The Cultural Gutter

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

The Rockford Files, The Sopranos and Classic Television

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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. […]

Movies! Movies! Movies!

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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.

RIP, Elaine Stritch

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Actor and singer Elaine Stritch has died. Stritch worked extensively on Broadway, but she also appeared in September (1987), Small Time Crooks (2000), Monster-In-Law (2005), the British television series, Two’s Company,  3rd Rock From The Sun, My Sister Eileen and 30 Rock. The New York Times,  Variety and The Detroit Free Press. Saara Dutton remembers […]

RIP, James Garner

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Actor and producer James Garner has died. Garner is probably most famous for his role as Jim Rockford in the tv series, The Rockford Files, but he also starred in Maverick (the tv series and the 1994 film), Support Your Local Sheriff (1969), Marlowe (1969), The Great Escape (1963),   Victor/Victoria (1982), Move Over, Darling […]

RIP, Paul Mazursky

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Writer, director, actor and producer Paul Mazursky has died. Mazursky directed Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice (1969), Harry And Tonto (1974),  An Unmarried Woman (1978), Moscow On The Hudson (1984), Down And Out In Beverly Hills (1986), Enemies, A Love Story (1989). Mazursky was Emmanuel Stoker in The Blackboard Jungle (1955), a tv […]

RIP, Meshach Taylor

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Actor Meshach Taylor has died. Taylor had roles in Mannequin (1987), Designing Women, Buffalo Bill, Criminal Minds, Ned’s Classified School Survival Guide, The Urban Gardener with Meshach Taylor and the Broadway production of Beauty And The Beast. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and NPR have obituaries. Here Wendy Williams talks with Meshach […]

“Exploring Apatow and Rogen’s Schlubby Non-Misogyny”

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Film School Rejects looks at the Judd Apatow’s comedies: “Apatow is not a denialist of misogyny within society. In fact, if you read the many personal #YesAllWomen anecdotes—all of his films verify that sad reality in a non-condoning, often vilifying way. Through non-traditional heroes, he navigates his audience to a hopeful future.With personal, transformational films comes […]

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

Kaiju Shakedown: Hopping Vampire Edition

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With the US release of Juno Mak’s Rigor Mortis, Grady Hendrix decides it’s time to revisit the hopping vampire movies of yore.

RIP, Rik Mayall

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Actor and comedian Rik Mayall has died. Mayall is probably best known for his roles in The Young Ones (1982-4), Blackadder (1983-9), The New Statesman (1987-94) and Bottom (1991-5). He also starred in Drop Dead Fred (1991) and Guesthouse Paradiso (1999). The Telegraph, The Guardian and Rolling Stone have obituaries. ITV has clips and lines […]

Are You In A Jane Austen Novel?

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How do you tell if you are in a Jane Austen novel? You could be in one right now. The Toast helps with “How To Tell If You Are In A Jane Austen Novel.”

Homer Simpson’s Last Theorem

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Attention mathematicians and Simpsons fans: On Numberphile, Simon Singh and Brady Haran discuss Fermat’s Last Theorem’s appearances in culture and evaluate Homer Simpson’s solution.

RIP, Al Feldstein

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Al Feldstein has died. Feldstein got his start at EC Comics, creating Tales From The Crypt and several other titles, and later became editor for MAD Magazine. The Comics Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine and Robot 6 have obituaries. NPR’s All Things Considered remembers Feldstein. At The Atlantic Wire, […]

RIP, Bob Hoskins

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Actor Bob Hoskins has died. Most sources are mentioning Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but Hoskins also appeared in Brazil, Nixon, The Long Good Friday, Pink Floyd The Wall, Unleashed, The Secret Agent and the tv show, Tales From The Crypt (“Fatal Caper”). And Hoskins was Chris Claremont’s first choice for Wolverine (via @Zemrag).  The Guardian, The […]

An Oral History of MST3K

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“To celebrate the 25th anniversary of [Mystery Science Theater 3000]’s national debut, Wired presents an oral history of the greatest talk-back show ever made. It all begins in the late ’60s in rural Wisconsin, where there was this guy named Joel, not too different from you or me…” Read it here. (Thanks, Less Lee!)

Don-O-Mite, aka, “Blaxploitation Mad Men”

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“Doing a bit for a crime he didn’t commit, the man is giving Don one more shot.” Leroy and Clarkson present the trailer for Don-O-Mite, Mad Men Blaxploitation-style. (via @BlackGirlNerds)

RIP, Kate O’Mara

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Actor Kate O’Mara has died. She performed the Rani in Doctor Who, Caress Morell in Dynasty, Mademoiselle Perrodot in The Vampire Lovers and Alys in The Horror of Frankenstein. O’Mara also had roles in Absolutely Fabulous, The Avengers, The Saint, Danger Man / Secret Agent, The Persuaders and Adam Adamant Lives!  The Guardian, Digital Spy […]

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!)

“The Public Voice of Women”

Mary Beard writes about gender, speech, and the depiction of the sound of women’s voices from Homer’s time until now. “I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to ‘shut up’; telling her that her voice was not […]

RIP, David Brenner

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Comedian and actor David Brenner has died. The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have obituaries. The Comics’ Comic and The Hollywood Reporter remembers Brenner. Here’s Brenner’s first appearance on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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.

    ~

    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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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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