So, Lost is over. I was out of town and therefore a few days behind on everything, but I managed to avoid spoilers and sat down last night to watch it with an open mind. When I went to bed after watching not only the finale, but also last week’s episode and the two-hour recap show that had aired immediately prior to the finale, I certainly had some questions. I felt mostly satisfied, though. Then this morning I found myself getting kind of angry about it.
“The End” was a fitting end to this season, and I think it was pretty great as a stand-alone episode. The final season was not a fitting end to the show as a whole, though. It’s not even a matter of tying up older plotlines; there are enough holes in the recently introduced plots alone that there is no way that this finale will age well. The more people think about it, the worse it’s going to get. Which is why everyone who wants to love it unconditionally is telling the rest of us we’re thinking too much about it.
I’ve spent the day getting hyped for my trip to Disney World, and also looking for music videos on YouTube, and the two activities somehow merged and led me to these. They’re time-lapse videos that use a weird lens to make it look like a stop-motion movie made with models. Or something? I’m not totally sure what’s going on here, but I know that they appeal to two of the major facets of my barely-suppressed dorkiness, a love of Disney World and a love of models.
A Model Day at the Magic Kingdom
A Model Day at Epcot
So yeah, hopefully after Disney I can get some posts with some substance up.
Could people please stop making their own music videos for songs? Or at least label them clearly as “homemade”? I’m getting sick of having to dig through all of the personal photo montages set to favorite songs. The worst was when I was looking for videos for my Beatles list. Honestly, earnest chubby guy with glasses and a goatee, I really don’t need to see your acoustic version of “Blackbird.”
Vampire Weekend – “Giving Up the Gun”
I actually prefer both the song “Cousins” and the video for it, but this one has all the famous people in it. How did Vampire Weekend even come into contact with Joe Jonas?
I’m also posting this over “Cousins” because it seems like Johanna and I are the only people that actually still like Vampire Weekend, but I know this song has had some crossover with the haters.
Local Natives – “Wide Eyes” (Live)
I’ve been listening to these guys a lot lately, and I’ve been patiently waiting for them to make a video that I could post, but I can’t seem to find anything. I’ll have to settle for this high-quality live performance. Why are all of these good live performances coming from Britain? This one is from the BBC, and I’ve used a ton of videos from Later…with Jools Holland in the past. Search for “Jools Holland” on YouTube and tell me you wouldn’t watch that show if it were on over here.
(Edit: Video removed for some reason. I put up a different performance)
It occurred to me after I had already picked my five videos for this post that I should start focusing on bands that are going to be at Lollapalooza this year so that I could expose myself to some of the artists that I haven’t heard before I go. It looks like I was way ahead of myself, though, because three of the five here are, coincidentally, going to be at Lollapalooza. That’s a testament to how great the line-up is.
Side note before we get started: when I saw that the LCD Soundsystem was posted to YouTube by Parlaphone and not the band itself or whoever, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to use it. It’s been my experience while doing these posts that record labels generally disable embedding on their videos, which is so shortsighted and counter-productive of them that it always made me mad. Isn’t the point of a music video to have it be seen by as many people as possible and then, you know, sell records because of it? Anyway, Parlaphone (and hopefully the other record labels) seem to have figured that out, so, hooray and enjoy!
LCD Soundsystem – “Drunk Girls”
As much as I enjoy his feature-length films, part of me wishes that Spike Jonze would completely devote himself to music videos, because every single one he makes is unbelievably good. I wish I had half as many ideas in my brain as he does.
The xx – “Crystalized”
Shout out to Johanna’s sister Becca for giving us this CD for Christmas; they had somehow completely slipped under my radar (even though Pitchfork had their album ranked as the third best of the year), and now I listen to them constantly.
The 1990s are both overrated and underrated when it comes to movies. The highs may not have been all that high, but the lows weren’t as bad as the eighties and the middles were solid. It was a workmanlike decade in film, and there’s nothing wrong with that, really. The one negative thing I would say about a lot of the movies of the era was that even the independent films feel like their corners have been rounded off a bit. Everything feels really commercial, which is not always bad, but can be a little bit sad.
Just as with my list of favorite songs of the nineties, I feel like I must be forgetting some candidates here. I also fully admit that there are quite a few critically acclaimed movies from the nineties that I’ve never watched; for instance, I haven’t seen four of the ten Best Picture Academy Award winners from the decade. For some reason, even though I say over and over that these lists are of my favorites, and not necessarily the best, I still feel the need to qualify everything. Anyway, let’s get started. Here they are, my twenty five favorite movies of the 1990s:
25) Romeo + Juliet (1996)
I can’t really sit through this entire movie anymore. I need someone to edit it down for me and just cut out the 45 or so minutes of meaningful glances and mournful stares. But I love the concept and the aesthetic of it, and the opening sequence is one of my favorites ever. Unfortunately I can’t find just that bit on YouTube, so I’m posting this trailer (which actually makes the movie look much worse than it is) instead.
24) Clerks (1994)
Kevin Smith is kind of like the Dave Matthews of directors. Clerks and Under the Table and Dreaming both came pretty much out of nowhere in 1994, and were met with commercial and critical success. Both Smith and Matthews were praised initially (and rightly so) for their unique style. Both kept doing pretty much the same thing, and slowly lost fans, through fatigue and a drop in quality of the product they were producing, and eventually became kind of the epitome of uncool in their respective fields. Not people that were terrible at what they did, but people of whom it was embarrassing to be a fan. And yet both maintain, to this day, a core group of hardcore fans that don’t really seem to realize that nobody else cares anymore.
Anyway, I LOVED this movie when I first saw it on VHS. Not surprisingly, I was around 13 at the time. I was also a fan of Mallrats, and loved Chasing Amy when it came out. I thought that Jason Lee was the second coming of Jimmy Stewart. Have I ever considered buying any of these on DVD? No. Let’s leave them locked up in the Nineties Time Capsule.
I was thinking to myself the other day, you know what might be a fun thing to do for the blog? Pick a year, do some research on it, write down my thoughts on the major events, and dig around on YouTube for corresponding videos. And you know what? It was absolutely as fun as I thought it would be, mostly because of the videos. Old videos on YouTube are unbelievably great. God bless the people that not only hold on to their old VHS tapes, but also willingly spend their time putting them online. Or however it is these things find their way to my computer.
It seemed like 1982 would be an appropriate place to start; after all, that’s when I got my start. If I do muster up the energy to keep this going, though, I don’t plan to go sequentially, because that seems like it would be really, really boring.
I came up with the idea of beginning this entry with the first video that showed up for me when I searched for “1982.” I was pretty convinced that this would end up being a terrible idea, as I assumed that the first result would be something terribly dull. Boy, was I wrong. I think if I looked up “how to start a blog entry about 1982” in the dictionary, this video would start playing:
I was hoping to work things into a seamless narrative, but that would be too much work, so let’s just take things a category at a time.
Tonight Johanna took Ernie to his dog training class. I intended to use my time alone to go for a bit of a walk and then settle in for an evening of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Alas, this was not to be, as I got completely sucked in watching music videos on YouTube. When she got home I was in the same position as when she left, except the apartment was now dark.
Here are the results of my busy evening.
By the dubs, if the new M.I.A. video were available on any of the sites that I know how to embed video from, it would absolutely be represented here, because it is completely awesome.
Girls – “Lust for Life”
It’s seems weird to give your song the same name as another song that is much, much more famous than your song will ever be. But it also seemed weird that the Iggy Pop song of the same name was used to advertise cruise ships, even though it’s about heroin or something. What do I know.
Miike Snow – “Animal”
From the guys who brought us Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” I love the Swedes.
Let me start by saying that it’s always weird to see Conan O’Brien being a normal human being. He can be hard to take seriously, and during the interview he slips into his “character” occasionally, which leads me to believe that he might have a little bit of trouble taking himself seriously, too.
This wasn’t the most revealing interview. I actively avoided all of the pre-show press about it, because I knew that would make actually watching it sort of redundant, but I still didn’t really feel like I learned anything new. That’s what happens when someone is legally prohibited from badmouthing his former employer/colleagues, I guess. I did learn that Jeff Zucker went to Harvard, too, and he and Conan actually knew each other. That’s sort of weird. Wikipedia even claims that Zucker was president of TheHarvard Crimson at the same time that O’Brien was president of the Harvard Lampoon.
News broke earlier in the week that Steve Carell is considering leaving The Office when his current contract is up at the end of next season, presumably to make more movies. The reactions were swift, numerous, and oddly full of surprise. Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch blog called the possible departure “notionally earth-shaking.” I don’t really understand this. The Office had only aired six episodes when The 40-Year-Old Virgin came out in 2005; I’m surprised they’ve managed to hold on to Carell as long as they have. Whether or not he should leave, career-wise, is a different argument, but I’ve been anticipating his departure since season two and feel lucky to have gotten six seasons with a seventh to look forward to. But this does raise a few questions.
If he leaves, will the show go on without him?
Short answer: without a doubt.
Alan Sepinwall has a great post about the situation, in which he points out that The Office, relatively modest hit that it is, is one of the few things NBC has going for it at the moment. We all love the rest of the Thursday night NBC lineup, but those shows just don’t consistently pull ratings, and would be doing even worse if they didn’t surround The Office. Take a look at NBC’s primetime schedule; it is pretty bleak. They will milk The Office until it absolutely can’t go on.