Tag Archives: art

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.


The Difference Between Marvel and DC Comics

Comic nerds outlines the difference between the two major comics publishing houses:

“Marvel was about people trying to be heroes. DC was about heroes trying to be people.

Wonder Woman, Supes, Bats… They all come from a place that makes them outsiders to different degrees. I think Bats can be played several ways successfully, and that’s contributed to his popularity. Superman will always be the adopted son of humanity due to his own feelings and experiences. WW could reach a point where she hits “Western society average”, but Western society has a long way to go. Her frustration about that is pretty great.

But Spider-Man will swipe a hot dog from a vendor then come back after defeating Rhino and drop money to pay it. Pre- ~2000’s I can’t imagine the aforementioned DC characters being concerned with food unless it was part of a plot point, yet Marvel makes it both location-enforcing and character development.”

via Jeffool comments on TIL that Iron Man was created by Stan Lee as a challenge to create a hero no one should like and force people to like him..

Image from the Marvel/DC cross-over series.

George Lucas’s Bitter Legacy

From a discussion about the quality of the Star Wars prequels:

“Here’s the thing. George Lucas has been simmering with anger for most of his career. His wife was one of the most talented story editors in the business. Bar none. She made concrete changes to the story that really saved the first movie, and had a significant impact on the entire franchise.

Credentials? She worked on Taxi Driver. She worked on two other Scorsese films. She helped Lucas with THX 1138 and American Graffiti and all three Star Wars films, and even pitched in a bit on Raiders. Of the six Oscars Star Wars won, one was hers for editing Lucas’ mess.

But she left George for another man, and somehow he got Hollywood in the divorce. She flips property now.

George Lucas didn’t even direct anything between A New Hope and the prequels. (My theory is there was a divorce settlement that ended around 1996 or so.) In between, his entire career has been milking Star Wars and Indy, both gifts to him from his wife.

So the prequels (and the changes he made to the original) were supposed to prove that he was the genius. To undo some of the influences that Marcia Lucas had on his films and show the fans “the movie I wanted it to be” . In his mind, he had to show that Star Wars belonged to him, and him alone. But the fans hated it. They hated the changes. They hated the Prequels.

Lucas was so salty that he retired and blamed the fans for it. He flat out said there’d never be another film, because he had no ideas. He claims that he always wanted to make documentaries anyway.

Then along comes an even better solution. Disney comes up with just stupid money for the entire fucking thing, so much he can’t pass that up. It’s perfect, sell it all… lock, stock, and barrel, and then give away all the money. Forget passing Star Wars down to his children.

For almost 20 years, this has been his life. And when he finally did “choose to run”, he just ended up proving to the world what he’d known in his heart all along. He was a better filmmaker when he was working with the woman who ripped that heart out.

No. It’s easier to burn it down and salt the earth. To disavow any interest (personal or vested) in the franchise and pretend like the entire thing was a lark he never cared about.

via jayman419 comments on Nicholas Cage Praises Hayden Christenson’s Acting In The Star Wars Prequels.

Image of George and Maria Lucas from The Secret History of Star Wars and Marcia Lucas.

Suck.com’s 1998 Takedown of The Artist’s Way

I’ve like the creativity self-help book The Artist’s Way and have gotten a lot out of it since I first read it back in 1995. But you have to admit, it does tend to get a little indulgent and precious after a while. Jeffrey Taylor mentioned how he detested the book on Facebook so I dug up this old gem, a screed against the book from Suck.com July 20, 1998 by Abrose Beers (aka Chris Bray):

“[T]here aren’t many references to art – the thing, the product of all that self-gratification – in the preceding pages, either.  Missing in this vision is the strong, persistent understanding that writers read, painters look at paintings, and musicians drive around listening to the radio and trying not to get day jobs or move out of their parents’ house.  The understanding, in short, is that creation follows some kind of effort to discern, to see before trying to show.  The artist’s way is about making art, about a task and a product; The Artist’s Way is about being an artist, about wearing the identity.”

Full essay in the the Suck.com archives http://www.suck.com/daily/98/07/20/

Colonel Henry Blake’s Final Exit on M*A*S*H

Found this Snopes entry linked on a Metafilter thread about the lasting impact of M*A*S*H. I always credit watching that show in syndication every night at dinner with making me wanting more out of TV and narrative media:

Producer Larry Gelbart on the night of shooting the last scene of that season:

“I did not want to rehearse it; we would shoot it only once. Then, Gene and I took the cast aside and I opened a manila envelope that contained the one-page last scene, telling them I had something I wanted to show them.

… I gave each [actor] a copy of the scene to read to themselves. Each had a different reaction.

“F**king brilliant,” said Larry Linville.

“You son of a bitch,” Gary said to McLean. “You’ll probably get an Emmy out of this!”

After Gary [Radar] finished reading his message, there was a hushed silence on the set as B.J.’s camera panned the stricken faces of the cast, and then someone off-camera accidentally let a surgical instrument drop to the floor. It was perfect, that clattering, hollow sound, filling a palpable void in a way that no words could. ”

Full entry on Snopes http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/mash.asp

Juggalos Explained

A more nuanced explanation than you’re used to:

“Somewhere along the line they changed to Insane Clown Posse – they created a fantasy world from which they rapped about, taking on personas of rapping, insane clowns. This fantasy world was called the Dark Carnival.. which would do psychopathic murderous things to child beaters, greedy fat cats, and rednecks.

Their music was usually fairly offensive but once you got past the shock there were …amateurish attempts to talk about a lot of problems that plague children of poor and broken homes, who experienced grave alienation and isolation. They talked a lot about child abuse, or a school system that rejects you, parents that reject you. It was for the people… who didn’t fit in anywhere. There’s this really bad, and contradictory, attempt at being conscious rap that’s this undercurrent for their childish shock-rap.

And often – poor, uneducated white kids who felt lost gravitated to them.

As i’ve grown – i found them to be incredibly ignorant. But i’ve never seen so much love at a concert in my life. I’ve been to endless punk shows, nu-metal shows, raves, metal shows, reggae shows, hip hop shows, country concerts, family friendly radio band shows, and… i’ve never seen so much undiscriminating love at a show as i’ve seen as ICP shows. You show up there, and you’re a brother and sister to everyone there. They might tend to be fat, sweaty, ignorant or wierd… but those shows are the only place some of these kids feel at home or like they belong. It’s the only place they really get to let loose without judgement. I’ve never been to their big festivals called “The Gathering” and i never will. A lot of the footage i’ve seen from there was nothing like the shows i went too.

And as much as i don’t think ICP are talented, or that their message(s) are positive or intelligent – b/c they are none of these things, there’s this element that gets lost when the internet gets to circlejerking about how “stupid” and “trashy” they are. Not just of the group, but of the fans.

underneath it all, these kids are people too – and the ones you see doing really dumb (and sometimes dangerous) things on youtube vids of outdoor juggalo gatherings, it’s really a symptom of class, and broken homes and kids who don’t fit in anywhere more than anything else. And to mock that is really shitty.

I was friends with a couple of hardcore juggalos and almost in every instance – male or female – the word i’d best used to describe them is “lost”. Being a juggalo was a cathartic symptom for them, not the problem.”

Full discussion http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/1xikrw/eli5_juggalos/cfbplc1

Photo from http://www.musictimes.com/articles/3912/20140203/insane-clown-posses-gathering-juggalos-announces-new-location-festival-dates.htm

A Brief History of Art

From a thread about why seemingly random splotches and colors can be thought of as art:

“Think of art as a community forum. Art is all about what came before you, and you’re thoughts/reaction to it or a reply about it.

Someone scribbles an outline of an animal on a cave wall.

Someone looks at that and goes, hey lets add some definition.

Someone creates art depicting a religious scene inspired by church.

Someone replies “I can do better” with an even bigger religious scene.

Another post about how “it would be nicer if you depict realism instead of these saints and gods”.

Someone else goes “hey how about drawing poor people instead of rich nobles and kings”.

Another person is like “this is too depressing, lets use lots of unrealistic colors to portray my emotions.”

Someone else goes “why even bother with one view of people or things, i like to make things abstract and complicated.”

Someone else is like “well if you like that then you’ll like my nonsense and irrationality.”

And then DuChamp goes “Oh you like that huh? how about this upside down urinal”.

Then Freud came out with his theories, and everyone is like “OMG SEX and PENISES and WET DREAMS.”

Pollock is like “F all you guys, here is the result of communing with the canvas and i’m better then you.”

Warhol was like “i reject your scribbles, but i love this advertisement.”

and you come to the more modern ideas of photo realism, which was a backlash to abstract expressionists, and minimalism, because we were like.. enough of all this stuff! My eyes are tired!”

Full thread from the ‘Explain Like I’m Five’ subreddit http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/1x5f3n/eli5why_are_some_paintings_that_look_like_a_bunch/cf8gtsb

Image from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AltamiraBison.jpg

A Glorious ‘Benjamin Button’ Takedown

A thorough skewering:

“Written by Eric Roth, writer of Forrest Gump, the thing read as though a studio executive had come to Roth with the conceit – a man ages backwards – and the assignment to turn that conceit into Forrest Gump 2. Mission sort of accomplished. Consider:

  • a southern boy born into a body afflicted with a crippling ailment. Forrest Gump is unable to walk without the use of leg braces. Benjamin Button is born arthritic and dying of old age.
  • both boys gain the ability to walk properly through seemingly miraculous circumstances.
  • both boys fall in love at a young age with the girl who will be their Fermina Daza, loves lifelong and unrequited until one brief moment in young adulthood when the timing is just right. Their paths, of course, again diverge soon after, only to reconnect years later in a situation involving a child.
  • both boys are raised by a parent or parental figures who repeat a single piece of sage wisdom that the boy himself grows up to impart. In Forrest Gump, Forrest’s mother teaches him that “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Benjamin Button, in an unsubtle attempt at creating another catchphrase, has both Queenie and Tizzy, Benjamin’s step-parents, tell him that “You never know what’s comin’ for you.” Both Forrest and Benjamin go on to repeat this motto to others in their lives.
  • both boys grow into dim bulbs of men, “pure of heart” but emotionally naive and so sympathetically vulnerable to the cruelties of the world.
  • both become enlisted in the military, and enter the service of an eccentric commanding officer known primarily by his title and first name. Lieutenant Dan, Captain Mike.
  • both serve alongside ostensibly eccentric fellow officers, introduced by way of a scene that was itself, in Forrest Gump, a takeoff on the original, unironic, scene in Apocalypse Now.

For instance, Forrest Gump is a bit more proactive than Benjamin Button, who passively moves through life without making an active decision until near the end, when he consciously does one of the most despicable things a man can do. He abandons his family. The film, of course, intends for us to continue feeling empathy for Benjamin beyond that point, and so has one of the characters wounded by Benjamin’s decision tell him he was right to do what he did, but his decision never feels right, morally or narratively. The script needs (or, rather, wants) this thing to happen, and so it happens, despite its complete incongruity with what we know of Benjamin up to that point.
One would think the near total passivity of the title character would have been a flaw evident at the screenplay stage (for the record, it was) but rarely have script problems slowed the production of a film once an A-list director has his momentum behind it, pushing it inevitably toward the screen whether ready or not.

And while not the worst film I’ve seen, it remains so thoroughly mediocre, so poorly written and so poorly made, that its arrogance only leaves that much more bitter a taste in my mouth. As a rule, one hopes to judge a film on its merits alone, and not by any hype – any buzz – that might surround it. But the buzz about “the best screenplay I’ve ever read,” the hype and reviews that use words like “epic” and “masterpiece” compel me to take the thing down a notch. It is not a masterpiece. There are, in fact, few films in recent memory that I have detested more.”

Full length epic rage http://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/1vd0of/inspired_by_rbooks_what_is_a_movie_you_absolutely/cer6yn2

Superman Inspires Good, Batman Inspires Terror

“Superman wants to be seen as an example of all that’s good about humanity. A beacon of justice and morality. He inspires people to be good, and part of that is not using his power to crumple some two-bit criminal into a little ball. He’s restraint personified. Take some hostage situation: Supes busts in, melts a few guns with his heat rays, zips around the room and grabs the scumbags and drops them off at Metropolis PD. It’s scary in the same way that a roller coaster is scary – you know that you’ll be safe in the end cause he ain’t gonna hurt you TOO bad and the worst you have to look forward to is some jail time. Now Batman ain’t like that. If there’s anything Batman wants to inspire, it’s terror.  Ever watch him work? I tell ya – even I get a little scared.  See, he picks them off, one by one. He sits in the shadows, waits until you turn around, and next thing you know, your buddy is dangling out of a window and it all happened in the blink of an eye. While you’re trying to get him down, suddenly another guy is lying on the ground with a bashed in head. Then another, and another, and then soon you’re all alone.  And the room is so dark. … See, that’s what Batman is after.  He ain’t interested so much in throwing you in jail. Jail actually keeps you safe from him. No, he wants to break you. He wants to trigger that primal terror you got buried deep inside, that animal terror. He wants you to remember that terror, that horror, so that when you get out of the joint and you think about getting that pathetic little up you get when you hold your dinky .22 to some woman’s head and have your way with her, you see some curtain in a window fluttering and the shadow over there looks like it’s getting a little bigger, then that terror takes over and you turn into that terrified little prey animal again, knowing he’s in the shadows. Watching. You ain’t a criminal anymore, kid. You’re a scared little girl jumping at shadows. You’re broken. And that’s just how he wants you. Superman wants people to be inspired by him. Batman wants people to be terrified of him. I’ve seen the hardest goddamn crooks in Blackgate start whimpering like puppies when the Commish turns on the Bat Signal.