tom moody

Archive for the ‘art as criticism’ Category

spudoogle video loop

screenshot of spudoogle twitter video thumbnail -- with one small correction

giflikevideoloop

Have been enjoying Spudoogle's twitter account recently but still have a problem with the way the SVS (Silicon Valley scum) appropriated GIFs to their commercial platforms. It's like in the movie Barton Fink where the cigar-smoking producer tells the East Coast populist playwright he wants "movies with that 'Barton Fink' feeling," then later says "get out of my office, I can get 100 writers who can give me that 'Barton Fink' feeling."
One imagines an SVS getting a neck massage and saying, "we need something like those GIF things the kids are exchanging." And then the tech slaves come up with a typical, locked-in proprietary video format with the word "GIF" superimposed. 100 guys can give them that animated GIF feeling.

It's not spudoogle's fault, he accepts conditions the way they are and rolls with the shoddy resizing, rounded edges, and fake labeling. That's twitter's price for providing an audience for your GIFs.

- tom moody

July 11th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

linear regressionists (anti-CD, 1990)

via Discogs:

linear_regressionists_cover

linear_regressionistsCD

The Linear Regressionists ‎– Living On The Regression Line
Label: Pursuit Of Market Share ‎– POMS ROI-001, RRRecords ‎– CD-002
Format: CD, Limited Edition, Anti-CD
Country: Germany
Released: 1990
Genre: Non-Music

Tracklist

1 Untitled

Credits

Concept By – Bernhard Assfalg, Don Hedeker, Franz Liebl, Lydia Tomkiw, RRR (2)

Notes
"The POMS Principles - applying violence to compact discs
The POMS Series in Anti-Cds Vol. 1"

(unplayable cd perforated by 10 holes)

- tom moody

July 10th, 2017 at 1:29 pm

weaponized sharing

sharing

from rene abythe: "this fragment from a Daily Mail infographic describing North Korea's nuclear capabilities caught my eye when their social icon widget overlaid the image"

- tom moody

July 8th, 2017 at 5:46 am

the resistance

goobage

via laqx
hat tip to travis hallenbeck

- tom moody

June 22nd, 2017 at 6:57 pm

suggestion

hillarity

The twitter executives in San Francisco shoved this in my face, so I'm shoving it back with a correction.

- tom moody

June 20th, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Posted in art as criticism

paradigmatic cupcake

hat tip m.po, whose screenshots of paradigmatic Yelp reviews led to these sprinkles-which-change-the-way-we-henceforth-look-at-sprinkles

original paradigm

- tom moody

June 6th, 2017 at 6:25 am

kc reference

poseidon

poseidonwake

- tom moody

May 20th, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Posted in art as criticism

better watch out

I made this DVD cover as a thought experiment (previous example). Whereas Hellman's film Cockfighter will never get the Criterion treatment for an absolute certainty, because of animal rights activists and general distaste for southern cracker entertainment, this 1989 entry in the yuletide nightmare franchise might actually... nah.

silent_night_deadly_night_3_hellman

It's a pretty good effort, rather droll and arch as it delivers the goods to the teenage date market. The protagonist is a cute blind girl with psychic powers; the bad guy is the serial killer from previous films (I think) who was revived from the dead by a well-meaning (!) scientist, played by Richard Beymer (later Benjamin Horne in Twin Peaks). More future Lynch actors show up: wifebeater Leo from Peaks and Laura Harring, twelve years before her breakout role in Mulholland Drive.

The serial killer wears a transparent plastic dome on his head that, as the movie progresses, shows clearer and clearer views of his exposed brain matter underneath the plastic. By the end, we even see reddish fluid sloshing around in there. Ick.

The film is never boring but moves slowly. Shots are carefully framed, especially closeups of the heroine, who looks like a Seventeen cover model and is smart, resourceful (at least when she's not walking up to the killer and touching his face), and surprisingly acid-tongued. An early scene with a shrink establishes that she's full of anger over the loss of her parents and that's why she keeps insulting everyone with rude one-liners throughout the movie.

Unless you are an IMDb commenter ("I feel that this is the absolute worst" etc), you can tell this movie was made by a slumming auteur. It's too smart, and the camera work and editing too assured, for the cheesy '80s series that launched with a topless Linnea Quigley running from an ax. In turns dreamlike and sarcastic, SNDN3:BWO is Two Lane Blacktop with decapitations.

- tom moody

May 20th, 2017 at 8:28 am

Posted in art as criticism, films

notes on cockfighter

I made this fake DVD cover as a thought experiment. Like Magritte's non-pipe, this object could not, and will not exist. This is one Monte Hellman film that will never get the "Criterion treatment." Some reviews of the film from internet sources (below) suggest why. A "real" DVD cover (or poster, or something, also found on the internet) is at the bottom of the post.

cockfighter_tasteful

MartinTeller:

Frank Mansfield (Warren Oates) is one of the most respected "handlers" on the cockfighting circuit. He loses an impromptu match against his rival Burke (Harry Dean Stanton) and thus puts himself out of the running for the coveted "Cockfighter of the Year" award. He rightfully blames the incident on his big mouth and vows not to say a word until he's won the prize. Not to his family, his partner, or even his girl.

As in the earlier Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman takes a long look at people competing at the fringes of society, misfit drifters trying to prove themselves -- and make a buck -- in an edgy niche. Frank and his associates are participating in a cowardly, brutal, sadistic "sport" where their only concerns are the odds and the payoff. Frank gets by quite well without his voice because he has little to say that doesn't involve negotiating the terms of a fight. He's an unusual subject for a character study, as he seems to lack much character. And yet, Oates turns in an excellent facial and physical performance that conveys Frank's thoughts, and manages to imbue him with a shred (just a shred, mind you) of something resembling humanity.

The fights are pretty visceral and the film doesn't flinch. I was prepared to be disturbed and offended, but hell, I had chicken strips for dinner last night. I couldn't work up enough hypocrisy to get too worked up by it. [Nestor] Almendros also films them with a hypnotic beauty, abstract flurries of beaks and feathers and blood.

On the whole I prefer Two-Lane Blacktop, but as a single performance, this is the best I've seen from Oates. Although you occasionally get to hear him in voiceover or flashback, for the most part he plays it silent, and does so very effectively. His gestures communicate to the other characters, and his eyes communicate to the audience. I also really enjoyed Richard Shull as Frank's partner, a fun and glib character who provides some of the film's lighter moments. As I've said before, Stanton doesn't do much for me but he's okay here.

This was a tricky movie for me. For a large part of it I had kind of a blasé "so what?" attitude about it, and then it dawned on me that I was actually enjoying it. It gradually grew on me to the point where I was really invested in seeing what this offbeat -- and largely unsympathetic -- character would get into.

Cult Reviews:

Cockfighter is an extraordinary film from more than just one viewpoint. Charles Willeford‘s authentic script and Hellman‘s carefully researched preparations catapult you straight back to the gloomiest regions of the contemporary America’s deep south, where sleazy Georgia locals gather around, cheering and money-waiving, to witness two animals fight to the death. It’s basically a repulsive topic, and also one of the main reasons why the film was a tremendous box office flop at the time, but only through actually making the effort of watching Cockfighter, you will notice the film does not primarily thrive on animal cruelty and clandestine sports. Cockfighter depicts the story of one man’s obsession and how he will stop at nothing to accomplish a pre-determined goal. Frank Mansfield is a natural born cock-fighter. Throughout all of his life, he trained cocks and was considered the best in business. A couple of years earlier, he became overly haughty and lost his biggest prize fighter over a stupid and meaningless bet. Since then, Frank took a vow of complete silence and dedicates his entire existence to the training of new cocks so that he will eventually regain the medal of best cock-fighter. His obsession slowly costs him everything, including the house where his brother lives, his old friends and even the love and respect of the one woman he cares about.

Cockfighter_poster

- tom moody

May 9th, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Posted in art as criticism, films

adolf loos' bedroom

MODERNISM2-master675

Photo from the New York Times, in an article describing the above room, designed by Viennese modernist architect Adolf Loos (as recreated in 2014):

The [room] was devised as a dreamy spectacle by... Loos, in 1903 for himself and his wife, Lina. The bed, draped with a white silk sheet, appears to float over an opulent white fur rug, and white linen curtains mask the walls. The only color that is not white is the azure blue of the carpet.

The I Like & Like blog found an interpretation that's even more colorful:

The white room that Loos designed for Lina, his blonde, blue-eyed, nineteen-year-old wife, was the most intimate place in the house. The white walls, the white draperies and the white angora sheepskins created a sensual and delicate fluidity; every object in the room was white. Even the closets were concealed behind pale linen drapes. This was an architecture of silence, of a sentimental and erotic approach. Its contrast with the more public living spaces attests to a method of composition that was strictly governed by the psychological status of each room. – Panayotis Tournikiotis, Adolf Loos, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002, p. 36.

Yet, it resembles a hospital room done up for Ed Wood -- the clinical vibe is distinctly un-erotic. It also anticipates the hotel room as improvised sterile space in Stephen Frears' 2002 movie Dirty Pretty Things:

dirty-surgery600

(image via the Internet)

Imagine being Loos's child bride and having to live in this environment. No red wine, please! Modernists, you can't live with them, you can't kill them. And lest anyone get carried away with the "beauty" of the room, here's a photo of the genuine article, from the early 1900s (image via I Like & Like):

loos-bedroom-for-lina500

Tales from the Crypt.

(hat tip Deborah Mesa-Pelly, who has a show up invoking this bedroom and other oddities)

- tom moody

April 29th, 2017 at 12:32 pm