Welcome to The Morning Read.
By far, the most moving, beautiful, inspirational thing I read all week was the Esquire profile of Roger Ebert. I actually read it in print first, as that's one of the magazines I subscribe to. Yes... crazy, I know... I still like my actual paper media. I feel like a bad internet professional, especially since most of that content shows up online within days of me getting my issue in the mail.
If you haven't read the piece yet, it's amazing. And it's amazing because Roger is amazing. I had a few encounters with him at Sundance this year, all in passing, and I felt like I was imposing no matter what. I've dined with Roger in the past, and he once drove me around Champaign-Urbana in the middle of the night, telling me stories about his student days, which was one of those moments where I almost felt like I was having an out of body experience, it was so surreal. It is impossible to overstate the impact that he's had on film criticism, and what I find most dazzling about him is the way he continues to have that impact, and how his voice has only gotten clearer and stronger and more vital in the days since he spoke his last words aloud. You should also ready his follow-up to the interview for a nice look at how it feels to be profiled like that.
And while we're talking about guys who wear their love of movies like a badge of honor, two thumbs up to Quentin Tarantino for his role in keep the doors open and the lights on at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood. This has been a fairly open secret here in town for a while, but it looks like he finally decided to talk about it. Before you start hollering about this being a publicity move, you should know that Quentin actually put the word out to those of us who knew about his purchase that he didn't want us to write about it, and he didn't want any publicity for it. He did this because he loves the venue and he wanted to make sure there was a rep theater in LA. Period. And I personally thank him for doing it.
While we're on the subject of QT, you should check out this article about some of his inspirations on "Inglourious Basterds," and how he feels about critics who treat his films as checklists of "Yep, I've seen that, too." And eagle-eyed Scott Feinberg found a brief stroll down memory lane with a guy who remembers Quentin from the Video Archives days.
JK Rowling is going to keep getting sued, over and over and over, by every sad little loser who has ever mentioned magic or wizards or anything of the sort in their work. This guy thinks he's got a billion-dollar lawsuit on his hands. I suspect he may walk away disappointed.
Craig Titley would like you to pull his finger.
Fascinating points, and hard to explain.
I haven't seen Kevin Smith's new film "Cop Out" yet, but one of the things that intrigues me most about it is the Harold Faltermeyer score. If you don't know the name, you might not have survived the '80s, where he wrote incredibly iconic scores for films like "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Fletch." It's been a while since he's written a score for anything that had a big release, but Smith decided that he needed Faltermeyer if he was going to make a real buddy cop film, and based on the score, which you can now stream for your listening pleasure, Smith was very, very right. That main theme has me smiling already.
DeVin Fa'raci, you are a very silly man. Great punchline on this one, too.
In my last "The Basics" column, I mentioned that I would love if more people than Will Goss chose to write response pieces, and to my unmitigated delight, people are starting to do it. One guy sent me a link to his piece on "Duck Soup," and he almost spelled my name right, so that's a good thing. Another guy just sent me a link to his piece on "Manhattan," and he also come thisclose to getting my last name right. In both cases, I'm really pleased to see the conversation start to spread, because these are the pictures that I think deserve this sort of back-and-forth, and I'm excited to see Goss's "Manhattan" piece soon.
I think there are a lot of films that are made that send unintentional messages, many of them skin-crawling and wrong, and I don't disagree with the impulse to put together a list of The 50 Most Racist Movies of All Time. I think when your list basically kicks off with "Bottle Rocket," though, you're on the wrong track from the beginning. It's worth a look, even if you disagree with their choices.
I've always loved good title sequences, and as soon as I saw "Se7en" in the theater, I knew Kyle Cooper was a guy who gets what makes a great one great. His company Imaginary Forces has been a major player in making great title sequences for a while now, and here's an interview with him about the art of what he does:
I had no idea, but now that I've seen this... wow...
... it strikes me that when someone says they hate CGI or digital filmmaking, they don't realize just how much of it they see in places they don't expect. Impressive work.
I don't think this guy understands that people aren't laughing at Tommy Wiseau when they go to see "The Room" over and over. Yes, the film appears to have been translated into English from Crazy, but the reason the film has such a magnetic pull is because it's authentic. It's terrible, but it is a singular vision, and there are thousands of just-plain-bad films that simply vanish. "The Room" is special, and nobody should feel bad for Wiseau. Nobody.
You wanna know who's going to win the Oscars this year? Trust in Ernest Borgnine.
So... sooooo... soooooooo cool:
TED is pretty much a non-stop barrage of awesome.
I reviewed D.C. Pierson's novel "The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To," and I really recommend you pick it up. In the meantime, read this interview with the author, which may do a better job of convincing you than I did.
Dan Meth posted a list (with pictures) of the eight movie moments that messed him up as a kid. I think any film fan has these moments that they still recall clearly, and I'm curious what yours are.
I'm guessing if you ever saw "The Manitou," it makes that list, but even if you only saw it in the last few years, it's still the sort of film that makes you feel like you've been given cheap drugs on the sly. It just doesn't seem possible it really exists. It is one of the most amazing things you will ever witness, and The A/V Club attempted to explain why.
And while we're talking about things that are messed up, I find this profoundly upsetting, and I hope the people responsible are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and then new laws are created, and they're prosecuted to the full extent of those, as well. Crazy.
And finally, as you head off into your weekend, I want you to enjoy this:
That didn't make you smile? Then how about this? And if that didn't make you smile, check your pulse. You may not have one. It's Weird Al plus "Yo Gabba Gabba." That's pretty much the definition of happy. See you guys Monday.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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