The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

Fun! Charm! Thrilling Adventure!

AmeliaP

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 […]

On The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

“Of course I have a copy of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes on video, but I don’t watch it very often. I even have, on tape now, the audio and video versions of those missing scenes. But it comforts me to know that they are still incomplete, and that there remain other scenes from […]

Scouting the Orientalist Fantasy of a Perfect Chinese Restaurant

Scouting NY writes of the difficulty of finding a Chinese restaurant that satisfies directors’ ideas of a Chinese restaurant in New York, because that restaurant doesn’t exist. “Literally every time I get asked to find a Chinese restaurant, it’s the same description. ‘I want a place with really over-the-top Chinese decor,’ our director will say. […]

Looking Back on 25 Years of Star Trek: The Next Generation

“The Next Generation awakened in me a feeling of terrible and suffocating yearning — that hopeless childish escape wish that’s the wake of a certain kind of fantasy. That feeling that in a different world you’d be happy. I carefully recorded each episode on our VCR — I remember buying the VHS tapes, in cellophane-wrapped […]

Interview with Carrie Brownstein

Carrie Brownstein talks about Portlandia, Wild Flag, and nostalgia. “[A]s we went into the second season and now the third, the analogy we used was a record. Your first album can be a series of singles – like “here’s our opening thesis” – and you have a couple of hits. It might not be cohesive […]

The 5 Stages of Star Wars Fandom

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance and Star Wars.  (Thanks, B-Sol!)

Unboxing the Past

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The Gamer Hermit reminisces about his first experience with D&D and unboxes a mint set. ” My sojourn into the magical world of fantasy role playing games began back in the summer of 1981. My brother had just returned home from his enlistment in the Air Force and…out of the blue one day…asked me if […]

Gallant Past, Gallant Future

‎Keith at Teleport City reviews Gallants, the new kung fu film starring several old Shaw Bros. regulars and finds “a film that looks to the past without pandering to it or being trapped by it, resulting in a movie that is uplifting and bittersweet, and ultimately, a refreshingly honest meditation on growing old, feeling obsolete, […]

What’s the Matter with Comics?

Comics at the Big Two are in rough shape. Greg Burgas and Chris Sims see similar problems (nostalgia, Kurt Busiek) creating more problems (blandness, resistance to change, retcons, killing of heroes of color to replace them with white heroes of the Silver Age…). We noted Chris’ article before, but it’s worth reading with Greg’s.

“A Cosmic-Scale Meta-Textual Ghetto”

Chris Sims writes a thought-provoking article about how DC’s universe reboots are fueled by fan nostalgia that shoves characters of color aside in favor of white “legacy” characters and unintentionally builds “a cosmic-scale meta-textual ghetto.” Read it.(And this little addition to it).

I Can See Forever

It’s like the 1980s are a black hole and the event horizon reaches forever: The A-Team, The Karate Kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Tron, Ghostbusters, Conan The Barbarian, Red Dawn, Short Circuit and Wall Street.

The Necessary Elements for UFO to be a Hit

Purple wigs, gull-wing doors and lack of affect–Todd from 4DK provides “a list of some elements from the [1960s British] TV series [UFO] that, if they were to be included in the movie, would lead me to forgive a multitude of sins.”

A Perfect Frame

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Early in Eddie Campbell’s painterly “picture novel,” The Black Diamond Detective Agency, the main character, Jackie Hardin, says, “We thought we had all the time in the world…. Tomorrow can take it all away” (7).  And with the implied death of a young daughter and a bucolic description of Lebanon, Missouri, prefaced with the description, […]

Read Only Memories

I’m fairly suspicious of nostalgia, and I hate how advertisers leverage our emotions to sell us the same products twice. So while I’m happy that people are rediscovering videogames from their youth, and that the games and their blocky aesthetic are mushrooming up all over the culture, I wonder about the retro-gaming phenomenon. Are these […]

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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.

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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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    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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