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Michael Moore has seen the light and offered his latest bit of filmic joy for free. Unfortunately his destributer hasn’t and the video on his site is only available in North America and Canada.
And on this blog. Take THAT, establishment!
Logged onto a.viary today to find this screen -
A.viary is a developing suite of online apps built around Adbobe Flex. So far they have swatch and pallette generators, a pattern generator and a photoshop style image editor. The promised list inlcudes an audio editor, distributed limitless file system and video editor.
Is the scheduled maintenance a hint at pending developments? Here’s to hoping. Come on audio, come on audio.
Last night, right before I went to sleep, I had a movie flashback – three kids, some kind of bubble, space travel and weird aliens on some kind of circuit-board style ship.
Only ten years ago I would have been stumped and would have to wait to accidentally catch a rerun to ever find out what this movie actually was. However, thanks to the wonder of the community chest that is the internet, it took all of nine seconds and a perceptive Yahoo Answers entry to get me what I needed.
Here, as a tribute to those movies, and my lost youth, are those key nostaglia-tastic movies of the 80s that don’t make it into conversation anymore, except as part of a vague unanswerable question.
This one’s for me, for my brother and sister, and for all kindred spirits caught in that otherwise forgettable age of the 80′s, here are those classics that creep in the far corners of our minds like the madwoman in the attic. Torrent Files linked in the title. Spread the love.
Yup, the bubble space travel movie I watched by accident when I was, dunno, seven? Turns out that enticing story of three boys who run a computer program that creates a sphere that can be programmed to travel, holding the boys inside it, was the young work of River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke and James Cromwell (supporting, not one of the boys, he was old even then…)
IMDB tells us, Ben Crandall, an alien-obsessed kid, dreams one night of a circuit
board. Drawing out the circuit, he and his friends Wolfgang and Darren
set it up, and discover they have been given the basis for a starship.
Setting off in the ThunderRoad, as they name their ship, they find the
aliens Ben hopes they would find… but are they what they seem?
Well obviously not. But I don’t remember the outcome. Bittorrent here I come (oh come on, it’s gotta be public domain now.)
Read my lips: THIS MOVIE IS BETTER THAN YOUR FAMILY. A brilliant self-reflexive tale based on Peter Dickinson’s real life book “Flight of Dragons.” Dickinson, as well as his book, appears in the movie in both a ‘real life’ world and a parallel magic world, whose conflict with reality is the basis for the movie in the first place. Fredric Jameson would have loved this film, which stars James Earl Jones as a baddie that would kick Darth Vader’s cack black Helmet right into Chewbacca’s furry face. Watch it and be educated in what makes good storytelling.
I had a chance to thank Don McLean who wrote the title track recently. He looked puzzled that I didn’t mention American Pie of Starry Starry Night.
So synonymous with Christmas in my family the movie causes synaethsesia, and the mention on its name alone makes me smell presents, oranges, outlandish dolls that are also nutcrackers and general merriment. From the freakish voice that guides our boy hero into a secret hangar that houses a spaceship, floating quietly, to those melting stairs that solidify perfectly in midair, to the computer that starts off as a dull automaton, then absorbs the boy’s socio-cultural influences and starts talking like Kermit the frog on ADHD drugs. Brilliant, thoughtful, and fun!
Cultural effect – minimal.
Total viewing audience – 3 including me.
Story-telling ability – 3 billion. And then some.
Ok, what other Canadian made for TV movie I saw serendipitously in a fringe Cinema in the 80′s (that still exists by the way!) features an evil artist whose paintings you can step into, a disused house whose mysterious contents scare the hair off a boy, tramps that tell the boy that peanuts and dead flies wiped all over the scalp will solve his problem, hair that grows visibly, hair harvesting for magic paintbrushes….OH MY GOD THIS MOVIE IS CRAZY. The production company has wonderfully stuck to its crazy guns all these years too. When I saw this flick at the age of 7, I was so scared I quit my Youth Group and had nightmares. Awesome.
Whole movie in lieu of dead torrent:
Ok it’s not a movie but a series. Fine, BUT – Written by peacefully resting Anthony Minghella, created somewhere between England and the US, puppets by Jim Henson and narrated by John Hurt – how was this going to be anything but “The Awesome?” Only a few episodes exist (nine in all), and each inhabit a realm between puppetry, live action, Grimm Tales and modern storytelling, it was usually to be found in the gaps between Flight of the Navigator and Explorers on the Christmas Schedule. Poetic, subtle, rich, the kind of entertainment that makes kids into better people.
One of the first Buzzwords at my boarding school was Weird Science. “Have you seen it?” Damn right I saw it. I saw the shit out of it. And again we stumble upon famous people in movies, a la Explorers. This time it’s Anthony Michael Hall (of the actually quite dull Pirates of Silicon Valley) and Kelly LeBrok playing the role of every 80′s boy’s girlfriend…
The TV series spin-off means that this entry is a little more mainstream than twisted peanut butter hair magic house crazy stories, but it’s a gem nonetheless.
7. Dark Crystal
Jim Henson reappears on the list (in a movie directed by the the brilliant Frank Oz, who somehow manages to be the director of this, Death at a Funeral AND the voice of Yoda) in a wonderful story that…well, I don’t really remember but it was GREAT.
over to IMDB:
Another planet, another time. 1000 years ago the mysterious Dark
Crystal was damaged by one of the Urskeks and an age of chaos has
began! The evil race of grotesque birdlike lizards the Skeksis, gnomish
dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. Meanwhile
the orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of the peace-loving
wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing
shard of the Dark Crystal which gives the Skesis their power and
restore the balance of the universe.
All I remember is being terrified of those puppets.
Made by the Flight of Dragons Team of Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass (who made shedloads of awesome stuff including animated versions The Hobbit and Return of the King, though no-one seems to remember these), this is another GREAT example of 80′s creativity. I’ve included the German cover as it was infinitely more popular in Germany and the country deserves credit for that.
It is my hope that posts like these and so many others might lend a little extra life to these gems embedded in the long tail of internet culture. Keep them alive. They were made for love, not profit. Long may they live!
I’m hardly a mouth-frothing fan of Coldplay, but the new video for Violet Hill, produced by Between The Eyes cuts together archive footage of politicians such as Bush and Blair singing, dancing and playing music to the time of the song.
Additional horrifying footage of the dead of war, terrorist training videos and such makes this a macabre celebration of destruction and oblivion by the elected and selected of the world.
In my bid to do my bit for the ANON war against Scientology, here’s a run-down of the most absurd bits of Scientology lore. It’s batshit insane, and unlike what the liberals are saying, should be banned outright on the grounds that it is not a religion just because some gullible people believe in it’s doctrines.
A lot of people respond with “Oh but Christians believe insane stuff too, so what about them.” Well they’re JUST as insane, let’s fight each battle separately. I am just as vocal about Intelligent Design, so shut your stupid face, world.
Crazy Scientology Facts
It’s founder, L Ron Hubbard, was a science fiction writer before inventing Scientology.
The Church believe that an intergalactic overlord called Xenu, who presided over 78 planets, over 78 million years ago, and brought the overpopulated masses from the other planets to”The Prison Planet” Earth (called TeeGeeAk) where he bombed them with Hydrogen bombs.
To avoid controversy in the late 60′s, Hubbard took to the seas in a fleet of ships he commanded, named the fleet “Sea Org“, took a load of crazy recreational drugs, tortured his crew and had semiclad girls wait on him hand a foot.
David Miscavige, leader of the Church of Scientology, used to beat his aides.
L Ron Hubbard once begged the Veterans Administration for psychiatric help.
Scientologists refer to non-Scientologists as “wogs”. The term is copyrighted. It is unsurprising to learn that Hubbard was a racist too.
The Church of Scientology is not a church, it’s a corporation.
Hubbard was a serial masturbator, noting in his diaries:
I have a very bad masturbatory history. I was taught when I was 11 and, despite guilt, fear of insanity, etc. etc. I persisted.
The Chuirch of Scientology forged bomb threats from one of its ex members to frame her for conviction.
A randomised study of the Stress Test the Church offers had 3 individuals submit diametrically opposed answers – details here. The results all reflected negative results, requiring treatment. Which means the test is weighted towards negativity.
According to the blog post in The Age, Trent Resznor, producer of the experimental Saul Williams album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust is lamenting that after releasing the album online for free, “only” 28,322 paid the $5 fee for getting the good version, after the 150,000 free downloads had been reached.
The Age Blogger goes on to state that “once again consumer response, on the internet at least, has shown a disinclination to pay over the opportunity to get something for nothing, thus undermining the project itself. “
But of course this is complete trash.
The article itself mentions that Williams’ previous album sold 33,000 copies. A drop to 28,000 (and change) is pretty amazing, considering the album is very available for free on the net even after Williams’ site stopped giving it away. And after all, that’s $141,000 in hard cash, presumably going straight to the pair, as they work independently, thanks to the net. And no money is spent on marketing. Add to that that now there are DRM free tracks of Saul Williams circulating like none of his other albums EVER did.
Williams is not famous by any means. But he is awesome. And now more people know that.
More exposure, no marketing, no record company, as well as sales of over $100,000 in the face of the get it for free option.
I would have though Reznor had his own studio too – isn’t this enough money?
http://www.thesixtyone.com is a music discovery site with a points system. You log in, you rate music (“bumping” a song will lift its points, and hence its status in the charts they have.)
The service is free, so it’s a really awesome music discovery/internet radio site, and has been set up by two guys who quit their jobs in the hope of doing something new for the digital content distribution future. Their financing seems to come out of their own pocket, plus donations, plus a significant deal must come through advertising.
So it’s really amazing that when users complained that adverts were interrupting their music experience, TSO removed them - just like that. How refreshingly awesome is that?
Now it’s up to the users to finance their experience. Having studied the Radiohead and Tim McIntire models of ‘selling it for free’ I reckon they stand a damn good chance of survival.
On a separate note – how much do you reckon an artist actually gets from you? If let’s say, Jerry Cantrell broguht out 3 albums, if I bought them as per usual, how much would he get? 10 cents an album? More? So, If I download them for free , and send him ten dollars, wouldn’t he be better off?
Just food for thought. Anyone out there?
A Follow-up to yesterday’s post – after almost 500 comments on Digg, here are the best crazy and profane names from round the world as submitted by Digg Users. No offense to the actual people, all of our names are funny to someone somewhere.
Even names like “Suckmyballs Cockface”.
So here’s the 8 best ones:
8. Steven C Bahls – old college President Biography at http://www.augustana.edu/president/biography.php
7. Anil Diqshit – similar named man here http://www.cese.iitb.ac.in/people/facinfo.php?id=dikshit A Hatian fellow named
6. Gay Love – Chairman of Printpack (http://hoovers.com/printpack/–ID__43085–/free-co-factsheet.xhtml)
5. Dick Pound – (a hilarious book by him features an appropriate front cover at http://www.business-in-asia.com/books/images/inside_olympic.jpg)
4. Rose Mary Marlo sounds like “Fuck em everyday” in Hindi – a nice submission proving that hilarious names are worldwide. A fact that makes me very happy.
3. Mike Hunt - nuff said. A sheriff by that name is found here: http://www.aikencountysheriff.org/
And here’s a Mike C Hunt – http://ego.uwaterloo.ca/~uwdir/Search?uwuserid=mchun
2. Mike Hawk – Youtube video of a speech about him http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=J3qj4KX6yXw
Lucious Pusey – http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=148900
1. Suk Wang - http://nature.skku.ac.kr/~acoustic/user/k-sukwang.html
Hans M Barstad – real man, real handsome…NOT – blogged by bethemedia: http://bethemedia.livejournal.com/22597.html
Best Comment by soot:
“You are traveling in comfort with Chew Kok”
The fuck I am.