Daily notes 2015

Currently watching: Maniac (2013)
It never appealed to me, but I’m deciding to try it on for size. Unfortunately its core demographic is not terribly intelligent. Our first real sequence involves an online date that goes something like this:

“No picture? Oooooh, I’m intrigued.”
“Come on, I’m dying to see you. Where do you live?”
“You ordered wine? I love a man who takes control.”
“You haven’t said much all night and don’t seem to have a personality, but… how about coming upstairs for a drink..?”

It’s like if a phone sex operator meant every leading lie she told. I realize now that this could be how Mr. Me-Mania sees the world, and indeed that will be the only possible explanation that could begin to, if not satisfy, at least explain. You do have to wonder how this man ever became so deranged living in a world where sex is this easy to come by.

Mad Men s06e08 – “The Crash”
Haven’t done this before on the blog, but I’m going to pick apart this episode after being inspired by some internet analyses. Hadn’t realized just how much was going on in Mad Men, and the density of each episode increases with each season. Search YouTube for “How Mad Men fought the war” or “fought Vietnam” in reference to this ep, as well as Mike & Amanda’s Orange Couch videos for Slate. I’ll be referencing the Slate Nam comparison video frequently, and will probably cite this when I re-edit.

We’ll start off with this pleasing image of Roger & Jim playing checkers. Immediately I begin looking closer – why checkers? Merely for the bossmen to have opportunities to say “king me?” Turns out there was an Operation Checkers in Vietnam, but its description as a “positioning exercise” regarding the relief of watchmen from the city of Hue’s border does not strike one as being particularly relevant – so this checkers bit is a way to indulge the comparison of Roger and Jim’s similarities. Was hoping for more – maybe next time…

Ted is powerfully impacted by the death of Frank Gleeson (of Cutler, Gleeson & Chaough), so much so that he takes the weekend off. Here Cutler tellingly remarks, “I hope we don’t lose Ted for too long… he doesn’t know how to handle these things.” Like somebody else we know. Like somebody who currently looks anxious and on the spot. Two men who trade in fiction and fantasies.

Dr. Shelly Hecht (nice name) and his vitamin superdose “with a mild stimulant” has been likened to the American military quietly administering amphetamines to soldiers in Nam, SCDPCGC being similarly embattled at the mercy of “the largest defense contractor in the world,” GM, owners of Chevy. Hecht’s explanation and treatment of Don renders him to be entirely trustworthy, so we initially have no reason to suspect Don is being “jacked up.” But I’m dying to know what’s in that syringe.

Note Stan’s army-fatigue-green shirt, and Ted’s army-fatigue-green suit. Ted wasn’t dressed that way at the beginning of the episode.. little sobered up and stern after losing a comrade?

Cutler would be in a unique position to know personal details about Wendy, Frank Gleeson’s daughter – particularly that she is extroverted, libidinous, and embracing a void in the shape of her father. See that red car to the right of Wendy? “Every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse” – of course Don would phrase it that way, as his beleaguered consciousness has been retreating to a whorehouse all weekend.

Chaough: How could you bring Frank’s little girl in here?
Cutler: I kept an eye on her. Didn’t I, Don?
Draper: ..who?
Cutler: Wendy. Oh believe me, it’s better than what could’ve happened if I’d let her loose in The Village like she wanted.
Chaough: That’s not what her mother thinks.


Stan has 666 ideas.vlcsnap-00115vlcsnap-00125

Peggy: “You see the mess you made?”

“Sally, how’d you like to earn some boots to go with that skirt?” Is Megan teaching Sally how to sell herself? Maybe she and Don have prostitution in common (“whoring” is a prevalent theme in season six, with the car account and of course the specter of Joan’s involvement in the deal, as well as Don’s final revelation to his children that he grew up in a whorehouse – a revelation he possibly was compelled to make to them because of the forthcoming burglar’s deception). Megan is on her way to a play where her agent will introduce her to some producers, and she’s decided to dress for a good time.vlcsnap-00119

Finally Betty, Henry and the police arrive and bring order to the Draper Dimension.vlcsnap-00128

I never gave it much thought before – maybe because this episode gives you so much to process – but it’s a very shocking comment from Bobby, who explains that he fell for the burglar’s deceit because she coerced them into believing she was Don’s mother. There is an abyss between Don and his children.vlcsnap-00127

Betty: (incensed) Because she’s off… “on the casting couch” and you’re – what does he tell everybody, that he’s “at work?”
The insinuation is clear, and Megan sulks guiltily. Betty’s implication that New York is a “disgusting” place also leads one to ponder if it, and similar metropolises, and where people go to whore themselves. vlcsnap-00129

from s06e10 “A Tale of Two Cities”
“You’re a truncheon, Cutler!” Ginsberg, the most sensitive and most moral person in the office, is the only one who recognizes the danger of Cutler’s vacant opportunism.vlcsnap-00001

And again, Ginsberg’s sight is great: he suddenly can’t stomach the hypocrisies of advertising, and then in a moment of lucidity realizes Bob is homosexual. vlcsnap-00003

The many faces of Megan. Occurs to me now that Don’s imagined her as (at least) a Betty-like suburban housewife and this polyamorous flower child (not that Megan isn’t polyamorous already), and exists knowing she’s always out there pretending to be somebody else – he doesn’t see her in those guises too often, seeming to avoid them. Megan is a shapeshifter, surely an appropriate foil to the elusive Dick Whitman – the difference being that Megan is entirely honest and forthcoming about her role-playing, and as we know Dick’s artifice is a fever-dreamed phantasmagoria of anxiety and avoidance.vlcsnap-00004

Re-watching: Calvary
John Michael and I have awfully similar literary tastes.

Currently watching: Mad Men (s07e08, Severance)
Ha! (Chaough)
Ha HA! If Roger dies, Ted is primed to take his place, wouldn’t you say?

Re-watching: V/H/S/2
And we all know why a person would return to V/H/S/2.

I thought V/H/S was incredibly weak – those mumblecore guys, they only know how to be “slight” – so I had essentially written off any future V/H/S films. Out of sheer frustration at the lack of found footage material left for me to watch, I put on V/H/S/2 to see if anything was up. Not only is it an improvement generally (higher caliber filmmakers, higher budgets, better stories – you could stumble backwards into a better story than the ones from the first film), but it features a genuinely excellent episode directed by Gareth Evans called “Safe Haven,” in which a documentary film crew unwittingly visits an apocalyptic Indonesian blood cult. Epy Kusnandar sells the dogmatist – oversells, in the best way.

Re-watching: [REC]

Currently watching: Sinister
I do find myself liking the idea that ghosts move in slow motion – other than that I’m very displeased with you, Derrickson!
Horrible marriage… really hope it doesn’t survive the end of the film…vlcsnap-00053vlcsnap-00056vlcsnap-00057

Currently watching: The Cabin in the Woods
Enjoying this a little too much – but irreverence goes a long fucking way.

Oh, just in case anybody’s wondering… the film reviews on this site? I can’t bear to read a single one of them anymore, and I’ll completely understand if don’t as well.

Currently watching: Bird People

Currently watching: Two Days, One Night
Clean and safe looking neighborhood in Liège, Belgium.  My main question is: why is somebody so sensitive, so fragile, working in a factory?  Clearly desperation is a major factor, but outside of this former breakdown of hers I don’t have the impression her entire life was a mess until then.  And how did this breakdown occur..? ARGH.  She’s really very talented. vlcsnap-00004

02-13 ephemera -She may be very talented, but I’m dubious about giving Marion Cotillard too much credit. -Come around, now think Arrested Development’s fourth season is easily its best. Disappointed viewers are such pussies and they’ll be returning to the old format next time. – 02-12 I’m actually looking at the list of Oscar noms for the first time – terribly fucking dull. How do you give Boyhood an Original Screenplay award..? So I guess it’s going to be Birdman, the Being John Malkovich of fifteen years later. Do I have any interest in seeing this ‘Wild‘ film..? Of course not. “The Theory of Everything“? Specifically avoided. And I swear to god – this Meryl Streep thing? Is it literally just a joke at this point? 02-04 Re-watched: Occult And here are Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s pictures of the mysterious hieroglyphs he’s been studying at Ohiruyama.Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.45.46 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.45.52 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.45.57 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.02 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.05 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.13 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.16 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.20 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.23 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.26 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.29 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.45 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.48 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.51 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.54 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.46.58 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.47.01 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.49.11 AM

and then I did this

Currently watching: Listen Up Philip
Wes Anderson with a pulse.

Currently watching: Boyhood

Just finished: Nightcrawler
Thanks Big G. Kind of shocked at how well people are reviewing this given the level of Little G’s competence (big positive move would be deleting/replacing that score).vlcsnap-00011

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