We spoke to the enterprising fan who spent two years reassembling the original cut of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, which was deemed too weird for theaters.
This is an incredible accomplishment and I just can’t believe that someone would do this just out of enthusiasm for a movie. I mean, I’m glad he did, I just have such terrible ADD, I can’t imagine having that dedication!
But enough about that; go watch this, now!
Last month, I wondered to myself whether there are any radio serials being made anymore.
Luckily, I’m a reporter so I get paid to investigate and answer these questions.
Here’s my story on the niche revival of audio drama, including interviews with the creators and talent behind Night Vale and several other shows.
An idea hit me last night and I’ve been fleshing it out ever since. Here is what I have. Consider this a pitch of sorts, and please don’t steal it (lol):
As this post’s title implies, this movie would be like Die Hard — the first, classic one — but set almost entirely in a big college dorm.
The protagonist would be a badass art student (I’m imagining Michael B. Jordan, who has action experience, plays badasses and can turn on the charm instantly) who just transferred to the big state college after having spent a year at an expensive city art school; he lost his scholarship after defacing an expensive modern gallery run by an elitist asshole who also happened to be a prominent school donor. As a result, protag was forced to enroll in the public university in the state to which he hoped to never return.
As he’s on his way to the dorm, he finds out, thanks to a very talkative shuttle driver, that the daughter of a US senator also lives in building, part of the senator’s very public boast that he’s sending his kids to public school (the obvious classist tones in his tone deaf TV appearance are a source of embarrassment to the very smart daughter, who we meet later).
Just a short time into his first day at the dorm, he gets a visit from a bunch of fraternity brothers, who ask if he’s rushing. He slams the door in their face.
Soon enough, hell breaks loose when it turns out that the frat that had been canvassing the building for recruits was actually a front for a right-wing Greek paramilitary terrorist group, who aimed to take the senator’s daughter hostage — and kill anyone who got in their way, students included. They have beef with the senator, who is working to cut off crucial aid to the country, which is in the midst of economic meltdown (timely and adding a touch of moral quandary!). And, they’ve brainwashed their bros into thinking this is a rush competition run by the national chapter, creating mindless soldiers who act like their thugs.
When the protagonist wakes up from a joint-induced nap, he finds himself the only person not in some sort of lockdown; the wifi in the building had been turned off, and all cell signals were blocked by the frat, too.
It’s up to our reluctant art student protagonist to make his way through the dorm, freeing the senator’s daughter — whom he regards with disdain, explaining that it’s bullshit that she has to be saved first and is the cause of all this drama; she gives him a walloping and says she didn’t ask for this moron of a father or public life. They reach some tenuous understanding — he still suspicious of her privilege, her uncertain of his reliability — to free the dorm.
The two heroes have no guns at all, and are forced into creating makeshift weapons with the things around the dorm. There are:
- Axe body spray bottles jerry-rigged to be flamethrowers (thanks to his roommate’s disgusting collection);
- Shampoo strewn over floors and covered with razors;
- A gigantic cafeteria set-piece that sees frozen waffles used like throwing stars and a trip wire that releases a long line of cereal from the gigantic dispensers, which trip up approaching thugs.
- These are but a few of the improvised weapons and handy tools made from common dorm items.
Slowly, they free various students, including one of the prize football recruits, who tries to call a booster for help but only exacerbates the situation, though he proves more helpful when it comes time to pelt terrorist with frozen hackysacks.
Ultimately, the building is liberated, but the protagonist gets in serious trouble for all the damage he caused (the building was recently built as part of a major student-soaking construction flurry) and putting people in danger.
The senator’s daughter offers to have her father step in, but the protag smiles and says that it would ruin his masterpiece.
Thoughts? Offers of financing?
Here’s my pitch for an updated version of You’ve Got Mail, which turns 15 next month:
Two out of work former bookstore owners sit at home, thumbing old volumes before signing online to Facebook and looking up old exes. Tom Hanks “likes” Meg Ryan on Tinder, but she never responds because she thinks it’s too creepy and anyway is too busy looking at Tumblr on the Kindle Fire she was given by her insensitive brother.
Neither ever leave their apartments.
‘Bored to Death’ was ripped from this world too soon, but it lives on on Blu-ray and DVD. For the next 4 hours, Amazon has it on sale for up to 68% off.
Season 2 - Blu-ray
Buy this now! My favorite show of the last half-decade.
The city is about to begin clearing an area in Queens it calls blighted, but in the tangle of junkyards and auto shops, many people have made a life.
I have been going to Mets’ games since I was a kid, and spent a summer working at Shea, and in all honesty, I had always assumed — and had heard from people there — that these shops were often fronts for other, more nefarious businesses.
Maybe that is true, to an extent. I really wouldn’t know, because I’d just get off the train or out of the car and go up to the stadium, mostly ignoring the squalor around me. Sometimes, we’d pay to park in one of the side lots, an under-the-table transaction that the city and team just sort of let happen, looking the other way because hey, we were spending money in the stadium.
These yards are a result of an immigration policy that keeps generations of people in the shadows, scrounging for cash and hope and opportunity, human rights for which they’ve been labeled ineligible by backward lawmakers wedded to stereotypes and fear.
If the city is going to redevelop this land, I hope that they properly compensate the people there, not just in rent money, but in a way that allows them to really build new businesses; sure, they may have some new storefronts elsewhere, but that doesn’t do much good when they have to operate in a system that makes it impossible for them to grow around red-tape and segregation.
Willets Point is the result of a multi-tiered society, and only immigration reform will begin to solve the problems that led to this sad situation.
Also, I really hope the Sterling people and other businesses involved in redeveloping this land give small businesses a chance; the city doesn’t need another corporate park filled with Applebees and Targets, or even another fucking Shake Shack.
The Odds are Never In Our Favor.
It’s time to change the odds.
Join the revolution at oddsinourfavor.org
Catchy use of The Hunger Games for the website. This chart, however, is fucking depressing.
This was written by a woman named Linda Walther Tirado, who posted it initially on her profile at Gawker and granted blanket reproduction privileges.
There’s no way to structure this coherently. They are random observations that might help explain the mental processes. But often, I think that we look at the academic problems of poverty and have no idea of the why. We know the what and the how, and we can see systemic problems, but it’s rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf. So this is me doing that, sort of.
Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 1230AM, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I’m in bed by 3. This isn’t every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr. Martini and see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork. Those nights I’m in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won’t be able to stay up the other nights because I’ll fuck my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can’t afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn’t leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn’t in the mix.
When I got pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel. I had a minifridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC. I ate peanut butter from the jar and frozen burritos because they were 12/$2. Had I had a stove, I couldn’t have made beef burritos that cheaply. And I needed the meat, I was pregnant. I might not have had any prenatal care, but I am intelligent enough to eat protein and iron whilst knocked up.
I know how to cook. I had to take Home Ec to graduate high school. Most people on my level didn’t. Broccoli is intimidating. You have to have a working stove, and pots, and spices, and you’ll have to do the dishes no matter how tired you are or they’ll attract bugs. It is a huge new skill for a lot of people. That’s not great, but it’s true. And if you fuck it up, you could make your family sick. We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try. It makes more sense to get food that you know will be palatable and cheap and that keeps well. Junk food is a pleasure that we are allowed to have; why would we give that up? We have very few of them.
The closest Planned Parenthood to me is three hours. That’s a lot of money in gas. Lots of women can’t afford that, and even if you live near one you probably don’t want to be seen coming in and out in a lot of areas. We’re aware that we are not “having kids,” we’re “breeding.” We have kids for much the same reasons that I imagine rich people do. Urge to propagate and all. Nobody likes poor people procreating, but they judge abortion even harder.
Convenience food is just that. And we are not allowed many conveniences. Especially since the Patriot Act passed, it’s hard to get a bank account. But without one, you spend a lot of time figuring out where to cash a check and get money orders to pay bills. Most motels now have a no-credit-card-no-room policy. I wandered around SF for five hours in the rain once with nearly a thousand dollars on me and could not rent a room even if I gave them a $500 cash deposit and surrendered my cell phone to the desk to hold as surety.
Nobody gives enough thought to depression. You have to understand that we know that we will never not feel tired. We will never feel hopeful. We will never get a vacation. Ever. We know that the very act of being poor guarantees that we will never not be poor. It doesn’t give us much reason to improve ourselves. We don’t apply for jobs because we know we can’t afford to look nice enough to hold them. I would make a super legal secretary, but I’ve been turned down more than once because I “don’t fit the image of the firm,” which is a nice way of saying “gtfo, pov.” I am good enough to cook the food, hidden away in the kitchen, but my boss won’t make me a server because I don’t “fit the corporate image.” I am not beautiful. I have missing teeth and skin that looks like it will when you live on b12 and coffee and nicotine and no sleep. Beauty is a thing you get when you can afford it, and that’s how you get the job that you need in order to be beautiful. There isn’t much point trying.
Cooking attracts roaches. Nobody realizes that. I’ve spent a lot of hours impaling roach bodies and leaving them out on toothpick pikes to discourage others from entering. It doesn’t work, but is amusing.
"Free" only exists for rich people. It’s great that there’s a bowl of condoms at my school, but most poor people will never set foot on a college campus. We don’t belong there. There’s a clinic? Great! There’s still a copay. We’re not going. Besides, all they’ll tell you at the clinic is that you need to see a specialist, which seriously? Might as well be located on Mars for how accessible it is. "Low-cost" and "sliding scale" sounds like "money you have to spend" to me, and they can’t actually help you anyway.
I smoke. It’s expensive. It’s also the best option. You see, I am always, always exhausted. It’s a stimulant. When I am too tired to walk one more step, I can smoke and go for another hour. When I am enraged and beaten down and incapable of accomplishing one more thing, I can smoke and I feel a little better, just for a minute. It is the only relaxation I am allowed. It is not a good decision, but it is the only one that I have access to. It is the only thing I have found that keeps me from collapsing or exploding.
I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don’t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? It’s not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isn’t that I blow five bucks at Wendy’s. It’s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing.
Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It’s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It’s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that’s all you get. You’re probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don’t plan long-term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.
I am not asking for sympathy. I am just trying to explain, on a human level, how it is that people make what look from the outside like awful decisions. This is what our lives are like, and here are our defense mechanisms, and here is why we think differently. It’s certainly self-defeating, but it’s safer. That’s all. I hope it helps make sense of it.
She now has a book agent, but needs funding to write her proposal, since she’s in class and has two jobs. Contribute here.
All of the voice acting was recorded on location.
Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)
This is amazing. George Clooney acting like a well-educated fox on the run? Gold. Imagine driving passed this yard, with no clue what you were about to stumble upon?