So The Film Experience folks are having themselves a fine ol’ list of pop culture things they are thankful for. Since this seems fun and I usually relegate my facebook Thanksgiving posts to making jokes about stuff I do and cynicism I spit, I figure I’d focus all the actual pop culture stuff here so it doesn’t sink into my real-life and ruin me. Check out their own thankful lists and of course I invite Mike Margetis to join me on this if he wishes.
So let’s get started.
- Krysten Ritter, who is as amazingly gifted at playing one–note scumbags as Jon Bernthal is at playing one–note scumbags, gets to show off her ability to add depth to the grizzled cynicism and trades those darting mischievous eyes for mournful uncomforted fear in Marvel/Netflix’s Jessica Jones. Netflix/Marvel are two-for-two in their output outshining Marvel Studios’ theatrical work.
- That Mulholland Dr., Death by Hanging, and The Apu Trilogy have all received the Criterion release I was long awaiting. Though I hope they don’t stick too long on movies that already have home video releases in the US. The real joy of the Criterion Collection has always been the discovery of gems and the mapping of different cultures in film for me.
- Steven Spielberg’s development of Stanley Kubrick’s unrealized Napoleon project. If A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is anything to go by, this will turn into a perfect marriage in the cerebral dissection of a great big mad man as Kubrick does well and Spielberg’s eye for grandiose Lean/Fordian epic war landscaping like Saving Private Ryan and War of the Worlds. I can’t think of any room for sentimentality like A.I., but hey, it’s not like the ‘Berg can’t shut it off.
- Also, like always, Steven Spielberg lives. I mean, usually I don’t make a point of stating that but in the same year where Terry Pratchett, Wes Craven, Gunnar Hansen, and Christopher Lee have left, I need that reminder that not all of my heroes have to be gone yet.
- Jafar Panahi is still making movies and telling the Iranian Government to fuck with him as his Taxi earned the Golden Bear in Berlin earlier this year, while Asghar Farhadi has finally gotten a US release of his 2009 Silver Bear winner About Elly. Hail hail Iranian cinema!
- Speaking of overdue US releases, hey hey hey, I was just mentioning how Only Yesterday is getting one next year and it’s only 25 years overdue and one of the best movies Ghibli and Takahata Isao has given us.
- You guys don’t have to join me in cheering on the Wachowskis, but I’ll do it anyway. Contrary to popular opinion, I loved both Jupiter Ascending‘s pulpy sci-fi extravaganza down to the awful acting AND Sense8‘s intimate travelogue mosaic. I mean, yes, they’re both pretty much huge messes, but they’re my kind of messes.
- Oh boy oh boy, did you kickstart that Don Hertzfeldt blu-ray collection this year? Because I did and I can’t wait to receive my copy next year.
- The end credits to Inside Out. I mean, most of the humor in Inside Out, but especially the end credits.
- When I get Kahlil Gibran’s the Prophet on Blu-Ray, I can and will skip through the awful pseudo-Disney frame narrative for those amazing animations of Gibran’s poetry.
- That Gravity Falls will not outstay its welcome, though I am sad to see that it is about to end.
- And I can still get my Kristen Schaal fix (she’s kind of turning into a voice actress I can dig) with the pleasant (even if I’m getting fatigue over it now) Bob’s Burgers still going on.
- That Eagles of Death Metal survived the Bataclan wave in the horrifying Paris attacks should never downplay the sorrow of the alarming body count (and takes a point in remembering those lives), especially when a crew member of theirs did not survive. But I would not have been able to take Jesse Hughes R.I.P. announcement so quickly nor would I be able to see any Josh Homme interviews afterwards where his reaction is documented.
- I just this year discovered Best Coast’s music. It is my sort of oldies-gone-neo jam.
- Dat Kendrick Lamar joint. Dat Kamasi Washington joint. Dat Ghost B.C. joint. Dat Sufjan Stevens joint. Dat Bjork bjoint.
- Every line Jason Statham gives in fucking Spy. Between that movie and his introduction to Furious 7 by essentially shutting down The Rock and then surviving Rock Bottom, I want the sort of confidence this guy is on. He needs to be on an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine STAT.
- Also The Rock. I’m always thankful for the Rock. Based on what Mike has said about Ballers, I gotta really avoid that show lest it damage how I see the man. And Macho Man Randy Savage. Who is immortal.
- Also Charlize Theron. For giving us Furiosa!
- Also Jessica Chastain.
- Also Dave Grohl. For his Sweden show incident and then making the Broken Leg tour out of it with a kickass throne for himself!
- Also Terry Crews.
- Also Jack Black. For bringing the band back together!
- Lea Seydoux was a Bond girl. One that was wasted, but Seydoux can be anything and I’ll go see it.
- Spike Lee’s trailer for Chi-raq looks incredible despite the off-putting presence of Nick Cannon in the lead role and I cannot wait. It looks like Bamboozled type of electrifying.
- This is sort of old news for everyone, but I just saw Harmy’s Despecialized edits of the original Star Wars trilogy and Oh My God, I wish I hadn’t put off watching them for so much. It’s not just cleaned up it treats the composition in painstaking detail, it is how much clarity the actual image has to the point that I thought I was being projected a 70mm print on my MacBook. It’s insane. Any Star Wars fan ought to check it out, go! Go!
- I can’t decide if I love Ash vs. Evil Dead or just like it, but man oh man, good or bad – it’s still groovy to see Campbell back in the saddle again.
- Be honest, what killed your heart more: David Letterman’s final episode or Aqua Teen? Institutions now collapsed!
- But hey, they announced a new season of The Venture Bros.
- I have a complete home video collection of Terrence Malick’s films so far…. sort of. Everything is on Blu-Ray except for the not-yet-on-Bluray theatrical cut of The New World (which I prefer so pls!) and To the Wonder, which I bought for a dollar at the Dollar Tree. Which is depressing to hear about a Malick film, but given the particular Malick film, it’s also… well, appropriate.
- The Doof Warrior from Mad Max: Fury Road, guys! Dat sound mix especially!
- Apparently the new Muppets series will have Dave Grohl finally drum battle Animal. Even though the Muppets I love seem dead and gone, this will make me at least check out the show. This was what I wanted in the damn 2011 movie to begin with!
- I have friends who refer to a particular film as Blart Blart: Mall Blart on account of my initial usage of the phrase and I hope it spreads like “Fant-Four-Stic” has.
- This moment in Ex Machina. You know damn well what moment it is before you even click on it.
- I am thankful for these films’ existence in the film canon and how the five of them essentially teach me all I feel I can know about the art…. though it would be much less fun if I didn’t keep scoping around otherwise. (BTW, Criterion, I’ve been waiting a long damn time for that Blu-Ray release of The Passion of Joan of Arc).
- I’m gonna give a pre-emptive thanks for Josh Martinez, not only because he is my best friend, but because I hope to use his free ticket benefits from an old job of his to help me complete Fixing a Hole ’15 – this is indeed to put him on the spot and force him to say yes. I’m also very thankful that his name is so anonymous that I can use it on this blog (we had TWO Josh Martinez’s in our high school yearbook and I’m pretty sure the last name Martinez took up a good amount of pages. Yay, Miami.).
- Finally, I’d thank Kanye West for giving us Kanye West… but I think Kanye West has covered me for that and for thanking Kanye West for thanking Kanye West on behalf of me, so… thanks!
What music, movies, literature, video games, fine art, or television are you thankful for this year? What the crap else are you thankful for? Go ahead and comment below.