Category: Movies

On commentary

I have a few shows and podcasts I listen too.  They’re commentary in general, culture critique if you will.

There’s a lot of silly opinion on those who comment on things. I think Youtube comments have a lot to do with that but smart funny commentary makes better art or can cast art in a completely new way. These things are valuable to our culture.

The top three things I pay attention to, and I am saying this because if you don’t know about them they are worth your time:

Movies with Mikey

A Bit of a Chat with Ken Plume

We Got This with Mark and Hal

In no particular order,

Movies With Mikey

It’s probably no secret I love Mikey Neumann. His humor and insight blows me away. He’s one of the few people who killed me in a book he wrote. And I’m fine with that. It was a good death. Unexpected. Much like the one I actually had once.

What Mikey does is he takes a film, it could be a good film a bad film whatever, and Mikey CELEBRATES it. Let’s set aside his big brain analysis of story points or shot angles or holy shit he once celebrated COLOR CORRECTION.

That shit is Ebert level.

What Mikey does is make you feel, at the end of the episode, great. You just feel good. And you wanna go back and watch that film again to apply some of what he said but you will do it with a smile on your face. It’s quite literally not possible to watch Movies with Mikey and feel crunchy about it. Some try, but they reveal in their “I have opinions” level meta critique their failure to understand the entire point of what Mikey is doing.

The episodes have amazing production value and his opening theme song I don’t know why, just sings to my heart. He makes movies more fun to watch. Mikey has actually made me go pay for a movie I skipped just because of his analysis and passion for celebrating it. HOLLYWOOD DMCA LAWYERS LISTEN UP HE MADE YOUR CLIENT MONEY.

I adore this show.

A Bit of A Chat with Ken Plume

I bounce off Ken pretty well. Often when we have a phone call it goes 2 hours because we can disagree so easily and agree so hard on so many things.

But the reason this show is a favorite is that he is a master interviewer. He’s smart, funny as hell and brings a deep level of insight into nerd topics but that isn’t the best part.

A good interviewer isn’t afraid to take a strong counter position and challenge the other person. And a bit of a chat is A) well named and B) well done on that specific point.

And it’s its all improv. Ken isn’t afraid to let the conversation happen organically and man, he gets your favorite geeks and internet people to be unhooked and free to talk about things. It’s high value and some are really long but wow are they worth the investment.

Ken takes commentary to a great level. Sometimes it’s crunchy and it forces self-reflection but it’s always done with heart and love. This is a must listen for anyone interested in the things I am interested in.

We Got This with Mark and Hal

This one. Oh, this one. What a great premise. Let’s take a geek/nerd/Internet argument and actually argue it. It is so much fun. I was present for a live recording with Adam and Hodgman in San Francisco with Mark and Hal and holy shit it was a Star Trek vs Star Wars argument.

And again the trend here of their commentary is they come from love not “I HAVE OPINIONS’. This one you can really feel the love. Even when the argument gets down to absolute positions the other side gets its proper due. This podcast probably makes me laugh more than the others solely because Mark and Hal are so sharp. if you can see them live DO SO. Hal and Mark are great folk. And you know what? They got this.

So those are my go to items that give me faith when I read the youtube comments a little too close. There’s lot’s more quality stuff out there I could mention I don’t want to give short shrift to them by any means. These are the ones I think, if you were looking to spend some time you would be so well rewarded and I want to support them and help them continue.

I think we all need a little support and continuation of the things we love right now.

H8’rs gonna h8.

I love Twitter muchly, it’s a fun way to keep track of my friends and to try and be clever on the Internet. Back before Twitter…actually back before HTTP, what we think of as blogging or microblogging was called a .plan file.  A .plan file was simply a text file sitting on a server on the Internet that anyone could access using the Finger command.  That’s right, in those days before the World Wide Web you basically got on the Internet with some type of console application and issued text based commands like “finger stepto@stepto.com

So people would update their .plan files with what they were doing or interesting thoughts or whatnot.  After the advent of the WWW, .plan files kind of exploded in the geek community because it was easier than running a webserver and you didn’t need anything other than a text editor to write for it.  So game developers and other people would update their .plan files. Along came easy web page hosting and .plan’s went away.

I told you all that to tell you this: One day Paul Steed, who did models and animation for Id Software, updated his .plan file with an interesting story about how he missed his exit to head into work in Mesquite, Texas.  Instead of circling back he decided to just keep going.  Until he reached the ocean. 8 hours later he reached Galveston, looked at the waves, then drove back. Then went into work the next day like normal. I always thought that was kind of cool.  Unfortunately when I miss my exit at work and decide to drive to the ocean it’s a 30 minute trip.

I got home yesterday to find my Blu Ray copy of the extended Lord of The Rings trilogy had arrived early. I had made plans to watch them throughout the week, but as I popped Fellowship in with the intent of only watching the opening, Paul Steed’s story popped into my head.  So I decided “screw it, I’ll watch the whole thing.  And live tweet it!”

What followed was an enormously fun 11 hours or so as I powered through the films, tweeting as I went.  What surprised me was the reaction.  While 90% of people reading and responding were having fun with my playing MST3k to the trilogy, there was a very vocal 10% who were *furious* at me for tweeting too much.  Some even pulled my favorite passive aggressive twitter tactic: “Gosh if you don’t stop tweeting, I’m going to have to unfollow you.” as if that’s going to have an impact on my tweeting.  Does that person think I read that and go “Uh oh! @BobinFlorida226534 is going to unfollow me.  Better stop tweeting!”  I’m enormously grateful for the 21 thousand people who find what I say interesting enough to follow me.  But to that vocal 10% here’s a protip: You can make lists on Twitter!  Make two.  Put everyone you follow in one list, and no one in the other.  Then when you need to unclutter your stream from someone who is tweeting too much, just move them into the empty list temporarily!  Science! OR you can just, you know, unfollow me.  It won’t break my heart, I promise!  No need to threaten first!

It was enormous fun to do however and I think with a little more warning I will do it again with Star Wars and Indiana Jones films when they inevitably come out.  The LOtR blu rays are astounding however.  The movies look and sound better than they ever have.  I heard things in the uncompressed 6.1 DTS sound mix that I had never heard before!  One minor drawback is that the picture is to perfect and clear, Gollum looks a lot more like a special effect than I was expecting.  It’s like they worked so hard to make him perfect that he stands out as too perfect.  But that’s a minor quibble. 

So I’m bleary eyed at work, but I can’t recommend this edition of the films enough.  And as my twitter stream can attest, I can confirm all 682 minutes of the run time.