Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
"Well, Joel said something very profound about his show in an interview in 1990: "It's about liberty, in a small, goofy way," he said. And that is probably at the heart of it. It appeals to an innate human desire to unabashedly say what you think. And for young kids, that seems to be the principle draw: the whole notion of grown-ups in power being heckled and ridiculed for their obvious inadequacies is irresistible.
But there's more going on here, or this would just be Beavis & Butthead. More importantly, MST3K is a call to arms in a war most thinking people are waging every day: the battle against the mediocrity that floods our lives. MST3K is an object lesson, a demonstration that we don't have to--and shouldn't--passively accept the garbage we are spoon-fed on a daily basis. Indeed, the series places the 'bots and their human companion on the front lines of that battle. It's in this way that MST3K rises above mere heckling and becomes a compelling metaphor about fighting the good fight.
But beyond that, there is no mistaking the genius at work here. It shines so clearly that toddlers are instinctively drawn to it and senior citizens smile knowingly -- even if neither gets the Courtney Love jokes. From Joel's forehead-slappingly simple concept to its loopy yet graceful execution, the show has a cool elegance, an endearing off-kilter brilliance. It engenders an astonishing loyalty in its viewers -- a loyalty that stems in part from the way it makes its viewers feel like they are "in on" a very special secret. It manages the near-impossible by being one of the most delightfully unpredictable programs on national TV, while also being one of the most re-assuringly formulaic. "The show," as devotees simply call it, rewards knowledge and insight, punishes inattention and passivity. But most importantly, it always has been -- and always will be -- really, genuinely funny."I though that was just great.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Sunday, February 08, 2009
A week ago the local football playing establishment won some sort of award for excellence in footballing. Directly afterward, this is what occurred outside of our apartment.
So that was exciting, I suppose. There were riot cops and flashings and drunk, weeping men locked in sports-inspired embraces.
This friday was the release of Coraline. I was actually pretty excited for it. Laika is a great and inspirational studio and Selick is a fantastic and under-appreciated guy. The movie was nothing short of wonderful.
This is another movie that goes in the films-my-kids-will-see-and-love pile. I can't recommend this movie enough and you should go see it in theaters. It's not for the youngest of kids (as evidenced by the 5 year old at the end of our row that kept moaning "No! No! No!" whenever something scary was about to happen).
A great deal has been made of the actual production of Coraline and it's really impossible to consider the merits of the film without thinking about the fact that 98% of the things on screen are real and had to work in an actual production. As someone who works in a completely digital space, it's humbling to see.
Coraline is an anomaly in animated films - one seemingly devoid of hip pop-culture references, easy characterizations and a completely happy ending. It's a simple movie, but not a stupid one. It has a singular artistic vision and it carries it through. The design all hangs together and it takes itself and it's audience seriously. It's the anti-Shrek. The trailer than ran before the movie began threw this difference into sharp relief:
Compare directly to this:
Go see Coraline.