Games

Modest Mouse 'Mario' Commercial (video)

The Modest Mouse song "Edit the Sad Parts" is one of their best rock anthems overall, but it’s also the one that most fans seem to miss. It can only be found on the EP Interstate 8, which was almost entirely transferred to the album Building Nothing Out of Something except for a few particular songs. The lyrics are about self-doubt, in this case the personal thoughts of something trying to charm someone they like. The chorus rings in, “We're all so funny but he's lost his joke now, A communication from the one lined joke, A stand up comic and a rock musician, Making so much noise you don't know when to listen." Yet, each verse finds a new thing to worry about, “Why are you judging people so damn hard, You're taking your point of views a bit too far." It’s the intense self-criticism that makes Modest Mouse such a bittersweet band to enjoy, a unique combination of narcissism and self-loathing that everyone feels on some level.

That sense of self-reflection is what makes a protracted video about the history of the Mario franchises commercials set to the song such a good idea. There’s something intrinsically engaging about the idea of Mario being insecure, the contrast becomes so stark when you compare it to his usual “Yahooo!!” self. Here he is selling himself to people in almost every conceivable way: clips from games, Mario jumping out of TVs, and even those old cartoons. The video starts with this rolling piece of paper and those cheesy “Who are you?” commercials that Nintendo used to run back in the Gamecube days. Then, the video plows through every childhood memory a kid with a TV and a Nintendo would have: NES, SNES, N64, and all the sequels in-between make an appearance. As the memories of being young and escaping to video games progress, it starts to nicely highlight the insecurities that the actual song is about as you remember them.

At the very end of the song there’s this uplifting moment where an amazing bass line starts up and you’re snapped out of the melancholy into a foot tapping surge. The lyrics intone, “Think it over, There's the air of the height of the highrollers, Think it over, You ain't got nothing until you know her.” The video phases out on this semi-positive note with another clip from the “Who are you?” commercials, ending with a sheepish and grown up Mario waking up hung-over.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

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This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

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Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

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Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

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7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

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