Month: October 2013

The Cruelty of Growing Up: Carrie

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As far as formative experiences go, high school is one of the big ones. There is nothing like the stress of trying to fit in, one of those age old stories that effectively describes humanity cruelty to one another and to the Other. You could argue that, from high school on, everything is the same, just perhaps more brutal and more overt in this enormous seeming microcosm with deadly fluorescent lights. But no one is deadlier than Carrie White, whose special powers render others to be lifted up or to be thrown into deep peril. In Kimberly Pierce’s adaptation of Stephen King’s breakout novel Carrie, the director and screenwriters Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lawrence D. Cohen update high school Hell to contemporary times, offering a middling depiction of the bitch of growing up and finding empowerment.

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Impure Imagination: Escape from Tomorrow

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The first and last time I went to Disney World was when I was six years old. While I probably enjoyed it, the connection I had with the park was more out of curiosity and fascination than anything more personal than that. I did not, unlike a majority of my peers and, I suppose, a majority of children in general, grow up on Disney films. I was not as exposed to the ubiquity of its ephemera until my mid teenaged years. By that time, I was able to understand what Disney was: not only iconoclastic in his determination to make dreams come true, but perhaps the biggest corporation one could ever imagine. That isn’t to say I don’t have any connection with Disney ilk at all: I am prone to nostalgia watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. But what I understand about that film, and the other properties that the Walt Disney Corporation has either created, readapted, or bought, is that it’s as much of a powerful pop culture machine as one can fathom, the kind of machine that eat you up, chew you to pieces, and then spit you out. Randy Moore’s Escape from Tomorrow explores how that industry, and the culture itself, affects our perceptions of the real world, in a debut feature film that’s ballsy, filled with morbid imagery, and an incredibly competent, nightmarish take on “Happiest Place on Earth”.

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Stalk the Line: One Direction, Fandom, and Self-Reflexivity in “One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)”

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Here’s something I never thought I would ever say: a One Direction song is brilliant. Yes, brilliant. I have been a bit of a naysayer about the band, more against their rabid, over-zealous, cultish fans than the band itself, but I have no choice to admit that one of their songs is a brilliant example of self-reflexivity of public image. Which track am I talking about? Technically, it’s not one of their original songs; it’s their cover of “One Way or Another/Teenage Kicks”, the former originally by Blondie and the latter by The Undertones. Whether or not this was a PR move or their own sly smarts, choosing the former song in particular, what can be described as a Stalker Anthem of sorts, and blending it with the angst and sensuality of the latter track makes for one of the most interesting tracks I’ve ever heard. Did I mention that the cover is actually pretty damn great?

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Crazy, Stupid Love Impulse – My Favorite Film: Bringing Up Baby

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I got to see Bringing Up Baby at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens over the weekend in 35mm! So I wrote about how much the film means to me!