For Memorial Day, Hunter Gatherer posted an excellent piece on the 1963 war film, The Victor. I recommend reading what he has to say in full, but here is the snippet that accompanies the clip above:
“The particularly strong portrayal of the less heroic side of war’s consequences was shocking given the year that the film was made. One scene in particular, purportedly inspired by the execution of Eddie Slovik, set the execution of a deserter in the last months of the war to Frank Sinatra’s rendition of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Christmas’.”
The adjective that comes to mind for Gene Kelly is smooth: smooth voice, smooth mover. That’s what I like so much about this; putting Kelly on roller skates is like adding polish to wax. The whole piece glides effortlessly, and its incredible to think that this camera tracking was possible in the mid 50s.
The original documentary has been taken down, however if you get a chance to see the original it is a ground breaking film about the biggest heroin dealer in Harlem in the 70s. The premise is that drug lord, Nicky Barnes was different in that he delivered a ‘good’ product and was professional.
This has been something that has been on my mind lately, I recently met someone who made his money from Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, he was a personal friend of Colonel Sanders and said that what made him different was that he cared about the product.
When I worked at an Internet incubator as an ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’, we looked obsessively at how we would build a viral product, any viral product. In essence this seemed to be the moral equivalent of selling bad drugs, possibly a more dubious standpoint than Nicky Barnes’ good drugs.
What I am getting at here is not that selling KFC is morally bad, but that it is wrong to think that cynically selling a bad product well marketed, will succeed. McDonalds sell incredibly tasty food – it just happens to be bad for you. But when it comes to capitalism there is a responsibility not just to believe in a good product, but a product that is good for people. i.e. not tobacco or slave harvested cotton or heroin. The line moves. Kentucky Fried Chicken only becomes a moral hazard when it is too cheap and too delicious that people become habitual users.
Throughout Mr Untouchable, including in this trailer, people correct themselves after using terminology such as ’successful entrepreneur’. That this kind of language is used at all, smacks of a society as a whole, which needs moral regulation, not just banks on Wall street which have reward without risk.
This clip contains this unbelievable line: “he was giving something back to the community that he was abusing and killing”, wherever this line applies, unregulated capitalism has failed.
The London Times’ technology section ran this piece showing the current state of the art in 3d animation. Normally this stuff is not that interesting and just a bit naff. But, having used 3d animation software fairly intensively in the past, this does seem genuinely impressive.
I’m of the view that if you are going to eat meat, you should be prepared to kill it. At the very least you should be aware of what you are eating. In this clip, UK chef, Jamie Oliver presents one of those cushy awards style shows where people sit around round dinner tables sipping wine. He asks the guests to select the paler of a bunch of cute baby chicks and put them in a box (these are the males). He then gasses them, something that is done to all male chicks by egg producers around the world, organic or regular. Male baby chicks are disposable, non-financially viable assets. The guests are predictably and presumably hypocritically (if they eat eggs) upset.
A voyage of discovery to see where America’s food comes from. This seems like a good topic, since where America’s food comes from has changed more in the last 20 years than the previous 100, replacing the bucolic ideal of the American cowboy rancher with giant agribusinesses and Yale graduate presidents in Stetsons.
(I like the idea of these extended clips for PBS documentaries)
A nice clip from The New Shock Of The New, which I assume is an update to the classic Robert Hughes series of the 70s. The original series would rank in my top 10 all time TV programs, so I am now scurrying around trying to find a complete version.
via Andy Jones
Be Kind Rewind is about a guy who works in a video store who is magnetic, accidentally erases all the videos and decides to remake them himself. A bunch of French guys decided to do the same with the trailer for the movie itself. So deliciously meta. Be Kind Rewind Sweded Trailer
Spacefest 2009 will be held in San Diego Feb 19-22 next year in San Diego. This trailer is a great taster. It is also a way to plug the place where I found it, my favorite new weblog: Bad Astronomy, which is bad ass, indeed.
The reason I’m posting this infamous 1977 clip from Happy Days which gives us the expression to ‘jump the shark’, (meaning to pass ones prime and descended into gimmick) is that I realized that I had never actually watched it.
But that’s not the only reason. The recent ‘I’ll end up drinking your milkshake’ line from There Will be Blood (which originally came from the 1920s) looks set to also become a permanent part of contemporary English vernacular.
What these expressions both have in common is that they are not descriptive of what they have come to mean, without knowing the reference, and yet they are and will be used without knowing that reference. This points to the conclusion, that expressions such as these stick precisely because they are unusual enough for people to take notice, and different enough that there is no existing competition from similar expressions.
St. Louis’ Pruitt Igoe represented the failure of modernist town planning and architectural determinism from Robert Moses to Corbusier, respectively. Shoveling up the uncomfortable mess of slums into machines for living in, threw out the soul with the sewage. The mess came back, as modernist slum replacements deteriorated, but the soul often didn’t. They also act as a reminder of how America was not really a democracy, within living memory; Pruitt was designed for Black people, Igoe for White people.
When I first came to New york in the 80s I asked the cab driver to take me to see a similar Corbusier style project in the Bronx. The first cab driver refused to even drive there, and when I went, the scenes of burning rubble in the streets and sheer squalor, were unlike anything I had ever seen in a developed country.
Koyaanisqatsi is hit or miss in parts, but the Philip Glass score has become a classic, and nowhere was the film more powerful that the scenes of the Pruitt Igoe projects prior to and during their demolition in 1972, only 20 years after their completion. Even before its use in Koyaanisqatsi, the film of the controlled destruction became the worlds most iconic footage of demolition. Architect and Critic, Charles Jencks said their destruction marked the end of modernism. Years later, this film with its powerful score, takes on an entirely different meaning, marking the end of something else, since the architect, of the Pruitt Igoe, Yamasaki – also designed New York’s World Trade Center.
Is Scientology really that much weirder than the Abrahamic religions? Its total membership is less than the number of people actually killed by them, so it is less dangerous by any objective measure. Its existence as an non-accepted cult, is far more short lived. Its world view is much closer to the size and age of the known universe and its threat to science seems to be tragi-comically confined to psychiatrists. But it is much weirder, right?
This was the most amusing preacher video I could find, to illustrate the point. It makes Tom Cruise look like Thomas Paine.
OK, most of what I’ll post here will be full length finds – but some clips are so great and when you put them together into a list you’ve got a mini TV show.
Here are my top 10 TV intro’s of all time – post yours in the comments.
1. Hawaii Five-0 We are so not worthy-0. Book him Dan-o.
2. Knots Landing The ultimate B-league show, it had this really weird link to the characters of Dallas. But the theme tune – once you hear it, you just cannot get it out of your head – dammit. This is what it looked like on German TV, for no other reason than that’s random, and you get to hear the tune twice – so that I can ruin your day.
4. Ironside. Saul Bass style graphics and an ear piercing wail at the beginning, that has you grasping your privates.
5. The Money Program. Jimmy Smith’s big band style from ‘The Cat’, when he switched to Verve records. I guess they knew he was just sooo money.
6. The Monkees. The band made for network TV, that spawned Cable TV, on Internet TV. The thing about the Monkees is that although they were fake, the songs were actually good. Destroys all faith in human kind.
7. Rockford Files. Everyone should own a wood-veneered answer phone system, if they want to get ahead.
8. Taxi. I think I’m gonna cry, a $10.99 keyboard from Wallgreen never sounded so good.
9. Citizen Smith. “Power to the people”, cut to sound of single baby crying.
10. Banana splits. So – Much – Fun. Did you know that the guy in the elephant costume is a Republican Congressman? How are you going to prove I’m lying? And here is the Dickies version, the fastest song ever recorded before the invention of chrystal meth. And here are some fans doing it – cos apparenty that’s what people do over at YouTube cos its one big party there. Smashing Telly is a party of one.
And please, someone, anyone, if you have them, put up the themes for the following: The Liver Birds; The Likely Lads (not the Libertines version); Z-Cars.