Cultural engagement

I happened to have gone to a panel at FantaCon this month with Steve Bissette, Kris Gilpin and Dennis Daniel, all of whom used to swap bootleg horror films, fifth-generation recording dubbed in German or Dutch. THEY are ecstatic that those films are now available in a nice Criterion collection.

The cover of the September 20/27, 2013 Entertainment Weekly, its Fall TV Preview, says “get the scoop on 119 shows, PLUS the best new series.” If I need a reminder that the medium has diffused, that’ll do it.

Yet on two successive episodes of the Bat Segundo Show podcast, host Ed Champion declares that there is an “American epidemic of gravitating to mainstream culture in an age of limitless choice.” He and guest Kiese Laymon discuss “why America is terrified of rich and variegated cultural engagement.” Then Champion and Alissa Quart dissect “how outsiders and iconoclasts have been appropriated by institutional forces. Continue reading “Cultural engagement”

The EW greatest movies in 1999, dropped in 2013

Possibly the flat out funniest movie in the second half of the 20th century.

An astonishing number of films that were on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 100 films in 1999 didn’t make the cut in 2013. I realize they were compiled by different people; editor Ty Burr was responsible for the earlier list. Still, some these being displaced startled me, even if I hadn’t seen the newer iteration.

5. Raging Bull (1980) – I saw the craft of this film. I didn’t love it, though I liked it more as it went along. Then again, I saw it on video originally; had I first seen it in the theater, that might have made a difference.
7. The Godfather, Part II (1974) – never saw this, but how does this fall off the list? 1974 Best Picture!
16. Star Wars (1977) – I’m rather partial to this film. The 2nd pic (or 5th, if you insist), may be technically more proficient, but this one I fell in love with.
23. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) Continue reading “The EW greatest movies in 1999, dropped in 2013”

EW’s 100 All-Time Greatest Movies

Annie Hall (1977) – this film was my talisman. I’ve seen it four times in the theater, and a few times on video thereafter.

There’s a list of Entertainment Weekly’s 100 all-time movies, TV shows, books, et al. It was printed in the magazine’s July 5/12, 2013 double-issue.

What I found interesting is how radically different than the film list EW put out in 1999 the 2013 movie roster is, once you get past the top three. (The number in parentheses represents the rank in 1999.) Given the fact that there are only three 21st century films included, this is not a function of new films, but rather a reassessment of existing ones.

1 (2). Citizen Kane (1941) – As I’ve noted, I tried to watch this on video a number of years ago, but fell asleep. Obviously, i need to try again.
2 (1). The Godfather (1972) – I was living in Binghamton, but the Okie and I, along with another couple, saw it in Syracuse. great film, of course, but I won’t see it again.
3 (3). Casablanca (1942) – I LOVE this film. Saw in outdoors near Rochester in the late 1970s, with my friend Debi. Did I mention I adore this film? I need to watch it again.
4 (48). Bonnie And Clyde (1967) – Never saw it, and don’t feel compelled to.
5 (11). Psycho (1960) – #1 on the list of greatest horror flicks, and I probably will see it at some point.
6 (56). It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – My future wife Carol nagged me into seeing this on PBS in the late 1990s, after I had dismissed it, sight unseen, as too sentimental; it is not. Liked this far more than I could have imagined.
7 (64). Mean Streets (1973) – didn’t see; may not.
8 (15). The Gold Rush (1925) – #1 comedy, and I don’t know if I saw it or not. That’s my basic problem with movies on broadcast TV. I might have flipped through the channels and started watching something. But was it enough to give the film a fair shake?
9 (38). Nashville (1975) – I started watching this on DVD a few years ago, and simply could not get into it. I like a lot of Altman, but I just didn’t connect with this film. May try again.
10 (8). Gone With The Wind (1939) – haven’t seen, except snippets. Not motivated to do so. Continue reading “EW’s 100 All-Time Greatest Movies”

Coming Out stories

Interesting cover story in Entertainment weekly a couple weeks ago By the Way, We’re Gay. The New Art of Coming Out, which was released just before newsman Anderson Cooper’s recent revelation, surprising as sunrise to many. While I understand it intellectually, I always thought it was too bad that gay folks have to endure that process. After all, I didn’t have to go to my parents, palms sweating, and announce, “I AM A….HETEROSEXUAL!” Few people chastise me for promoting the “heterosexual agenda.”

The article noted how far lesbians and gay men have come since Ellen DeGeneres’ pronouncement made the cover of TIME magazine 15 years ago, which pretty much killed her career – until it didn’t. It’s the observation of many, and I totally agree, that her comeback started with one joke. She was hosting the Emmys two months after September 11, 2001, after a couple program reschedulings; she asked the audience, “What would bug a guy from the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?” It was just the right tonic. And now, she’s that dancin’ fool on her own talk show.

A pointed observation in EW: “Over the past decade, the press has become more hostile to, and aggressive about, celebrities who are perceived to be closeted to exactly the same degree it’s become more accommodating to those who come out.”

Conversely, I find more than a few people of my acquaintance who think that when gays, either public figures or private citizens, come out, they are “throwing their sexuality in my face.” Not the intention, just being honest with others, and quite possibly, themselves.

From the last paragraph of the EW piece: “So although the drip-drip-drip steadiness of coming-out news can seem inconsequential, cumulatively the stories serve as the very quiet herald of a major tectonic shift. What was impossible 60 years ago and dangerous 40 years ago and difficult 20 years ago is now becoming no big deal.” Which is as I would like it to be.

Summer Songs QUESTION

I HATE it when two or even three songs are counted as a song.


Entertainment Weekly did one of those list of summer songs, again. Some radio station has the full 100 list, with video links to most of them.

The * indicate the ones that came to me on the list.

100. ”STAY (I MISSED YOU)” (1994)
Lisa Loeb
99. ”TENNESSEE” (1992)
Arrested Development
98. ”WE’RE AN AMERICAN BAND” (1973)
Grand Funk Railroad
97. ”RADAR LOVE” (1974)
Golden Earring
96. ”THE LOVE YOU SAVE” (1970)
The Jackson 5
95. ”DANCING IN THE DARK” (1984)
Bruce Springsteen
94. ”FUNKYTOWN” (1980)
Lipps Inc.
93. ”YAKETY YAK” (1958)
The Coasters
*92. ”SUMMERTIME, SUMMERTIME” (1958)
The Jamies
91. ”GANGSTER’S PARADISE” (1995)
Coolio
90. ”KISS FROM A ROSE” (1995)
Seal
89. ”MACHO MAN” (1978)
The Village People
88. ”MY CHERIE AMOUR” (1969)
Stevie Wonder
87. ”WATERLOO” (1974)
ABBA
86. ”SUMMERTIME” (1991)
D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
85. ”THE END OF THE INNOCENCE” (1989)
Don Henley
*84. ”SAN FRANCISCO (BE SURE TO WEAR FLOWERS IN YOUR HAIR)” (1967)
Scott McKenzie Continue reading “Summer Songs QUESTION”