|Posted on May 27, 2012 at 11:55 PM|
4 Internet Series on Film You Should See
It can often be difficult to find quality stuff on the internet. Especially when it comes to all things film and pop-culture. There's a lot of videos of people just ranting at the camera and even more of bloggers spewing their venom on the webpage of cynicism, but there are a few that are quality that I wanted to share with you on this Memorial Day. There's no joke there, it just happens I didn't feel like doing a quick film review today.
Anyways, below, in now particular order, are four film-related web series that I've come to enjoy and appreciate and wanted to share them with you. There were others, but none I watch as consistently. Click the images or the titles to get to their websites.
Though it covers more than just films, the AV Club's pop-culture travel series is one of the most fun out there. We go on the road and visit places that you've probably seen or heard of, but didn't realize they were real places. It's interesting to see where all of these places are today, what they meant to each film and the legacy they've left behind.
The AVclub as a whole is a great website destination for film fans. But this series is really the only one out there that goes on the road to really explore a small, but significant, part of pop culture. Simply sitting in the Twin Peaks diner or looking through the actual home where the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed makes for a great blend of nostalgic reflection and appreciation that these places are still around. You can't say that for a lot, and I mean a lot, of filmmaking locations.
Living in LA, there's a ton of places I've been by, visited and seen. The United Methodist Church had a ton of filming there, same with Union Station (I always imagine Blade Runner when I'm there) Griffith Park is self-explanatory, the old steps that Laurel and Hardy once used still stand, I drive by the home where George Reeve's killed himself (allegedly) on my way to work every day, I can see Nakatomi Plaza from my building, the Michael Myers house is at 1530 Orange Grove, the Nightmare on Elm Street house is at 1428 N Genesse Ave and don't get me started on the ton of places from Beverly Hills Cop (I work in Beverly Hills). Famous locations all around, and those are just a few I've seen off the top of my head that doesn't even include wandering around studio backlots.
5 Recommended Videos:
Brows Held High is the best series on the web you're probably not watching. You should. If you're a film fan you should, at least. It's a destination for those looking for a bit of intelligence in their internet videos. Rather than cheap jokes and talking heads, time after time Kyle "Oancitizen" Kallgren invites you into a world of cinema and films that you may not have even been aware with. He's engaging, intellectual without being pretentious and often self-effacing in the fact that he's a really, really smart guy kind of stuck doing web vids.
You see, what Kallgren does is what most internet entertainers in the same vein probably wish they could do. Many video hosts and entertainers with this format will take something popular or already viewed as bad and write to entertain you. They poke fun at it. Ham out some jokes and perhaps a skit or two then move on to the next. In the end, though, you aren't really learning anything new. You already knew it was a bad and by sharing in the universal voice of a host allows for a validation of that. It's often fun, silly but rarely insightful. Kallgren, on the other hand, is taking the hard path while still being creative along the way. Provocative more than anything. In fact, his musical video that covers The Man Who Fell to Earth is more creative than damn near anything you'll see from anyone else out there.
The films Kallgren tackles aren't put up to simply be berated, nor are they put up to be lauded. In fact, it's hard to determine whether any of them, well most of them (He did have quite a lot of fun bashing Roberto Binni's Pinocchio) are really good or bad in the end. The thing is, though, if it is something awful, he actually has an intelligent way to show this. Rather than just poke fun at it and yell out how bad it is, he gets into the "why" it's so bad…or perhaps our own perceptions as to the "why" we see it as bad.
They aren't popular films and usually fall under the category of "art house" or "indie" movies. He simply analyzes, criticizes in a constructive and thoughtful manner and uses the film as a means to potential comedy should it come up, not as an end to simply get another video out on the internet and a chuckle. This is bold and brave. It's easy to take something we already know is bad and poke fun at it. That's why there's so many videos about things that are awful and in the end we end up beating a dead horse. But to write something thoughtful and to investigate the elements of the piece, learn about cinematic storytelling and techniques in all forms, keep it all in line for the layman yet speak to the cinema aficionado and be entertaining while doing so...that takes true talent.
5 Recommended Videos:
Don't have 15 or 20 minutes to spend with Mr. Kallgren? How about five? Here we have Ed Glaser and his Telly Award winning Deja View. Simply put, there's nothing else quite like it, and more importantly is that we're informed and entertained by a host who probably knows way, way too much on the subject matter. Forgotten foreign remakes of popular films? Look up niche in the dictionary and that's probably one of the entries.
But it's not just the subject matter that makes this series so fun and intriguing, nor is it Mr. Glaser's magnificent beard, but it's the polish to each video. Starting from a technical standpoint, the audio and video quality puts most internet videos to shame, not to mention the very sharp editing that accompanies it which hits that sweet spot of never showing too little or dwelling too much. Then you have the writing, which is smart and insightful and structured in a beautiful manner that truly educates you from beginning to end and never feels dull or becomes tired. It uses every minute gracefully. Glaser doesn't waste our time, he gets to the point, yet at the same time he doesn't feel as though he's simply glossing over it either. The man knows his material, and he shares all that with you in the span of a coffee break.
5 Recommended Videos:
As quick as these are, you could watch all of them in probably a half hour. But if you want a place to start:
Another short and sweet video series with a focus on the "nerdy" side of things. Comic books, weird facts and cult movies are the way of the game here. Bob "moviebob" Chipman has a panache for the areas that I personally enjoy as well. The entertainment here is through simple presentation and education. It's not trying to be funny, it's simply interesting and often times the humor is more through the absurdity of what he's looking at (a Godzilla movie or a comic book story) than trying to pull out a joke or two from it.
The Big Picture, and Bob in general, is at its best when it isn't trying to be a commentary on things. Rather, the history lessons and the observations are the most interesting. It's educational and informative. He sometimes misses the mark when he's not in his element, but most of the time he stays true to the main elements of geekdom and what he enjoys...and what we enjoy as well.
Bob has a couple of other series of videos out there as well. His Escape to the Movies is a film review series that with, again, a focus on the more nerdy and geeky films than trying to cover everything. I can't say I love the series, but I don't hate it either. His Game Overthinker series is another, but again it's not for everyone. His early videos I enjoyed far more than his more recent ones, and truth is I haven't sought it out in a while.
The Big Picture came as a result of his Escape to the Movies series, and I feel actually exceeds it. It's fun and interesting, and I feel Bob's informative scripts are better than his review ones.
5 Recommended videos:
I'll do a small collection of more in the future, but for this lazy Monday this will do.