TMR: The lovely ladies of 'Scott Pilgrim,' 'Purple Rain' memories, and a new 'Wild Things' book
Plus the greatest Fred Rogers video ever and the wisdom of Elmore Leonard
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Welcome back to The Morning Read.
This is not a political blog. I'm not going to change that any time soon. Even so, it feels trivial in some ways to come back to putting together a column of links without acknowledging in some way that there's a major news story unfolding in Iran right now, and our media has been slow to react. It's pretty crazy how alternatives to the mainstream media have been the way people have distributed information. Twitter, which people love to dismiss, has been a major way to keep people organized and connected, with people sending out lists of proxies that were open to people inside Iran to use to keep information coming out. Sorry, but I find that kind of inspirational.
Today, I'm going to play a little catch-up, since there's not a lot of breaking news yet, and I did bookmark a few things I read while I was "vacationing." I just figured I'd go through and anything that still seemed interesting now, this many days later, was worth putting up.
For example, I've enjoyed exploring how deep this tribute page to the 25th anniversary of Prince's "Purple Rain" is, and I'm amazed at how good the content all is and how much it makes me flash back to that same summer, 1984, when Prince was pretty much the coolest thing on the planet as far as I was concerned. If the question was Prince or Michael Jackson, the correct answer for me was Prince. I thought "Purple Rain" was one of the most intense rock albums I'd ever heard at the ripe old age of 14. Song after song got played and replayed everywhere my friends and I went, and my church group took a youth retreat to Panama City, Florida, and that one tape was our soundtrack in the kids' van the whole way there and back. The thrill of just how dirty Prince was certainly helped contribute to his cool factor, but for me, the sort of tongue in cheek persona coupled with the crazy Jimi Hendrix guitar licks sealed the deal. Prince was cool because he could play better than anyone else, but he also treated it all like a cartoon. That movie was amazing because of how straight-faced it is about being completely ridiculous. It is not set in any recognizable reality, but you know that's EXACTLY how Prince saw the world in 1984. It's a perfect early-MTV-era hit movie, and I'm really glad I found this tribute to it in the first place. What a pleasure.
[more after the jump]
Cartoon Brew put up this short film that I absolutely love and adore. It's just thismuchtoocreepy for me to show it to Toshi, but it's one that I've watched three times since they posted it. It's called "The Terrible Thing Of Alpha-9!", and it's sort of fantastic. Jake Armstrong, the director, should be making features. Now, please.
See what I mean? And that's a student film. You should really go read more about it at Cartoon Brew, who deserve credit for putting it up in the first place. Great find.
RT @scarletscribe Fallen Princesses: a new take on Disney's fairy tales.
I love Shane Meadows, and I'm always happy to read about an artist I like doing something that seems like a game, like it's done for the joy of filmmaking instead of because it's the right "career move." This sounds cool, and I can't wait to check out the result.
I did not realize that Amazon was already taking pre-orders on The Wild Things, the novel by Dave Eggers that is the sort of side-project result of his collaboration with Spike Jonze on the screenplay for "Where The Wild Things Are," based, of course, on the classic children's book by Maurice Sendak. Brendon Connelly over at /Film was all over it, though, and now that I've read his piece, I'm dying to get a copy of the book by Eggers, even though I've actually seen a rough cut of the movie at this point. October seems sooooooo far away.
When my parents were here last week, they went out one night with my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law to see "The Hangover" while my wife and I kicked it at home, and when they got back, my parents commented on how strange it was for them to hear actual applause and reaction in a movie theater. They tell me that in Tampa, theaters are just quiet. It's been so long since I lived there that I don't remember a non-LA audience, but a piece in the Wall Street Journal talks about appropriate and inappropriate applause for theater, music, and more. Tell me... do you applaud when you see live performances? Or movies? When? And when would you never do it?
When Elmore Leonard is giving advice on writing, YOU TAKE THAT ADVICE.
And speaking of writing and writers, is anyone else out there still fascinated by each and every attempt that writers make to wring some sort of fresh meat out of JD Salinger's wall of silence? I like this one in particular.
I am just blown away by this Fred Rogers video that was posted over at the Spike Jonze/"Where The Wild Things Are" blog. I have watched it repeatedly, and I've been showing it to people. It's just amazing. I thought I'd linked to it before I left on vacation, but that does not appear to be the case, and it's too good not to share now. Keep in mind, in 1969, Richard Nixon was looking to cut funding for PBS to help pay for the Vietnam War, and Fred Rogers was one of the people who went to Washington to explain why that was a bad idea.
Wanna watch Mr. Rogers save PBS single-handedly?
Tell me that's not just the most gut-wrenchingly lovely thing you've seen recently. I love that guy. I love that clip. I wish I had every episode of his show on DVD so I could raise my kids on it.
This was much-linked, but there was good reason for it. Josh Friedman wrote a brutally honest piece on his blog about the ending of his series, "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," and when you read it, you'll understand the indignities that we all seem to invite upon ourselves in this business because of this insane desire we have to tell stories to other people. I hope Friedman lands well. He strikes me as one heck of a smart and funny guy, and even though I wasn't the biggest fan of the series, I can tell that he was taking it seriously and trying to build something cool for the fans who were watching.
I would argue that this article on The Guardian UK site should be under "business" instead of "film," because the writer can't tell me with a straight face that anyone remotely interested in film as an art or a craft would be caught dead referring to Shawn "Night At The Museum" Levy as "visionary." For all of you who were outraged by the "Watchmen" ad campaign, here's where the bar is now. Shawn Levy. Seriously.
RT @TedHope: Earth from above gets as scary as beautiful. Picture worth 1000wds.
And finally, it's time for one of what I'm sure have been many shout-outs to Edgar Wright, hard at work in Toronto on "Scott Pilgrim," which looks so ridiculously cool. I love Edgar's photography from his own set, and he's posted a new photo of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers along with Anna Kendrick as Stacey Pilgrim, Scott's sister. If you go look at the photo on Edgar's Flickr page, you'll be able to see the full-sized image, including a bit of fascinating set dressing in the ceiling above the girls. I can't wait to see how this movie's fight and effects all cut together. In a way, I don't want to see anything until it's really all married and seamless and what Edgar's got in his head. So much of this depends on post, with this part of production just being a collection of all these wild elements. I'm so intrigued.
The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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