Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘cinema’ Category

2018-04-15 15_58_43-Greenshot

When Johnny Mnemonic premiered on May 26th, 1995, I was pretty excited to see it. I didn’t know much about cyberpunk, or the fiction of William Gibson. But I was a huge Star Trek fan, and loved Alien, Aliens, Batman, Blade Runner—big, immersive fantasies stuffed with over-the-top production design and special effects. I also liked computers, and Speed had made me, like so many people, a Keanu Reeves fan. Plus I’d somehow heard that this Gibson fellow was writing Alien 3. If memory serves, my friend Philip and I went opening day, buying our tickets and settling in, expecting to see our new favorite film.

Instead, we hated the movie—loathed it. There’s a moment, late in the picture, when a Yakuza member picks up a rocket launcher and starts firing it at the base where our heroes are hiding, screaming expletives until Ice-T’s character fells her with a crossbow. I remember turning to Philip and saying, “She wants out. She’s trying to blow up the film.”

2018-04-15 20_31_01-Greenshot

In the years that followed, I got more and more into cinema, branching out into foreign movies, experimental art films, classic Hollywood productions. I also remained a fan of the geekier genres, enjoying movies like 12 Monkeys, Star Trek: First Contact, and Starship Troopers. But I mostly forgot about Johnny Mnemonic. If it ever came up, which rarely happened, I found that those who’d seen it felt the same way that I did. The movie was garbage, a total joke. Even William Gibson agreed.

Recently, a friend and I were discussing cyberpunk movies, trying to figure out how massive walls of TV screens had become a cliche of the genre. Some google searches brought me back to Johnny Mnemonic, whose imagery intrigued me. Curious, I glanced at the movie’s Wikipedia page, where the cast list stood out: besides Keanu and Ice-T, the film stars Takeshi Kitano, Dolph Lundgren, Henry Rollins, Udo Kier. Twenty-three years ago, I didn’t know who they were, but I sure do now. What’s more, I learned that the director, Robert Longo, was a visual artist who, back in the ’70s and ’80s, used to pal around with Cindy Sherman, Rhys Chatham, and Glenn Branca. (One of his artworks was used on the cover of Branca’s album The Ascension.) And before he made Johnny Mnemonic, Longo directed the music videos for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” and R.E.M.’s “The One I Love.”

I like those videos, I thought. So I found myself wondering if my memory could be faulty. Maybe Johnny Mnemonic was good? I had to find out.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

81U3KDIU+iL

On May 8th, FSG will publish my book I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture, which is available for pre-order here.

About the book:

In I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing, A. D. Jameson takes geeks and non-geeks alike on a surprising and insightful journey through the science fiction, fantasy, and superhero franchises that now dominate pop culture. Walking us through the rise of geekdom from its underground origins to the top of the box office and bestseller lists, Jameson takes in franchises like The Lord of the Rings, Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter, Star Trek, and, in particular, Star Wars—as well as phenomena like fan fiction, cosplay, and YouTube parodies. Along the way, he blasts through the clichés surrounding geek culture: that its fans are mindless consumers who will embrace all things Spider-Man or Batman, regardless of quality; or that the popularity and financial success of Star Wars led to the death of ambitious filmmaking.

A lifelong geek, Jameson shines a new light on beloved classics, explaining the enormous love (and hate) they are capable of inspiring in fan and non-fan alike, while exploding misconceptions as to how and why they were made. I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing tells the story of how the geeks have inherited the earth.

“Funny, incisive, and timely … Jameson does for geeks what geek culture does for its superheroes: he takes them seriously, respects their power, and refuses to hide his deep affection.” — Lawrence Kasdan, co-screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, and Solo: A Star Wars Story

“Self-aware and self-reflective, A. D. Jameson deftly examines the development of mainstream geek culture from an insider’s perspective. He traces the path of contemporary geek media from Lucas to, well, Lucas, celebrating the future-forward thinkers in gender-fluid cosplay gear who will inherit geekdom and arguing that even if cranky critics like me find some superhero movies are getting staid that the geeks are capable of reinventing cinema again.” — Film critic April Wolfe, host of the Switchblade Sisters podcast

“Compulsively readable, Jameson’s Geek Culture is a tasty combination of personal memoir, survey of the rise of geek culture, and defense of the value of geek literature and arts. Enjoyable for the general reader and exceedingly useful to teachers, academics, and anyone interested in the past, current, and future of geekdom.” — Mary Ann Mohanraj, author of The Stars Change, founder of Strange Horizons, and Director of the Speculative Literature Foundation

Read Full Post »

Freddy & BOB.jpg

Perhaps it’s sacrilegious to suggest that Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street had a deep and lasting influence on Twin Peaks. Today, Twin Peaks is regarded as a fairly classy show—prestige TV before the current era of prestige TV— whereas A Nightmare on Elm Street is decidedly less classy, partly due to the fact that it was followed by a string of increasingly campy sequels. But when you stop and consider the two works in relation to one another, you find numerous similarities.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Jack Frost

I’m helplessly fond of ’80s & ’90s Hollywood films with animatronic puppets created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and large fake snowy landscapes constructed on soundstages. Which is why, during the holidays, I finally watched Jack Frost—yes, Jack Frost, the 1998 children’s movie starring Michael Keaton as a hideous animatronic snowman.

And I survived to tell the tale! Jack Frost isn’t as terrible as some (like Roger Ebert) have made it out to be, but at the same time it isn’t great, either—it’s mediocre. So I’m not writing this to recommend that you watch it. It’s hardly as good as true classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman Returns. But at the same time, it has its charms, which I will spell out in extravagant detail after the jump.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

revenge-of-the-sith-anakin-obi-wan-if-youre-not-with-me

Later this week, Disney will release the eighth installment in the forty-year-old Star Wars saga, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. Five months later, May 2018 will see the release of the standalone Han Solo movie, and in December 2019 we’ll get J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars Episode IX. And after that? Remember, Disney wants to release a new Star Wars film every year for the rest of our lives, if not well beyond that. So presumably there will be another standalone film in 2020, maybe featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi, followed by Rian Johnson’s recently announced non-Skywalker-centered trilogy, potentially in 2021, 2023, and 2025 (give or take).

And after that? It’s not madness to ask: Marvel Studios reportedly has MCU films planned through at least 2028. What’s more, while I understand why Disney wants to broaden the scope of Star Wars beyond the Skywalkers, do they seriously intend to stop making movies about that star-crossed family? By which I mean, do they seriously intend to stop making Darth Vader movies? Because if they did, well, that would be dumb. Vader is easily the most popular Star Wars character, followed arguably by Yoda, and I imagine that both of those guys will get their own standalone films soon enough. But you know that Disney would like to make a lot more movies with them.

Which is why Disney should remake the Star Wars prequels. Here’s how.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

mirror bit

No one ever told me that Poltergeist III is a great film—quite the opposite. Whenever the 1988 movie comes up (which rarely happens), it’s usually because someone wants to point out how Heather O’Rourke, who played little Carol Anne Freeling, died during its making, a tragic incident that contributed to the superstition that the Poltergeist franchise is cursed. Otherwise, the movie is maligned, the same way that Poltergeist II: The Other Side is maligned.

Well, I can’t really defend Poltergeist II, which is mostly a mediocre retread of the original 1982 classic, dignified only by Julian Beck’s performance as the evil Reverend Kane. But Poltergeist III, while exceedingly different from the first film, is a classic in its own right, and deserving of greater recognition.

Here’s why.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Hal Ashby’s 1978 film Coming Home (I think it’s a fine film, but not much more), but I love how, toward the end of the movie, during a climactic confrontation (which I won’t spoil), a young woman is seen prying open a window, then starting to climb through it, in the far right background of the shot:

Obviously the film’s title refers to her.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: