May 26, 2016

[Videos] 107 Facts About Daria

Daria was one of those quirky pop culture artifacts of my younger years because it felt so groundbreaking for a network to create a cartoon targeted to teens. And yeah, MTV was totally cutting edge since not only did they celebrate the joys of the music world, but they also had creative ventures like this.

What happened to you, MTV? When did the music die?

Channel Frederator has finally set their sights on tackling this unique television series, although I can totally imagine Daria questioning why the heck they chose a number like 107. Was 100 too good for you?

Oh, and the video makes reference to an old CollegeHumor mock trailer for Daria's High School Reunion. It's totally worth (re)watching after going through this video.

May 24, 2016

[Videos] About the US Primaries and Caucuses

It seems safe to say that the upcoming US Presidential Elections will be between Donald Trump for the Republican Party and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party. But how we got to this point in time involved the regular circus that is the US Presidential Primaries and related Caucuses.

And since he has already discussed how terrible a candidate Donald Trump is, John Oliver has now decided to tackle the selection process as a whole and manages to explain just how crazy the road to the US Presidential Elections can be. And by explain I mean make fun of in a lengthy 15 minute segment of his show Last Week Tonight.

See for yourself. This won't do anything to change the direction of the US elections, but at least we get to have a little fun.

May 23, 2016

[Movies] Our Obsession with Live-Action Movie Adaptations of Cartoons

When you think back to the favorite cartoons of your youth, how often do you find yourself wishing that someone would make a live-action movie adaptation of it? I doubt the thought naturally comes up in our minds all that often apart from drunken conversations with friends and while watching movie trailers online. We don't automatically wish all the cartoons that we watched as kids were turned into movies involving actual actors portraying the various characters. But we been trained by Hollywood to respond to trailers of such movies and figure that it can't possibly be all that bad to go see it.

But time and time again, we've seen more cartoon adaptations fail at the box office. We've read scores off critics reviews panning yet another such adaptation for delivering a lousy story with paper thin characters and back story that was never provided or developed.

These days we don't just get straight-up adaptations of classic stories, but instead we get adaptations that are somehow "grittier" or "more mature" in order to draw in older crowds. We continue to participate in Hollywood's efforts to focus on more commercially viable movies with lower perceived risk (since established Intellectual Property  is always better than something new, right?) instead of taking more chances with truly creative venture. I know this part sounds a little too optimistic or just plain idealist, but I'd really like to see new stuff.

To be fair, this is not to say such adaptations are automatically bad. Such stories of our youth  can have pretty big emotional significance and so it only makes sense that some part of us will respond to seeing them again in any form. Such is the human experience.

So will Disney give us a live action adaptation of their Robin Hood cartoon that still involves (CGI) animals or something? Who knows, right?

Movies be crazy that way.

May 20, 2016

[Videos] Idea Channel on Violence

And while I do enjoy it when PBS Idea Channel explores quirky philosophical questions using pop culture as a lens of some sort, they're somewhat more serious thought pieces are great mental exercises to consider other possibilities.

In this episode, Mike Runetta explores the nature of violence - and how there's more to it than excessive physical force. Do you agree that violence involves the loss or denial of one's choice? Is violence more than just punching someone?

Here's the episode:

May 19, 2016

[Podcasts] Night Vale Presents Alice Isn't Dead

I'm quite the happy Night Vale fan, so much so that I continue to follow the podcast and I loved their first book. And for those of you who still haven't noticed, the folks behind Welcome to Night Vale have another venture into podcast fiction in Alice Isn't Dead.

Fellow Night Vale followers would have noticed that the first few episodes were cross-posted to the various Night Vale podcast channels as a way to help promote the new show. So consider this my contributing to boosting the signal for this quirky little podcast.

And while it's not precisely the same feel as Night Vale, it's still an interesting little exploration of narrative and one that is definitely worth your time. You can follow the podcast or iTunes or you can download the episodes over on libsyn.

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