated too many critics into "I'm not like other moms, I'm a cool mom" mode.
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