The Silent Return of Friday is List Day

So I just plum forgot to write something on Wednesday. In all fairness, there was a holiday and I had other things going on that day, but really what happened was that the cluck struck 1 am before I remembered that I normally post something on Wednesdays. This might be the first time in 6 or 7 years that this has happened. I must be getting forgetful in my old age. Anyway, I decided to resurrect the Friday is List Day style post to make up for my earlier negligence. This was a quasi-meme started by my friend Roy several years ago. He has since stopped blogging and quite frankly, I never partook in the Friday is List Day thing in a regular fashion anyway. So I wouldn’t expect any more of these in the near future, but hey, enjoy it while you can:

Random 10:

Or maybe a not so random (though still semi-random) list of recent musical listening:

  • The Mars Volta – “Cassandra Gemini”
  • Deerhoof – “Secret Mobilization”
  • The Black Keys – “She’s Long Gone”
  • Baby Huey & The Babysitters – “Listen to Me”
  • They Might Be Giants – “Minimum Wage”
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland, 1945”
  • Les Baxter – “Hot Wind”
  • Richard Hawley – “Tonight The Streets Are Ours”
  • Forest Fire – “Born Into”
  • Aloe Blacc – “You Make Me Smile”

5 Ideas for Modern Day Silent Films

Well, perhaps not exactly silent. One of the great strengths of film is that it is a visual medium and a lot of information can be communicated simply by the framing and movement onscreen. The introduction of sound in the 1920s and 30s has lead to an atrophying of visual storytelling, as we usually end up with long strings of dialogue and exposition (and, gasp, voiceover!) that could just as easily be accomplished visually. Sound itself isn’t a problem, but I’m coming to find a lot of movies that I hate (and even some that I generally like) are sullied by poor (and unnecessary) dialogue. Simply removing half of the dialogue would be a big improvement. So in the below movies (which will never get made), imagine that it would have lots of sound, just not any real dialogue (or, at least, very minimal dialogue).

  • Alien vs. Predator: Fuck the human element. Who needs humans? Even in the comic (which is awesome and would make a much better movie than any of the craptacular AvP movies), they were a bit unnecessary. Imagine this movie – no dialogue, no subtitles, just aliens, predators, and ass-kickery.
  • Wall-E: This one is already halfway complete. What’s more, everyone agrees that the movie goes downhill a little once the humans show up and start talking. I guess you’d still want some basic dialogue type stuff, but it would be minimal at most.
  • The Tree of Life – The film is basically a series of mildly connected visual vignettes. The parts where people talk are mostly unnecessary, and as an added bonus, cutting them out would decrease the bloated running time of the film. There are numerous movies I think this could work for that I’ve seen recently: Melancholia, Drive, Meek’s Cutoff (practically a silent film already, though some of the dialogue in the film is important), and so on. Cutting these films down to 70-90 minutes would be a boon.
  • A Silent Slasher – It’s a subgenre of horror that is so well codified that you really don’t need dialogue. The audience knows all the beats that need to be hit and the dialogue in these movies is usually horrendous and filled with lame, dated slang. Instead, fill the film with tension-filled stalking sequences and tracking shots.
  • An Underwater Adventure – I was trying to think of a situation in which people would be unable to speak to each other, and I came up with this: old-timey deep-sea divers running around on the bottom of a large body of water, encountering mysteries/monsters/something. Since they’re underwater, communication would be accomplished through hand signals and pure visual storytelling on the part of the filmmakers.

5 Beers Everyone Should Try

Actually a tough list to put together, but I’m trying to choose beers that are unique and interesting, yet widely available (while I’d love to recommend obscure, hard-to-find wonders like Devine Rebel or Sierra Nevada ExPortation, that’s not really the point – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find those, and I know it’s frustrating to see folks recommend stuff like that). So here goes:

  • Saison Dupont – Sweet, spicy, light colored and full bodied, an awesome gateway into the world of “good beer” and Belgian beers. If you like this, look to try: Avec Les Bons Voeux de la Brasserie Dupont (basically a stronger version of Saison Dupont – in fact, trying any Dupont saison is probably a good idea), Ommegang Hennepin, and Unibroue La Fin Du Monde.
  • Trappistes Rochefort 8 – Dark fruits and lots of spiciness, with a ton of intricate and complex flavors emerging as you drink. A very unique flavor profile here, but still approachable and a wonderful, perfect beer. If you like this, look to try: Rochefort 6 and Rochefort 10 (basically weaker and stronger versions of the same beer, respectively), Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel, and Chimay Blue/Grand Reserve.
  • Ommegang Abbey Ale – This is the beer for all those folks who think they don’t like “dark beers.” (Come to think of it, so is Rochefort 8). Rich flavors, full body and dark fruitiness (very distinct from Rochefort though), it’s a fantastic beer. If you like this, look to try: Affligem Dubbel, St. Bernardus Prior 8, Westmalle Dubbel, and Chimay Red.
  • Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – IPAs are definitely an acquired taste, but it’s worth trying a double IPA like this, as they tend to be more flavorful and less one-dimensionally bitter. This one has great characters of citrus, caramel malts, and a well matched citrus. If you like this, look to try: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, Victory Hop Wallop, Brewdog Hardcore IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted, and Russian River Pliny the Elder.
  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout – Dark, roasty and maybe even a bit chocolatey, this is a well balanced boozy beer. A more traditional “dark beer”, but well worth trying. If you like this, look to try: North Coast Old Rasputin, Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, and Victory Storm King Stout. (In addition, if you have extra money and can find a barrel aged version of a Russian Imperial Stout, go for it.)

Ok, so that’s a reasonable list, though it does skew towards Belgian beers and high ABV beers. Sue me. They’re all relatively easy to find (though some of the additional beers mentioned at the end of each one may be more regional and difficult to find) and there’s a reasonable variety too.

Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I won’t forget to post on Sunday.