Monday, March 3 2014
Grand "explanations" are simple, it's actions and decisions that are complex. Quantum Leap treated ordinary people's problems as the real matters of cosmic importance.
Wednesday, December 18 2013
Some TV shows just aren’t willing to launch themselves into Christmas joy without also considering the validity of the Grinch's perspective.
Thursday, October 3 2013
Unassuming high school chemistry teacher faced with insurmountable medical expenses turns to manufacturing illegal drugs to make ends meet? Sorry Bryan Cranston, Angie Dickinson and William Shatner got there first.
Monday, July 29 2013
Forget the Brooding ‘Man of Steel’, Here Are Five Ways to Have Fun with a Lighter, Brighter Superman
Man of Steel was more concerned with surly brooding than Superman's more endearing traits. I think we (and Superman) should lighten up.
Tuesday, May 28 2013
The impulse is to "update" Superman, to make him "relevant". But what could be more deadening than making an enduring cultural icon "relevant" to passing trends?
Monday, February 25 2013
It looks like classic TV Westerns "Have Gun -- Will Travel" and "The Rifleman" might be on their way back to screens. Any chance the 30-minute drama might make a return, too?
Tuesday, February 12 2013
You think Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is compelling? Try upping the ante with Crime Classics: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Sunday, December 9 2012
For a couple of rough 'n tough gunfighters, these guys sure do talk about love a lot.
Wednesday, August 8 2012
I Can Hardly Wait stretches the Three Stooges' "chaotic neutral" alignment into an uncomfortable fever dream of pointless violence with an undertone of sadistic cruelty. A failed Stoogesperiment in literary naturalism? or just a bad day?
Thursday, May 31 2012
It'd be a shame if the endless emphasis on youth results in a lack of "grown-up" concerns in pop culture. Here are five examples of the old kicking ass and refusing to give way to the young in mainstream pop culture.
Wednesday, March 28 2012
Precocious cherubs and wise-beyond-their-years savants are a Hollywood staple, but they don't really reflect the state of actually being a kid. Here are a five good, great, or interesting films that are far more effective in portraying that being a kid is a really weird thing to be.
Thursday, February 2 2012
Serge Marcotte's The Sickroom compresses Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor into a nightmarish rush of hard-boiled film noir cynicism that, like all the best literary adaptations, is simultaneously faithful and unique.
Tuesday, October 25 2011
Every generic hero on TV can finish a poetic quotation or identify a poignant quatrain (down to the line numbers). But few can spit Tennyson or Yeats with such venom as these guys.
Thursday, October 6 2011
Oddly missing in histories of the "found footage" genre, Jean-Teddy Filippe's "Forbidden Files" offers intriguing glimpses at horror and fantasy flickering into an uneasy camcorder reality, ten years before The Blair Witch Project made it fashionable (and lame).
Thursday, July 28 2011
Retro Remote nominates Sex Kittens Go to College as Transformers' true precursor. The problem with Tranformers-type franchises is that the criticisms can only annoy people by reminding them of what they have chosen to ignore.
Thursday, May 19 2011
Viewing the world through a haze of vaguely remembered TV shows, tough-guy dialogue and TV jingles, the news about Osama bin Laden’s death quickly turned thoughts to The Unit, the TV series created by once-great writer David Mamet.
Wednesday, March 30 2011
The Fleischer Studios' Betty Boop cartoon Barnacle Bill embraces the pleasures of the perpetrator far more than the fate of the victim, where a cute cartoon pup gets to be a sexual predator and stoke our prurient interest in the 'joy of punishment'.
Monday, February 21 2011
La Femme Nikita's miserable and corrupted world of moral dead zones and US-sanctioned torture forces its hero to make a real-world choice between pragmatic collusion or principled, perhaps doomed, resistance.
Monday, January 10 2011
'Frankie Goes to Hollywood' on the Commodore 64 is a surrealist nightmare in 16 colours, where GTA-style freeform roaming rules, and the band's sexual imagery forms a hedonistic scavenger hunt for aponia, the Epicurean absence of pain.
Tuesday, November 9 2010
Modern day 'political' celebrities can't hold a candle to Paul Robeson, who always flaunted his politics even when it was perhaps most dangerous to do so.
Friday, October 22 2010
When it comes to prime-time half-hour visions of nuclear destruction, there's none better than Medic episode, 'A Flash of Darkness' from Valentine's Day 1955, a surprisingly bleak eruption of nuclear despair.
Thursday, September 16 2010
'Suddenly and with little warning: STRIKE!' So began a 17-day newspaper delivery strike that prevented newspapers from getting to newsstands and doorsteps, as immortalised in the 1945 short, 17 Days: The Story of Newspaper History in the Making.
Monday, August 9 2010
Leave It to Beaver's problem is not that it no longer fits modern social concerns, but that it does so too blatantly. God forbid a modern hipster should let loose a chuckle and thus irrefutably acknowledge dull suburban ambitions!
Wednesday, June 30 2010
Crime Classics, a 1953 CBS ‘true crime’ radio series, seems to be something of a slap in the face to audiences’ sense of identification and notions of self-importance, presenting a vision of a callous and petty world where the individual matters little, and their thoughts and feelings matter less.
Tuesday, May 25 2010
Somewhat awkward, clunky and charming on his TV show, Pete Seeger seemed to trust the viewers in the same way he recognised that TV's priorities don't represent the priorities of the people he meets in his travels.
Wednesday, April 28 2010
Robert Culp and Bill Cosby's wit and warmth in I Spy also established a foundation of fragility and fatalism for Culp's despairing Hickey & Boggs.
Wednesday, March 24 2010
If any wrestling match has crossed over to the emotional realm, it's the epic bout between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, but is it enough to bring sensitivity to professional wrestling?
Sunday, February 14 2010
'Radio Bart' may not offer any solutions, but it manages to compress an extraordinary amount of media history, compassion, manipulation and cynicism into a sharp, quick and funny 20-minutes or so.
Wednesday, February 3 2010
'Radio Bart' draws on 70 years of media history to position itself in that uneasy mix of altruism, morbid curiosity and callous self-interest.
Sunday, January 3 2010
Nothing like spending New Year's Eve with couple of white guys pretending to be black guys during a war-time year worthy of blowing its own brains out.
Wednesday, November 11 2009
The Prisoner's unapologetic payoff of surrealism and absurdism heads into that artistic realm where meaning is defined more by resonance than by immediately identifiable relevance.
Monday, October 19 2009
Jack Webb's glum radio series 'Pete Kelly's Blues' is a sigh of a tribute to the roaring '20s, a melancholic parade of blistering jazz and the pointlessness of its own nostalgia.
Tuesday, September 22 2009
Frontier Doctor's church-prescribing gumdrop-toting hero comes face to face with the unthinkable: a tough-talkin' hard-done bad-girl with money on her mind (gulp).
Wednesday, August 26 2009
Where a thousand stone-faced social dramas have despaired over the decay of interpersonal relations and marital unity, this is the interpersonal angst of an Ingmar Bergman movie saved by a sitcom ending and a live studio audience.
Monday, July 20 2009
Ric Flair epitomizes Roland Barthes' 'perfect bastard', adopting a cowardly and devious state of jerkdom, elevating his coarse existence into some quasi-mythological state of being.
Wednesday, June 17 2009
With attempted justifications of military torture on our minds, Retro Remote heads back to the '50s TV Western to find a surprisingly tough moral stance on the U.S. military's destruction of human dignity and dehumanisation of 'enemy combatants'.
Thursday, May 7 2009
As things start getting a little steamy, Retro Remote 'sinks into nothingness' trying to mix Gidget and some serious film theory.