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July 23, 2012

On how ennui and realism necessitate the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

I think this is an excellent structural analysis of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl problem. Inebriated Spook: What Ennui Hath Wrought, Part One
How she functions, I'd argue, is as a source of direction. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, regardless of whether she has blue hair or pink hair, whether she wears vintage sweaters or Doc Martens, is in the movie basically as a catalyst, a plot device to kickstart the main character's inert life. Her personal traits are totally irrelevant to this fact; she could be anything as long as she gets the catalysis done. A Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a cross between a messiah and a muse: she not only inspires, but she does it at a moment of dire need, when the protagonist is so stuck, professionally, and emotionally, that inspiration is basically interchangeable with salvation. All of which is to say that she can't exist in a movie that doesn't have a directionless protagonist, and that the Enemy in her movies—the force so evil and all-encompassing that only outside salvation can defeat it—is inertia itself. Not just unleaded plebeian inertia, either, but the high-octane moneyed twentysomething variety. Without inertia, she has no in. And the corollary of that is that if the movie is about inertia, she will appear. Any movie about educated twentysomethings that is fundamentally about one man's struggle with inertia, and has a major subplot that is romantic in the conventional sense, will tend to produce Manic Pixie Dream Girls. So now we have not only a definition but a way of predicting when a Manic Pixie will show up—and also, we're no longer just talking about this particular character archetype, but rather the whole style of screenwriting that created her—that is, screenwriting obsessed with inertia, awkwardness, and "finding yourself." This sector of screenwriting is what gave us the careers of Judd Apatow, Noah Baumbach, Michael Cera, Jesse Eisenberg, Lena Dunham, and a lot of others, and it cleaves pretty closely to their general style. It's preoccupied with adolescence, ennui, arrested development, lingering family issues, and the utter inability to cope with the choices provided by privilege. None of this is new to screenwriting or narrative in general, though—John Hughes movies are often about these issues, The Graduate certainly is, and, of course, so are Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Augustine's Confessions.

July 20, 2012

In 1993, Finland made a Lord of the Rings live action tv series

Hobitits, aka The Hobbit 2 - The Hobbitsing

July 19, 2012

At Comic Con, Neil deGrasse Tyson gave an impromptu speech about which spaceship was the greatest in all Sci-Fi

According to the Hollywood Reporter: On the last...
On the last day of the show, a panel of professional geeks — authors, TV writers, designers, etc. — gather in a small ballroom to debate the merits of one pop-culture spaceship over another. … [This year] They were deadlocked between the original Enterprise from the Star Trek TV show and the refitted Enterprise for first cycle of Star Trek movies.[…] Unable to declare a winner, moderator Mark A. Altman turned to the audience for help. And the person who pushed it over the edge was Neil DeGrasse Tyson — renowned astrophysicist, author and true geek — who decided to close out his first trip to SDCC with this panel. But he was just sitting in the audience watching. As true geeks do. And he was so moved that he delivered this impassioned, off-the-cuff speech.

July 15, 2012

This is just a well written review of the new Spider-man movie

By friend of the Newswire, Savage Jeff Lester. Make sure you click through to see his what-if-Bill-Hicks-had-Denis-Leary's-career fanfic. Jeff “Reviews” The Amazing Spider-Man film | Savage Critics
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (the movie reboot): As it goes, this is actually a pretty great recreation of the 1977 TV show starring Nicholas Hammond: crap spidey-lenses, weird-looking suit modeled by a scoliotic stuntman with a half -yard of spandex riding up his asscrack, cipher-like villains, time-killing script, ear-stabbable music score… Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but it really is not very good. Almost all of the charms come from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, even though Garfield is a bit overly mannered and Stone’s character has nearly nothing to do except react (usually to Garfield) and wordlessly emote (usually to Garfield). (Though there is that one scene where Gwen, in order to keep her father from entering her room [although the way the scene is filmed, it doesn't really seem like he's about to], talks about her period to drive him away. Oh, 21st Century Hollywood! You really are the most progressive place on Earth, aren’t you?) The entire enterprise lives and dies by these two talented young actors seriously committing to leaden material that’s utterly uninterested in humanity but also lip-puckeringly absorbed in its continuity revisions. It’s kind of unfair but that appears to be the state of Hollywood these days: an entire generation of craftsmen contributing their end of the affair with the help of excel spreadsheets, screenwriting programs, and small armies of non-unionized computer programmers and animators, and then tossing the resulting quasi-homogeneous paste — with a shrug and an “eh, you’re the one getting paid millions of dollars, you figure it out” — at the thespians. . . .