Pixel Scroll 10/20/19 Recommended To All To Whom This Sounds Like A Recommendation

(1) NOW IT’S AN APOCALYPSE. The row started by Martin Scorsese’s remarks isn’t likely to subside anytime soon now that Francis Ford Coppola has been even more extreme in his supporting comments: “Coppola backs Scorsese in row over Marvel films”.

Francis Ford Coppola jumped into a controversy over the Marvel superhero movies Saturday, not just backing fellow director Martin Scorsese’s critique of the films but denouncing them as “despicable”…

“When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration.

“I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again,” the 80-year-old filmmaker said.

“Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”

(2) CINEMA AND THE MCU. David Gerrold challenges those two notable filmmakers’ opinion:

I disagree with Scorsese. I disagree with Coppola. They are wrong to dismiss the Marvel Cinematic Universe as “not cinema.”

The final battle in Avengers Endgame was a masterpiece of cinema, ranking with the final battle in Seven Samurai.

Why do I say this?

Because we got to see people we had fallen in love with rise to the most courageous moments of their lives — and when that whole group of women warriors showed up, that was one of the most emotional moments I’ve ever seen in a movie. I cheered.

See, the thing about movies — yes, they’re art. There is true artistry in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. Goodfellas is riveting, so is Casino.

But … I did not cheer any moment in any of those pictures. Was I emotionally involved? Yes. When the door closes on Kate’s realization that Michael has lied to her, that’s a powerful cinematic moment that resonates forever.

But do I come out of Scorsese and Coppola’s movies feeling cheered? No. Enlightened? Maybe a little. But never cheered.

And I think that’s part of their resistance to the Marvel films. A Marvel film is a good time. You experience a challenge, a triumph, a few laughs, and you end up feeling emotionally gratified, even exhilarated…

(3) KGB. Ellen Datlow has posted her pictures of the reading: “Fantastic fiction at KGB October 16 photos”.

A nice crowd showed up to hear Barbara Krasnoff and Nicole Kornher-Stace read from their new novels, despite a lot of rain.

Nicole Kornher-Stace and Barbara Krasnoff

(4) UNWONTED PERFECTION. You don’t remember typing that word? You thought you wrote another one? In fact, you’re sure of it? Granola Rolla, a Facebook friend, takes that sort of thing in stride:

Autocorrect is a poet, effortlessly, without pretense, never feeling like it should explain itself. I envy the confidence with which it edits poetry into my day. Also, I have disreputable gloves on my shopping list. I doubt they’ll be as useful for the housework as the disposable gloves I’d thought I wanted, but such a fun thing to ponder.

(5) IT’S TAKING A KIP. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Phone Call Isn’t Dead, It’s Evolving”.

Talking was the most popular way to communicate via cellphone in the fall of 2012, with 94% of survey respondents having done so in the prior week, according to consumer-research firm MRI-Simmons. By the spring of 2019, talking had fallen to least popular, behind texting, emailing, posting to social media and using chat apps, with just 45% reporting doing it in the prior week. In other words, less than half had used their phone for an actual phone call.

Multiple people I interviewed said when the phone rings unexpectedly, they assume someone has died….

(6) CUT TO THE CHASE. Carlye Wisel, in “Disney Finally Released Details on Rise of the Resistance — and It’s Going to Be the Best Star Wars Ride Yet” in Travel and Leisure, says that Disney’s new Star Wars ride, which will open on December 5 at Disney World, will last 15 minutes, includes trackless technology, and promises to have humor in the grim battle between the Resistance and the First Order. (Article warns where the spoilers begin.)

With multiple ride systems — four to be exact — that guests will experience while traveling on this intergalactic journey, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be one of the longest Disney rides in existence, as guests find themselves being chased by Kylo Ren for 15 minutes.

The latest Star Wars ride will also function like all your favorite Disney attractions combined into one, channeling The Haunted Mansion, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and famed overseas attractions like Mystic Manor for a thematic experience likely to exceed expectations, even for those who have already tried out other Star Wars rides. Paired with its special effects, projections, and blaster gunfire, Rise of the Resistance is shaping up to be a cinematic attraction so over the top, you won’t even be able to imagine what will come next.

(7) ESCAPING OBSCURITY. Slashfilm says tickets are available: “‘Roundtable’ Live Read: Brian K. Vaughan’s Unproduced Script to Be Read Aloud in Hollywood”. The show is November 2.

In the summer of 2008, Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic writer Brian K. Vaughan (Lost, Y: The Last Man) sold a high-concept screenplay to DreamWorks called Roundtable. The movie never went into production, the script sat on a shelf collecting dust, and Vaughan went on to become the showrunner of the CBS TV series Under the Dome and continue his career in comics by writing things like the sci-fi/fantasy epic Saga. But now, eleven years later, Vaughan’s Roundtable script will finally see the light of day.

Sort of.

The Black List, the organization that publishes an annual list of the best unproduced screenplays in the industry, is sponsoring a live reading of the script for one night only in Los Angeles, and this sounds like a cool opportunity to experience a story that may otherwise languish in obscurity forever. Read on for the synopsis of Roundtable, and to find out how to get tickets to the show.

(8) CAN’T GET OUT. CBS Sunday Morning devoted a segment today to “Playing an escape room” (video).

Correspondents David Pogue, Martha Teichner and Nancy Giles, along with “Sunday Morning” intern Cory Peeler, face a difficult challenge: Find their way out of a room before a bomb goes off! It’s just one of many examples of the big business in escape rooms – immersive adventures in which people must solve puzzles in order to extricate themselves. Air Date: Oct 20, 2019


  • October 20, 1965 Village Of The Giants premiered.  It starred Tommy Kirk and Beau Bridges, and is very loosely based on Wells’s book The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth. It scores 20% at Rotten Tomatoes.
  • October 20, 1987 The Hidden premiered. Starring Kyle McLachlan with Claudia Christian in an interesting cameo as well, reviewers (76%) and audience.(72%) alike loved it at Rotten Tomatoes. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 20, 1882 Bela Lugosi. He’s best remembered for portraying Count Dracula in the 1931 film franchise Drácula. Now tell me what’s your favorite film character that he played? (Died 1956.)
  • Born October 20, 1905 Frederic Dannay. Creator and writer, along with Manfred Bennington Lee, of Ellery Queen. Now I wasn’t going to say was he was genre but ESF does say he was because such genre authors such as Sturgeon penned Queen novels such as The Player on the Other Side. (Died 1982.)
  • Born October 20, 1916 Anton Diffring. A long career with many genre roles which I’ll note but a few of here. He was Fabian in Fahrenheit 451, Graf Udo Von Felseck of Purbridge Manor in The Masks of Deaths (a rather well-crafted Holmes film) and he played De Flores, a neo-Nazi in “Silver Nemesis”, a most excellent Seventh Doctor story. (Died 1989.)
  • Born October 20, 1934 Michael Dunn. He’s best known for his recurring role on the Wild Wild West as Dr. Miguelito Loveless, attempting to defeat our heroes over and over, but he has had another appearances in genre television. He would be Alexander, a court jester, in the Trek “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode and a killer clown in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea “The Wax Men” episode. (Died 1973.)
  • Born October 20, 1943 Peter Weston. He made uncountable contributions  in fan writing and editing, conrunning and in local clubs. He was nominated for a number of Hugo Awards but never won, including one nomination for his autobiography, Stars in My Eyes: My Adventures in British Fandom. Beginning in 1984 and for many years after, those Awards were cast by the car-parts factory which Weston owned and managed until he retired. (Died 2017.)
  • Born October 20, 1935 Leg Mailer, 85. He showed up in Trek twice first playing Bilar in “The Return of the Archons” and then being an Ekosian SS lieutenant in the “Patterns of Force” episode. And he Imperial Guard Number One in The Star Wars Holiday Special.  He had one-offs on The Greatest American Hero and the original Mission:Impossible, and he did voice work for An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. Note: until 1970, he used his birth name of Ralph Medina. 
  • Born October 20, 1937 Emma Tennant. To the Manor born and a lifelong supporter of Labour, ISFDB lists nine of her novels as being as SFF. As the Literary Encyclopedia  says “Her work is feminist, magical and wicked, and uses the fantastic and the Gothic to interpret and explore everyday women’s roles.“ I’ve not read her, so do tell me about her pleased if you’ve read her! (Died 2017.)
  • Born October 20, 1941 Anneke Wills, 78. In 1966, she took the role of Polly, a companion to both the First and Second Doctors. She was herself in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. She was also in Doctor Who: Devious, a fan film in development since 1991. You can see the first part here. 
  • Born October 20, 1946 Thomas Wylde, 73. He’s here because he’s got two stories in the Alien Speedway franchise, Roger Zelazny’s Alien Speedway #2: Pitfall and Roger Zelazny’s Alien Speedway #3: The Web. I’ve never heard of these. Anyone read them?  He’s also got two stories in L. Sprague de Camp’s Doctor Bones series as well. 
  • Born October 20, 1958 Lynn Flewelling, 61. The lead characters of her Nightrunner series are both bisexual, and she has stated this is so was because of “the near-absence of LGBT characters in the genre and marginalization of existing ones.” (Strange Horizon, September 2001) The Tamír Triad series is her companion series to this affair


(12) UP ALL NIGHT. In the Washington Post Magazine, Mikaela Lefrak profiles Andrew Aydin, whose day job is working for Rep. John Lewis and whose night-time job was helping Rep. Lewis write the Eisner Award-winning March. “He’s a Hill staffer for Rep. John Lewis by day — and an award-winning graphic novelist by night”.

…While they were writing “March,” they would spend hours on the phone combing through Lewis’s memories of sit-ins at whites-only lunch counters and the Bloody Sunday attacks during the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march. Occasionally they’d even fall asleep while still on the phone. “It reminded me of when sometimes Martin Luther King Jr. would call me late at night and he would fall asleep, and then I would fall asleep,” Lewis told me. “We’d talk and talk.”

Both men drew inspiration for the project from the 1957 “Montgomery Story” comic book that Lewis read as a teen. (It sold for 10 cents a copy.) They also looked to successful graphic memoirs like Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” and Art Spiegelman’s “Maus.”

(13) WATCHMEN. The New York Times James Poniewozik says Lindelof’s TV adaptation delivers “a mystifying world you want to spend time in.” — “Review: ‘Watchmen’ Is an Audacious Rorschach Test”.

Damon Lindelof’s entertaining comic-book rethink takes on the Big Bad of white supremacy, explosively and sometimes unsteadily.

Many a superhero origin story involves exposure to a volatile substance — something dangerous, radioactive, caustic — that can be powerful if mastered, ruinous if uncontrolled.

In HBO’s “Watchmen,” beginning Sunday, that fissile storytelling material is history: specifically, America’s legacy of white supremacy. The first episode begins with the 1921 riot in Tulsa, Okla., in which white mobs rampaged in the prosperous “Black Wall Street,” massacring African-Americans in the street and strafing them from above with airplanes. A small boy’s parents pack him onto a car that’s fleeing the mayhem, like Kal-El being sent from Krypton. But there is no Superman flying to the rescue.

With that opening, Damon Lindelof (“Lost,” “The Leftovers”) reframes the universe that the writer Alan Moore and the artist Dave Gibbons created in the 1980s comics series. Where Moore wrote an alternative history of Cold War America — a pre-apocalyptic dystopia in which masked vigilantes have been outlawed — Lindelof reaches back and forward in time to root his caped-crusaders story in a brutal American tragedy.

The choice invests this breathtaking spectacle with urgency. “Watchmen” is a first-class entertainment out of the box, immediately creating a sad and wondrous retro-futuristic world. It takes longer, though, to get a handle on the complicated and all-too-real material it uses as its nuclear fuel….

(14) TOPIC OF CONVERSATION. Also in the Washington Post Magazine, in the Date Lab column, Neil Drumming explained what happened when the Post arranged for Piotr Gregowski and Claire Wilhelm to go on a blind date. “Date Lab: He worried that he sounded a little too excited about a fantasy novel”.

Things picked up when Claire mentioned that she’d been reading The Name of the Wind. a fantasy novel from The Kingfisher Chronicles series by Patrick Rothfuss.  Piotr is, as he puts it, ‘a huge fantasy nerd.’ ‘He was very excited to talk about that,’ said Claire.  He taught her how to pronounce the name of the novel’s main character, Kvothe.  (It’s Ka-Voth-ee.)  Piotr loosened up considerably on the topic of fantasy fiction. ‘Probably too much for a first date,’ he told me.  He needn’t have been concerned; a self-proclaimed fantasy nerd herself, Claire described him as ‘just the right amount of nerd.’  ‘We had a lot in common,’ she said.


“Claire told me she didn’t feel much of an attraction, either, but ‘I would maybe have gone out with him if he had asked.’  In the end, she  considers the date a success because ‘I got to talk about books I like.’

But they didn’t go out again.

(15) AFTER A DNA TEST. Severance recommends, “If you want to comfort someone who’s had a DNA surprise, avoid making these 10 comments.”

Until recently, most people likely haven’t encountered someone who’s been knocked off balance by a DNA test result, so it’s understandable they might not appreciate the magnitude of the impact. But it’s just a matter of time. Mind-blowing DNA revelations are becoming so common that some DNA testing companies have trained their customer service staff representatives to respond empathetically. While those employees may know the right thing to say, here in the real world the people around us often haven’t got a clue how it feels — like a punch to the gut.

If you’ve become untethered from your genetic family, you might get a second surprise: some of your friends and loved ones may be remarkably unsympathetic, often infuriatingly judgmental, and sometimes even hostile. It’s clear that although DNA surprises have become ubiquitous, social attitudes haven’t kept pace, and a stigma remains….

3. Blood doesn’t make family.

This tries to mollify us and discount our feelings at the same time. Blood is exactly what makes family, consanguinity being the first definition of kinship. Certainly there are also families of affinity, but the familial love we feel for them doesn’t alter the fact that our blood relatives exist and they matter to us.

(16) SOCIABLE SLIME. “‘The Blob,’ A Smart Yet Brainless Organism Fit For Sci-Fi, Gets Its Own Exhibit”NPR has the story.

A brainless, bright-yellow organism that can solve mazes and heal itself is making its debut at a Paris zoo this weekend.

At least so far, “the blob” is more benevolent than the ravenous star of its 1950s sci-fi film classic namesake.

Time-lapsed videos of the blob show a slimy organism rapidly multiplying in size. How fast exactly? The blob can sprint about four centimeters per hour, according to the Paris Zoological Park

The blob is neither animal, nor plant. And although Physarum polycephalum — Latin for “many-headed slime” — is classified as a type of slime mold, scientists now consider the creature unrelated to fungi.

…The slime mold, which lacks a nervous system, is capable of advanced decision-making, learning and long-term memory storage, according to Audrey Dussutour, who studies unicellular organisms with the French National Center for Scientific Research.

“It can find its way through a maze, it can construct efficient transport networks, sometimes better than us, actually,” Dussutour said in an interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition.

(17) THE LONG HAUL. “Qantas completes test of longest non-stop passenger flight” — note change in approach to jet lag.

Australian carrier Qantas has completed a test of the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight as part of research on how the journey could affect pilots, crew and passengers.

The Boeing 787-9 with 49 people on board took 19 hours and 16 minutes to fly from New York to Sydney, a 16,200-km (10,066-mile) route.

Next month, the company plans to test a non-stop flight from London to Sydney.

Qantas expects to decide on whether to start the routes by the end of 2019.

If it goes ahead with them, the services would start operating in 2022 or 2023.

…Passengers set their watches to Sydney time after boarding and were kept awake until night fell in eastern Australia to reduce their jetlag.

Six hours later, they were served a high-carbohydrate meal and the lights were dimmed to encourage them to sleep.

On-board tests included monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness as well as exercise classes for passengers and analysis of the impact of crossing so many time zones on people’s bodies.

(18) USEFUL SJWC? BBC has video of “Mr London Meow: The therapy cat visiting hospitals”. Much better company than The Blob.

Mr London Meow is a therapy cat who goes into some of London’s hospitals to offer therapeutic care to patients.

At the Royal London in Whitechapel he is loved not just by the patients, but by the staff as well.

(19) ANOTHER POTTERVERSE INSIGHT NOBODY ASKED FOR. Don’t read this Clickhole post if you’re sensitive to insults against Italians. “Big Step Backward: J.K. Rowling Has Revealed That Dementors Are The Wizarding World’s Version Of Italians”.

Buckle up, Harry Potter fans, because J.K. Rowling’s latest bombshell about the series definitely isn’t doing anything for inclusivity: The bestselling author has revealed that Dementors are the wizarding world’s version of Italians.

(20) FOR YOUR VIEWING TERROR. Vogue nominates “The 40 Best Spooky Movies to Watch for Halloween”. Three of them are —


A Disney Channel original movie from the era before they were all about tweens becoming pop stars. (Stream it on Hulu and Amazon.)

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

If you’ve been into the sexy new Sabrina show, revisit the quirky original. You won’t be disappointed. (Stream it on Amazon.)

Practical Magic

You’ll want to become a witch after watching this ’90s cinematic staple. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star as witchy sisters navigating love, death, and magic. (Stream it on Amazon.)

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Olav Rokne, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller with an assist from Anna NImmhaus.]

59 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/20/19 Recommended To All To Whom This Sounds Like A Recommendation

  1. Andrew says 20 hours of reading time. Woohoo.

    Oh you wish. It’s hard to stay alert that long. I had a flight close to that duration courtesy of Uncle Sam back in the Eighties to a country in Asia we weren’t in (hence the planes burning on the runways as we landed at the airport ) and you don’t function well for that whole period of time. Coffee doesn’t help, booze certainly doesn’t either, sleep is elusive.

    I know we’ve better meds for adapting the body to long distance travel but it’s still hard on the brain to be conscious that long. I know as my head trauma occasionally decides I’m going to awake for days on end. The longest was last Thanksgiving when I was up for about a hundred hours.

  2. @Cat: Acknowledged. I’ve flown to the UK a couple of times, and got a lot of reading done – but not 20 hours worth.

  3. (19) Potterverse

    Your summary didn’t make sense to me, so I clicked through to read Rowling’s tweets. I am now glad I was never a Harry Potter fan.

  4. @10: That’s an interesting bit about Dannay, but ISTM a weak rationalization; were the Sturgeon stories themselves genre? I know Sturgeon wrote a modest book’s worth of non-genre Westerns, but ISTM that if any were published under a house name they wouldn’t make that house name genre, let alone whoever owned it.

    @19: My first reaction is WTF was she on? — she’s made goofs before (e.g. in discussions of Native Americans), but nothing this wholesale.

    edit: Fifth!

  5. (1)
    Have they never heard of entertainment as a goal of movies, TV, or theater? Are they really that wrapped up in making films with Important Messages?

  6. relatively certain clickhole is one of those attempts at a satire site but it’s so difficult to tell for certain these days

  7. (19) In other news from Clickhole: The sorting hat sometimes sorted kids into the New York Mets, the whole Harry Potter series is being reissued in an all-italics edition and Daniel Radcliffe is Chinese.

    It’s a parody.

  8. Birthday correction: Anneke Wills was a companion to the First and Second Doctors, not Second and Third. (Fans of the show know well that the Doctor didn’t take any companions with him in the 2 -> 3 transition.)

    John Scalzi also had a take on the MCU thing, which he posted on Twitter and then collected on his blog: A Brief Thread on Marvel Films

  9. Coppola’s remarks about cinema remind me of the people who want to divide written-down art into “literature” and something that somehow ain’t “literature”–or the huge range of made-things-that-aren’t-simply-useful into “art” and “not-art,” usually on the basis of some kinds of responses to said objects being better or more important or more improving than others. If a movie is the rough equivalent of a rollercoaster ride rather than a profound depiction of the human condition, it’s still a movie–cinema. “Frere Jacques” isn’t the Mahler Second, but they’re both music.

  10. (5) Honestly when my phone rings unexpectedly (and from a number that’s not already in my contacts) I assume that it’s a scammer.

    When I was a kid and my family moved to Pennsylvania, we had the somewhat more annoying problem that our new phone number had previously belonged to an insurance company’s fax line, so we got frequent calls that were nothing but fax tones. They died down after a while but my parents did get in the habit of turning off the ringtone when they went to bed.


  11. I like films and I like films by Scorcese and Coppola and I like art films that play in small cinemas that only have one screen and the staff are all over 25 and are in languages I don’t speak and the film I was most excited about seeing this year was Marvel’s Avenger’s Endgame.

    Cinema can do lots of things and lots of things can be good cinema. However, there are a few things that (currently) really only cinema can do. The Marvel movies are very much making use of the cinematic medium as it currently is. It is absurd to see them as not a key part of the medium when they clearly are so well suited to it.

  12. 19:

    From Wikipedia:
    “ClickHole is a satirical website from The Onion that parodies clickbait websites such as BuzzFeed and Upworthy. It was launched on June 12, 2014, in conjunction with The Onion’s decision to stop its print edition and shift its focus exclusively to the internet.”

    If you want to see their other utterly true claims about Rowling, try https://www.clickhole.com/tag/jk-rowling

  13. (2) Is this still going on? I read Scorsese’s original comments, and while I don’t necessarily agreed with him, I thought he had a point, and a defensible one. And if any person has the right to define what “cinema” is in an atypical way, then Scorsese ought to be one of them.

    (17) For all that long-distance flying has been around for so long, I’m surprised we know so little about how to deal with jet lag, and haven’t studied it systematically. Since I’m about to embark on a real long-distance flight next year, I’m wondering myself how to deal with it.

  14. 2) I’m hoping George Lucas might get involved. I’d be interested to know what he has to say about it, and what his good friend Coppola has to say about Star Wars.

  15. @Karl-Johan Norén: I was listening to the promo for the new season of Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry the other day in which they discuss some of their favourite weird scientific studies – one that came up was an experiment involving the use of viagra on hamsters to see if it sped up their recovery after simulated jetlag. Anyway apparently, at least in hamsters, it did have a positive effect.

  16. “I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again,”

    Look. I get it. It’s not their bag. It’s fine.

    But Scorsese has made the same Mafia movie four times.

  17. I think Coppola and Scorsese are right, so long as they had stuck the words “my”, “mine” in front of certain other nouns (like movie, cinema, film), and if those reading their opinions didn’t receive them as pronouncements from Mt. Olympus that they had to agree with or risk the fates.

    On the other hand, I thought Watchmen’s first espisode was a terribly confused thing that wasn’t sufficiently confused to make me care enough to stay up that late to watch it. Which opinion will not bother Martin nor Francis one little bit.

  18. Chip Hitchcock says: That’s an interesting bit about Dannay, but ISTM a weak rationalization; were the Sturgeon stories themselves genre? I know Sturgeon wrote a modest book’s worth of non-genre Westerns, but ISTM that if any were published under a house name they wouldn’t make that house name genre, let alone whoever owned it.

    Good question. I think ISFDB tends to cast a very wide net sometimes. I’ve not read those particular Queens so can’t comment on if they’ve got got genre elements.

  19. 2) My take on Coppola and Scorsese is that they are unhappy that the superhero movies are sucking lots of money and attention from the film ecosystem. As long as it was just the first Superman and Batman movies, it was fine. But when the Marvel films started blowing up, they felt that the old system (which supported their careers) was threatened. Thus their screeds. As for the rest, I’m afraid that Marvel movies are movies in the old pulp way. Not The Godfather, but still movies.

  20. Watchmen: I grew up in Tulsa. In my time there I heard about the Greenwood Massacre once, and it wasn’t in history class. (It was from a fairly in-depth story in the local TV news, probably Channel 8 because after their Friday 10 PM showing came the weekly creature movie so that’s what I watched.) I also never heard about Bass Reeves, who was real and who was a genuine badass, until very recently.

    Thanks for the consecutive title credits. I’ll try not to let it happen again.

  21. Micheal Dunn was also in an episode of GET SMART, playing the head of a spy agency, and he was called “Mr. Big.”

  22. @steve davidson: Which is pretty much what Scorsese did: “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being”.

    Now, I disagree with the definition of “cinema” that Scorsese gave, but I’m not going to critique his statement based on my own definitions. And using his own definition, I do think he has a point: most of the MCU movies are very shallow in their personal interactions. Things are starting to change there (see Captain Marvel and Black Panther), but it’s going up from a very low level.

  23. Robert Whitaker Sirignano notesMicheal Dunn was also in an episode of GET SMART, playing the head of a spy agency, and he was called “Mr. Big.”

    And the episode was named “Mr. Big”

  24. Watchmen: I’m very unlikely to see this soon, if at all, but is there actually any connection to your actual Watchmen? The main plot sounds like it’s about as connected to Watchmen as the Anonymous movement was to V for Vendetta.

  25. Cat: I was working with my memory of the show. I didn’t recall the name of the episode, just the joke and the situation and I haven’t seen the show since it went of the air.

  26. @nickpheas: Yes, very much so. (Not exclusively: Vietnam is a state of the US, all cars are electric, cable news runs spysat footage of Dr Manhattan doing something on Mars, a newspaper headline announces Veidt’s death, and white nationalist terrorists are cosplaying Rorschach. Also it occasionally rains poisonous baby squids in Tulsa.)

  27. @Karl-Johan Norén: saying “the cinema of …” is a huge backtrack from declaring that something else is not cinema at all. Claiming that the MCU is not cinema because it does not have intense interpersonals is like saying that Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy isn’t fantasy because it doesn’t have the huge battles of The Lord of the Rings; there are many things movies can do, so demanding that they do one of them in particular is a stretch (to be polite).

    @Cat Eldridge: do you know anything about the mechanisms of ISFDB? I’ve made a few point notations in Wikipedia but I haven’t felt the urge to play in ISFDB, so I don’t know whether (e.g.) an entry claimed to be genre can be suspended or dropped by some individual or collective of ?senior? members.

  28. Wrong birth year for Peter Weston: should be 1943, not 1934.

    As a teenager I used to read every Ellery Queen novel as they appeared. There are no fantasy elements in The Player On The Other Side, though I remember it as being a conspicuous return to form for the author. The next Queen novel, And On The Eighth Day, I remember as being distinctly odd, unsurprising once you know it was written by Avram Davidson.

  29. Jack Vance also wrote an Ellery Queen novel. I never read it — I only remember that he wanted to call it “Strange She Hasn’t Written,” which to me was a terrific title and very evocative. So of course they changed it.

  30. The main thing I remember about Ellery Queen (excluding the TV series) is that in a Man From U.N.C.L.E. novel Napoleon Solo was able to figure out that the arrangement of a murder victim’s body was a reference to an Ellery Queen mystery and thereby uncover what the bad guys were doing. This seemed to imply an extraordinary familiarity with popular culture on the part of U.N.C.L.E. agents.

  31. Chip Hitchcock asks Cat Eldridge: do you know anything about the mechanisms of ISFDB? I’ve made a few point notations in Wikipedia but I haven’t felt the urge to play in ISFDB, so I don’t know whether (e.g.) an entry claimed to be genre can be suspended or dropped by some individual or collective of ?senior? members.

    No idea. It is possible to sign as an editor there but I haven’t I’m more amused than annoyed by the broadness of what they consider to genre. I think, to give an example, they pretty much list everything Bradbury did including The Art of Playboy and Moby Dick: A Screenplay.

  32. Lisa Goldstein says Jack Vance also wrote an Ellery Queen novel. I never read it — I only remember that he wanted to call it “Strange She Hasn’t Written,” which to me was a terrific title and very evocative. So of course they changed it.

    So what title did they settle on?

  33. ISFDB’s content inclusion policy is here. Note particularly “Works (both fiction and non-fiction) which are not related to speculative fiction, but were produced by authors who have otherwise published works either of or about speculative fiction over a certain threshold.”


  34. (1) In the mid-90s, peak Rom-Com time, Coppola made a Disney-payed Rom-Com called “Jack” featuring the arguably biggest comedy-star of that time, Robin Williams. That movie is as much a corporate film as the MCU is now. Coppola responded to critism regarding the movie:

    Jack was a movie that everybody hated and I was constantly damned and ridiculed for. I must say I find Jack sweet and amusing. I don’t dislike it as much as everyone, but that’s obvious—I directed it. I know I should be ashamed of it but I’m not. I don’t know why everybody hated it so much. I think it was because of the type of movie it was. It was considered that I had made Apocalypse Now and I’m like a Marty Scorsese type of director, and here I am making this dumb Disney film with Robin Williams. But I was always happy to do any type of film.

    He is saying: Just because he does “artsy” movies, it doesnt follow that he could do movies for a broader audience. And rightfully so.
    Calling MCU-movies “despicable” is just one step removed at complaining about the audience themselves, that are watching these “despicable” movies. And that smells like sour grapes to me. Look, if you say: “Im doing high cinema, I dont care about how many people watch the movies! They are art!” then you should not complain that other movies are better – chose a yardstick and stick (haha) with it.
    The other interpretation is that he is just using this “controversy” (i.e. pissing on opther peoples yum) to drum up some coverage about his new project. Either way, it doesnt look good. Different people like different things and thats a good thing.

    (Plus I bet he hasnt seen any of the movies)

  35. Goobergunch notes ISFDB’s content inclusion policy is here. Note particularly “Works (both fiction and non-fiction) which are not related to speculative fiction, but were produced by authors who have otherwise published works either of or about speculative fiction over a certain threshold.”

    Seriously? Bradbury’s Death Is a Lonely Business Is also there and that is a mystery with no fantastical elements. I said I was more amused than annoyed but it does say it’s a database of SF and Fantasy. It doesn’t really list everything an author has done, does it?

  36. The example they specifically give is “Poul Anderson’s mysteries and his non-fiction book about thermonuclear weapons will be included”. I usually see them on author pages at the bottom under “Non-Genre Titles”.

  37. I read the Sturgeon Queen, The Player on the Other Side, years ago, and remember very little about it except that when I found out that it was actually by Theodore Sturgeon, I went: “Huh. Well, that explains THAT.” But I’m not quite sure why I felt that way–prose style, maybe?

    On the other hand, one of the Avram Davidson Queen books, And on the Eigth Day, is very definitely some sort of supernatural genre, if I’m remembering it correctly. Still seems a bit of a stretch to list “Ellery Queen”(Frederick Dannay) as an sf/f writer, though.

  38. Lithgow was also in 2010 (definitely SF), LA Story (elements of fantasy, including a sentient traffic sign), and The Manhattan Project, in which a teenager builds an atomic bomb (genre-adjacent, in my mind).

    @Ronald Payne
    “But Scorsese has made the same Mafia movie four times.”

    Scorsese has released 3 movies with organized crime as a major theme (Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed). If it is your impression that they are the same movie, then you should ask for your ticket money back — the theaters didn’t show you the films I saw and must have pulled a bait-and-switch on you.

    A fourth movie, The Irishman, also has organized crime themes, but it hasn’t even been released yet, so I can’t imagine how you could determine it is the “same movie”. That’s a hard judgment to make without actually watching a film.

  39. @Mary Frances: There’s certainly a spooky, unreal feeling about “On the Eighth Day,” with some coincidences that are implied to be supernatural. It’s a terrific book regardless of genre (I recommended it to someone just this weekend).

  40. Vance produced three books as “Ellery Queen”: The Four Johns, A Room to Die In, and The Madman Theory. I know that Jack disclaimed them because the editors changed his texts–they weren’t even pseudonymous Jack Vance books. I don’t know which one was originally Strange She Hasn’t Written–I’m sure the information is in one of the more thorough Vance bibliographies that I’m too lazy to get up and consult right now. The Queen titles were all included in the Vance Integral Edition.

  41. 10) Bela Lugosi played Roxor, the villain of the “Chandu the Magician” (1932) movie serial. He has a wonderful bit of scenery chewing in the final reel while gloating to himself about how destructive his death ray will be. Strangely enough, he would return to play Chandu in the 1934 sequel, “The Return of Chandu”

  42. (1) “we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration.”

    I find this hilarious coming from the man who directed a version of Dracula mostly beloved for its set and costume design.

  43. Mary Francis says On the other hand, one of the Avram Davidson Queen books, And on the Eigth Day, is very definitely some sort of supernatural genre, if I’m remembering it correctly. Still seems a bit of a stretch to list “Ellery Queen”(Frederick Dannay) as an sf/f writer, though.

    Certainly that was not the audience of the Queen books which could easily be considered American cozies. But then I hold that true of the Nero Wolfe series as well.

  44. 10) My favourite parts with Bela Lugosi is his strange appearances in Ed Woods Glen or Glenda. Why does he suddenly appear, talking about a green dragon sitting on your doorstep, eating little boys?

  45. Hampus Eckerman on October 21, 2019 at 5:22 pm said:

    10) My favourite parts with Bela Lugosi is his strange appearances in Ed Woods Glen or Glenda.

    I rewatched it recently and I was glad to learn that I hadn’t just imagined that Bela Lugosi was in it.

  46. Cat Eldridge: But then I hold that true of the Nero Wolfe series as well.

    Has–anyone declared the Nero Wolfe books to be sf/f? Because–wow. I seem to have missed that . . . and you would not believe the weirdnesses that just popped into my head along with even the possibility!

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