by Travis Vogt
As much as it pains me to admit, there are lots of people In the world other than me. People with all kinds of different interests, belief systems and values. Huge cultural phenomenons spring up all over the place to attract these “non-mes,” often taking much of the world by storm while leaving me in the darkness of my own disinterest. In Discomfort Zones, I’ll be taking peek into some of the major cultural movements that I’ve always tried my best to avoid, but I’ll be doing it as quickly as humanly possible–by watching the tie-in movies they inspired.
For the first installment, I watched Eat Pray Love and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, films based on two very and gender-specific literary blockbusters from the past ten years.
by Kris Kristensen[This post originally appeared on the 20/20 Awards site.]
The 20/20 Awards uses the advantage of time and perspective to annually re-evaluate the Oscars from 20 years prior. Utilizing the benefit of hindsight, a voting body of film industry professionals from around the world carefully elects either new or previous nominees, and hosts a live awards ceremony, designed to both honor and offer new perspective with fresh commentary on the impact of this body of work on cinema itself, and its influence on our culture.
STORY: A detective on the eve of his retirement gets sucked in to one last case with his scrappy, young replacement. Together they must find a twisted serial killer who chooses his victims based on the seven deadly sins.
by Sean Axmaker
[Originally written for Parallax View, reprinted with permission of the author.]
Spider Baby (Arrow, Blu-ray+DVD) is one of the greatest blasts of creative B-movie inspiration to hit American drive-ins and grindhouses. It was the solo directorial debut of Jack Hill (whose Coffy and Foxy Brown both recently hit Blu-ray from Olive), a low-budget film that was financed by real estatedevelopers who wanted to get into the movie business and got stuck in limbo for years when the producers went bankrupt. Shot in 1964, it was finally released in 1967, by which time black-and-white films were no longer considered for first-run bookings. It was sold as a second feature and then fell into the public domain, where it became a cult movie a generation later, thanks to cheap videotape copies. Hill never made a dime on it, but he did belatedly get some attention for it. For all of its technical shortcomings and budget-related compromises, I still think it’s his most inspired film.
by Travis Vogt
With Indispensable Oddities, Scarecrow asks an artist of note to select and discuss a few of their favorite films which many people might not be overly familiar with. For this inaugural installment, we spoke with Emmett Montgomery, a Seattle-based comedian, beard cultivator and institution who recently appeared on Last Comic Standing.
by Travis Vogt
Action is one of the most transgressive movie genres known to man. The only genres proven to be more transgressive are blaxploitation, body horror, revenge-sploitation, New Queer cinema, gothic horror, docufiction, mumblecore, remodernist, erotic thriller and quite a few others. For what we talk about when we talk about “action” is, of course, violence. Man’s basest, most animalistic instincts. Action cinema and the art that it produces emerge not from the head or the heart but from the bowels. But there can be great value in holding a mirror up to the insides of our bowels. A thousand years ago, great masters like Goya and Caravaggio peered deep into the heart of darkness and showed us the truth that lies within the eye of the beast. The artists who created the adornments for the following VHS tapes were similar men, only they got paid in beer.
We’re trying something a little different for this very special bonus episode of The Scarecrow Video Podcast. It’s a feature-length audio commentary for one of Kevin’s favorite movies, THE KARATE KID that you can download, cue up, and watch along with the movie at home. It’s not a Rifftrax episode; we’re not making fun of it but discussing and dissecting a film that, while being beloved by a certain demographic, may indeed still be underappreciated. If you enjoy this one, there’ll be more to come!
You can download the entire thing here.