Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The Waiting

Gonna watch this trailer again, maybe three or four times, and then go to bed. By the time I get up, it’ll all be over but the (endless) grousing…

Not Quite the Tra-La-La I Was Expecting!


If you’re of a certain age, then when you were young, certain television programs from a certain pair of brothers provided lots of enjoyment and confusion, what with all kinds of trippy characters and costumes that seemed cast-offs from Star Trek or Doctor Who.  Yes, I’m talking about the wild, wonderful Kroftt Brothers.


Now I was one of perhaps a few dozen folks back in the mid-1990’s when Saturday Morning: Cartoon’s Greatest Hits came out and then proceeded to stay up all night and day for a weekend to watch reruns of all those great shows on, I think, TBS.  It was a hoot.  FYI – this is a great album and I still listen to it every couple of months.


Anyway, the reason for this post is not to dwell on childhood entertainment and memories of simpler times. I wanted to share some crazy – good, and just crazy – news: there is a new movie coming out later this year (date TBD) called The Banana Splits. This is based on the original show which mixed live action costumed folks with cartoons.

Hearing that the trailer was out, I had to watch…and I did not realize this was a horror movie! OMG I cannot wait! Looks like direct to video and then a semi-permanent run on SciFY will be its fate. But wahoo, this looks like a neat remix of our childhood with some weird and scary stuff.  Excellent.

So, you know, I just had to share – enjoy!


Consider this an open thread for non-SCOTUS conversation.

Real Life: Weirder Than We Think

More thread is needed, I think, so here’s a little item dredged out of the day’s work:

I spent much of the day reviewing syllabi and materials for next semester’s classes, one of which is a pretty demanding course on making documentaries.

That meant I looked at a bunch of short films I showed my students last year, pruning the catalogue to make space for stuff I saw in the meantime that will bump some of my older choices from this iteration’s playlist.

There are some, though, that are hardy perennials — I think I’ve mentioned this one on the blog, for example, which won an Oscar in 1958. That stays on the list.

So does one that I show in the first session every year.  I use it to both demystify the process, especially the technical side of shooting and framing and editing a moving picture, and to raise the bar.  The work is incredibly simple, if all you’re looking at is the shots and the cut to cut to cut sequence of images.  But it’s a great story, and the simplicity of the craft doesn’t mean that it isn’t meticulously conceived and executed.  So that’s what I tell my kids (and yeah, they’re not kids, but from this side of the big 6-0, they all seem that way to me).  It doesn’t take fantastic chops and preternatural skill to make a good movie.  But, as Richard Feynman said in a different context (I paraphrase) elementary doesn’t mean something is easy; it just means you don’t need to know a lot to achieve an extraordinary result.

That, I hope, helps them through some of the tsuris to come when they get stuck deep into the making of their own films, a few weeks down the road.

So, without further review…a little, simple, highly enjoyable bit of movie-making:


And with that: the thread, it is open.

Barack Obama is STILL My President

I’ve said repeatedly that one of the things that really scares me the most about Trump is that he lives such a joyless life. He doesn’t appreciate art, music, movies, laughter- basically he exists to feel good about other people’s pain and to laminate everything with gold or whatever it is he thinks is the “best.” At any rate, a reminder of what it was like to have a real human being as President with Obama’s end of year list of books and music:

As 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018 list – I hope you enjoy reading, watching, and listening.

Here’s a reminder of the books that I read this year that appeared on earlier lists:
Becoming by Michelle Obama (obviously my favorite!)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
Educated by Tara Westover
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
The Return by Hisham Matar
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

Here are my other favorite books of 2018:
American Prison by Shane Bauer
Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Florida by Lauren Groff
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
There There by Tommy Orange
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

My favorite movies of 2018:
Black Panther
The Death of Stalin
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace
Minding the Gap
The Rider
Support the Girls
Won’t You Be My Neighbor

And finally, my favorite songs of 2018:
Apes••t by The Carters
Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
Could’ve Been by H.E.R. (feat. Bryson Tiller)
Disco Yes by Tom Misch (feat. Poppy Ajudha)
Ekombe by Jupiter & Okwess
Every Time I Hear That Song by Brandi Carlile
Girl Goin’ Nowhere by Ashley McBryde
Historia De Un Amor by Tonina (feat. Javier Limón and Tali Rubinstein)
I Like It by Cardi B (feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
Kevin’s Heart by J. Cole
King For A Day by Anderson East
Love Lies by Khalid & Normani
Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
Mary Don’t You Weep (Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version) by Prince
My Own Thing by Chance the Rapper (feat. Joey Purp)
Need a Little Time by Courtney Barnett
Nina Cried Power by Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples)
Nterini by Fatoumata Diawara
One Trick Ponies by Kurt Vile
Turnin’ Me Up by BJ the Chicago Kid
Wait by the River by Lord Huron
Wow Freestyle by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
And in honor of one of the great jazz singers of all time, who died this year, a classic album: The Great American Songbook by Nancy Wilson

His music playlist is, without exception, perfection. Every song on there is good.

Open Thread: Wide-Screen Drama

Ava Duvernay is responsible for Selma, so she’s clearly up to the topic, and she’s gonna get a lot of attention as she works on her new film. And every snippet of news about it is going to drive Lord Smallgloves even further out of his tiny mind.
Speaking of wilding, Robert Schooley has some quotes from The Madness of King George III

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