Wednesday, January 19, 2005
A barbed valentine from a red-state filmmaker on a blue-state subject.
In a surprising enough discussion of the Catholic cable channel EWTN, the New York Times calls our attention to its efforts to reach the younger audience and the show that is unintentionally doing so: “But one show in particular seems likely to reach youths, simply by not trying to reach them. G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense is a prime-time tribute to the great Victorian writer and personality. The show doesn’t try for flashiness: each episode consists of Dale Ahlquist, the placid president of the American Chesterton Society, speaking ex cathedra from his book-lined study.” Of course, empirical numbers are not possible since the network doesn’t track its ratings (“Spreading the Word via Friar-Cam”, Josh Ozersky, 16 Jan 2005). Interesting stuff.
“But now that you’ve spent about $200 million to laugh at Ben Stiller’s mega-Jewish parents dealing with his WASPy soon-to-be-in-laws in Meet the Fockers, we feel comfortable showing you our big Jewish selves. Philosemetism, which is so new we had to invent a word for it, has led to a whole new genre: Jewsploitation.” The last paragraph is a kicker. But is this column talking about the same odd phenomenon we saw in Shrek a few years back? Is Dreamworks Animation the Jewish Disney? (Joel Stein, “Why Hot, WASPy Chicks Love Jews,” Los Angeles Times, 9 Jan 2005).
In cinema, what’s the line between “homage” and “plagiarism”? Today’s case study: The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell compared scene by scene.
Peter T. Chattaway has a thoughtful article on amnesia movies at Books & Culture, with discussion of Finding Nemo, Memento, Fifty First Dates, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and others. “Most amnesia movies are ultimately about redemption: someone’s slate is wiped clean so that he or she can start afresh. But they are also often about atonement—one must retrieve one’s memory in order to make right the wrongs of the past—and The Bourne Supremacy is a heartening case in point.” Nice to ponder as we begin a new year.
The Despecialized Star Wars
Summary Bug Creates Unintended Cinematic Beauties
See it live
Sizzling Bacon is HERE at Long Last
24 Things You Might Not Know About Fight Club
Tree of Life and the Lamb of God
Filming In Tongues
Martin Scorsese’s parents were aliterate
This Again—At A Theater Near You
Bollywood Directors and the “Cut To Switzerland”
The Constant Traveler
Save the Movies from Save The Cat!
Propaganda, A Primer
It may actually be long After Midnight
Dirty Wars playing, then disappearing, at a theater near you
Luke’s Change: An Inside Job
What Does Hollywood Have to Do with Jerusalem?
There are only fourteen books worth reading each year
Why Are Foreign Films So… Foreign?
Tree of Life Shooting Locations in Smithville, Texas