Category Archives: Movies/TV

Bea Arthur and Rock Hudson Sing About Drugs

Bea Arthur and Rock Hudson sing “Turnin’ On” from the 1977 musical I Love My Wife (directed by Arthur’s husbad) on The Beatrice Arthur Special:

The simple life it must have been
When “smoke” was Luckys and “high” was gin
One pink lady and how it turned ‘em on!
“Junk” was trash, “speed” was swift
Glue was pasted instead of sniffed
Coke and aspirin, and wow it turned ‘em on! (full lyrics)

The Sung Dynasty Roots of ‘Bambi’

Why Bambi is do visually disctintive: Chinese immigrant Tyrus Wong.

 

“He got the job on the Bambi project by taking a bit of a gamble. He was a young artist employed by the Disney studio, but tasked with the entry-level job of finishing off the work of the animators and crafting the “in-between” animations that completed the characters’ movements. Wong had learned that studio executives were creating a film from the new novel, Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten. Tom says the young artist read the book and without consulting his supervisor, “took the script and painted some visual concepts to set the mood, color and the design.” His sketches recalled the lush mountain and forest scenes of Sung dynasty landscape paintings. His initiative paid off. Walt Disney, who was looking for something new for the film, was captivated and personally directed that Wong be promoted.”

How Disney’s 1942 Film Bambi Came to be Influenced by the Lush Landscapes of the Sung Dynasty Chinese-American Artist Tyrus Wong’s Brush With Destiny

Image from The Pastel Illustrations of Tyrus Wong That Would Inspire the Movie ‘Bambi’

Found via Reddit.

 

On Slave Leia

From a Metafilter discussion about Disney retiring Slave Leia collectibles:

“Yes. I was a kid when I first saw it, and it wasn’t the sexy that bothered me, it was seeing my Lone Representative of My Gender, who also happened to have proven herself a badass, (a rare thing!) get degraded for yuks.

“You may not know this, but until very recently, if you were a girl who admired a girl character in a media property, you also repeatedly experienced the sinking, shaming sensation of seeing your hero turned into a tits n’ ass parade at some point, or otherwise having her female status used to make her Less Heroic than male characters.

“Has Captain America yet had his turn onscreen in nothing but a chainmail banana-hammock and fetters, being slobbered over by a repugnant slavemaster who appears to want to rape him, until a fully-clothed group of female heroes rescues him? No. And outside of fanfic, he won’t, because it’s upsetting for men to see their heroes treated that way.

“It’s not about prudery.”

Full discussion http://www.metafilter.com/154467/Disney-To-Retire-All-Slave-Leia-Merch#6274851

Movie still from Return of the Jedi.

How Casino Royale’s Ending Turns Bond Into Bond

A commenter on Reddit:

“For years after Casino Royale came out, the most common gripe about the movie was the last 20 minutes and how much it dragged compared to the rest of the film.

“The whole point of the film is the last 20 minutes. Everything that precedes that in Casino Royale is just Bond on the clock:

  • International terrorists.
  • Guy who’s financing them.
  • Find a way to stop him from making a ridiculous amount of money off a short-sell.
  • Follow him to wherever he’s going next.
  • Have a run-in with some very unhappy bad guys armed with a machete.
  • Win the poker game.
  • Get rescued (huh?) when the Evil Banker kidnaps you and Vesper.
  • Keep M happy despite a few fuck-ups along the way.

“If the movie ends there, it’s a fine but unremarkable action movie. … The whole point of Casino Royale is to get Bond to the last 20 minutes and then shatter him. So now Vesper’s in the picture and Bond starts to have those first niggling thoughts about what his life might have been like outside government service. … It’s not too late for him to leave MI:6 and do something else if she’ll have him. The last gasp of the old Bond is in the torture scene. Remove Vesper from it entirely and Bond’s modus operandi is fairly straightforward: Torture me, don’t torture me, kill me, don’t kill me … you’re not getting the money either way so fuck you, who cares. Up yours, frogface. The only point at which he evinces actual concern over the proceedings is when he hears Vesper begin to scream. Now he has a reason to care about the outcome, but he passes into unconsciousness without knowing that Vesper’s already cut the deal that saves his life.

“And that’s why Vesper has to die. Past the torture scene, there’s no way to salvage the relationship between them (even though they’re not even in a relationship at that point anyway). She’s handed over the money, extracted a promise to keep Bond alive, and sold out her country for the benefit of a man she believes is going to die if she doesn’t. Fleming knew what he was on about. “Vesper Lynd” is an intentional and close relative to “West Berlin,” the unhappy city with such divided loyalties during the Cold War and no way to fully resolve that division.

“If she lives, the relationship is over, because Bond will never fully trust her again. The small moment after M calls wanting to know what the hell happened to the money is instructive; instantaneous rage, how-dare-she, I-got-played. Alternate-universe Casino Royale is where he rescues her from drowning but writes off the entire experience as “Bitches, man!” He asks himself what the hell he was expecting and go back to doing what he’s always done (albeit in a fouler mood than before). He learns nothing, doesn’t change, and there’s basically no character development of any kind in the film.

If she dies … well, that was the ending we saw.

Casino Royale is the story of where James Bond begins as a character, but he’s clearly been knocking around the business for a while before we enter the narrative. So Bond doesn’t start with the job; Bond starts when the love of his life shatters him for a completely understandable and even somewhat honorable reason and then dies for it. That is the origin story of the empty suit and the dead eyes and the reliance on alcohol just to get through the day. The nihilism and descent into sociopathy comes from his realization of just how trapped Vesper was, and how she felt the only way to expunge the guilt and shame of what she’d done was to take it to the grave with her.

“And then in Quantum of Solace he finds out that she died for nothing.”

Full discussion https://np.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/3qenef/daniel_craigs_james_bond_has_drunk_the_most/cwet3si?context=5

Harry Potter Titles Rewritten For Hermione Granger

“Hermione Granger and Why Doesn’t Anyone Read Their Textbooks

Hermione Granger and Seriously Can’t Anyone Else Do Basic Research

Hermione Granger and Exceptional Time Management Skills

Hermione Granger and That Super Hot Bulgarian Dude

Hermione Granger and My Idiot Friend Happens to be Better Than Me at Something

Hermione Granger and My Idiot Friend Gets Schoolwork Advice from a Really Awful Source

Hermione Granger and For Real Would Any of this Ever Get Done Without Me”

Source: EditorialComplex comments on Pureblood Slytherin Hermione

Weyland-Yutani Bioweapons Division’s Plans for the Xenomorph

From the ‘all things Aliens’ sub-reddit /r/LV426:

“Imagine that Weyland-Yutani has a military contract for a bioweapon that can wipe out a population in a very short amount of time. They provide a specialized military unit a clutch of eggs (now engineered), including a queen, and a civilian handler who works for the Company.

Now, there are these rebels on some assbackward planet who don’t like how Earth is exploiting them. So they’ve taken control of the planet and it’s only now, after months of self-governance (since it’s so bloody far away), that they’ve become complacent; they think that they’ve won. Within a month, they’re all dead.

The clutch of eggs was brought into the city using a compromised supply shipment. The eggs infected the a few dockworkers and flee underground to became a hive. The hive begins abducting people from the city until it reaches a critical mass, then it begins attacking in large, organized raids. Hundreds become new Warriors and Drones every day. One hive becomes several. The independent colonists fight back, but they have no military hardware; only construction tools and light arms. Soon, there is no one left. Lacking the presence of the pheromones live human emit into the air, the hives become dormant, as per the creature’s engineering. A week later, the hive self-terminates; the queen dies and all of her subjects; any remaining eggs self-abort.

The army shows up shortly thereafter with flamers and cleans up. There’s some acid damage here and there, but what would have taken months, massive amounts of munitions, and dozens of human lives is over in mere weeks. The only reason the Marines didn’t invade personally is because the orbital guns were taken intact and there are highly defensible bunkers.”

Full thread https://np.reddit.com/r/LV426/comments/3epj8t/so_what_happens_when_weylandyutani_finally/cth9u24?context=3

Image is a screencap from Alien Resurrection

11-Year Olds Watch ‘Aliens’

Matt Zoller Seitz, editor-in-chief at RogerEbert.com and TV critic for New York magazine shows his son and his friends Aliens for the first time:

“I like the way this looks,” one said. “It’s futuristic but it’s old school. It’s almost steampunk.” “This is like Team Fortress 2,” another remarked. “Dude, shut up, this was made like 20 years before Team Fortress 2,” said the kid next to him. “This is, like, every science fiction movie ever made,” another said, as Ripley operated the power loader for the first time.

“This movie has so many cliches in it,” a boy said when Colonial Marines disembarked the drop ship and made their way through rainy darkness to enter the alien-infested colony. My son told him, “This movie was made in 1986. It invented all the cliches.” Another of his friends was impressed by the “personal data transmitters” implanted in the colonists—impressed that someone had thought of that back in 1986.

“Vasquez was the MVP of the movie. I think all eight boys might have a little bit of a crush on her. When she pinned a xenomorph to a wall with her combat boot and blew its brains out, one exclaimed his delight with profanity, then apologized to me for it. Another boy said Vasquez reminded him of “this lady who works at Costco.” He didn’t say which Costco. There was a wave of applause for Lt. Gorman and Vasquez holding hands as they blew themselves up. (“She died like a boss,” one said.)”

Full essay: Notes on Watching Aliens for the First Time Again, With a Bunch of Kids

Diane Freeleng, Feminist Horror Movie Icon

My sister and I are HUGE HUGE HUGE fans of Poltergeist. It was one of the movies that played 24/7 the summer that we had cable as kids. Schlock Corridor makes the case for a feminist reading of Poltergeist (1982) – focusing on JoBeth Williams’s portrayal of Diane Freeleng as the take charge one:

“While Steven has a mock gun battle with his neighbor, Diane is giving Carol Anne her first understanding of mortality, creating an almost Egyptian-level sarcophagus for the corpse of Tweety.

“This is the first time the film presents us with one of its themes: only women can get things done. Throughout the movie it’s female characters who are forced to actually effect change, and it all begins with Diane’s tender ceremony for Tweety. Later Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Strait) is the glue that holds the parapsychology team together, then Tangina is the key to the final rescue of Carol Anne – which Diane must do herself while Steven can’t even hold the rope correctly.

She’s a cool mom who seems to understand where Dana is coming from as she goes through her adolescent angst – possibly because she was around Dana’s age when she got knocked up. She’s also a stay at home mom. In 2012 this character probably couldn’t exist – she would have to be a writer or a painter or sell crafts on Etsy because the modern movie world doesn’t truly respect stay at home moms. But for all of her fond remembrances of ‘the old days,’ Diane doesn’t seem unhappy to be at home with the kids. Steven’s adulthood has turned him into a person he doesn’t truly recognize – it’s turning him into James Karen, in fact – but adulthood has been better to Diane.

I like to think that it was Carol Anne’s birth that started it all, though. It certainly fits thematically with what comes later – her closet turns into a huge vagina, and she is returned from the Other Side in an ectoplasmic birth caul. The rescue of Carol Anne is a rebirth, almost quite literally when she and Diane aren’t breathing in the tub. It also helps explain why The Beast is interested in the girl. It seems unlikely that the Freeling’s pool is the first serious digging in Cuesta Verde, but it is plausible that Carol Anne was the first baby born on the development. That makes Carol Anne’s rebirth a cleansing new start, a reclamation of the birth process.

“Carol Anne as the focus also feeds into the film’s essential feminism. The Beast wants to use Carol Anne as a beacon to attract the souls trapped between this side and the other; it’s her life force – something that comes from the feminine – that attracts them. The Beast is specifically said to be male – a male entity that is abusing the warmth of femininity to devour innocent souls.

The diminutive psychic is the final element of the film’s feminist trilogy – the cool mom, smart doctor and tough as nails medium seem to make up the life cycle of childhood.”

Here’s the trailer for the new remake (with a male psychic – boo!!!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCmAaNk_iIQ

Christopher Nolan, Virtue, Interstellar, Fascism, and Batman

From a Reddit thread about Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy:

“Heroes have a special vision of what society could be, and it’s worth bending or breaking the rules, lying, secrecy, surveilling, or using violence — all to mold society, or keep society in line.

In all of Nolan’s superhero movies and Interstellar, it’s very uncertain if the people are even worth defending. The hero is the only source of virtue — he is needed to lead the people away from their own corruption and short-sightedness, or, failing that, to craft some sort of order that the people will accept.

The revolutionary, who justifies his actions because of oppression and income inequality, is a terrorist who all along was planning to destroy society. The wealthy liberal, who wanted to give technology to the people, turns out to be secretly allied with the terrorist. The rich, who were exposed as fools in a few key scenes, are dealt with, and everybody else is happy to wallow in mere anarchy as long as they can take rich people’s stuff.

[In Nolan-produced Man of Steel,] Superman’s purpose on Earth isn’t to protect people; it’s to inspire them to be better. … Superman is just better than the rest of us, and this is all he asks, the unchecked freedom to use his ability to surveil everyone in the world and to use violence when and where he chooses, because it will help us become better – whether we agree to it or not.

But in Nolan’s movies the hero is necessary because corruption is too pervasive, too insidious, too powerful, and the people are too weak. Paranoia about corruption and trust in strongmen — literal strong men, in superhero movies — is one of the hallmarks of fascism.”

Full discussion https://www.reddit.com/r/TrueFilm/comments/2t2u3j/russia_bans_films_posing_a_threat_to_national/cnvcn66?context=3

If Gandalf Had Taken The Ring

A commenter on Reddit plays out the scenario if Gandalf kept the ring:

“Gandalf would be more like Mao, I think. He comes onto the scene as a conquering hero, overthrowing the Shadow in the East and promising a return to peace and prosperity. For a time, it works. He sets about showing the world how to order itself without the threat of a Dark Lord to rule it. A cult of personality springs up, and Gandalf is worshiped as the great savior of Middle-earth. His wisdom spreads throughout the land in the form of a Red Book, composed by his closest friends, the Halflings. He continues to go by names others have created for him, a sign of his humility, and so he is known still as Mithrandir, or Gandalf, or Incanus, or Tharkun.

“He finds the task difficult. Early on, he sticks to the restrictions of the Istari, trying to lead by example and persuasion, rather than by force or command. But over time, the ordering of his great realm, stretching from the Tower Hills to Harad, proves too much. Shadowfax grows lean and rebellious as Gandalf rides him too hard, for too long, responding to small crises all over the continent. Wherever Gandalf turns his attention, though, things prosper. Projects are streamlined, the poor are fed, fields are planted and harvested to unheard-of bounty.

“But he cannot be everywhere at once. After a time, Gandalf convinces several of the Fellowship to go to different parts of the continent, to rule there in his name. After all, they knew him best, and can carry the wisdom he has to the furthest reaches. He sends with each of them a palantir. It grieves him to separate old friends like Frodo and Sam, and they feel totally under-prepared for the tasks before them, but with Gandalf a mere palantir-communion away, they go. And after all, how can they deny Gandalf? Just being in his presence, they feel compelled to follow his requests. They are, after all, perfectly reasonable ideas, and only the Fellowship can be trusted to implement them.”

Read the rest http://np.reddit.com/r/tolkienfans/comments/2qgw03/was_gandalf_able_to_be_corrupted_by_the_ring_if/cn657zi