- But forget about positioning and context for a second. I think there are a couple of specific reasons why Raiders of the Lost Ark still sings to us, and why it remains one of the most influential blockbusters of all time. To begin with, for a film that at first seems so cartoonish, it’s surprisingly dark: Scary, gory, elemental. Remember, this is a film that essentially ends with a bunch of Nazis experiencing something akin to a reverse-Holocaust -- a climax that still hasn't been topped by any other action movie, in part because of its simultaneously ironic and poetic sense of catastrophe.
- Welcome to "XFR STN" (that's "transfer station"), the New Museum's daunting new project, eight-week exhibit, and transfer lab all in one—an overwhelming attempt to digitize, present, and preserve artistic materials on obsolete formats, however obscure or unremembered. Three transfer stations sprawled across the Fifth Floor gallery, accompanied by television screens labeled for the three different sources of material: the New Museum's own archives, the Monday/Wednesday/Friday Video Club's archives, and public submissions. A small team of technicians huddled over the equipment, while found footage streamed on a projection screen on the opposite wall. There was more to see on the TV screens, too, free of context or identification: fuzzy black-and-white footage of a jazz pianist crooning, an artist's home videos, a clip of a man I didn't recognize being interviewed by another man I didn't recognize.
- The 1961 version of The Parent Trap has Hayley Mills playing identical twins Sharon and Susan, who meet at summer camp and trip out on their uncanny resemblance to each other. At first of course they hate each other, but once they realize they are actually sisters separated in infancy by divorcing parents, they team up to get their family back together. This plan entails trading places when camp is over, and each girl gets to experience life with the parent they never knew. Can you imagine?! La Lindsay Lohan starred in the 1998 remake, but I’ve always preferred the original, especially for its early-’60s fashion. In one scene, the girls try re-creating their parents’ first date and perform a musical number.
- Called Plan B as a working title until someone realized that was a brand of emergency contraceptive, The Back-up Plan perfectly illustrates Kelly Oliver’s interesting observation in Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down that Hollywood consistently promotes the idea that babies achieved through heterosexual romance are more desirable than babies achieved through reproductive technology. Oliver instances the many films in which the biological parents of a child conceived through technology end up having sex – for the first time – after the child’s birth.
- Who the hell was Cliff Edwards? He was a major record and radio figure of the late twenties and early thirties and later the voice of "Jiminy Cricket" in Disney's "Pinnochio" (and thus the man who introduced "When You Wish Upon A Star"). Edwards was largely responsible for the ukelele fad of the 1920's and was, for a good many years, quite famous and beloved. Alas his star burned fast and his money burned even faster. Drink, drugs and divorces left him indigent.
- The iPhone Marimba ringtone, the buzz of a Whatsapp message alert, the slide and click of the tablet being opened. This is the everyday tech music in many people's lives today. But when was the last time you heard some of these old sounds?
[Confidential to Catherine: what is that harrowing soundtrack?]