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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unseen Footage's Double Feature: Dumb and Dumber

Still on a bit of a hiatus, but meanwhile, the podcast plugs on. We're going to be changing some of the way we do the episodes so I'm excited about that in the New Year.

But anyway, I really love this episode, and the conversations Claire and I have for this one. So enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gone Fishin'

For personal reasons, nothing too serious...

Be back in 2015, folks.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dearly Departed

There's actually a sort of uncomfortability I have with how we memorialize the dead.

When my girlfriend was scouting apartments after moving to New York, one such place was way out on the L train and jutted up against a cemetery.
And I got to thinking about just how much space that was taking up.
I may sound too callous and cavalier about the whole affair, though I do preoccupy myself with the general thought of death for inordinate amounts of time, but I do think it's a rather strange need to fulfill.
I'm not knocking the mourning process. Don't mistake one for the other.
Grief is terrible, and losing someone in their physical form is a terrible loss. People have to cope in diverse ways. It makes people uncomfortable to talk about death, which is why any topic even approaching something to do with death is kind of forbidden to broach.
But I'm not speaking at all to the idea of doing away with our acknowledgement of death all together. But why do we allow it to linger? Why do we let it influence our cityscapes, our fields of vision, our urban planning?
Why does respect for the dead require so much real estate? Couldn't we all collectively do away with permanent installations of our past? Is it really regarded with so much shame and offense if we consolidated these memorials to one place per town? One stone saluting our dearly departed?

The tribute to the life they lived is with all of us. It should stay with all of us. People seem to have problems with public displays of affection shared between couples in love, yet there are no holds barred when it comes to grander and more grandiose tombstones, adorned with angels and epithets, meant for so much more than those who lost someone to see. These are public displays of affection. And they should be treated similarly, yet they are not. There is no longer anyone present to disrespect.

My question is, from a practical standpoint, does it really make sense to dedicate physical space to someone who no longer requires it?
Our world population hovers around 7 billion people, the highest its ever been.
We have issues with urban areas becoming too crowded while nature advocates argue that certain uninhabited areas must remain so. With that stalemate occurring, how did the feeling arise to leave areas alone for the dead?
This cemetery stretched for a mile, at least. A mile that could be used for so many things. Hotels, apartment complexes... maybe I'm being a bit optimistic here, but homeless shelters.
Why are there cemeteries when we have homeless people?

And it's not like there's not a precedent for tearing down former graveyards and putting something else there. One of the main roads I know in San Diego bisects the original burial ground in Old Town.
Perhaps I am being a bit insensitive. But again, it is simply a practical consideration. There are people left here, on Earth, that we all have a responsibility to take care of. We no longer owe the dead space down here.

It's one of these widely accepted traditions too.
If you are religious, if you believe in an afterlife, then what need have we to hold a place for the dead down here? They have gone on to something better already, arguably where they were meant to go, depending on which belief you ascribe.
If you aren't religious, even more so should the impracticality stand out to you. We spend amounts of money and permanently house someone who no longer exists.
Insensitive? I don't think so. Perhaps a bit bleak.

But if I was to die, and maybe there was an option where my family kept me or a part of me (cremation, or whatever) around the house instead of out somewhere they'd have to visit, I'd take that option instead of, if an afterlife does exist, perhaps living with the eternal feeling that I deprived the world of some space.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meanwhile, at Unseen Footage....

Claire and I announce our next movie, and it's kind of special because it's November, and a certain sequel is being released later this month.
Find out what it is and get excited!
Some other changes are coming up for our little podcast. Stay tuned!

November Announcement! by Unseenfootage on Mixcloud

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My All-Female Justice League

All-female Justice League?

I'll go with:

- Wonder Woman (Leader)
- Big Barda (Lancer)
- Batgirl (Because you have to have a Bat Family rep and she's the best not named Dick Grayson. ...Also, he doesn't fit the bill.)
- Mera (You need the Aquaman representative, and she has never, never had to deal with being the Aquman-style butt of jokes, because she'll fuck you up.)
- Zatanna (Magic replaces Martian Manhunter.)
- Black Canary (May be a bit redundant with the non-superhero Batgirl included too, but she's just too fantastic, personality-wise.)
- Vixen (Covers everything else, because she has the powers of the Red.)

Seven core members.
If I had to, I'd throw in Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire or Iroque from the Indigo Tribe as my Lantern Corps representative (Jade is fine, but I don't think she's that interesting of a character).
I'd put in Power Girl over Supergirl, but you honestly don't need either when you have Wonder Woman.
I also was actually going to put in Hawkgirl, but then Barda fulfills the same personality type, and again, it comes down to Wonder Woman, and they'd have a better interplay.
I debated having Barbara Gordon be Oracle for the team. I think that'd be pretty cool, and would solve the Batgirl/Black Canary situation. But again, I like that they bring kind of the "youth", against the veterans like Wonder Woman and Mera.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thoughts and Reflections on Beetlejuice

What I really love about getting to do this podcast with Claire is that the premise affects both of us. She gets to look at these movies objectively, she gets to deconstruct what's happening and can ground the episodes in reality, good storytelling, solid foundation, things like that.

For me, the podcast is an opportunity to deal with nostalgia fog on a fairer level. Some movies live up to the memories, some don't. Ostensibly, it's my job in the discussion to defend the movies. Whereas she is coming at them from an objective reality, one of moviemaking and fantasy world building, it's up to me to fill in the gaps, to justify inconsistency, and try and enlighten her to the idea that the movie succeeds in what it is trying to do. Whatever emotion it is trying to evoke, whatever action taking place in the movie that it attempts to justify, I try to defend the movie on its own merit.

Sometimes, I feel like I succeed for the most part, or at least in some of the important things elements of it. Clueless for me represents the most common middle ground the two of us had. We generally agreed with each other, while still have a fascinating discussion about a movie that definitely deserves more credit than people realize. I think when we discussed Batman, many of the things she initially was hesitant about, she was soon agreeing with me. Batman as a larger element of pop culture may have been our middle ground for that one, so we could find things to discuss. Sometimes, I definitely feel like I fail. Point Break, I knew I couldn't formulate enough of an argument to justify the skydiving sequence for her. In Hook, I felt like we met halfway on Dustin Hoffman as the title character, which she was initially not jazzed about.
I think considering how outside of everything Claire enjoys in movies Labyrinth was, there was nothing I could have said to convince her. I also loved Labyrinth as a kid, and for me the story was secondary to everything else, and that's a really difficult argument to defend.

Beetlejuice though, I felt was a turning point.
But it wasn't so much that she had remained unconvinced, it's the fact that throughout the discussion, I felt myself getting unraveled.
I was realizing slowly and surely that I understood very little about what Beetlejuice was trying to be, what it was trying to accomplish. I was realizing I was getting my love for the cartoon series mixed up with my feelings for the movie. They were slowly confabulated into the same thing for me years later.
As the conversation unfolded, I realized how much ground I was losing. It's not a competition, by any means, and it's certainly not a debate, that's not the purpose of the podcast. No one's trying to convert the other person. It's just that when we first set out to do this, I was pretty confident in the idea that some of the movies might be weird and some might be difficult, but all of them were pretty strong fundamentally to merit it a good movie.
It just simply wasn't the case with Beetlejuice.
Very quickly, you realize you don't really have a protagonist to stand behind.
You're given a glimpse into an alternate world where there are rules and limits, while the "real" world of the movie is sorely missing those.
The title character figures into very little of the proceedings and you're unsure of what his goals or even motivations are.
But whenever I deconstruct any movie, I think about how easy it would be to fix any possible glaring flaws. Yes, there's a suspension of disbelief, but that can only take you so far. There are some things that are just problematic. And to think they could have been covered in a simple line addition or a re-ordering of scenes, or a strengthening of a specific element, and to think how often that was brought up while we were discussing Beetlejuice, it was just disappointing.

But like I said in the wrap-up, it's early Burton. He's still finding his voice, his point of view, his style. It's all prototype here. It all comes to fruition with Edward Scissorhands and the like.

Anyway, that's Beetlejuice.
And here's the episode!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Dailies - Workin' Mondays

Just got through a surprisingly busy Monday.
It'd be nice if "dark days" was respected, and we were actually down on Mondays.
We should be down on Mondays.
But we aren't.
Oh well.
It means I get hours.

I also just updated iTunes, and the icon is red. The icon is RED.
It is throwing me the fuck off.
I cannot even believe how much this tiny little thing could throw me off so much.

I'm sitting down to edit the next Unseen Footage episode right now.
We're starting to go bi-weekly next month, which is really exciting.
It's growing!
We're going!
Ah!

Got to get editing now. More (and better) updates to come.