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I’ve always loved this short film. Created by legendary cartoonist/animation pioneer Winsor McCay, Gertie the Dinosaur turns 100 years old today.

Going off information from Wikipedia, Gertie was shown as part of McCay’s vaudeville act for the first time at the Palace Theater in Chicago on February 8, 1914. I can’t find any information about the Palace Theater other than the address listed on this photo.  The famous Cadillac Palace Theater, which every Google search has pointed me toward, would not be built for another 10 years.

I don’t know about you but I laugh my ass off every time I watch this and if you don’t enjoy this then I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.

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I don’t care how much you love this song, you don’t get to make this one yours no matter how much you identify with the handsome dudes who were cast to appeal to your sense of vanity and your not-so-secret desire to stab and machine-gun strangers to death.

Did Lou Reed know what Sony was going to do to his song when he signed the contract to this? Did he know that it was going to be completely recontextualized as an ode to violence, cloaked in superficial irony, to soundtrack a pretty blatant nod to the Columbine massacre fantasy that a whole generation of basement-dwellers kinda wish they could’ve got in on? (Don’t believe me? Skip straight to 0:44 and step straight into the mind of Harris, Klebold and Lanza as they saw themselves.) Did he care what they were going to do to it at all, or does standing on death’s door render such ideas as “artistic integrity” somewhat silly, especially when you’re facing one of the last chances to grab some cash for the loved ones you’re leaving behind?

Did the writer of “Candy Says” not understand (or simply not care?) that he was giving this song over to the most entitled, judgmental, misogynistic, homophobic, trans-phobic subcultures in the world? Was he okay with the possibility that one of his most personal songs could be recast as the soundtrack of male camaraderie as experienced by wealthy, frequently-racistmen’s rights-espousing fedora-wearers with fiercely tribal allegiances to companies whose underpaid employees work in some of the worst conditions in the entire world’s tech industry, and whose biggest passions center around the efficient mastery of increasingly-complex and realistic murder-simulation software?

Did Reed fully understand what Sony’s intent was in using his song in their advertisement? Did he know it would be sonically-butchered with new, out-of-tune vocals? Did he care that the demographic that his song would be used to hook are the most violent aggressors against any call for tolerance and sensitivity on the Internet, the same shit-eating bros who aggressively insult and threaten anyone questioning the status quo in any facet of “geek culture” that they feel remotely connected to? How could an artist whose work surveyed the lives of the down, destitute and disempowered think it was a good idea to give his song to a group of people who, indisputably on the whole, mock the very concepts of empathy and compassion?

Did he want his song to become the next “Mad World” or “Hallelujah”? Does he understand how the Internet and Internet culture have warped the meanings of those tunes and turned them into anthems for strangely-compatible nexus of Glee fans and self-righteous douchebags?

Lou Reed was never one of you and despite what Sony wants you to believe, his tumor-ridden liver was cooler than your whole toxic subculture. You don’t know what that means and never will but years of digesting cynical Internet memes have robbed you of the ability to realize that there’s anything in the world you don’t understand and can’t explain away in sentence fragments and image macros. Choke on your Doritos and fucking die already.

http://entertainment.time.com/2013/12/20/macaulay-culkin-eats-pizza-and-we-have-questions/#ixzz2oMHKcIIY

Why do you think you can own someone’s childhood?

Why do you think you can own someone’s future?

Why do people demand an explanation for everything?

Why were the writer and so many readers apparently so offended by this video?

In this case, how superior does the writer feel to his subject?

Do you think former child stars deserve ridicule?

If a child star doesn’t grow up into a Leonardo DiCaprio or Joseph Gordon-Levitt leading man, does that mean they owe you something?

Do you understand the Internet at all?

Did you feel good sticking it to him like this?

When you wrote “where did they find him?” and “where is he now?,” did you honestly believe he was living in seclusion somewhere?

Who does the writer think “they” are?

How did Time.com find this video in the first place?

How does anyone find this video in the first place and not know what Macaulay Culkin has been doing for the past few weeks?

Do you think this video is actually “terrifying”?

Why do you need to “un-see” this?

When did Time magazine turn into Buzzfeed?

Do people still not know how terrible Buzzfeed is?

Do people read Buzzfeed ironically?

Does Buzzfeed really use the money they make from clickbait lists full of animated gifs taken without credit from Tumblr accounts and Google image searches to pay journalists to write actual news stories?

Where are these in-depth, hard-hitting stories that are supposed to make Buzzfeed the next Vice.com?

Will Time disappear from newsstands and become a web-only “publication”?

If they could make a bigger profit in doing so, are there any moral reasons for them not to do so?

Does anyone in 2013 still read news articles that aren’t written specifically to confirm their worldview?

Do editors honestly believe that reader comments contribute to a meaningful dialogue about important issues?

Is there really a right way to eat pizza?

How much of a piece of shit do you have to be to judge how someone eats pizza?

How many of these questions were actually sincere?

How smug to you have to be to write something like this?

Does the writer actually think that Macaulay Culkin is insane, that he posted this not knowing how absurd it looks?

How did this get by editors without anyone knowing or bothering to look into why it was made?

Do people get off on reflecting about “how poorly he’s aged” and still believe that they themselves are anything but a bloated, depressing version of their childhood selves?

Is the writer actually as unnerved and annoyed by this video as he’s trying to sound?

What is the proper level of enthusiasm to show when eating takeout pizza by yourself?

How does the writer claim to know about The Pizza Underground, the existence of which explains the whole video, and still claim to have so many questions?

Did the writer know who The Velvet Underground were?

Did he know who The Velvet Underground were before Lou Reed died last month?

Do people think that this video is supposed to be “funny”?

Is it a “failure” if it isn’t?

Does our culture crave schadenfreude so much that people will rush to mock and judge something as harmless as this, with no frame of reference other than the narrative they’ve constructed in their minds based on nothing but prejudice, resentment of others, and the belief that they are the sole harbinger of objective truth?

Is “theory of mind” a 20th century concept that our society no longer has any need for?

Are we so addicted to nonstop entertainment that such a harmless and short video of a completely mundane subject is treated with suspicion or outright hostility?

Why do people choose to watch a video and respond with confusion or anger when it delivers exactly what it says it will?

Because it would get lots of views from dumb readers excited to watch what looks like a child star’s fall from grace, and is pointless and clueless enough to get a negative reaction out of anyone who’s (A) actually Internet-literate and (B) believes that journalism is serious business (even when it comes to trivial bullshit) was this article actually a highly-calculated piece meant to drive web traffic to Time.com from as wide an audience as possible?

Or is it possible that this just went completely over the writer’s head?

How is it possible that MTV understands what’s happening right now and the arts & culture people of Time do not?

How could anyone believe that the best Tumblr is anything other than this?

Film critic Roger Ebert died on April 4, 2013. That evening, I decided that I was going to write something here about what he and his work have meant to me over the years. Unfortunately I was distracted by illness and depression, bogged down with schoolwork and other responsibilities, and just couldn’t focus on writing much of anything at all here until my semester ended two weeks ago. Obviously, I haven’t gotten anything worthwhile done since then, either. What’s it going to take to get me to write this entry?

Well, I’ve already written it two or three times (each version on pace for at least 2,000 words in length), but it took a shape that I hated and would never actually post, so here we are. What can I say? I just think Roger Ebert was a great writer who understood the responsibilities of his job better than any of his peers, which was to accurately describe the experience of what it was like to watch a movie. He did so using print, television and the Internet, connecting with a wide audience, never talking down to “average” moviegoers or wasting film buffs’ time with mere entertainment news. He was honest and upfront about his priorities and expectations for movies and kept a positive attitude about even the worst films he reviewed. He was a thoughtful and intellectually curious man who mined the world for all kinds of new experiences and knowledge. And he resisted the urge to sell out, even when his declining health gave him every excuse to finally kick back and do just that.

When I was 12 or 13, I found myself inexplicably drawn towards “At the Movies,” the long-running television program that he hosted with Gene Siskel. The way they analyzed and talked about movies… excited me, and I soon became a regular reader of his reviews and columns. This lead me to become a more avid reader in general, and even if his influence didn’t turn me into a great writer, it left a huge impression on me that gave me a huge appreciation of (and critical eye towards) the written word and mass media in general. In helping me understand the world of film as a century-long, ever-changing continuum, he helped open my eyes to a new ways of appreciating/engaging with art and media. As a result, I became obsessed with movies in high school and decided I wanted to spend my future working in them.

This didn’t really pan out but I’m not here to talk about that right now.

Point is, I watched all the films of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and Terrence Malick while in high school* because of his reviews. I got into anime because of a review of Ghost in the Shell that I saw on his TV show. I was inspired by his writings to join the school paper: this lead to a magazine internship and (eventually) the creation of several blogs (including the one you’re reading right now). If I hadn’t discovered the world of film and the myriad ways the movies could be interpreted and appreciated, I’d probably still be addicted to video games and functionally illiterate.

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*No, I don’t this that this made me a special, “precocious” child or anything. Far from it. I only mention it because it was hard to actually do while living in a small town before the age of high speed internet, and without a car. This was my “thing” in high school that I found joy in and I’ll bask in it as long as I feel like it.

(This post is taken from an extra credit assignment I turned in for a sociology class this spring. Figure I might as well milk it for a little more use here. I expect it to be ignored or dismissed as “crazed feminism” or moral handwringing. But hey, I felt like posting something today and this is the best I could do. Come back some other time for more anime ‘n stuff.)

The cover for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way is a typical example of how women in advertising — or in many other forms of media — are not simply objectified, but are commonly portrayed as actual objects, as explained by media critic Jean Kilbourne in her documentary series Killing Us Softly. Here the artist, who’s well known for appearing in outlandish and provocative costumes both in concerts and in photoshoots, is transformed into an actual motorcycle. The image is bizarre, attention-grabbing, and unmistakably Gaga. The meaning or intention behind it is rather vague, and for listeners encountering the artist’s image for the first time, it will certainly leave a lasting impression. What troubles me is the disconnect regarding Lady Gaga’s empowering lyrics (to say nothing of her work for GLBT kids), which often concern ideas of identity and self-respect, and the disempowering nature of the album cover image, which is totally absurd on the surface but has enough potential to affect some of her younger listeners. I’m somewhat ambivalent about this conclusion; why is it allowable for David Bowie (surely an inspiration for Gaga and her ever-shifting public image) to portray himself as a dog and not okay for Gaga to show herself as a motorcycle? Is this a (sexist?) double standard? By the end of 2011, Born This Way had sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

The debut album from Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday, introduced the world to the Trinidad-born star, whose verbal prowess quickly established her as one of — if not the — premier female MCs in the world. Judging by her songs, music videos, and willingness to take risks that few rappers would dare — her verse on Kanye West’s “Monster” was likely the most memorable of 2010 — she is more concerned with breaking conventions than establishing herself as anything resembling what we know as a traditional pop star. The cover of her debut album depicts her as an impossibly leggy doll, legs splayed open and arms missing. It’s at once an extremely sexually provocative image and one that’s reminiscent of childhood, the realism of the image blending the two themes into a rather disconcerting portrait of disempowered and submissive femininity, the polar opposite of the persona she embodies on her aggressive verbal delivery in her music. Gaga’s bizarre cover is simply surreal compared to the rather explicit impression that this image stands to make on young girls who might encounter it, delivering an impossible message about body image to an audience more receptive to it than any other. Again, I’m willing to admit that I’m possibly missing the point concerning this cover. For years pop stars have used album covers to portray themselves as flawless beings existing in an airbrushed hyperreality. For years, female artists were forced to present themselves and define their public personas according to a very limited set of choices. Only in recent years have artists like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and others (Pink, Robyn, M.I.A., etc.) taken steps to subvert and skewer these traditional notions of “sexiness” or “perfection” in the media, often with a healthy sense of humor and self-deprecation,* and by doing so it could be argued that images such as these may be less damaging to the impressionable minds of children and tweens (primarily girls, although boys are not immune from the effects of such images) than traditional “beauty” that falsely appears within the realm of the obtainable. Pink Friday has sold over 2 million copies in the US, and over 300,000 in the UK.

Sorry For Party Rocking, the second album from electropop stars LMFAO, has sold nearly a million copies in the US since it was released over one year ago. The album’s most popular song, “Party Rock Anthem,” was first immortalized in the “dancing hamsters” Kia commercial, and went on to be one of the biggest hits of 2011, spending six weeks at number one. Sorry For Party Rocking features both band members pressing their faces against the stomach of a (presumably topless) young woman, who’s cropped (decapitated?) above the shoulders. Her body is objectified, treated as an easel for the album’s title. Much like the songs within, the album cover could be construed as completely ironic or silly fun not meant to be taken seriously, but I do have to wonder how old most of the listeners who bought or received it were, and what effect the cover image might have on their attitudes toward women or (for girls) themselves.

*I’m assuming that Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj had a hand in producing said covers, and that their image is not controlled from men on high (as I suspect it likely is in the case of, say, Britney Spears) but by their own visions.

I suffer from a really crippling case of, well… feeling old. I know I’m not, but when I constantly compare myself to who I was or who my friends were ten or fifteen years ago, it’s really easy for this debilitating feeling to take hold of me and keep me from enjoying the here and now. Not that there’s anything wrong with nostalgia, which we all indulge in, either alone or communally. But I find myself reminiscing about the past to a seriously damaging degree. I know that the world wasn’t necessarily a better place when I was fifteen years old, but my selective memory of it sure makes it seem that way. I think every one of us is susceptible to falling in to these thought patterns as we get older; the wiser and more mature you are, the more you’re likely to recognize this habit for what it is and avoid the pitfalls of dwelling in it for long. For the rest of us, it’s only a matter of time before we start bitching about how much better everything used to be and how today’s kids just ruin everything.

I catch myself ruminating over this kind of stuff every day and I’m trying as best as I can to break myself of the habit. Culture (pop, youth, Internet, etc.) has always been changing at an exponentially fast rate, and it’s unrealistic (and narcissistic) to expect the world to freeze itself in time for you so you can be seventeen forever. None of this is a great concern for people who’re comfortable in their own skin and at ease with the simple matter of living life and pursing whatever interest sparks their passion. For the rest of us, though, the inevitable march of time and the changes it brings to the world around us can feel like a great injustice that must be resisted or rejected at all costs. It’s a cruel but fitting irony that, for such people so concerned with clinging to the world of their youth and decrying the teens that grew up and eventually took their place (Get Off My Lawn syndrome?), these habits effectively brand them as “old” long before their peers who don’t give a shit grow a single grey hair.

Why am I meditating about this now? Two institutions that I’ll forever associate with my youth have gone belly-up in the past two weeks, which has made this a very nostalgic July. It’s been more than a month since the announcement that Chicago’s WKQX, the home of “Chicago’s Alternative” Q101, would be switching formats from modern rock to news (following a buyout from a group headed up by this pathetic scumbag). Q101’s ratings have been slipping over the years as rock continues to lose ground to pop and R&B as the youth music of choice, so the station’s fortunes hadn’t been positive for quite some time. And anyone who remembers listening to the station back in the early to mid-90s would be hard pressed to find much to enjoy about it in 2011 as it abandoned most of what made it interesting and cool back then, embracing instead some of the most painfully generic, macho, angry and bitter music of the last decade. I remember being young and discovering bands like Elastica, Lush, and The Chemical Brothers, all thanks to Q101. By the early 00’s, this brand of “alternative” was all but completely jettisoned in favor of a new crop of bands like Staind, Breaking Benjamin, Godsmack, Cold, Trapt, Hoobastank, and Disturbed. Kurt Cobain once said that the future of rock belonged to women. It might be for the best that he’d never find out how much of an angry sausage fest it would eventually turn out to be.

Even in its heyday, Q101 was far from perfect, and for every song they’d play from Bjork, Beck or The Breeders (or strange one-off hits that somehow slipped into the playlist a few times a year) there would be three or four tracks of generic modern rock shit. And this was before Limp Bizkit, Creed, or Kid Rock arrived in ’98/’99 and turned the station into a Woodstock ’99 celebration of aggro butt-rock and depressive self-loathing. But over the years, we learned to take the good with the bad, and felt a tiny sense of victory as bands like The White Stripes, Interpol, Modest Mouse, and Franz Ferdinand reclaimed the spirit of “alternative” and scored a few hits that are still rock radio staples today. All this was meaningless, of course, but in the age of Napster, iTunes, and Pandora, I think we all still wanted radio to matter. We grew up listening to it because it was all that we had, and if it stayed relevant, then we still had something in common with the kids of today.

And over the years, Q101 took a few risky stabs at staying relevant. Sunday evenings introduced the “Electronic Trip” back in 1997, where the station would air 2 hours of electronica. This was not to last, as the program was cancelled sometime in 1998 or 1999, but along the way it helped me to discover artists like DJ Shadow, Orbital, Photek, and countless other electronic acts I’d have had no access to in the pre-Napster world of the late 90s. A similar program focused on indie rock would appear in 2002 (2003?), only to fizzle out a year or so later. The most drastic change would come in 2005 when the station went “on shuffle,” breaking up their predictable playlist with more classic alternative hits. It was an immediately noticeable change that felt like a godsend in its first few months. Over time, “shuffle” grew less and less surprising, as nu metal and grunge slowly regained their chokehold on the station, and hits from Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Smiths were phased out in favor of bro-classics from Bob Marley and Sublime. Eventually, Q101 succumbed once again to a predictable, corporate-approved playlist that catered to the dumbest core of every possible demographic, which left the station in a pretty miserable state from at least 2008 until this summer. Plenty of listeners mourned the passing of the station. Just as many seemed to cheer its demise. Both groups could make a good case for their stance.

As much as I complained about the station over the past ten years, it was still a big part of the soundtrack to my youth. My friends and I would listen in the car, in the basement, in the backyard while jumping on their giant trampoline on hot summer days… a lot of these times were boring as hell, but I still idealize these memories to a ridiculous degree. On my own, though, I was busy getting in to lots of music that my friends didn’t know and didn’t care about. Sonic Youth, Pixies, drum and bass, musique concrete, jazz… there was no Internet to discover and sample music from. Instead, I would borrow books from the library — I checked out this one a few times — and interlibrary loan whatever I could. There were two good music stores in town that I spent most of my allowance and early paychecks at. There was also Borders, which I’ve posted about before and spent far too much time at for my own good.


The closing of one-third of the chain’s stores earlier this year attracted a great deal of attention from the media, bloggers, and readers everywhere. Based on everyone’s reactions, you’d have thought that the entire company was going out of business, when in fact most of their stores would remain open. I don’t remember anyone talking about these remaining stores or what the future might hold for them, so I just assumed that they would remain open for years to come. Surely the bleeding had stopped and the company could essentially start from scratch, right? Obviously, I was ignoring the dreadful debts that the company had rung up over the years, which could hardly be remedied by closing a few underperforming stores. Alas, all Borders stores will be closing within the next few weeks, putting another 11,000 Americans out of work.

Most shoppers who first visited Borders during the 90s remember it as a “real” bookstore, one that carried an astounding variety of books and hard-to-find titles. Their music selection was second-to-none, and I’m sure I’ve spent hundreds of dollars or more picking from it over the years. Hard-to-find magazines, manga, great DVDs… you could always find something new and interesting by just browsing. Some time over the past decade (especially the last 5-6 years), this was all RPL’ed to make room for toys, games, t-shirts, gift wrapping, knick knacks and all kinds of floor-filling ticky-tack garbage that management was intent on stocking instead of real books and media. Though the company was extremely late to the eReader game (introducing the Kobo over a year after Barnes & Noble began selling the Nook), the chain had dabbled in selling electronics and video games throughout the 00’s. Perhaps they thought they had to — and actually could — compete with Best Buy. Corporate’s stubborn reliance on pushing the “make” titles, instead of simply providing a wide selection and good customer service, certainly showed that they really thought they could beat Cosco at their own game. Obviously, these were foolish battles they never should have picked.

I bought a lot of books and CDs at Borders that are still very special to me, and I have a lot of good memories of just hanging out and browsing there. Back when the stores were actually open until 11:00 at night, I once drove through a snowstorm on my way home from work just to buy this CD! How crazy is that? Compare that to today, where I can step into a Borders and literally walk out empty-handed a half hour later, unable to find a single thing tempting enough to actually buy. So I’ve been unhappy with the chain for a long time now, but I never wanted them to go out of business. There was always hope that the recession would end, that the company would get its shit together, and that somehow everything would work itself out in a few years’ time to the point where shopping at Borders could once again be an enjoyable and unpredictable experience. But here we are, with stores packed in the early weeks of liquidation sales, foolish and greedy customers scooping up armloads of merchandise that they could have bought weeks earlier for cheaper with a coupon. By the end of the summer, dorky kids will have one less place to hang out, thousands of knowledgeable and helpful staff members will be out of work, and the CEO will surely be enjoying severance pay the likes of which an entire store of booksellers could never earn in a year.

So then, we’re living in a world where radio is a dead medium and brick and mortar bookstores no longer need to exist. I can’t help but feel troubled by this. Maybe a new rock station will appear on the Chicago dial, but will listeners bother to tune in? I think that once you’ve lost them, and lost them young, you’ve lost them for good. The same goes for bookstores. I know that no one under 20 buys CDs or DVDs anymore. Will they stop buying books, too? But… what if that’s okay? Is any of this inherently a bad thing? I can’t help but feel like it is. It’s just got to be! But is that just because I’m over 30 and scared of change? Do I only understand the world I grew up in, and fear the inevitable shift that’s been happening all along?

Sometimes I feel like everything that I do, everything that I am, is sort of fading away. Maybe this is just fine.

From Roger Ebert’s review of Your Highness:

Natalie Portman is the Xena clone, a fierce warrior, laid on for anime fans who seem to regard such characters as masturbatory fantasies.

From Michael Phillips’ review of Sucker Punch:

The film abdicates so many basic responsibilities of coherent storytelling, even coherent stupid-action-movie storytelling, director/co-writer/co-producer Zack Snyder must have known in preproduction that his greasy collection of near-rape fantasies and violent revenge scenarios disguised as a female-empowerment fairy tale wasn’t going to satisfy anyone but himself. Well, himself, plus ardent fans of Japanese-schoolgirl manga comics.

Hopefully this doesn’t reveal their distaste for anime as much as their perception of anime and manga  fans, but you can never be sure. What gives, Roger?

Better use this Borders gift card while they’re still in business.

I saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World a few days after its release, and have been thinking about it every day since. If only I could leave work right this minute and go down to a theater to watch it again, I would in a heartbeat. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed myself so much at a movie. What an imaginative and fun film this was! If you’re reading this blog, odds are you’re probably interested in some of the same things I am. That being the case, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy Scott Pilgrim on at least some of the same levels that I did, so I feel safe in highly recommending that you go see it as soon as possible. It’s smart, funny, heartwarming, and just a wonder to sit back and look at. You owe it to yourself to see it today. You’ll be glad you did!

And if you are thinking of catching it in theaters, you might want to get around to it pretty soon. The film debuted at #5 in its opening weekend and has struggled since, despite a healthy marketing campaign leading up to its release and overwhelmingly positive reviews (currently holding a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 81%). Neither the Internet nor word-of-mouth helped spread word of the film like they should have, leaving it in danger of bowing out of most theaters in less than a month.

Why wasn’t Scott Pilgrim a blockbuster hit? With a PG-13 rating, it was open to any kids to watch and potentially enjoy it (unlike Kick-Ass, which was undoubtedly hurt by its extremely necessary R rating), and up against such films as Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Expendables, and Eat, Pray, Love, it seemed poised to be the default film for any young people going to the movies in August to end up seeing (unless this honor instead went to Step Up 3-D). But alas, the film has underperformed and seems destined, at best, to be a future cult favorite once it’s out on DVD. Oh, and Blu-ray too (which along with Inception, makes me salivate over the prospect of eventually upgrading to Blu-ray and an HD television).

Do moviegoers simply crave predictably reliable sequels with characters they already know (Iron Man 2, Twilight: Eclipse), movies featuring cheap 3-D gimmicks and expensive ticket prices (Piranha 3-D, The Last Airbender), or films that spell out their entire plot in the title (Lottery Ticket, Predators)? Here’s an inventive and fun movie that’s bursting at the seams with ideas and energy, doing things on screen that I’ve never seen before. Isn’t this what people go to the movies for? Or, well… what they used to go for?

Box-office receipts aside, how well-received was the film was from fans of the books? My extremely-limited impressions gleamed from a handful of fans online seem to suggest… not very well. But who knows? Apparently, even the film version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa — almost universally-beloved by anyone with an interest in anime as film — falls short in the eyes of viewers who’ve read his epic manga of the same title. Does this say anything important about either film, or simply tell us what we already know about comic aficionados? I’ll definitely be reading both Scott Pilgrim and Nausicaa sooner or later, so hopefully I’ll find out.

I probably haven’t even seen 50 anime series altogether, let alone 50 from the past decade. But it looks like plenty of bloggers out there have and have been rolling out their top 50 lists over the past few weeks. A quick glance at Mono no aware or Guriguriblog reminds me of just how little I’ve seen and how I could easily spend the rest of this decade just catching up on the last.

I’ve only viewed nine of Roger Ebert’s top 20 films of the decade, but I have seen Synecdoche, New York, his number one choice and the most impenetrable film I’ve seen since Mulholland Drive (the number one choice of both Time Out New York and Indiewire). I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to make sense of either, or if doing so is even possible, but I hope to return to each sometime in the next year.

Decade-ending music lists were being published as early as this past summer and there’s no shortage of sites and publications out there weighing in with their rankings of the last ten years. Metacritic‘s broken and incomplete rankings paint a truly strange picture. More interesting are the unpredictable top 50 from NPR (listed alphabetically), the coveted list of 200 from Pitchfork, a highly-recommended list from FACT (blocked as “pornography” for some reason on the network here at work), and the surprising return of Stylus more than two years after its final update. At some point I’ll likely take a crack at a top 50 30 of my own here. Maybe even this month!

Real blog entries coming soon.

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