- Warren Ellis on the 2012 Olympics’ closing ceremonies:
It was as conservative, hidebound and bland as the Opening Ceremony was ambitious, demented and eccentric. It played almost as an attempt to zero out what Danny Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce achieved and said in the Opening.
I have to admit, I didn’t watch it. By that point, my Olympic fever had waned a bit, and I didn’t really feel like putting up with NBC’s ridiculous editing and inane chatter to watch the closing. (“Our viewers may not know this, Meredith, but the Pet Shop Boys are in fact actually now grown men!”)
But the opening ceremonies were mad and brilliant.
- It’s bad enough they’re planning an Expendables 3 — shouldn’t last hurrahs, y’know, end? — but now they have to talk about dragging Clint Eastwood and others into it?
“We’ve already begun reaching out to the bones of Steve McQueen and the John Wayne hologram”—Avi Lerner, The Expendables 4 interview, 2014
Although, honestly, that might finally get me to watch one of these things.
- Amazingly enough, a campaign to turn an abandoned Detroit neighborhood into a zombie apocalypse theme park has fallen through. [via]
- Are young people really using “yo” as a gender-neutral pronoun? Fascinating.
- And finally, the Best Scenes From Insane Old Star Trek Coloring Books:
- tudent receives free cocaine with Amazon textbook order. Is this where we’ve going wrong with our textbook sales? [via]
- How College Football Bowls Earn Millions In Profits But Pay Almost Nothing In Taxes. Are you ready for some economic disparity?! [via]
- The Texans who live on the ‘Mexican side’ of the border fence: ‘Technically, we’re in the United States’ [via]
- Roger Ebert on why movie revenue is dropping:
The message I get is that Americans love the movies as much as ever. It’s the theaters that are losing their charm. Proof: theaters thrive that police their audiences, show a variety of titles and emphasize value-added features. The rest of the industry can’t depend forever on blockbusters to bail it out.
- And finally, Scott Tobias on why 2011 was secretly a really good year for movies:
I don’t mean to be bullying or schoolmarmish about it, only to point out that when great films get pushed to the margins in our technology-rich times, far more than just a handful of self-selecting New Yorkers have a chance to see them. The key is to not let awards-season hype color your perception. We consider 2007 a monumental year because its strongest achievements—movies like There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, and Zodiac—happened to have healthy budgets and the backing of major studios. Compare that to a 2011 where a pleasant-but-disposable trifle like The Artist is leading the charge, and it’s little wonder that perception marks it as a weak year. (The Tree Of Life may be the only 2011 film high in both ambition and visibility, and will almost certainly top every critics’ poll as a result.) But for the adventurous—and again, you don’t have to venture off the couch to be among them—2011 was an embarrassment of riches, full of lively, diverse, form-busting visions across all genres and around the world. And the best of them ask something of the viewer, offering rewards in exchange for an active engagement. Just don’t expect all the question marks to turn into exclamation points: To quote some advice to Michael Stuhlbarg’s spiritual seeker in A Serious Man, “Accept the mystery.”
- Netflix is pretty sure it has no future in DVDs. You know, I like streaming and on-demand, but the selection is still not that great, relatively speaking. If Netflix could ensure the same level of selection and quality with streaming as with the physical DVDs…well, I’d still occasionally be annoyed they were most often DVDs without special features of any kind, but I’d be more willing to switch over to streaming-only. (If the high cost of having both doesn’t force the issue for me at some near-future point.) But Netflix can’t promise that. Some of it is out of their hands — studios are covetous of their movies and shows, and some (like HBO) see Netflix, maybe rightly, as a direct competitor. So I really do hope Netflix doesn’t continue their push towards streaming-and-only-streaming, that they realize it wasn’t just the Qwiskter name that upset customers. I want a wide and varied selection of movies and shows. I don’t want more of “You can’t watch that, but have you ever tried this…?”)
- Indonesian man arrested for kicking woman he thought was a ghost [via]
- Want to smell like a superhero? [via]
- “Twitter is the contemporary postcard—social updates that are limited by size, but not imagination. For a month, with a billion stamps, our correspondent moved his tweets from the laptop to the post office, and rediscovered the joy of mail.”
- And finally, Basil Fawlty Impersonator Chat:
As Mark Evanier notes, “There are literally more professional impersonators of Basil Fawlty around than there were episodes of Fawlty Towers.”
- We live in a country where pizza is a vegetable. I’m just saying. [via]
- Harry Potter director developing all-new Doctor Who movie. Not at all a sure thing, but still, when do we stop remaking things? Maybe when the last remake is still on-going?
- Genevieve Valentine on Immortals, which she describes as “a batch of snickerdoodles with thumbtacks inside.”
The labyrinth and Minotaur are well turned out, and their showdown takes place in a temple mausoleum, where an archway of stairs frames a goddess’s head that’s inset with candles to make it glow from within. It’s the sort of thing where you think, “Man, that’s good looking! I wish this stupid scene would stop so we could just look at it.”
- I really don’t know what to think about actress suing IMDB for revealing her age. They both seem to have a perfectly valid point.
- Massive plagiarism might help your book sales [via]
- Billy Crystal will be hosting the Oscars this year, giving me another reason not to watch. Which is not a dig at Crystal, necessarily, who I generally like…you know, back when he made movies people watched. But it’s such a safe, boring choice. The Academy really missed a golden opportunity to let the Muppets host the Oscars
- Tilt-shift Van Gogh
- Polite Dissent on Forgotten Drugs of the Silver-Age:
The more I think about it, for all intents and purposes, Jor-El was a mad scientist. He espoused scientific theories well outside the accepted norm and performed numerous unauthorized scientific experiments of questionable ethics.
- Mysterious D.C. rampage leaves smashed cars in its wake. Seriously, it looks like the Hulk went through there. [via]
- And finally, the Center for Fiction interviews Margaret Atwood:
I think it’s a human need to name – to tell this from that. On the most basic level, we need to distinguish – as crows do – the dangerous creature from the harmless one, and – as all animals do – the delicious and healthful food object from the rotting, poisonous one. In literary criticism it’s very helpful to know that the Harlequin Romance you sneak into when you think no one is looking is not the same, and is not intended to be the same, as Moby Dick. But stories and fictions have always interbred and hybridized and sent tendrils out into strange spaces.