"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

David Ehrlich’s top 25 films of 2013

As Jason Kottke says, this is masterfully edited. It shows movies are the art form where the talent works, not something obsolete like painting, and that a moving picture list will eat a Buzzfeed one alive. A vintage year.

via: Kottke

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Top TV Programs from My Youth. Post Yours

By popular request, this list was supposed to be just British TV programs, but I’ll limit that restriction to myself since I grew up there and also since I actually think UK TV is overrated. These days the US does drama much better – e.g. The Wire.

The principal criterion for my choices is not necessarily which things I think are actually good, but those that provoke existential longing. This comprises a combination of homesickness and nostalgia, brought on from the dislocation in both time and space experienced by mid-life crisis prone, aging expats.

1. Janet Street Porter profiles punk for the London Weekend Show.
Picking this may seem so unbelievably obscure that it’s self indulgent. But it’s a specific and personal memory that I had assumed would be lost in some tape archive in the bowels of London Weekend Television. That someone has found it and put it on Youtube demonstrates perfectly the almighty power of the web. Punk blew a vast hole in the flank of tawdry, laurel resting, UK culture, like nothing else before or since. It still seems modern, yet its older than the Second World War was when it was filmed.

2. Brideshead Revisited.
As in the 1981 version. Despite the campiness which I had to explain away in detail to my wife who is French, Brideshead is a serious project, the only TV program that Halliwell ever gave 5 stars to. It is quintessentially English and has all the posh stuff that I rebelled against as anachronistic, stuffy crap and now see the attraction of. For BBC zealots, note that this was a Granada production.
“We were eating the Lobster Thermidor when the last guest arrived…”.

3. Nuts in May
I wasn’t sure which Mike Leigh item to pick, but eventually settled on this. It’s a perfect slice of where lingering Edwardian sensibilities met 70s New Age. I knew people who had parents like Keith and Candice-Marie.

4. The Sweeney
Hearing the theme tune to this makes me feel very strange. Nothing represents the slightly impoverished but gritty reality of the 70s like The Sweeney. It was nasty and brutish and went on for 3 years. The character development of the main protagonists, Regan and Carter, surpassed US cop shows from the same period and rendered them tough but endearing. Diamonds in the rough.
Sweeney Closing Track with stills:

5. The Shock of the New
Although it has been updated, ironically here I’m referring to the old Shock of the New, broadcast in 1980. A visual feast of a tour through modern art with a tour de force commentary providing an equally stunning audio treat.
Clip: The Shock of the New, Marcel Duchamp:

6. Horizon
Horizon these days seems to be dumbed down, but perhaps I am just getting older. It was my introduction to science and what drew me to California, when I heard scientists being interviewed at seductive locations like the Salk Institute. Ever since then, scientists have to have American accents to sound credible and techie.
Clip: Horizon Interview with Richard Feynman:

7. The Good Life
In picking a UK sitcom, both Fawlty Towers and Porridge are perhaps better, but I’ve chosen The Good Life for sentimental reasons. It reminds me of growing up, bits of it were even filmed in the town I grew up, and richard Briers’ character could have been my dad. This is light entertainment, but it profoundly captures the feeling of what suburban London was really like in the 70s better than anything I know.
Clip: First scene from the first episode:

Post your own lists in the comments.

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The worlds most awesomest, hella wicked clips of humans in motion

One of the few mini-clip-meme thingies that I can bear, unlike dogs on skateboards, is the whole YouTube fetish for dance or body movement stuff – from Parkour to ‘that nerdy looking dancing guy‘ – which lends itself to video bites.

Both Parkour and the Nerdy looking dancing guy show ordinary people doing extraordinary things, but in a format which is far more genuine than the formulaic arena of ‘_’s Got Talent’ and Susan Boyle.

My Choice: James Brown Gives You Dancing Lessons via Rob

Anyway, I’d like to put together an, ahem, postmodernly cerebral, definitive list of this stuff. Add to this list by embedding videos in comments.

(The title of this post is supposed to be ironic, I have not lost my mind).

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List of favorite movie endings

I’ve installed Intense Debate’s Youtube embed plugin. To to try it out, post a clip of your favorite movie ending.

I’ll kick things off with mine. Its from the Deer Hunter. It’s the only film about Vietnam that I like, understated where Apocalypse Now is overblown, complex where Born on the 4th of July is one-dimensional and epic where Full Metal Jacket is narrow and specific.

The problem with many War films, for me, is that they create an anti-war statement that is macho and an opposition to violence that dwells in its pornographic depiction.

It’s difficult to display fighting as explicitly entertaining unless you are shooting bugs, villains with Hungarian accents or aliens, but if you make a ‘war is hell’ film like Apocalypse Now you can display the deaths of ordinary people with operatic grandeur.

The Deer Hunter is different. Most of the film is about context and relationships, and the war scenes themselves are limited to the blisteringly intense and emblematic depiction of Russian roulette. That the roulette scenes are the most popular on YouTube speaks to a depressing reality, that even in the Deer Hunter people strip out the build up and get straight to the dirty bits, like turning a love story into a porn clip. But in context, the violence in the Deer Hunter is neither gratuitous or unnecessary.

The Deer Hunter starts with a wedding and ends with a wake and in between weaves intertwined relationships that are complicated as in real life. But for me the scene after Nick’s funeral, ending with everyone singing ‘God Bless America’ is my pick for a favorite movie ending.

I am neither American nor do I believe in God but this rendition of God Bless America raises the hair on the back of my neck. This is not a jingoistic, defiant rendition of a patriotic anthem, but a quiet, ambiguous, demonstration of solidarity. A capitulation to ultimately identify as part of a society, while still linked culturally to an old country and living not a Californian dream, but in a deprived town in the rust belt. A community damaged but not broken, from a war which challenged the notion of what it was to be American.

Submit your favorite movie endings with clips embedded in the comments.

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The 50 Greatest Documentaries

Based upon a poll of film makers, organized by Channel 4 in the UK, the 50 best documentaries of all time were chosen. Despite the unpromising screenshot image of Jimmy Saville at the beginning, this is great. Of course, I would differ with the selection, but that’s part of the game.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Total running time: approx 100mins.

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Arab Drifts – video list

arab drifts

Over at our sister site, Oobject:

“Arab drifting is the name given to handbrake slides, perfected in places like Saudi, where Arabian Stallions have been replaced by metal Mustangs. Here it refers not just to the videos of the stunts which are interesting in of themselves, but the cultural drift, as exemplified by the range of music that accompanies the videos, from rock to rap to house.”

“This list is contains not just Arab Drifts but clips of car culture on the Arabian peninsula, proving Youtube’s worth as an anthropological treasure trove.”


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