Lancelot Links postsSaturday August 22, 2015
Wednesday August 12, 2015
- A little background on the Godard v. Truffaut contretemps. I'm firmly Truffaut in this. Godard went off the rails.
- For those who often wonder about my neverending hatred for the New York Yankees, here's another clue via Joe Posnanski: Since 2002, against a pretty good Minnesota Twins team, the Yankees are 80-29.
- The birthdate of Pirates' great Robert Clemente was just a few days ago, and Sports Illustrated celebrated with a slideshow. Question, outside of Hollywood, what industry draws the most handsome men? It's probably the idolizing kid in me, but I go baseball: Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Robert Clemente, Tony Oliva, among others.
- This brought back my Jackie Chan love: Tony Zhou on how Jackie does action comedy—and where Hollywood fails.
- Another Zhou: The four quadrants in Nicholas Refn's “Drive.” Great analysis. Also ends with one of the best cinematic kisses of the 21st century.
- Good book? Kay Hymowitz reviews Richard Beck's “We Believe the Children,” about the scandal surrounding the McMartin preschool abuse scandal, for The New York Times. Makes you realize there are all kinds of abuse.
- Headline from The Guardian: “White supremacist convicted in plot to kill Obama with 'death ray' device.” According to the article, it was called “Hiroshima on a light switch.” He should have pled guilty by reason of massive stupidity.
- Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi goes inside the GOP clown car in Iowa and watches in horror as the other candidates (or “contestants”) try to out-Trump Trump, but Trump trumps all. Taibbi writes, “America is ceasing to be a nation, and turning into a giant television show.” It made me think of The Onion's famous post-9/11 headline, “A Shattered Nation Longs to Care About Stupid Bullshit Again.” The modern GOP has found a way to fuse the stupid bullshit with national politics. Will the last adult in the room please turn out the lights?
- If you read one of these pieces, read this one: Louis Menand on how Joan Didion went from a John Wayne-loving Goldwater supporter to someone who critiqued the great American self-deception.
Roger Corman's 1994 Lancelot Links (Unreleased)
Saturday August 08, 2015
“It's clobberin' time!”
- A few months ago, Joe Posnanski wrote about how adding a countdown pitchers clock to baseball would ruin the timeless game. Well, he saw his first game with such a clock and changed his mind. 180 degrees.
- Another Joey P piece, “No Minor Matter,” about Mike Hessman, who recently broke the minor league record for homeruns with 433. How come he wasn't in the Majors? He was, for a bit, but probably wasn't good enough. Whose record did he break? That's an even better story, since that guy should've been in the Majors.
- This unreleased John Lennon song will “make us cry,” according to a Beatles fan page. Not quite. But it is interesting.
- Via Film Experience: George Taikei on the 1960s moment he asked Gene Roddenberry why there were no gay characters on the original “Star Trek.”
- Also via FE: Tim at Antagony & Ecstasy on the history of the 1994 unreleased Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie: how and why it was made, and why, after all these years, and despite its crummy budget, it's still the best FF movie out there. Someone is even trying to make a documentary about it.
- Speaking of: Someone has done a lot of work to pull off a great tongue-in-cheek hoax, pretending there was a 1963-64 “The Fantastic Four” TV series which was filmed but never aired. Starring: Russell Johnson as Reed Richards (nice), Elizabeth Montgomery as Sue Storm (perfect), Tim Considine as Johnny Storm (OK) and William Demarest as the Thing (um, misstep). I like the episode guide, too.
- Related: four nerds watching three bad superhero movies, including Corman's “Fantastic Four.” Their reaction to each was similar to mine. Viddy well, brothers.
- Still related: i09 gives us the 50 most cringe-worthy scenes in comic book/superhero movies. It's a good list but I put the evil Peter Parker scenes from “Spider-Man 3” higher, along with Superman's wall-building blue vision rays from “Superman IV.” So many, really. Might be worth a post of my own. My favorite superhero scenes tend to be about ther revelation of power; what do the shittiest scenes have in common?
- The Ninth Circuit has ruled that Netflix is not liable under the Video Privacy Protection Act (Robert Bork's law) if you share your log-in with family and friends and they subsequently discover embarrassing past history. “The lawfulness of this disclosure cannot depend on circumstances outside of Netflix's control,” Judge Raymond J. Dearie wrote. Except Netflix can control it; or they can allow you to control it, by deleting past history. But that's not an option.
- Gabriel Sherman, author of the Roger Ailes bio “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” writes about the Donald Trump/Megyn Kelly brouhaha, and Ailes' place in it, in “How Fox News Picked Trump Over Megyn Kelly.”
- Meanwhile, Media Matters gives us the long history of Roger Ailes' sexism.
- Meanwhile, Ted Nugent. Crazier and crazier.
- Let's go out on a high note: Not just Joe Henry on Adam Levy, but Adam Wahlberg on Joe Henry.
Wednesday July 29, 2015
- Joe Posnanski counts down the 10 most lopsided MLB trades (by WAR). Shockingly, no Mariners trade made the list. But it sucks to be a BoSox fan.
- Jim Walsh's dog poops three times on a two-bag walk. What happens next is what the column is all about.
- Tim Egan talks guns and the two Americas: those with kinda sorta sensible gun laws and those without.
- As of this year, Oregonians don't have to register to vote; they only have to register to opt out of voting. Otherwise, they are automatically registered. “Instead of asking voters, 'Do you want to register to vote?' they ask voters, 'Do you not want to vote?'” Great effin' idea. Right, Texas?
- You know how you go into work on a hot summer day and freeze because the air-conditioning is on too high? Two scientists claim that's the case because office buildings set temps based on decades-old formula that uses the metabolic rates of men, not women. In some cases, in fact, it's based upon “a 40-year-old man weighing about 154 pounds.” Which is exactly me (give or take a dozen years). So—follow-up question—why am *I* cold?
- Seattle is supposedly one of the rattiest cities in the country. I know I've seen my share. A few weekends ago, LoLo's dog Scout flushed one from the bushes at Seattle University.
- L.E.J., three cute French girls singing mostly a capella, give us a medley of the summer's big hits, and it's quite charming.
- Manohla Dargis breaks down a USC Communications/Journalism report on how little diversity there is on American movies screens. From 2007-14, according to the report, men made up 69.8% of all speaking or named characters, white people 73.1%. We get hardly any gay, lesbian, trans characters, while women characters disappear the older they get. Shocked, shocked. This is obviously disadvantageous to all of the women and non-white artists in the world, but, I would argue, it's also disadvantageous to white men like me, who don't get to see other people's stories.
- I'm surprised Kelefa Sanneh's New Yorker piece on the shifting landscape of free-speech advocacy isn't called “Blurred Lines,” after the controversial Robin Thicke song that begins the piece. Instead it's called “The Hell You Say,” which isn't bad. The shifting landscape, of course, is because of political correctness. It's also about sensitivity and safety. In the 1960s, conservatives were sensitive to bad language, and wanted women and children to be safe from such words, and liberals said, “Fuck that.” Now, liberals are sensitive to racist and misogynistic language, and want women and minorities to be safe from such an environment, and conservatives are saying, “Shut up, whores.” The piece also dives deeper into the issue, parsing whether, for example, hate speech is speech that expresses hatred or is likely to inspire it.
- Jerry Grillo's daughter Samantha has a nice piece on an early job mentor and what she learned from him. I wonder if she learned how to write well from Jerry? Apple/tree.
Saturday July 18, 2015
- The Cecil the Lion story? Jimmy Kimmel's response was pretty good. I have newfound respect for him. I also like his use of “vomitous.”
- The Associated Press, along with MovieTone news, has made one million minutes of history available on YouTube. For some reason the piece is written in the future tense while the YouTube channel is already available. I guess AP might need a CE.
- In the wake of Lafayette, Adam Gopnik writes about Obama's evolving outrage on guns, but doesn't give quite the evidence I would've liked. But the piece does raise this thought: Do we have the right to not to have to bear arms? Not according to the NRA, which treats every innocent victim in every schoolyard, movie theater or recruitment center as if they were the saloon owner in “Unforgiven,” saying, essentially: Well, they should've armed themselves, so they got what's coming. Assholes.
- A video of Obama in Africa arguing for African leaders to step down after their term is over. He says the law is the law, and he himself is looking forward to serving in other ways and having a smaller security detail. But what made news? Saying if he ran again he thinks he could win. He'd have my vote.
- The more loutish Donald Trump gets, the more popular he becomes within the GOP. Tim Egan isn't sympathetic, saying: “The fault, dear Priebus, is not in your stars but in yourselves.”
- Speaking of fault: The New York Times really flubbed it with that Hilary story last week.
- Six years before the controversial publication of “Go Set a Watchman,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote a critique of Atticus Finch and the old style Southern liberalism he represented. In a way, it anticipates “Watchman.” Or it indicates how the hero of “Mockingbird” could become the tarnished father of “Watchman.”
- I agree with Jeff Wells on the one-sided debate on the way men and women look at (and reject) one another. It's one-sided because the way men reduce women (traditionally: into sex objects) has been a longtime cause for complaint, while the way women reduce men (by job, status, wealth, fame and/or looks) is hardly mentioned. Opportunity for someone, I suppose. Maybe me. Maybe you.
- Yesterday I posted my top 10 American movies in answer to the BBC's top 100. Jeff Wells did me one better. OK, 150 better.
Go Set a Lancelot Links
All previous entries
- The plaintive howl coming from the progressive South isn't about the Confederate flag; it's about what's happened to Atticus Finch. Georgia native Candice Dyer asks “Why, Atticus, Why?”
- The answer to her question seems to be: Because Harper Lee's sister and caretaker died and Harper can't speak for herself—but her lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, can.
- Wait! There's more! Another another Harper Lee book! So says Carter, who could be a good lawyer, and could be a decent person, but is most definitely a lousy writer. Here's the beginning of her Wall Street Journal Op-Ed trumpeting the new book and announcing there may be another: “Accidents of history sometimes place otherwise unknown people in historic spotlights. Such was my fate when last August curiosity got the best of me and I found a long-lost manuscript written by one of America’s most beloved authors.” Holy crap is that bad.
- Neely Tucker of The Washington Post goes in-depth on the ickiness of the publication of “To Set a Watchman.” What isn't answered? How Carter became the caretaker of Lee.
- In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik is more interested in whether the book is any good. The verdict? It has its incidental beauties, but...
- Others actually applaud the news, as a chance to rid ourselves of the white savior myth that Atticus embodies.
- But I still say the best reaction I've read, certainly the best defense of Atticus that takes into acccount all the facts of the case, comes from antitrust attorney Allan Van Fleet of Texas, who became a lawyer, in part, because of the great lesson of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He's a lawyer, in other words, because of the example of Atticus; and now, as that lawyer, he defends Atticus. And well.
- In other news, Joe Posnanski goes over baseball fans' votes for “the four greatest living players” (Aaron, Bench, Koufax, Mays) and asks, essentially, What about the last 30 years?
- Almost everyone has some comparison to make about the idiotic and insulting presidential campaign of Donald Trump. But Jelani Cobb has the most innovative angle: Donald Trump is a rapper.
- Via Rick Perlstein: Bloomberg Business has a good piece on how quickly the U.S. changes its mind—usually in a progressive direction. It tracks the number of states the legalized same sex marriage, interracial marriage, women's suffrage, prohibition and abortion before they became laws of the land. It happens all of a sudden. Yes, Malcolm, like a tipping point.
- Is the Iran nuclear deal a good deal? A nuke expert says yes.
- Why is the New York Post writing scathing front-page stories with banner headlines about a homeless man? Apparently because he lives (resides/hangs out) in the same upper west side neighborhood as the Post editor, Col Allen.
- Dear U.S. Post Office: The day you give us a Harmon Killebrew stamp is the day I buy 100 stamps. Maybe 200. Maybe more.