“Father…let us embrace!”

As I’ve detailed somewhat on this blog, I love Arthurian romance and medieval literature more generally. This has not translated into a love for modern pop cultural adaptations thereof.

John Boorman’s 1981 flick Excalibur didn’t exactly seem like a promising candidate to bridge that gap, existing as it does in the glut of cheesy sword and sorcery movies that flooded the 80s. The only other film directed by Boorman that I can claim any familiarity with is the rather awful Zardoz, and I’ve rarely heard much of Excalibur aside from an acknowledgement of it being a thing that exists. But there’s a bit of a tell in how the credits specifically state that it was adapted from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.

Continue reading

Posted in fragments of culture, pop culture and its discontents | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yet another dorky FF fanboy post

Back in 2015 near the start of my re-rediscovery of JRPGs, I wrote a ridiculously long post on Final Fantasy XII. Somehow I even managed to weave Charles Norris Cochrane’s analysis of the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christendom into it. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to revisit VI, VII and X, and play XIII and XV for the first time. The short summation of all that has been: VI and VII are still great, warts and all; X is frankly a little bit boring; XIII is more interesting than X, but it’s falling apart at the seams; XV is a very enjoyable mess.

Continue reading

Posted in Our Allies in Nippon, pop culture and its discontents | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

BTT Manga Roundup

I’m back at Beneath the Tangles again, this time talking about manga.

Aside from video games, my experiences with Japanese pop culture recently have centred around manga; picking up drawing as a hobby has led to a renewed interest in the sequential art of both east and west. In light of that, I intend to give a round-up of some of the noteworthy manga I’ve dipped my…

via Josh’s Manga Roundup — Beneath the Tangles

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Understanding Sanic

Of all the platformers originating from my childhood days, Sonic the Hedgehog seems to have won my contemporary interest almost by default: not owning a nintendo console since the N64 days has effectively kept Mario away from me, Capcom has swept Mega Man under the rug, Konami has more-or-less torched itself, and I was never big enough on the collectathon-types to be hyped for the likes of Yooka Laylee. But Sonic Generations ranks with Mass Effect 2 and Dark Souls as one of the previous generation’s few bright spots, while the upcoming Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces have me genuinely excited.

Continue reading

Posted in Our Allies in Nippon, pop culture and its discontents | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In which I receive a prestigious award

Medieval Otaku has recently bequeathed me yet another one of these award things. The rules seem pretty familiar:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself
  3. Nominate at most 15 people
  4. Tell your nominees the good news!

So let’s get this started: thanks, Medieval Otaku!

Continue reading

Posted in fragments of culture, higher education, pop culture and its discontents, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I take back everything I said AAA gaming is terrible

I don’t like The Witcher 3. It’s a shame, because the thing is one of the most technically impressive games I’ve seen and has gotten a billion awards and rave reviews. But it also gathers together some tendencies in pop culture that viscerally rub me the wrong way.

Continue reading

Posted in pop culture and its discontents, this seemed important to say at the time | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Suns, long and short

For the past few months I’ve worked my way through Gene Wolfe’s Book of the Short sun, only recently finishing the final volume, and thus finally wrapping up his whole Solar Cycle which began with The Book of the New Sun, and Continued with The Book of the Long Sun. The short story of it is that I liked the Short Sun the least of the three, but still enjoyed it a fair amount.

Continue reading

Posted in Assigned Reading, Catholicism, fragments of culture, SF/Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2001 coincidence

Are you getting tired of the Lynch posts? I promise this will likely be the last one for a bit, as even I’m feeling the need for a break now. Anyhow, having surveyed different films from across his career and re-re-watched Mulholland Drive, two things are apparent: the first is that the man is my favourite director, and the second is that I’ve boringly come around to agreeing with the critics that Mulholland Drive is probably the best thing he’s done. It ranks with Spirited Away and 2001: A Space Odyssey as a movie that has both been pretty foundational in shaping my aesthetic tastes and has surprisingly weathered the test of time, still retaining its power after the novelty has worn off (and here’s an odd observation: Spirited Away and Mulholland Drive both were released in 2001). But it was only in light of his other stuff that the understanding of its achievement as a David Lynch film really clicked for me.

Continue reading

Posted in fragments of culture, pop culture and its discontents | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Down the rabbit hole

So, as I’ve stated elsewhere here, I kinda really love Inland Empire – it’s one of those films that really gets at the heart of why I love movies in spite of being as close to an anti-movie as a major director has ever likely gotten. Thus, in spite of my David Lynch posts not being terribly popular, I’m going to launch into a tentative interpretation of what makes the film tick.

(So what I’m saying is you should probably just skip this post and wait for my next rant about JRPGs or whatever.)

Inland Empire is a story about stories and their history, using Hollywood storytelling as a launching point. It looks at both their illusory nature, but also how stories also encode more fundamental truths within them. It’s also, in a sense, a ghost story, although like Kubrick’s take on The Shining the supernatural element is pretty difficult to parse, and perhaps even not the point.

Continue reading

Posted in fragments of culture, pop culture and its discontents | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Becoming a pretentious film snob with David Lynch

This seems as good a place as any to note that, upon re-watching Inland Empire, my opinion of the film has shifted considerably towards seeing it as a masterpiece – albeit an aggressively weird one. But I’m here to talk about two earlier, more well known flicks: Blue Velvet and Eraserhead.

Continue reading

Posted in fragments of culture, Movies, pop culture and its discontents | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment