Routine Check 1/16/13


– OK, well, it’s another year. It took me a while to store up enough links to post one of these (either because it’s a slow season or I’ve just done a bad job bookmarking interesting stories), so apologies if a couple of them are going silver.

– I’m excited to see Bill Plympton, arguably the indiest man alive, coming to crowd-sourcing with a Kickstarter for his seventh animated feature, a surrealist watercolor noir called Cheatin’. It’s already reached its $75,000 goal and is now going for a “stretch goal” of $90,000. Contributing gets you a variety of digital goods plus regular updates, which should be more interesting than most since it’s, you know, a guy hand-drawing every frame of a goddamned feature film.

– In the last update, I posted a variety of showbiz folk tagging their favorite media of 2012. One thing not really covered in those insider best-ofs is comics, so I appreciated this collection from Robot 6 of industry pros listing both their favorite comics of the past year and their most anticipated works of 2013. It’s telling that even most of the big-name, DC-and-Marvel-friendly artists and writers here seem more interested in webcomics and self-distributed minis than anything you could find in an average store last year.

nedroid2012– While we’re on comics, I kept thinking I was going to do one of those holiday gift guides or year-end wrap-ups and kept saving these links, but I’ll give up and go ahead and point out that two of my favorite web-based comics, Nedroid and The Abominable Charles Christopher, have new volumes in the ongoing print collections of their work here and here, respectively.

– If you’re like me, the best thing about 2012 was getting a new Wes Anderson film and the best thing about 2013 will hopefully be getting a new Wes Anderson film. This interview with him seems to be more or less pushing the same general questions again and again (Have you noticed your movies are quirky? Have you noticed you keep working with the same actors?) but there are some revealing and interesting thoughts that could only come from someone in Anderson’s unique place in the film business. It also drops a few more hints and cast announcements from his next one.

– Speaking of unique places in the system, I can’t imagine there’s a more interesting read than that New York Times article going around about Paul Schrader, Lindsay Lohan, Bret Easton Ellis, and the making of their crowd-sourced indie film The Canyons, a willfully trashy neo-noir that made an early decision to open up every part of the production process to their fans and and an all-access reporter. The link’s been making a lot of rounds, but if you skipped it from a disinterest in Lohan, take another look. I’m not sure how many universal truths can be gleamed from it since it’s such a specific case — the most famously unreliable star in the world, a self-serving commitment to airing dirty laundry, a revered director who hasn’t worked in a while, and an Internet-famous porn star in a leading role — but you don’t get a lot of chances to see so far behind the curtain, and I know I came away with some pretty complicated opinions on everyone involved.

– Hey, it’s award season, I guess. I digested all of the Golden Globes via about 12 minutes of handheld YouTube footage the morning after, which made it seem not all that bad, actually, in the sense that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made me laugh and Bill Murray’s facial hair looked incredible and all the right people looked like fun drunks. As for the Academy Awards, I’m grateful to their nomination announcements for making it slightly easier for someone in South Carolina to see films like Silver Linings Playbook and Amour. I also hope to find one of the special screenings of nominated short films playing February 1st. In the past, they’ve shown the animated and live-action films as separate packets, which were barely long enough to merit the trip, so I’m glad to see I can take care of it in one night this time.

– Comedy nerds love to talk about the traditionally weird last sketch of the night on Saturday Night Live, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a greatest-hits compilation like the one AV Club posted this morning. They found a clip I’ve been questing after for years, a creepy black-and-white horror parody from the 1990 Fred Savage episode that left deep emotional scarring on my 6-year-old brain when it aired. It’s weird to revisit something like that and have a variety of new angles into it, namely that it was directed by Tom Schiller and that was something of an outlier as a filmed short between the era when Albert Brooks was doing that kind of thing and when Adam McKay picked it up several years later.

– Charles Durning, man. The best. It’s an all-too-common compliment for a character actor to say that their name popping up in an opening credit sequence makes you infinitely more excited about the movie you’re about to watch, but I’m not sure I can think of anybody who encapsulates that better than that guy. If you’re looking to celebrate his ridiculously extensive career with nothing but a Netflix Instant account, I recommend The Choirboys (one of his few sort-of-leading roles, as a ball-busting cop named Spermwhale) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which netted him a Best Supporting Actor nomination for a brief but perfectly executed number. R.I.P.

Today in streams and freebies: One of my most anticipated albums of 2012, Shugo Tokumaru’s In Focus?, was pushed back to become one of my most anticipated of 2013, where it’s finally streaming here. A couple other promising top-of-the-year albums now streaming: Ra Ra Riot’s Beta Love (which I hope will dial back the diminishing return of their last one) and Petra Haden’s intriguing “accapella film scores” album Petra Goes to the Movies. Meanwhile, Pitchfork launched a new service for exclusive pre-release streams called Advance, which has new music up from Yo La Tengo, Toro Y Moi, Esben and the Witch, and more. Finally, a couple of rarity compilations streaming in the form of an extended 2005 album session from New Order and an odds-and-ends mix from Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich.


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