SO we grind to the end of another year, and I appear, like some kind of obnoxious groundhog, ready to dispense my wisdom. If, by “wisdom” you mean “half-assed picks of Stuff Which Was Pretty OK In This Terrible Year”.
I’ll insert a caveat here: like, well, everyone, this year has been a struggle for me. We’re rolling toward the third instalment of 2020 and increasingly I find that concentration takes a kick in the nuts for every COVID variant found. A lot of the plans I had made at the beginning of the year haven’t come to pass because I’ve either lacked the bandwidth to execute them, or because I’ve been so goddamned tired. I haven’t read as much as I would have liked, and I haven’t listened to as much music as I’d hoped. There’s been a bit of persistent fog around through the year and it’s made it difficult to do anything than just exist, sometimes.
I suppose this year hasn’t exactly been kind to my interpretation of, y’know, time, so it’s not a surprise that this has crept up on me. Anyway, for the benefit of me and the dick-pill spambots that flood my comments section, I guess it’s time to chunk out some words about things I liked this year.
As ever, I’m a bit uncertain as to why I do this. It feels like a bit of an indulgence, but I suppose it does allow me a bit of breathing space to look back at the year through the prism of entertainment and formulate some thoughts about it. Whether they’re any good is still up for debate, but before we get too deep in the ontological weeds, let’s get on with it.
Once more, it’s the point of the year where I write a usually-lengthy post about the things I’ve enjoyed this year. I write a bunch of stuff about the cultural bits and pieces I’ve consumed through the year and figure out what was good and what wasn’t, in the hope of providing something of a portrait of my entertainment consumption over the past twelve months.
I mean, he was – he died in at 47 in 2012 – a wildly successful artist, who boasted that he’d managed to figure out how to game the system. He ripped the piss out of society and manliness, travelled the world and had a retrospective at the AGNSW while still alive.
He was also into drink, drugs, firearms and a bleak view of the world that’d make Thomas Ligotti seem like a beam of light.
So of course, I watched a movie about him. (more…)
I guess we’ve reached the point where, traditionally, I put up a post detailing what it is that’s taken my fancy in 2018. It’s become a bit of an annual thing, and far be it from me to disappoint the couple (?) of people who might nose through this thing in its entirety. So here we are: my wrap up of what’s been taking up my time.
Relatively accurate, though he swims more than I do.
So, I’ve just cancelled my subscription to Mubi, the online streaming service that specialises in arthouse and foreign film. I’m a bit sad about leaving, as I’ve discovered some really good things on there – and been made to watch things I’d always meant to get around to – but increasingly I’ve been viewing it with more side-eye than anticipation. I’d like to say that the decision to exit was purely financial – there’s a house being built, after all – but it’s not quite that simple.
It’s well known that you don’t go to a Gaspar Noé film for A Good Time. I mean, this is a guy who has put 28Hz hums into his films to induce audience nausea, as if the rape and face-poundings weren’t enough to put you off.
So, it’s finally finished. Twin Peaks: The Return has concluded, and there’s a shit-tonne of hot takes around. I’m going to write a little about it, too, because the original show has been so important to me over the years. In that, I suppose, I’m not unusual. It’s a show for nerds, populated by misfits.
I remember watching the original run when it aired on New Zealand television, where I lived at the time. I remember being intoxicated by the thing, the indeterminate time period, the music, the darkness. And I remember being terrified, late at night, by a screaming Laura, by a grinning BOB, by an owl flying towards me.
So today I went to an afternoon screening of Alien: Covenant in a big-screen cinema with fuck-all people in it. As you can probably tell, below.
Not pictured: cap-wearing jerk who sat in front, just before it all got started.
I have long been a fan of the Alien franchise, largely because the first two movies are practically untouchable. The first (and best, let’s face it) is a peculiarly English thing, despite its cast: it’s almost a locked-room film, a And Then There Were None-style elimination game. It’s claustrophobic and sweaty, Das Boot in space, and its reliance on biomechanical similarity – the creature is kind of like things you know, but not really – is deeply fucking creepy. There’s something about the first that gives you bone-deep chills. Is it because it’s a big ole filmic rapefest? Is it because everyone is weak and at the mercy of uncaring fate? Is it because of a feeling of entrampment, of isolation? Take your pick, but it sticks in the mind. (more…)