Archives: 2013 April

Archive for April, 2013

Double Down: Definitely Beyond

Old Man Cosby Tells A Joke About Being Old

(Sea) Lion King

California’s sea lions have been having a tough go of it lately, so we thought we’d spend this Friday celebrating some of the better news the species has had lately: one of their own has learned how to keep a beat with the help of some crack trainers at the University of California in Santa Cruz. The video was posted suspiciously close to April 1, 2013, but we’re going to go ahead and believe everything we’re seeing — for the Good of the species and the Good of the Friday.

Thanks, Jules!

#ThrowbackThursday

Surfing Right Through Wednesday, Into Summer

Double Down: It Wouldn’t Be Spring If You Didn’t Take A Fall

Goodosphere Tells A Joke: Sausage Party

Roger Ebert.

In the early days of the internets (or my early days on the internets), I discovered Roger Ebert’s archive of reviews. What I found in them opened my eyes.

I grew up with a father who loved films, and trusted in the word of critics. Since we assume our fathers know everything, I started reading movie reviews at an early age. (I’m sure the Globe And Mail film department had no idea how young their readership skewed.) When I would see movies with my dad, more often than not I’d find myself liking those same movies the critics liked.

So why didn’t they like the movies I liked?

Ebert changed that for me. I’d seen his TV show, but those truncated-for-television soundbites could never reveal the tremendous skill for writing he actually had. No, I mostly just liked to see Siskel and Ebert argue, and loved the secret thrill when a movie I liked but my dad would never deign to see got “two thumbs up.”

It wasn’t until those early internet days, immersed in Ebert’s archive, that I found a writer and critic who never once treated a science fiction or fantasy film as “lesser” than any other film. They started from the same point as every other film in his mind, and could achieve the same greatness or sink to the same depths. So what if they featured superheroes or spaceships? He treated the movies I loved with such care and respect, like they were works of art, which I had always believed but never seen expressed by anyone else. When a science fiction film didn’t spell every detail out to the viewer, he would never brush it off as unworthy of analysis — understanding was not a prerequisite of enjoyment to Roger.

In 1998, a scifi film called Dark City was quietly released to and quickly disappeared from theaters. I wanted oh so badly to see it, but 14 year old Nimesh was alone in the universe on that count. Eventually I found my way to the film on video, and adored it. Little did I know someone else was hosting screenings and discussing the film on college campuses, shouting as loudly as he could for people to watch this fantastic little bit of science fiction. Roger Ebert provided an exuberant audio commentary for Dark City when it was released on DVD, and once again, I wasn’t alone.

Ebert became more of an internet presence after he lost his speech, and it was thrilling for me to see him pick up a whole new generation of followers. I would read his pieces here and there, not as religiously as some, but one thing never changed: any time I saw a science fiction film that filled my mind with awe and wonder, I had to find out what Ebert thought. Last year, his fucking perfect review of Cloud Atlas is what made me run to theaters to catch the film before it disappeared. I ended up seeing it twice, and I can’t wait to see it again.

Now Ebert is gone, and in this age of tomato-throwing review aggregators I can’t imagine ever running to the theater based on the writing of a single critic ever again. We don’t live in that world anymore. But every time I’m sitting in an empty theater, alone, watching a science fiction film that my friends couldn’t care less about and critics are ignoring, I’ll know the truth.

Roger Ebert is sitting right there with me.

Originally posted on How Did I Slip Into, 04.04.13.

Water, Sound, And Camera Tricks

Because Dressing Your Dog Up Is Easy

More here.

Thanks, Jules!