The Cultural Gutter

dumpster diving of the brain

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Collection of R.K. Laxman Cartoons

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The Times of India has collected a gallery of satirical cartoons by R.K. Laxman. And here are episodes of R.K. Laxman Ki Duniya, a tv show based on his work. (Thanks, Sava!)

“What’s To Be Done With The Fantastic Four (Part 1)”

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Colin Smith returns to Too Busy Thinking About My Comics to ask, “What’s To Be Done With The Fantastic Four?”

Theater as Seance

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“In 1911, the famed American medium Anna Eva Fay held a public seance at the London Coliseum, inviting audience members to ask questions that she would answer by channelling the dead. Seated in the auditorium was Violet Coward, whose beloved 11-year-old son, Noël, had just begun his stage career after Violet spotted an advert in the […]

Steranko on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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At The Hollywood Reporter, comics creator Jim Steranko watches Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “So, let me ask you this question: If America were really under attack, would you actually want these SHIELD geeks calling the shots?”

“Star Wars: The Marvel Comics Years”

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The Superhero Satellite has an overview of Marvel’s Star Wars comics–with a pretty sweet gallery. (via @BlackHoleMovies)

Fun! Charm! Thrilling Adventure!

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The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a beacon in a grittily realistic, grimdark pop culture landscape, one guiding lost souls to fun, charm and adventure. And I’m glad to see The Thrilling Adventure Hour adapted from podcast radio play into graphic novel because I like what it portends for fun stories in the future and because […]

The Desire For Certainty In Film

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“In the world of online film discourse, there’s a veritable cottage industry devoted to bringing certainty to ambiguity.” The Dissolve has more. Meanwhile, Film Critic Hulk writes about film logic, plot holes and “THE ONLY ANSWER THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS.”

Frozen: Jane Austen Meets The Snow Queen

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My mom raised me with three things: Feminism; “You don’t have to like your sister, but you can’t hit her”; and a dislike of Disney. Writing them down now, I realize that all three are more applicable to Frozen, than I thought when I decided I should state my bias. I respect Disney’s progress in […]

RIP, Hal Sutherland

Animator, director, Filmation co-founder and painter Hal Sutherland has died. Sutherland is probably best known for Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Archies and Star Trek animated series. Sutherland  Indiewire has an obituary.  StarTrek.com remembers Sutherland. StarTrek.com has a two-part interview with Sutherland here.

Maybe we’ll buy a boat

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In the house I grew up in, at the front of the garage, there was a pair of boat supports on the wall. No boat, just the two long arms sticking out at roughly skull level so you had to manoeuver awkwardly underneath them to reach the cars. My father built them out of 2x4s […]

Fanzines and Doctor Who‘s Regeneration

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At The Atlantic, Nolan Feeny writes a piece on the impact of zines, fan writers (including Steven Moffat, Paul Cornell and the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi) and fandom on Doctor Who. “If you had an opinion and wrote well, you aspired to write for the best zines, and once the gates were open to be […]

RIP, Joan Fontaine

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Joan Fontaine has died. The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times  and NPR have obituaries. Here are a clip of Fontaine in Suspicion, the trailer for Jane Eyre and Fontaine’s screen test for Rebecca. Fontaine co-hosts the Mike Douglas Show in 1967 here.

Ask Chris #173: The Trouble With Harley Quinn”

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Chris Sims writes about Harley Quinn, Batman: The Animated Series, and the problem with getting Harley wrong. “See, that’s the tragedy of Harley Quinn, the thing that makes her so compelling underneath all the bright, poppy cheer. She’s in love with someone who will never, ever love her back. Someone who can never, ever love […]

“Peeta Is A Movie Girlfriend”

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Linda Holmes writes about The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and how her male love interest, Peeta, is “a movie girlfriend”: “Going by the traditional Hollywood rules, make no mistake: Peeta is a Movie Girlfriend. Peeta is Pepper Potts and Gwen Stacy, helping and helping and helping until the very end, when it’s time for the […]

“Everything is, AND ALWAYS WAS, Very Very Serious”

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Chris Sims reviews DC’s Superman: A Celebration OF 5 Years. “It’s divided into different eras….But thematically? There’s not a lot of variety. They focus overwhelmingly on one idea of how they want you to see Superman, and the Superman they present is a depressed sad sack who never wins. That’s the Superman they want you […]

“The Bond Origins of Chastity Flame”

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At Of Human Bond_Age_, author Kate Laity writes about her secret agent, Chastity Flame, and the appeal of secret agents (and maniacal supervillains): “When I describe my secret agent Chastity Flame to people I usually use the shorthand description that she’s like an über-sexy female James Bond. Since the Bond reboot with the yummy Daniel […]

RIP, Tom Clancy

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Author Tom Clancy has died. Clancy is best known for The Hunt for Red October and his Jack Ryan series, but he also worked on videogames like Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell. The New York Times has an obituary. Dean Takahashi remembers Clancy at Venture Beat and Lynn Neary remembers Clancy at NPR.

The Shrieking Horror of Castle Lemongrab

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“Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds but was unable. Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me into silence again” (Frankenstein, 110). “He raised her and smiled with such kindness and affection that I felt […]

“Wondering About Wonder Woman”

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On her Tumblr page, Gail Simone wonders, “if we have reached a generational shift and we aren’t really aware of it because the people doing all the talking are baby boomers with a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FRAME OF REFERENCE for Wonder Woman….There will be a time very shortly when the average person will have no baby-boomer […]

“Death of a Citizen, Birth of an Agent”

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At Teleport City, The Gutter’s own Keith writes a four-part series about the adaptation of Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm from his novels to film. “’I was taking a martini across the room…’ If that line, the first sentence in the first Matt Helm novel by Donald Hamilton, had been the only sentence in the book, […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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