Monday, October 04, 2004

Cable Catch-Up: Judex (1916)

Dilemma solved. Opting for Feuillade’s serial was the only logical choice. Night one’s installments featured a caped crimefighter living in an underground lair equipped with the latest technological advances, an Enron-style corporate scandal, mysterious benefactors, a phony kidnapping, and the Licorice Kid. The saga continues next Sunday. What’s amazing is how many of Feuillade’s stylistic innovations still retain their power. My favorite: the ‘letters of fire’ that Judex uses to communicate with his prisoners.

DVD: Risky Business (1983)

The sophistication of this movie, which is ostensibly directed at teenagers, continues to impress. I wonder what Paul Brickman is up to now; his only other directing credit is 1990’s underrated MEN DON’T LEAVE.

Normally I’d never make such a blasphemous suggestion, but Brickman and Cruise should reunite for a sequel to this movie. Watching it again, I realized that I would relish the chance to catch up with Joel Goodsen in his forties, with children and a suburban manse of his own.

Miscellaneous: Celebrity Politics

Amidst the hubbub about the first Bush/Kerry debate, some show biz contributions to our national dialogue may have gone unnoticed. Therefore, as a public service, I offer the following from this New York Times article:

During preparation for the debate, Bob Shrum, Mr. Kerry’s top strategist, had a telephone conversation with the singer Cher, to thank her for holding a fundraiser for Mr. Kerry. Cher took the opportunity to advise Mr. Shrum to pull Joe Lockhart, the campaign spokesman, off the air.

“He’s too heavy,” the sturdy Mr. Lockhart, with chagrin, quoted Cher as saying. “You need thinner people on TV.”

Miscellaneous: Links

If you missed it in the comments, it turns out that The State has an official website. It includes the entire text of the Details article I mentioned yesterday, as well as news on a possible DVD release of the show. Thanks to Romy for pointing it out.

Over at Esoteric Rabbit, Matt posts the full transcript of his interview with director Philip Noyce, faux pas and technical glitches included.

This New York Times magazine piece on the success of Nonesuch records has two intriguing quotes. The first, from Emmylou Harris:

“Nonesuch is piracy-proof. Their audience actually enjoys buying a record. When I got into music in my teens, the album was a thing in itself. It was a whole piece of work that had a reason to flow the way it did. You weren’t interested in just one or two songs. Nonesuch is still in the business of supporting album artists.”

It’s an interesting notion, turning ageism on its head and using it as a business plan. David Byrne goes even further, calling Nonesuch’s approach the only solution for the record industry’s woes:

“(A label) is a curatorial effort, a filter. The people who are at the head of it want you to trust their judgment, so that if you like one artist you’ll get to know others. A certain kind of relationship gets established, and it’s based on trust.”

Byrne may be onto something. In a crowded marketplace, taste matters. Miramax established itself in the film business using this strategy, and something similar is playing out in the crime fiction world with smaller labels like Hard Case Crime.