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August 25, 2012

Dan Harmon does an AMA on Reddit, is generous and warm and expansive

If you're a fan of COMMUNITY you'll want to read the whole thread. Below is just an example of Harmon defending the idea of Britta as not a dumb-blonde but just "the normal one." I am Dan Harmon, creator of Community, writer of Monster House, and Executive Producer of the upcoming Charlie Kaufman Stop Motion Animated feature Anomalisa, ask me anything! : IAmA
I don't perceive the character as being dumbed down, I think we evolved her into one of the most sophisticated characters in TV comedy. Britta's pop cultural ignorance ("rowboat cop") and the fact that she dropped out of high school and ain't so well-read are human qualities to which I found a lot of women relating and/or joyfully not relating, but in any case BELIEVING. I always felt that the triumph of Britta as a character was that she was the only "real" person, stuck on Gilligan's island, and ironically being punished for it. Sometimes we would cross the line. I did find myself telling the writer's room here and there, "let's not make her a dumb blonde, she's a high school dropout and she's computer illiterate and she's a late bloomer because she's lived a fuller life, but there's a difference between that and an airhead." If we made her an airhead, it was an accident, or an isolated instance of us being too tempted by a funny joke. Troy was an airhead. Britta was a work of art. She was a post post feminist masterpiece and a televised work of art. If I do say so myself.
*Thanks, Jeff!*

August 15, 2012

Trailer: Downton Abbey season 3

The worst-written-best-acted show on TV is back! Soon! And stern words are exchanged! The money is gone! Americans are arriving! Matthew and Mary are fighting! Bates is still in prison! I do not have high hopes for this season.

August 14, 2012

"Red Dawn" Might Be The Most Intelligent War Movie In Decades

The film posits a North Korean invasion of America, which is laughable for a thousand reasons. But maybe the choice of a ridiculous opponent is intentional? Because that isn't the point. The first Red Dawn was about cold war fears and a Soviet invasion. This isn't that film. Instead, this film looks at how an insurgency forms. How you can't bomb a people into liking you. This film is a critique of our actions in the Middle East, from the other side's perspective. Or maybe it's not? Goblinbooks: "Red Dawn" Might Be The Most Intelligent War Movie In Decades
The trailer for the remake of Red Dawn has surfaced on the web, and it is shocking. This movie - about an invasion of the American homeland - may be the most brutally subversive critique of US foreign policy since Apocalypse Now. The preview is a catalogue of why our military interventions fail, and why insurgencies succeed. You should watch this film, bring friends, and talk about it afterwards. It might make you write to your Congressman. It might change how you see everything. Just 39 seconds into the trailer the audience witnesses an airborne operation from the ground - menacing and beautiful columns of aircraft with an American flag in the foreground. The slow-moving line of planes is like a distorted World War II propaganda film, or CNN footage of one of our TV wars with the POV reversed. Immediately an accident destroys a suburban home and brings the terror into stark focus. In that one instant the filmmakers thoroughly dismantle the notion that a tactic like "Shock and Awe" could be anything but a strategic disaster, as "collateral damage" poisons the legitimacy of the attacker among the civilian populations. You can't kill a man's family, and then win his heart and mind with a pamphlet, the director seems to be telling us. Why didn't we realize this before? Characters then talk about the enemy's superior technology: "How did this happen? There's a new class of weapon. Everything went offline and never came back." The occupier has an edge. But right away, we know that such a weapon can be stolen or defeated. And so the filmmakers explain how a vicious, determined insurgency rises out of the wreckage of a defeated country and destroys its conquerors. The group coalesces around an off-duty Marine, who trains them in combat tactics and marksmanship: "I can't. Yes, you can. Just relax... and squeeze." "I'm going to fight. Anyone else who wants to join is welcome to. We'll hit them on our terms." The makers of Red Dawn are reminding us of the disastrous decision of the Coalition Provisional Authority to disband the Iraqi army, creating a large class of unemployed and angry people who could organize into a potent threat. At the same time they know that bringing security forces into our orbit does not necessarily solve the problem. Local military and law enforcement always have the potential to connect with hostile elements and betray the occupying army from within. In a few spare words of dialogue this movie is presenting us with the most deadly paradox any victorious military faces if it wants to seize a country and recreate it in its own image. . . .