Bits of culture seem destined to become in-jokes for a select few. This isn't (entirely) out of privilege, but the sheer luck of being in the right place to receive the good just as they're delivered. The Adventures of Pete and Pete is one of those gems, a surreal and magnificently directed comedy for kids which only seemed to air in the hours kids aren't awake. You can also put MTV's Liquid Television in this category, which helped acquaint me to the likes of Aeon Flux and the works of Bill Plympton.
The only reason I know about Sockbaby is through one sentence my friend Kristen uttered when I worked at University Cinemas in Normal, IL. Sockbaby wasn't nearly as prominent as Fensler Films' G.I. Joe shorts or "Numa Numa", but it was the most important in forming my sense of humor and finding short films to watch. I revisit it every few months and it's every bit as fresh and fun as it was when I was a lad of 20.
Sockbaby fueled much of my waking existence for a significant period of life. Jacob, similarly infected with the Sockbaby bug, and I would quote from it constantly. Our days at the movie theater transcended to, "Hello Jacob," "Hello Andrew," "How we doin' today?" "Hello, what's with no hello," "We're un-Hello now." My love of Sockbaby transitioned to the most obscure Halloween costume I've ever put together. Folks I came across thought I was dressed as a pimp and never questioned the stuffed sock with drawn features I had cradled in my arms. I adore Sockbaby more than most major films of the last few years.
I've written here at Can't Stop the Movies for over six years now. When I started the website it was through a partnership with Danny. As time moved on, Ryan and Jacob joined us, and the content flowed freely seven days a week. Time stopped for none of us. Danny has moved on to helm the essential Pre-Code.com, Jacob and Ryan both became teachers, and I took on new part-time partners with Kyle, Seth, and Quintus.
I'm not satisfied writing about feature-length films anymore. It's hard to pinpoint just when this happened, but if I had to guess it was after watching The Midnight Swim, taking a deep dive into Magic Mike XXL, and being part of a small club in loving Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The critical reception around the first was minimal, the second was largely superficial with the rare insightful review, and the third showcased a disastrously toxic fanbase while critics largely took a safe distance from dealing with the images.
There's not much joy in writing about feature-length projects anymore. I stand by my love of all three movies, but good criticism is part of an ongoing conversation about culture and each film's impact. I still love writing, and I'll be championing the likes of Sarah Adina Smith and Ryan Coogler as long as they're making movies. Yet, the conversation is stale, I've had a rough time finding voices I like to read and compare thoughts with, and as that dragged on through the last few months I've grown dissatisfied with writing reviews.
Short and experimental films have given me a lot more satisfaction than BvS or The Big Short. When I look at the hit log for the day and see that someone stumbled onto one of my pieces on Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, or Kenneth Anger I also see those same people looking up more articles and watching the films. I'm proud of that, and I'm also proud of the way our "Why Video Games" series has attracted the attention of the developers, and fans, of Octodad and Corpse of Discovery.
Moving forward I'm going to primarily focus on short and experimental film with the occasional dab into video games. Projects like my ongoing look at the movies of Denis Villeneuve with Courtney are also part of the plan. In fact, I have Courtney to thank for getting my mental juices flowing again to come up with a framework to work on my motivation to write.
Can't Stop the Movies was absurdly successful for a few months with our daily hit count climbing over 4,000. When that happened I had to decide if I wanted to start looking for ways to profit from the hits. Longtime readers will know I'm a hardcore lefty (in American terms anyway), and have never been big on making money. In the end, I'd rather have a core of people who come back to read my writing than make money off my words.
Quintus and I will be discussing Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne for "Why Video Games", Seth is pondering our next game, Courtney and I have plans to continue the podcast beyond the Villeneuve discussion, and I'm going to write about some of my favorite short films this week. If you've read this, I'd like to know what you want to see and hear. Do you want more video game chats, or thoughts as I play through something? Would you like to see more experimental film articles or pieces on short animation?
I'm excited about shifting my focus, and if there's anything I can produce to make ya'll happy - just let me know.
Courtney Small of Cinema Axis joins Andrew to discuss the tense and paranoid Denis Villeneuve short Le Technetium from the 1996 anthology film Cosmos, and the crazy, fish-narrated, depression-laced, Genie-sweeping Maelstrom.
Courtney Small of Cinema Axis is back to discuss August 32nd on Earth, Denis Villeneuve's first major motion picture. August 32nd on Earth features multiple perspective shifts, a fever-dream approach to romantic comedy, and more of the superb sound design which enhanced REW-FFWD and Next Floor.