I have to start generating draft post link dumps as I post things to G+.

On movies:

You should be reading Wesley Morris, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his movie criticism, regardless of whether you want to see the movies he's writing about. Here he is about the truly appalling Ted 2:

For people of color, some aspect of friendship with white people involves an awareness that you could be dropped through a trapdoor of racism at any moment, by a slip of the tongue, or at a campus party, or in a legislative campaign. But it’s not always anticipated. You don’t expect the young white man who’s been seated alongside you in a house of worship to take your life because you’re black. Nor do you expect that a movie about an obscene teddy bear would invoke a sexual stereotype forced upon you the way Kunta Kinte was forced to become “Toby” [in Roots].

And as a palate cleanser, his review of Magic Mike XXL.

The AV Club's Random Roles series is almost always great. Here's Diana Riggs, who I've never even seen on screen and who I now want to be when I grow up.

I also love their Expert Witness series; here's a recent one on being a second-unit director on Hollywood blockbusters and one I somehow missed on from a camera operator on the Puppy Bowl.

On TV:

I don't watch Penny Dreadful but [livejournal.com profile] glvalentine's recaps of it are worthy of live-blogging on their own. The one about the most recent episode contains such gems as "Somehow opting not to just go full Gothic and have sex in front of the corpse" and "(He had so much trouble just facing his mother’s death that he made three more people. Then he had sex with at least one of them. The man is troubled.)"

I also don't watch Parks and Recreation (though I'm considering it), but I suspect fans of it would like this vid by [personal profile] such_heights.

On books:

This review of For Such a Time by Kate Breslin makes you wonder how on Earth anyone could possibly think that it was a good idea. (Content notes: Holocaust, dubcon.)

Palate cleanser: absolutely hilarious Imperial Radch AU by Rachel Swirsky.

Miscellany:

@AcademicsSay: The Story Behind a Social-Media Experiment, an interesting look at the growth of that Twitter account and what the academic behind it decided to do with the social capital it had.

Yakhchāls: "By 400 BCE, Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert."

A Mostly Accurate Norse God Family Tree, in comic form, with research notes. A.K.A., "TIL that Odin's grandparent was a cow."

The Poet Laureate of Fan Fiction, an interview with someone whose work was appropriated by Supernatural fandom.

Did my boyfriend just get married? on AskMetaFilter; search the poster's username for updates.

What This Cruel War Was Over, the meaning of the Confederate flag in the plain words of those who bore it.

I have been sadly absent from, uh, everything as I try to get my feet back under me, but here is 15 seconds of the Pip dancing while eating his toast this morning, apparently just because, because you all need to see what a trial it is, living with a somber and undemonstrative child. (Contains open-mouthed chewing.)

My car's being totaled, I can't find my passport, and the weather's looking dodgy for SteelyKid's outdoor birthday party on Saturday. This calls for a re-watch of an adorable and well-structured Leverage vid: "Parachute" by [personal profile] thingswithwings.

(Everything will be fine, plans are in place to deal with it all, it's just a lot of hassle all at once. Thus, a happy thing before falling into bed.)

You guys, you guys, Chad's recreated the debates between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein over quantum physics with puppets. With cameos from a bunch of other physicists of the era and, of course, our dog Emmy.

It is adorable and historically accurate (reasonably) and so very silly—and SteelyKid approved, as in, she giggled all through it. You have to check it out behind the cut (smaller) or at Vimeo (larger). Or if you don't like Vimeo, it's at YouTube in three parts: one, two, three. (It's eighteen minutes, but some of that is credits, and it moves right along.)

embedded video )

What with one thing and another, it's been kind of a rough day here at Chateau Steelypips, and so I found myself watching happy-making videos on my iPod. One of them reminded me that I've been meaning to recommend a bunch of vids—fan-made music videos that set some movie, TV show, etc., to music—for well over a year now, and I might as well give up on writing a big thinky post and just toss out the links.

Besides, my big thinky post was going to be about how I enjoyed these vids both for themselves and for the way they commented on and transformed their sources, and thus it would probably just repeat most of what Micole said in the context of the Supernatural vid "Women's Work", so go read that instead.

Links here are all to pages where you can choose to download or stream the videos.

  • "People Get Ready", Heroes, music by the Frames (Amazon, iTunes), vid by [livejournal.com profile] heresluck. This is the one that I started watching tonight, reminded by the discussion of the start of season three (which apparently sucks). "People Get Ready" is what season one (I said this was old) should have been: about connecting, choosing, growing up, making a difference. Its technical details are also, as far as I can tell, impeccable and impressive; I really love the way it uses motion and builds tension even through the slow portions of the song. Watch it even (especially) if you haven't been satisfied with the show.

    For more, see this detailed review by [livejournal.com profile] 12_12_12 and commentary by heresluck.

  • "The Mountain", The Lord of the Rings, music by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer (Amazon, iTunes), vid by [livejournal.com profile] astolat and [livejournal.com profile] melina123. A highly-accessible vid that sets Frodo and Aragorn's parallel journeys to a beautiful and remarkably appropriate song. It doesn't strike me as technically flashy as "People Get Ready," but it's probably easier to grasp on the first viewing for that reason, and I really appreciate the way it brings out the sadness that the movie downplays.
  • "Vogue", 300, music by Madonna (Amazon, iTunes), vid by [livejournal.com profile] sockkpuppett. Not only is the concept absolutely brilliant—talk about subverting the source!—but it's technically amazing, with comic-book-like triple panels, motion sped up and slowed down to fit the beat, and even more things that I don't have the vocabulary to describe.
  • A three-fer:

    This is the "vids critiquing race and gender in shows I don't actually watch, but am just familiar enough with that I can appreciate the vids" set. "Jesus Walks" reexamines the character of Gunn, a black man who I believe fans generally feel was ill-treated by the show. "Origin Stories" is a blistering critique of Buffy and Angel's (and Buffy and Angel's) prioritizing of the white vampire Spike over characters of color and women, using the image of Spike's trademark coat, which he stripped from the body a black Slayer he killed (see additional commentary by untrue_accounts and giandujakiss). "Women's Work" forces recognition of the way Supernatural sexualizes, and is driven by, the suffering of women-as-objects.

    The last two in particular I found difficult to watch, but worth it.

  • "Hold me now", Princess Tutu, to the song "Håll Om Mig" by Nanne Grönvall (iTunes), vid by Marisa Panaccio. Okay, this isn't very transformative, but it's just awesome: the whole series in three minutes, with absolutely perfect timing to a great driving song.

I don't watch a lot of movies or TV, and so most vids go right by me; but feel free to rec others that you think I might like.

Probably everyone but me knows this already, but bestofyoutube.com's podcast is great fun. After watching a couple, I told iTunes to download everything it had for the feed (over a hundred videos), and I've been working my way through them in reverse chronological order. So far my favorites are the very brief and self-explanatory bunny letter opener and the longer roots of breakdance (the Soviet army dances to Run DMC), but there's an excellent variety.

Also, Slacktivist embedded a video of Springsteen performing "Mary's Place", which reminded me that I have never been able to listen to that song without at least wanting to tear up, and yet I still always want to hear it when it comes on. Which I think is a decent argument for its being Springsteen's best song, or at least the best song on The Rising. Discuss. (Actually, three wonderful things, since Slacktivist is a consistently excellent and sadly under-recognized blog.)

May 2017

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