Thursday, January 7, 2016


Just a few things/trends I'm pleased by looking back at 2015:

How about the fact that my pals, peers and members of the national N@B community are getting a non-English reading audience? Jon Bassoff, Jake Hinkson, Tim Lane, David James Keaton, Clayton Lindemuth, Matthew McBride, J. David Osborne, Todd Robinson, Steve Weddle, Benjamin Whitmer... Do I wish I were invited to the party? Yeah, I do, but man, I love all these guys and I'm damned happy for them...

N@B just keeps going... in 2015 I personally participated in events in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Oxford, Raleigh and St. Louis, but... does every borough of NYC have its own chapter? Plus I'm pretty sure New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, Austin, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Columbus, OH, Toronto and motherfucking Glasgow all had events last year. Thanks to folks like Scott Phillips, Jake Hinkson, Eryk Pruitt, Jon Bassoff, Mario Acevedo, William Boyle, Thomas Pluck, Alex Segura, Todd Robinson, Jen Conley, Chris Irvin, Peter Rozovsky, Jon & the Jordans, Dan & Kate Malmon, Paul von Stoetzel, Scott Montgomery, Eric Beetner, Stephen Blackmoore, Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts, Renee Pickup, Will Viharo, Johnny Shaw, Ed Ayamar, Nik Korpon, Rob Brunet Jay Stringer and Russel D. MacLean for putting in the grunt work to make these abominations possible.

Lush, quality adaptations of Patricia Highsmith. Todd Haynes' Carol is making plenty of year-end best-of lists, but don't forget Hossein Amini's Two Faces of January. Look at that cast - Oscar Isaacs is perhaps the most exciting actor of the last couple of years, Kirsten Dunst had a terrific year between this and Fargo's second season and fucking Viggo Mortensen is in the most amazing stage of his career. Seriously, that guy is making interesting choices and strange little movies (often non-English language films)... Jauja, Far From Men, Everybody Has a Plan... He's amazing.

How about the re-invigoration of certain platforms for crime-focused shit? Podcasts like...

Criminal - where host Phoebe Judge brings brief episodes of remarkable breadth under the heading of (true) crime. and other serial crimes.

Or how about the History of Hollywood podcast You Must Remember This's 12-part Charles Manson's Hollywood series? Holy shit. Host Karina Longworth sets the scene from multiple POVs, bringing a wealth of context to the bizarre crimes. It was amazing.

And too many people have recommended Serial for me to ignore. Serial keeps getting referenced when people talk about the Netflix long-form true crime doc Making a Murderer - which is a terrifying portrait of railroading by the justice system... Whether or not Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are guilty of the crime they're convicted of is a good question - but it seems pretty clear that neither was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that the police planted evidence crucial to the prosecution's case. Oof. And HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst is another compelling long-form true-crime doc with bizarre twists. Great uses of internet platforms everybody.

TV in general is continuing to evolve and the anthology format which was re-invigorated and re-imagined by American Horror Story has given way to things like True Detective, Fargo and American Crime Story. The appeal of this format is long-form not never-ending form stories where the writers, actors and film makers are afforded a little breathing room to explore characters and setting and can tell a complete story without having to save something for the potential next season. What's supposed to bring viewers back for another season is just the branding and quality of the previous. The beauty is if a season is sub-par it doesn't damage the other seasons' impact. This is good. I can attest that Fargo was even better in its second season and the merciless thrashing you all gave True Detective's sophomore effort has perversely excited me (I'm just starting it, now).

Also it's nice to finally be of an age where I belong to a demographic that's being pandered to by other folks my own age who're making the calls... Yeah, you thought The Force Awakens was some on its knees fan service? Just wait for new seasons of Twin Peaks and The X-Files. Creative bankruptcy you say? A little more to the left, I answer. Bite me, baby boomers. Suck it, millenials. Consider my cockles warmed... in your mouth.

I kid, I kid. I think it's an amazing time to work in narrative arts with the explosion platforms afforded by the higher quality and lower price of technology and you kids are going to be putting us all to shame soon. Happy new year, everybody.

1 comment:

jack welling said...

I am right there with you on finally being pandered to by my own generation of former content whores now calling the shots. Finally.

Bite me, indeed. Who else remembers when the entire island of Manhattan was a "dodgy" excursion. Times Square? Central Park at dusk?

Those weren't joggers. Those were victims fleeing.

Wait 'till the millennials "get a little on 'em." That's backsplatter. Comes from being a bystander to the mayhem of real life.