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kottke.org posts about movies

Wallace & Gromit: Vengeance Most Fowl

Wallace & Gromit are returning for a feature-length film later this year — and so is Feathers McGraw, the scofflaw penguin that made off with the wrong trousers in, um, The Wrong Trousers. Here’s the premise of Vengeance Most Fowl:

In this next installment, Gromit’s concern that Wallace is becoming too dependent on his inventions proves justified, when Wallace invents a “smart” gnome that seems to develop a mind of its own. When it emerges that a vengeful figure from the past might be masterminding things, it falls to Gromit to battle sinister forces and save his master … or Wallace may never be able to invent again!

Timely! Vengeance Most Fowl will debut on BBC in the UK in late December and at some later date on Netflix in the US and elsewhere.

Reply · 1

Seven Samurai’s 4K Restoration

A 4K restoration of Akira Kurosawa’s epic Seven Samurai is heading to theaters this summer. The film screened at Cannes in May and screenings in the US start in July:

Janus will open the restoration on Friday, July 5 in New York at Film Forum after which a Los Angeles premiere will take place at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre on Sunday, July 7. The film will open wide on Friday, July 12 in Los Angeles at Laemmle Royal.

Here’s the official poster for the restoration:

poster for the 4K restoration of Seven Samurai

On a personal note, I’m pretty disheartened there’s a 99% chance this won’t be playing anywhere near me in Vermont. Run Lola Run was rereleased in theaters last week and I couldn’t find it anywhere within a reasonable drive. And the nearest IMAX is 2h15m away. I’m thankful that I can get all sorts of culture pumped into my house at gigabit speeds, but per contemporary wisdom, “we’ve got Seven Samurai’s 4K restoration at home” is just not the same.

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AI Can Ruin Movies Now, Too

YouTuber Nerrel takes James Cameron to task for releasing 4K remasters of Aliens and True Lies that have been, well, ruined by using AI to clean them up.

The best 4k releases tend to follow a pretty simple template: clean and scan the negative, repair any obvious signs of damage, and restore the colors to match the original grading, with as little meddling beyond that as possible. The process should not be about modernizing the style or forcing film to look like digital video. 35mm film was capable of incredible picture quality, and 4k is the first home format capable of delivering most of that detail — that should be enough. A well done 4k is like having a pristine copy of the original negative to watch in your own home, with the full data from that celluloid — grain and detail alike — digitally preserved forever. And that’s the problem with deep learning algorithms — they can’t preserve details. They make their best guess about what an object is supposed to be, then pull new details out of their digital assholes and smear them across the screen.

If Hollywood and one of its best directors don’t care enough about their movies to do them right, how are they supposed to convince us to care about their movies?

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The Trailer for Black Barbie

The first Black Barbie doll was created and sold in 1980. Black Barbie, a documentary streaming on Netflix later this month, tells the story of how the doll came to be and the impact it had on a generation of young people who were able to see themselves in a doll with the same color skin, perhaps for the first time.

The trailer opens with this line: “If you’ve gone your whole life and you’ve never seen anything made in your own image, there is damage done.” Which is then echoed later in the trailer when a little girl is describing her Barbie: “Really pretty, and has lochs, just like me”.

Shonda Rhimes produced the film and was recently on the Today show talking about the importance of representation. And here’s a tour of Sonya Larson’s collection of 1000+ Black Barbie dolls.

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Brats, a Documentary Film About the 80s Hollywood Brat Pack

I was a little too young (and culturally sheltered — like I’d never heard of New York magazine) in 1985 to really understand what the heck the Brat Pack was (not to mention what the name was referencing), but as a child of the 80s, I obviously grew up watching movies and TV shows that featured these actors. According to Wikipedia (which is a good read if you’re unfamiliar with the whole thing), here are some of the actors that were in the Brat Pack (or Brat Pack-adjacent): Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen, James Spader, Robert Downey Jr., John Cusack, and Matthew Broderick.

The Brat Pack moniker was coined in a 1985 New York magazine article and it stuck. And according to some of the members, it ruined lives, careers, and friendships. Now one of the group members, Andrew McCarthy, has directed a documentary about the group: Brats. From Deadline:

Brats looks at the iconic films of the 1980s that shaped a generation and the narrative that took hold when their young stars were branded the “Brat Pack.” McCarthy reunites with his fellow Brat Packers — friends, colleagues and former foes, including Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Jon Cryer, Lea Thompson and Timothy Hutton, many of whom he had not seen for over 30 years — to answer the question: What did it mean to be part of the Brat Pack? The actor-filmmaker also sits down for a first-time conversation with writer David Blum, who fatefully coined the term Brat Pack in a 1985 New York Magazine cover story.

That trailer definitely hooked me in. Brats will be available on Hulu on June 13.

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“Planet of the Apes” Goes to a 70s Mall

an actor from Planet of the Apes dressed in an ape suit and wearing glasses

From Life magazine and photographer Ralph Crane, a gallery of outtakes from the filming of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes in 1972.

The Century City mall, selected for its futuristic appearance, was a primary battleground in the plot. LIFE staff photographer Ralph Crane came to the set and took pictures of the costumed actors in the mall, trying on shoes and making eyes at the lingerie store display, as well as eating in the mess hall with their masks half off. The pictures make for easy laughs, capturing the kind of shenanigans that help liven up a fourth Apes film in as many years.

(via daniel benneworth–gray)

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A Documentary Film About Jim Henson

Two of my biggest childhood touchstones were Sesame Street and the Muppet Show. The creative spark behind both shows was Jim Henson, the subject of a forthcoming documentary directed by Ron Howard. From the press release:

Produced with the full participation and cooperation of the Henson family, “Jim Henson Idea Man” is an unprecedented, intimate look at Henson’s illustrious, revolutionary career and complex personal life. Using never-before-seen personal archival home movies, photographs, sketches, and Henson’s personal diaries, as well as interviews with those who knew him best, the film is the definitive portrait of one of the world’s most inspiring and iconoclastic creators.

Jim Henson Idea Man will be available to stream on Disney+ on Friday. (via the kid should see this)

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Listening to Sand: The Sound Design of Dune

From the SoundWorks Collection, this is a 30-minute featurette on the sound design of Dune, in which the film’s sound teams talks about how they created the sounds of the Arrakis desert, the sandworm, ornithopters, spice, and the voice of the Bene Gesserit.

That’s something which - I learned a trick from Lee Scratch Perry, who I worked with in Switzerland about 10 years ago. He’s the pioneer of dub reggae, which must be the genre of music with the most bass. And one of the tricks that he used was to record a bass line and then to play it back through a huge speaker in a room that’s resonant…and record that. So it enhances the resonance of the bass. You also hear something of the shaking of the room. So that was one of the tricks that we used to give a sort of a very tactile sense to this spiritual adventure that Paul’s going on.

There are several other videos on this topic should you desire to rabbit-hole: The Sounds of Dune, How The Sounds of Dune Were Made, Dune Sound Design Explained, Director Denis Villeneuve and Sound Team on Dune, and Dune: Part Two | Deeper into the Desert: The Sounds of the Dune:

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Queendom

Queendom is a documentary film by Agniia Galdanova about queer Russian activist and performance artist Jenna Marvin and her unusual form of protest against the war in Ukraine and Russia’s treatment of LGBTQ+ people. From a short review in the Guardian:

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, some brave souls took to the streets of Moscow to voice their horror at the war, and were met with batons and police brutality. Radical queer performance artist Gena Marvin took a different approach. Wearing platform boots, body paint and wrapped in barbed wire, she walked the streets of Moscow in a stark, silent statement against the war. To call Gena a drag artist fails to capture just how subversive and courageous are her public “performances”. Her otherworldly costumes, created from junk and tape, show the influence of Leigh Bowery; her fearlessness evokes the punk provocation of Pussy Riot.

Marvin’s performances can be intense — check out this video from Paris in 2022. France had just advanced into the semifinals of the World Cup and she went out on the streets dressed in an all-black costume straight out of Alien or Pan’s Labyrinth:

Queendom opens in theaters and will available on streaming on June 14.

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The Trailer for Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis

Francis Ford Coppola has been making Megalopolis since 1983 and has self funded it “in part by the sale of a significant portion of the director’s wine empire”. But the trailer is finally here and it premieres at Cannes in two days’ time. Here’s a synopsis shared by Coppola himself:

A man balances precariously on a ledge high above a once-grand city in the opening scene of Francis Ford Coppola’s MEGALOPOLIS, and the movie that follows is — at least in part — about an entire civilization teetering on a similarly precarious ledge, devouring itself in a whirl of unchecked greed, self-absorption, and political propaganda, while a few bold dreamers push against the tide, striving to usher in a new dawn. The man is called Caesar (Adam Driver), like the Roman general who gave rise to the Roman Empire, Cesar the labor leader who organized California’s farm workers in the 1960s, and a few other notably great men of history. But he is also clearly an avatar of Coppola himself — a grand visionary witnessing a once-great thing (call it cinema if you must) withering before his very eyes and determined to revivify it. And, after decades of planning, MEGALOPOLIS the movie is the powerful elixir he has produced: a sweeping, big-canvas movie of provocative ideas and relentless cinematic invention that belies its maker’s 84 years of age.

Coppola seems to have been born-again by a strike of filmic lightning, and the movie — no, the experience (complete with in-theater “live cinema”) — that has emerged feels at once the work of a film-school wunderkind unbowed by notions of convention, but also the work of a wizened master who knows much about life and the ways of the world. To paraphrase Coppola himself speaking decades ago about his APOCALYPSE NOW, MEGALOPOLIS isn’t a movie about the end of the world as we know it, it is the end of the world as we know it. Only, where APOCALYPSE left us in a napalm-bombed fever-dream haze, MEGALOPOLIS, surprisingly and movingly, bestows on us a final image glowing with hope for the future.

You should also watch this clip of the film shared by Coppola, which reveals another aspect of the story:

This is either going to be amazing or a beautiful disaster, but either way I’m excited to see it…if they can find someone to distribute the film.

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Patriarchy According to The Barbie Movie

Using the Barbie movie and other media (movies, TV shows) as a guide, Pop Culture Detective delves into what “patriarchy” actually means (mirrors: Patreon & archive.org).

We’re going to use the movie as a sort of primer to help explain what patriarchy actually is, what it isn’t, and how it ends up harming everyone, including men. To have any kind of productive conversation, we have to get over that defensiveness that so many men feel whenever they they come across the word “patriarchy”. Contrary to popular belief, patriarchy is not a synonym for men, nor is it a code word for masculinity, and it certainly has nothing to do with hating men.

The bibliography in the description of the video lists three books if you’d like to do some reading on the topic:

(via waxy)

P.S. While I was watching this video, YouTube removed it after Warner Brothers “blocked it on copyright grounds”. The channel is challenging the takedown and has uploaded it to Patreon and archive.org in the meantime. (I’m leaving the embed in case it comes back to life.) This bullshit is so irritating — Google just totally letting massive media corporations decide what’s copyright infringing without recourse. And Warner (and Gerwig & Robbie too to some lesser extent)…you made the fucking movie to get a message across and to get people talking and someone posts a thoughtful video essay about the central issue of the film and you fucking take it down?


The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed

Here is a pleasantly painful trailer for a new movie from the filmmaker Joanna Arnow. It opens this Friday, April 26, at IFC and Lincoln Center in NYC. I don’t know if I’m going to watch it, but I couldn’t really look away.

Arnow also stars as…

an emotionally detached young Brooklynite drifting through unremarkable days and nights. Neither her on-again-off-again BDSM relationship with a mildly disinterested older dom, nor her nondescript corporate job, appear to bring her any satisfaction.

And yet “she finds a core of poignant truth about the ways people search for … emotional happiness and sexual gratification” (per the Lincoln Center summary). It’s currently at a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, FWIW. (This bit also made me laugh out loud.)

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Denis Villeneuve’s Four Favorite Films

Letterboxd asked Dune director Denis Villeneuve what his four favorite films were and he cheated and listed five (including 2001 and Blade Runner).

First of all, who knows how long Blade Runner has been on his top 5 (or even 10 or 20 list) but getting to do a sequel of one of your favorite films has to be unbelievably rewarding as a director.1

And I’m going to cheat as well here and list a number of other films that Villeneuve has publicly praised, courtesy of this piece from IndieWire: Vertigo, Children of Men, Downsizing (?), There Will Be Blood, Seven Samurai, The Beguiled, Jaws, and three Nolan films (Dunkirk, Inception, Tenet).

  1. I was trying to think of what might be the equivalent to this for me and all I could come up with is getting hired to reboot Suck or something.
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Papyrus 2: A Bold New Look for Avatar

Ryan Gosling was on Saturday Night Live this weekend and they did a sequel to one of my favorite SNL sketches (which is completely dorky in a design nerd sort of way) ever: Papyrus. Behold, Papyrus 2:

Avatar spawned worlds, right? Every little leaf of every little flower, every little eyelash of every little creature: thoroughly thought out. But the logo: it’s Papyrus, in bold. Nobody cares. Does James Cameron care? I don’t think so.

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Tobey Maguire’s Non-CGI Tray Catch Scene in Spider-Man

Peter Parker’s iconic tray catch scene from 2002’s Spider-Man took 156 takes, but it was done without CGI, which is nice.

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The 15 Greatest Documentaries

A thoughtful video essay from The Cinema Cartography about 15 of film’s greatest documentaries, including The Thin Blue Line, Grizzly Man, The Act of Killing, Shoah, Hoop Dreams, and OJ: Made in America (my personal favorite).

I am not sure I agree with their #1 pick? But it’s been a loooong time since I saw it (in the theater when it came out, if you can believe it), so maybe it’s time for another viewing. (via open culture)

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Dawn Baillie: The Art of the Movie Poster

the movie poster for Silence of the Lambs

I love a good movie poster and Dawn Baillie designed one of the best ones ever: the iconic poster for The Silence of the Lambs. Her other work includes posters for Dirty Dancing, Little Miss Sunshine, Zoolander, The Truman Show, and The Royal Tenenbaums. A show of her work opens soon at Poster House in NYC. Some of Baillie’s original posters are for sale at Posteritati.

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Time Travel Movies, Ranked

For Ars Technica, science writer Jennifer Ouellette and theoretical physicist Sean Carroll review time travel used in 20 popular movies, ranging from The Terminator to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to Interstellar. Each movie is rated on scientific accuracy and how entertaining the use of time travel is. Here’s part of their review of Superman (1978).

Our standards are admittedly lax when it comes to the physical mechanism by which cinematic heroes journey through time, but “flying really fast around the Earth so that it reverses the direction of its rotation and sends it back to a previous moment” is such thoroughgoing lunacy that one must almost pause in admiration. Then we return to our senses and ask, “Why does Superman’s flight have any effect on the rotation of the Earth? And what does that rotation have to do with the direction of time? Do I get younger if I start twirling counterclockwise?” No, dear reader, you do not. Indeed, by the rules handed down by Einstein, Superman’s near-speed-of-light journey would actually send him into the future, not into the past.

To its dubious credit, Superman pioneers two different flaws that will frequently recur in movies to come. First, time travel is portrayed as a miraculous cure-all, which is then never used again. Superman essentially goes back in time to save his girlfriend. This is admirable, but aren’t there other, more historically significant global disasters that could be averted by the same strategy? This is a narrative problem, not a scientific or logical one, but it rankles.

Then, of course, there is the flaw that almost always accompanies stories in which the past gets changed by time-travelers: Where did those time-travelers come from? We, the viewers, see a sequence of events that seems to make sense if we don’t think too hard. Lois Lane dies, Superman gets upset, he travels back in time, stops the events that led to Lois dying, and we live happily ever after. But at the end of this sequence, Superman still has the memory of Lois dying the first time around. Yet because he changed history, that event he remembers never happened. Lois certainly doesn’t remember it. How does he?

See also The Various Approaches to Time Travel in Movies & Books.

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Beer Me, Obi-Wan!

When the Star Wars films aired in Chile, instead of cutting away from the movie for commercial breaks, the TV station “seamlessly” inserted ads for Cerveza Cristal beer. We’re talking Obi-Wan opening a chest to find a lightsaber for Luke and instead it reveals a ice-chest full of beer. Or the Emperor Force-reaching for a lightsaber and a can of beer flies into his hand. And of course the whole thing has turned into a meme.

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The Most Beautiful Shots in Movie History

From a YouTube channel called The Solomon Society, a pair of videos that some of the most beautiful shots in the history of film. When Denis Villeneuve emphasizes the important of image in film, these are the kinds of shots that he’s talking about.

Oh and in case you want to waste the rest of your day watching beautiful scenes from movies (no judgment here if you did): The Most Beautiful Shots in Film of the 21st Century, The Best Movie Shots of All Time, Some Amazing Shots from the Last Decade of Movies, The Most Beautiful Shots in Animation History, and The Most Beautiful Black and White Shots in Movie History. (via open culture)

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Visual Effects Oscar Nominees Go In-Depth On Their Work

I haven’t watched this yet, but it’s definitely in my queue: a recording of a livestreamed panel of all the visual effects nominees from this year’s Oscars, talking about their work on those films. I got this from Todd Vaziri, a visual effects artist at ILM, who says:

If you’re at all interested in visual effects, you gotta watch this Academy presentation that took place last weekend. It goes in-depth with all five nominees, and shows before/after material that hasn’t been seen publicly.

The meat of the program begins at around 24 minutes when they start showing visual effects reels from the nominated films (The Creator, Godzilla Minus One, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Napoleon), followed by a discussion with the members of the effects teams.

The Academy has several other nominee programs available on YouTube (including animated feature films & documentary feature films) and more to come in the next few days (including best picture and international feature films). What a trove of material for film lovers.

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Join or Die

Join or Die is a documentary about the life, work, and ideas of Robert Putnam, popularizer of the concept of social capital and author of the prescient Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

How many times last year did you go to church? How many times did you go to a dinner party? How many times last year did you go to club meeting? In barely a couple of decades, half of all the civic infrastructure in America has simply vanished. It’s equivalent to say half of all the roads in America just disappeared.

(via colossal)

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The Superb Owl Trailers

Here are all the cool new movie trailers that they played during The Big Game™. Or, the ones that I give a shit about anyway. First up, Deadpool and Wolverine:

Did I even see the second Deadpool movie? Does it matter? I’ll see this one. Next: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

Apes in charge, running down the humans? I’m in. There’s also Despicable Me 4 (a franchise I like more than I care to admit), The Fall Guy (based on the 80s TV show I very much didn’t watch; starring, somehow, Ryan Gosling & Emily Blunt — I hope this is a pleasant surprise), and Twisters (the Twister sequel no one asked for).

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Stinge Watching Is the Opposite of Binge Watching

a screencap of the cast of Schitt's Creek walking with a pause symbol over it

Last weekend, my daughter and I watched all 8 episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+. We binged it. That’s how people watch TV shows now: streaming services have entire shows available at the click of the “next episode” button. Many shows are uploaded a whole season at a time for maximum bingeability — no need to wait more than the time it takes to skip the credits to continue the story. It’s an all-you-can-eat media buffet. The mechanics and economics of streaming media have changed how we watch TV and movies — the binge watch reigns supreme.

But recently, I’ve found myself watching some shows in a much different way. When I find a new show I really like or I’m digging into the newest season of a favorite series, instead of getting hooked and then blasting through all the available episodes, I’ll slow down or even stop watching so as to prolong the pleasure…or to delay the end. I feel like a squirrel, hoarding nuts for the winter. It’s stinge watching instead of binge watching.

Schitt’s Creek was the first show I recall stinge watching. I just didn’t want to stop spending time with those people and so I went from watching 1-2 episodes per day to a few a week. The final season’s 14 episodes probably took me longer to watch than the first three seasons put together. I’ve also done this with The Great British Bake-off, The Expanse, and Silo. And it’s gotten worse — right now, I’m in the middle of four different shows that I am loving but cannot bring myself to actually watch: Reservation Dogs (love those shitasses), For All Mankind (haven’t watched the last episode of the most recent season), Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (stalled out on the second-to-last episode of s01), and The Great (I stopped in the middle of an episode where something Very Dramatic happens and I just can’t seem to continue).

Wondering if anyone else has been stinge watching and curious about what their motivations might be, I asked about it on Instagram and found that dozens of others swim against the fierce current of binge watching…and even stinge read books.1 The Sopranos, Ted Lasso, The Wire, Firefly, Escape at Dannemora, Fleishman Is in Trouble, The Bear, Griselda, and Brooklyn 99 were all cited as shows too good to keep watching. One reader told me she still hasn’t watched the end of Schitt’s Creek “because those characters all grew so much and I knew the last episode would be really emotional and I wanted to avoid crying”.

This was a common theme amongst the stinge watchers, particularly with series finales. Digital media producer Micaela Mielniczenko didn’t want to finish Gilmore Girls “because I loved the characters so much and I didn’t want the story and world to end”. I felt the same way about The Expanse — I wanted to live in that world and with those characters forever, a testament to the world building and character development by the writers, directors, showrunners, and actors.

My friend Adriana X. Jacobs, a professor of modern Hebrew literature, poet, game designer, and long-time stinge watcher, says she has trouble with denouements. She told me:

They put me in a melancholy mood. I prefer the build-up, that long stretch when a character is tunneling (literally or figuratively) their way into or out of a problem. But the story interests me a lot less once the issues start to resolve. This is why it took me YEARS to finish Oldboy (dir. Park Chan-wook), a movie I kept pausing and abandoning when the protagonist was still trapped in that unholy hotel room.

I knew that the story would take him out of the room but I wanted to remain in the mess and confinement. It’s the same thing with Normal People. Even though I’ve read the book and know that the ending is (thank god) open-ended, by not finishing the series, I leave these chaotic characters even further suspended in that beautiful, very human state of uncertainty and possibility.

Wow, yes, exactly.

Andreas, who normally hoards shows to watch in the “dark days of winter” in Berlin, said that he had trouble finishing Wednesday on Netflix: “God I loved that so, so much, I could not bear the thought of it ending so soon.” He rewatched the entire first season immediately after finishing the show and even “did a whole keynote speech only with [Wednesday’s] quotes as slides”.2

Courtney Walsh, who is holding off on finishing Brooklyn 99, told me:

Delaying the finale keeps the characters in stasis and delays me feeling sad when it’s over. By keeping it in the queue, I’ll be happy when I watch, not sad.

Several other people told me they hold off on watching certain shows until they need them. When I asked her when she was going to watch the rest of Brooklyn 99, Walsh said:

When I need a guaranteed, bittersweet day. When I’m thinking about the past and I know that these 8-10 episodes will fit the bill. Probably in the next year or two. Bittersweet is a hard emotion to plan for and keep for later. When I can, I do!

Ryan N said that he keeps a stash of Queer Eye episodes because they’re “like soothing medicine in dark times”. Mielniczenko keeps the last episode or two (or sometimes a whole season) of a show in her queue because she likes “the idea that I can finish these shows at any point”. I definitely held back on the final episodes of Schitt’s Creek until I was emotionally ready and on GBBO episodes until I needed a guaranteed pick-me-up on a particularly gloomy day.

Josh Puetz is portioning Firefly out in drips and drabs — he last watched an episode in Dec 2022 as a treat to himself for being sick — and I asked how he was going to decide when to finish the rest of it:

I think…when I’m ready to let go of the characters and story on my terms. So many endings and changes in life are out of our control, but this one little thing (ending a series, saying goodbye) happens when I need it.

Puetz said he’s not a binge watcher at all (one-in-a-row is the most he can muster), but I both binge and stinge. Several of the shows I mentioned above (like Reservation Dogs & ST: Strange New Worlds), I binged several episodes at a stretch before slowing down when I realized, oh god, I’m going to run out! I loved Succession and could not wait to watch the series finale last May. The second season of the Gilded Age aired over two months last fall and I gobbled up each episode as it aired on Sunday nights.

Mielniczenko said she doesn’t horde every book or show; her stinge watch candidates “usually have a world that is unique/exciting or comforting/wholesome”. Like I said above, for me it usually comes down to the characters and the world and whether they overcome my need to find out how the plot wraps up. When something is soapy or sensational, like The Gilded Age or The White Lotus, I have to watch to find out what happens. But if my desire for the company of beloved characters and the comfort of a familiar place outweighs my desire for plot closure, I slow down and bank those shows for later.3

Streaming services are definitely geared towards binge watching, but the creators of particular shows have worked their magic so well, creating realities that feel unusually real, that some of us want to stay in them for as long as we can. My Brilliant Friend, one of my favorite shows of the last few years, is returning this year for a fourth and final season on HBO, and I am at once deliriously excited to meet those characters again but am also already bracing myself to have to say goodbye to them. At least I’ll have fellow stinge watchers to commiserate with.

Are you a stinge watcher? Let us know which shows you’re stuck on and why in the comments.

  1. I hoard books too, but it’s more difficult to do with audiobooks and ebooks. Sometimes I’ll get to the end of an audiobook without realizing it and the “Audible hopes you have enjoyed this program” trods on my spirit a bit.
  2. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see that keynote deck! (This reminds me of the time I suggested to my daughter that she do a school project about the philosophy of The Good Place because she’s seen that show seven times. She did not take my advice.)
  3. Several people said that they don’t hoard shows, they just rewatch them, sometimes just after they’ve finished. I do that too, but rewatching doesn’t feel the same. Knowing what happens is comforting in a different way, but the novelty is important to me in terms of spending time in worlds with characters.
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Groundhog Day, But With Potato Chips

I don’t know exactly what this is, but it appears to be an ad for Lay’s potato chips made by Jimmy Kimmel Live? But whatever, it’s great: a Groundhog Day-inspired clip starring Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) himself that’s perfect for hawking a bajillion different flavors of potato chips. (via @ironicsans)

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How France’s Film Industry Works

The film industry in France works a little differently that the American film industry. In this video, Evan Puschak explains how France treats filmmaking as a public good to be invested in at all levels.

One of the most interesting things is that the government gives grants to filmmakers that are specifically untethered to box office success in order “to support an independent cinema that is bold in terms of market standards and that cannot find its financial balance without public assistance”. Filmmakers who have made their early work with this public assistance include Agnes Varda, Celine Sciamma, and Claire Denis.

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Orion and the Dark

This is the trailer for Orion and the Dark, an animated kids movie written by Charlie Kaufman. Yes, the I’m Thinking of Ending Things; Synecdoche, New York; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Charlie Kaufman. And it’s getting pretty good reviews so far. The AV Club:

Orion And The Dark may look almost nothing like any Charlie Kaufman film to date, but it bears his personality. While that might be a bit much for the youngest kids, for 11-year-olds like those depicted in this story, it may strike a chord simply by refusing to underestimate their intelligence.

The movie is based on a book of the same name by Emma Yarlett and will be out on Netflix on Feb 2.

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The Trailer for Adam Sandler’s Spaceman

Adam Sandler in a movie about space… I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I clicked play on the trailer for Spaceman this morning. Was I going to get Waterboy / Billy Madison Adam Sandler or Uncut Gems / Punch-Drunk Love Adam Sandler? Thankfully, it appears to be the latter. Spaceman is directed by Johan Renck (who directed the excellent Chernobyl) and is based on Jaroslav Kalfař’s 2017 novel Spaceman of Bohemia.

Six months into a solitary research mission to the edge of the solar system, an astronaut, Jakub (Adam Sandler), realizes that the marriage he left behind might not be waiting for him when he returns to Earth. Desperate to fix things with his wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan), he is helped by a mysterious creature from the beginning of time he finds hiding in the bowels of his ship. Hanus (voiced by Paul Dano) works with Jakub to make sense of what went wrong before it is too late.

Spaceman is out on March 1 on Netflix.

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The Ferris Bueller Finale With Music From Inception

One of the many reasons that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off works so well as a film is that the music kicks ass *and* it meshes so well with the action. In the heyday of MTV, this was no accident — parts of the movie function almost as elaborate music videos. No scene illustrates this more than when Ferris is hurrying across backyards and through homes to beat his parents & sister back to the house. As good as that scene is, I think Todd Vaziri improved it by re-cutting it to music from Inception. So good!

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