Bombs Away!

By: Jenn

Happy Halloween!

I don’t have anything spooky to write about today.

I just wanted to toss out this song that’s been at the top of my playlist lately (It’s not Sam Smith

Geronimo by Sheppard.

I loved this song from the moment I heard it, and today I watched the music video for it on Youtube and now I love it even more.

Teal hair and a cardboard monster? Count me in!


New Spooky Type Cast Episode Now Available!

By: Chris

Just in time for Halloween, the newest episode of the film podcast “Type Cast” has been posted.

In this episode, film-person Mike and other person Chris discuss at length the easily accessible Black Sunday, shot in black and white in 1960, in Italy, based on a Russian novel.

Naturally we can’t help ourselves but to talk about horror exploitation in general, and the triumphs and pitfalls of the genre at large.

Also, at one point, Mike has to use the bathroom. However will we handle this live and on the air?

Check it out here!

Season 2, Episode 3: Halloween

Chris and Robert get together and discuss Horror film scores and the large impact a score can have on creating atmosphere and tension in a movie. John tries to get us to talk about stupid Halloween costumes then picks a fight with his daughter.  Or maybe she started it. We also discuss songs that frighten us and our 8 week plan for Christmas music. Enjoy!

Remote Access: An Affair to Misremember

By: CJ

636d388bdd29a414e72423988bd6Episode 103

In this underwhelming crop of 2014 freshman efforts, if you could point to one show that emerged as the “anointed one” by critics, it would have to be Showtime’s The Affair. The erstwhile movie cabler clearly feels the same way too, scheduling their show during the brutal Sunday night viewing window. Set over a summer on Long Island, the first season follows the genesis and consequences of an affair between two married people, teacher/author/scumbag hubby Noah (played in a blandly gruffish manner by Dominic West) and local waitress/grieving mother Alison (a reticent Ruth Wilson). Intrigued? If not, there’s more.

There’s the customary murder plot device too (the blood plot thickens).

And the first few episodes of the first season are being told to a circumspect black detective (Victor Williams) in a series of flashbacks (True Detective much?).

But that’s not even the real secret sauce of this whole (he &)shebang. In each episode thus far, the main action has been told from the two separate viewpoints of Noah and Alison. While this kind of framing device is nothing new to the world of TV or the movies, series creator Hagai Levi (who also created and adapted HBO’s In Treatment) takes it a step further by really pushing the differing perspectives. Did Noah save his daughter from choking on a marble given to her by Alison like he recalls or did Alison as she asserts?  Did Alison confidently strut around in a little black dress that went barely past her hips while catering a party the way Noah thinks or was she feeling self-conscious amid the wealth and lecherous eyes the way she remembers it? The likelihood of a definitive answer is probably as good as your memory of the womb. It’s not a few details here and there that differ between the two; whole scenes change during every pass of memory.

The problem with the whole enterprise, though, is the lingering It’s-All-Been-Done-Before haze that envelopes the story. When a literary agent meets with Noah to discuss the second book he is supposed to be writing during his family’s stay in Montauk, Noah tells him the book will feature “A small town girl. City guy. They meet fall in love… He’s married and so is she.” The agent looks away and – with a bemused sigh – says he’s read that story before. And we’ve seen this show before too. All too recently. In 2012, NBC played with the unreliable/alternating narrator conceit in a much more interesting way with their show Awake. Critics were mouth-frothingly rapturous about the story structure and the narrative possibilities when it premiered. The show was cancelled after one season.

Last year, ABC went the affair-with-murder-afoot route in their own naughty lovers series, Betrayal. That show, like The Affair, also had two Brits* (the male lead was actually from Ireland) playing Americans. Critics were not as rapturous about this one. The show was cancelled after one season. Of course, premium networks can afford to be more patient with the properties than the execs at NBC and ABC, so Showtime might not be too troubled by the past.

Make no mistake, the show oozes the requisite veneer of class a premium network show is expected to display. In recent years, there has been a huge emphasis – particularly in these premium channel miseries – on setting the scene and the resulting cinematography by Steven Fierberg is no different. The sparse, bleak winters of FX’s Fargo and True Detective’s steamy expanse of Bayou country are joined by the sumptuous roadside establishments and tide-swept beaches of Long Island. Gorgeous shots of lighthouses and docks lend a sense of earthiness to the show. You can practically smell the fish in the air.

Though there are no A-list movie stars appearing in the credits here, a strong cast is assembled. Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney play the respective spouses you’ll probably end up rooting for. West and Wilson do perform well enough with their lingering stares during the stop-and-start phase of their budding romance. The problem though, is the lack of raw heat between the two. There is always a spark that drives people into each other’s arms, and the two are not translating anything of the sort on screen.

West does, on the other hand, seem to have noticeable chemistry with Maura Tierney, who plays his loving (and as-of-yet clueless wife) Helen. The quick scenes between the two that are peppered throughout the episodes are often short, but great to watch. Helen also shows a sudden underside of anger when she spots an old mistress of her dad’s during a party that bodes well for some compelling fireworks when she eventually finds out about her own husband’s mistress. It’s an unfortunate problem for a show called “The Affair” when the lead actor has better chemistry with the person playing his wife than the one playing his lover. With direct competition like Sunday Night Football, Walking/Talking Dead and The Good Wife, the spark may not end up igniting for viewers either.

Sunday from the Porch: John Doesn’t Get Halloween Edition

By: John

Happy Halloween Season.

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This Friday is Halloween in the United States of America. Children all over will be knocking on doors asking for candy with the veiled threat of vandalism if their request is not honored. Teenagers skip the asking for candy part and go straight to eggings, TPing houses, and smashing pumpkins. (Which always leads my dad right into his annual joke when he sees smashed pumpkins everywhere: “Looks like Billy Corgan has been in the neighborhood!”)tumblr_mrx03dRRic1s5hrweo1_400
This is a holiday we celebrate with increasing exuberance. In the past five years, I have noticed a large increase in the size and elaboration of Halloween decorations.

One thing I have never understood, even as a child, is why we take so much joy in celebrating mummies and skeletons and decapitated zombies and spiders and tomb stones and cobwebs and… death.

Why does your fifth grader want to trick or treat with an axe in his head and pieces of his brain oozing down his cheek? I doubt most people even think about how disturbing this is because, well, its expected. It’s Halloween after all.

As a child, I never even thought about the goulish parts of Halloween. The few years I did enjoy celebrating Halloween by carving pumpkins and going trick or treating, the focus for me always was on the getting free candy aspect. When I stopped celebrating Halloween, it was kind of over for me. The last time I celebrated Halloween was 12 years ago when I was still in college. I reluctantly dressed up for one costume party at a fraternity in college, but I gained no enjoyment dancing around to Jay-Z songs dressed as a dude who had just gotten out of bed.

It’s gotten a bit better since I’ve had kids. Each year they dress up and complete a limited tour of trick or treating. This year they are going as Darth Vader, my daughter is going as a girl version of Darth Vader, I guess (?), and my infant daughter is going as Yoda. That’s right. Both of my daughters are apparently cross-dressing for Halloween. They have fun, and that’s what counts.

I have never passed out candy to kids. We decorate our house with muted autumn decorations, but no Jack-O-Lanterns or inflatable demons rising out of hell on our lawn.

So, Happy Halloween. I wish you all joy as you celebrate creepy stuff. Maybe I’m a party pooper, but I just don’t get it.



Five for Friday aka Another High School Post

By: Robert

Previously on a Five for Friday I talked about a mix cd I found that was provided to me by a buddy of mine in high school, Mitchell.  As I also mentioned in that post I was introduced to Mitchell by (Kris) Pabon.  During high school, and even for a time after, Pabon was another pathway through which I found new bands and acts previously unknown to me.  He also gave me shit when I called a girl “beautiful” once, and will always be one of the suavest fuckers I know.  Anyway, I was in a nostalgic mood, so here are five bands introduced to me by Pabon in high school.

Piebald-Grace Kelly with Wings

The Anniversary-All Things Ordinary

Jets to Brazil-Morning New Disease

The (International) Noise Conspirarcy-The Reproduction of Death

Built to Spill-The Plan

Remote Access: The One Where Ross, Rachel, Chandler (and even Phoebe!) Probably Don’t Save the Day

By: CJ

Netflix logofinal

Maybe it’s time to switch that fire truck red login page into a shade of black and blue.

After a half-decade of nearly unbroken media exaltation and financial success (let’s pause here, though, to remember the [not] dearly departed Qwikster), Netflix has seemingly had the worst week of its reign as the face of online streaming. While the past month did bring word of a couple of high-profile nostalgic gets – the fast-talking Gilmore gals and ‘90s megatron Friends – that kept the HuffPost and BuzzFeed contingent giddy, an Enola Gay appeared over the horizon with some serious metaphorical payload.

The world of internet streaming went nuclear this past week thanks to Netflix nemesis HBO. The Time Warner-owned network revealed its plans to free their popular HBOGo platform from its cable chains sometime in 2015, remaking it into a standalone internet service available for purchase WITH NO CABLE SUBSCRIPTION NEEDED. In less than a year, cord-cutters, cord-nevers and the cost-conscious will all be able to get their fill of avowed Lincoln drivers and greatest shows on television without having to begrudgingly cover the costs of Sundance TV and ESPN. And the way media consumption has evolved, why wouldn’t HBO do this? A network as nimble, forward-looking and iconoclastic as HBO has enough cachet to trade some of their aura of exclusivity for a seat at the online buffet. HBO’s opening salvo, however, became a really big deal when the slow and steady, older-skewing, over-the-airwaves behemoth CBS unveiled their own streaming service CBS All Access the next day. CBS isn’t hip. It’s already the most watched network on free, available-to-all-Americans network TV and has been for a while now. Realistically, CBS has never cared about being hip. Les Moonves only cares about making money. And yet they still felt the need to go digital as well. Television as we know it is dead. Long live the internet.


Nothing is cooler than obscure military spinoffs.

So where does that leave the OG of the online television revolution now? Will a smelly cat be enough? To his credit, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has publicly embraced the changing landscape saying during an earnings webcast earlier this spring,

“There are multiple networks out there. It’s a very much not a zero-sum game and we are building this ecosystem together that’s about Internet video and the more players there are in Internet video, the bigger that ecosystem gets.”

Wall Street really doesn’t agree, sending Netflix shares down sharply on the double blow of the HBO/CBS news and less than expected subscriber growth.

For once in their lives, it’s likely that the Wharton grads got something right.


Thanks a lot, HBO.

Up until now, Netflix’s success was pinned on a few key factors. 1) It created a whole new market-segment in entertainment. 2) It was a one-stop shop you could get to from the comfort of one’s own couch. 3) A relatively cheap monthly fee got you tons of content (not A-list content at first, but the enough cult-classics and old favorites to satisfy the average subscriber). As Netflix grew, though, a couple of things started to happen. On one side, people began to clamor for titles they, you know, actually wanted to watch. New and shiny things preferably not form the B-side of the 90s and early Aughts. On the other side, content owners who previously just wanted whatever extra money they could get for their old stuff began to understand the true worth of on-demand viewing. They wanted a bigger piece of the action. Subsequently, Netflix watched its costs spiral upwards ($3 billion in licensing obligations in 2014) just to renew existing agreements, not to mention garnering any new content for its service. The internet pie may be big, but not everyone was going to give away their pieces quite so easily anymore.

Despite always being a generally good aggregator of content considering (and despite of) its outsider origins, Netflix has never had top of the line shows and movies in their catalogue. The B+ stuff they actually could strike deals for came at a heavy cost. With a capital B. And some content (such as the HBO back catalogue) was always frustratingly out of reach for Netflix and subscribers alike. Now, with major content generating players like HBO and CBS breaking into the online game, it is only a matter of time before the likes of AMC and NBC follow. If AMC has its own service, will they allow the next Breaking Bad to appear on Netflix soon after the season airs? Or, as is most likely the case, will that exclusive 3 year window go to some new AMC online platform? The answer is already being written. When The Simpsons syndication rights came up last year, and South Park this year, what may have been slam dunk back catalogue pickups for Netflix 5 years ago went to Fox and Hulu respectively. The chefs have begun to take their dishes from the Netflix buffet to open their own restaurants.

In Netflix’s defense, they haven’t sat around twiddling their thumbs while their kingdom crumbles around them. The service has expanded aggressively into international markets to increase the subscriber base. Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland are a few of the countries being brought into the fold this year. The company has also tested out price increases for its service to keep revenue up and Wall Street happy. A $1 price increase for new accounts went into effect in spring to help defray the aforementioned costs. And despite the rising costs, Netflix still has been able to strike deals to bring whole series runs to their library like the aforementioned Friends and Gilmore Girls.

But most importantly and visibly, Netflix has already pivoted the way HBO did, in the opposite direction by moving away from just delivery into the content game themselves. House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, new seasons of existing properties like The Killing and Arrested Development were carefully curated to bring new subscribers to Netflix without having to give other greedy companies a cut. By spending the money previously used on licensing to create their own shows, Netflix could afford to skip out on some recent opportunities to buy as it had developed its own hits and Emmy-nominated entertainment. Bringing all 500+ episodes of The Simpsons becomes somewhat less important when people are subscribing not for nostalgic reasons, but to watch the au courant Orange.

But therein lies the problem, does it not? Instead of just being a novel delivery apparatus that prints money, sitting back and reveling in its cool factor, Netflix has become something new. Or has it? The company is now invested in spending its own money to create, distribute and own programming. None of the new programming has been syndicated yet (giving Netflix an outside source  of income outside of raising prices) And for every House of Cards, there will inevitably be a Hemlock Grove. Does this kind of entertainment model sound familiar to you? While HBO and the rest jump the cable moat and head for a computer, phone or tablet near you, to survive, Netflix is turning into something that it never started out to be: a cable network.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

By: Jenn

I love covers.

While listening to the Dinosaur Jr episode of The Static Podcast, I learned that they did a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and instantly went to Spotify to find all the covers done for that song.

I was already familiar with the original version, and had it on good authority that Dinosaur Jr was not the first band to cover it. This song is perhaps one of my favorites, and I set out to listen to every cover I could find.


Katie Melua

Ken Middleton (amateur on ukelele!)

Eclectica (En Espanol!)

Charlotte Martin with a lovely piano accompaniment.

Another well covered song that is close to my heart is The Smiths “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”. It is for certain a staple of 80’s movie soundtracks and an instrumental version done by Dream Academy can be heard in the 1986 John Hughes classic ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’.


Dream Academy (Instrumental) – this one is definitely my favorite cover


She & Him

Fun fact: I was not familiar with “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” until I heard the She & Him version on the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack and thought “This sounds familiar. This reminds me A LOT of the scene at the Art Institute in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Sure enough, The Internet advised me that yes, the songs are one in the same. Thank you, The Google!

While the songs are the same at their core, each interpretation puts a spin on these familiar tunes that I find endearing.

Happy Monday, Folks!

Sunday from the Porch (Driveway edition)

By: Robert

So I bought new boots today.

Let me back up here and tell you why this is important.

Since college my hobbies have included reading comics, playing video games, watching TV/cartoons, researching new sneaker release dates, and in general still acting like I was 15 years old.  I worked just to keep buying the toys I wanted, and my wife and I would go out to the movies, stay up late, or just stay in bed all day on a Sunday and binge watch Netflix.  I should also mention I was (and still am) horrible with money.  It doesn’t register in my head there are bills to pay since my wife used to take care of all of that. She gradually began to ask me to take over that role and I reluctantly agreed, as I didn’t want the responsibility; I just wanted to have fun.

With the birth of our son things changed.  This isn’t a post explaining that having a child is life changing.  Of course it is.  You’re now responsible for a whole other human being that depends on you in order to survive.  This is more about the realization that I wanted to fight change, fight becoming and adult, but it needs to happen to all of us .  I always thought growing up to be one of the worst things that can happen: You leave behind everything that you liked doing because you no longer have time, you can buy what you want because of other expenses, life comes to a stop and everything else before your own wants/needs comes first.

I sat in my driveway today after running errands all day, enjoying a beer and watching my wife and son grab piles of leaves and throw them at each other.  I turned music on for us to enjoy on the crisp fall afternoon, and I had a moment to think about my growth over the last few years: I don’t get to read comics as much any more, every so often my wife and I binge watch Netflix(mainly when the boy is asleep), I don’t browse sneaker release dates anymore but I still keep in the know on trends.  Sitting there I realized I don’t get to live as a child anymore.  But I’ve also come to love the things I get to enjoy now, such as appreciating my friends and family and the time I get to spend with them, or the chances that I get to do all of those old things and the joy they still bring me.

As for the boots? Most of my adult life I went only wearing sneakers.  I bought these boots and tried them properly when I got home.  Asking my wife what she thought she replied “You look good! You have grown up shoes.”

It only took me 30 years to earn them.