Let’s get this party started

Let’s get this party started

ST:TNG:6x07: Rascals

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“I assure you, I am Captain Picard.”

Well here it is, the got-dang silliest premise in the history of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the one that should have been this series’ “Spock’s Brain;” an idea so stupid you’re amazed any credible professional actually said it aloud in a story meeting. The one where the crew… gets turned into kids. This is a bizarre, flatly preposterous idea for a show, and if Next Gen weren’t so utterly unapologetic about it, from the title down (I mean – “Rascals”! How cute is that!), it would probably be a wall-to-wall disaster.

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Watched: McCabe, Mrs. Miller, and the end of all things

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"I got poetry in me, dammit."

I don’t think I’ll ever watch McCabe & Mrs. Miller again. This isn’t anything to do with the film. I think it’s wonderful; I think it’s one of my favourites. I’ve written papers about it. I’ve seen it, I think, three times straight through, and a handful of other times, other ways. I saw it again at the Lightbox last week, on real 35mm, and man, it looked amazing. And it really got to me, too, you know? That stupid, ineffectual man. That absolutely castrated male ego. All the things that means. All the things that, in a frontier setting,  points towards. America. Manhood. Me.

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Unbeknownst to me (but knownst to Tumblr), there’s an extended version of the “Just Business” scene from At World’s End that does a terrifyingly good job of closing the loop on Jack and Beckett’s entire backstory. I’m not usually one to argue for adding to a 2 hour, 47 minute movie; but I think At World’s End could have afforded the extra 3 in this case.

Bear in mind: this was a Disney movie. VERBINSKIED.

(Source: batwayneandninjaangels)

Yet the throbbing concentration of extroverted mental dysfunction, caged up, safely sublimated and compartmentalized, and then having its vengeance when blown up by unseen triggers, kicks so deeply to the gut in Williams’ Parry that, long before Robin Williams committed suicide, I couldn’t help but see a real person clawing away at himself, struggling to run away from what was inside. The comfort of performative mimesis is canceled out by the visceral wallop of a strangled sufferer reaching out beyond the stage. It’s thrilling, frightening—and immeasurably sad.
Robin Williams and a few other things

I filed my column on Monday morning and got on a plane to Edmonton; when I got off, the whole fucking world had gone equally, awfully insane. I am still trying to handle it. Maybe I’ll have some more to say about these things later or maybe I won’t; there’s a brief Mamo that we recorded on Wednesday that underlines, more than anything else, just how emotionally bowled over I am by the death of Robin Williams, among other things.

In the meantime:

It’s worth reading David Simon’s lengthy and heartfelt recollection of the man, which is insightful into Simon’s development as a storyteller for television, as well as its terrible insight into Williams’ briefly-glimpsed sadness.

It is, of course, equally worthwhile to go look at Norm McDonalds’ story again. Fuck, I swear to you, I can hear the Chinese takeout guy.

If you never listened to Maron’s podcast with Williams, you probably did this week. (I did.) It’s a tough listen, but it gets at the core of the thing in a deep, dark way.

And of course - watch The Fisher King, by whatever means necessary. And then Hook. And then wonder what the hell was in Williams’ water in 1991, because boy. He wasn’t just brilliant. He was incandescent. And he will always be.

Filmmaking: It’s Fantastic.

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So Mark and I used to say in our heyday, which is now - hey! - around twenty years ago. Well, no matter. Filmmaking is still fantastic.

Here’s what I like about it: it’s three-dimensional problem solving in real time. And it’s not the irritating-as-fuck non-solution problem solving that follows me around at my day job like dryer lint; it’s tactile, and practical, and real, and it has immediate, visible results. You start any given day of any given shoot with a series of problems that need to be solved: logistical, conceptual, creative. And you take them, one by one, till you get to the end. Some days, you solve all of ‘em; some days, you solve none of ‘em. But you piece out, one step at a time, taking each specific challenge in turn until you arrive at the moment of truth. And when it’s done you have a Result. If you’re on your shit, that result is a movie.

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Destroy All Monsters: Come Back, Damon Lindelof

In which I plead with a guy who, I guess, became one of my heroes to come the hell back and make the world a better place. Read more

Mamo #370: Goodnight Neverland

Mamo gathers to discuss the life and death of Robin Williams.

How I learned about sanity

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At some point in 1984, my father was attempting to describe the plot of Amadeus to our friend Susanne, whose command of English was not, at that point, very good - which required him to demonstrate the meaning of the word “suicide,” in explaining the first scene in the film, by drawing his thumb across the white flesh of his throat. This, I remember. I was eight years old - Amadeus was released on my 8th birthday, so I could not have been anything less than 8 years old - and we were in the dining room at my parents’ house.

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