Idiot Savant Online

John Lichman's third attempt at a personal blog and online savanting idiotic.

Archive for January 2011

The Bane of the Comic Illiterate

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Casting notices only can go so far, but under a “comic book film” they take on a new life of speculation and wonder in our current media stream. Confirmed earlier today via Deadline’s first dibs on the four paragraph press release were Anne Hathaway joins The Dark Knight Rises; and Tom Hardy would take the role of bat-villain Bane.

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Written by john lichman

January 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Season Of The Witch/Knowing v. Kick-Ass

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Dir. Alex Proyas/Dominic Sena v. Matthew Vaughn

Sweet glorious cable/Sad depressing theatrical v. A fine relaxing Friday theatrical back in April

Having just flown into Los Angeles a few days before, I was still getting acclimated to the whole west coast. I was staying with my aunt and uncle in–ironically enough–Bel-Air (or at least six blocks from it.) I moved out to work on the Rotten Tomatoes Show and I was about to turn 25. The following Monday when I came in, our co-host Brett trying his best to explain what he had watched over the weekend, “A flaming moose. Out of no where, there’s a flaming moose. And then it gets weirder.”

After finally watching Knowing I can finally agree on the weirdness. But combine that with the recent viewing experience that is Season of the Witch and a lot of that same weirdness becomes questionable when we have to consider a “Nic [sic] Cage Film.”

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Written by john lichman

January 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

An Idiot Savant’s Online Top Ten of 2010

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On a personal level, 2010 was kind of awesome. It marked the first time I went to Sundance and SXSW. Unfortunately, it also saw me being laid off from a gig I enjoyed and move back in with my folks when I couldn’t get another job in Los Angeles.

Then I started a production company (based on what someone read on my Twitter) and then I folded the same company once I didn’t want to sink a few thousand dollars into a conceptual idea not fleshed out. So it was both the positive and negative amounts of awesome throughout the big one-oh. But assembled here are some of the films that stuck out most for me over the year while I was an employed film writer/producer before becoming freelance and finally just being a guy who lived at home and barely can go to the multiplex. Sad trombone, no? Well, in the words of my forefathers, fuck that noise. Here’s my personal choices of ’10.

[TIE]10. FRED: The Movie/Trash Humpers
Dir. Clay Weiner/Harmony Korine

No films better asked an assembled audience, “what do you expect from us?” Horrified auteurs and festival attendees at 2009’s Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival muttered just that as the “found footage” of Trash Humpers unspooled in front of them demanding they “make it make it DON’T FAKE IT” or “FUCK IT FUCK IT DON’T SUCK IT.” Pretty simple, no? But Harmony Korine’s ode to dread was a legitimate cinematic experience when it finally got a DVD and roadshow release in 2010. Not the type of gore spectacle foretold by A Serbian Film, Trash Humpers is an ‘oughts-view back into the time when found footage meant more than searching for “stunts” on YouTube. It’s a dark glimpse into a world populated with freaks and weirdos that we don’t want to admit is more real than newborn porn or another Saw film. Korine’s lo-fi esthetics prove the classics ain’t ever got a style, but they do–and we do too (nor can I help paraphrasing The Refused.)
Conversely, the best “current” esthetic that inherits Korine’s verite-by-way-of-fuck-you format is the character of Fred Figglehorn. A hyperactive, high-pitched construct for YouTube by Lucas Cruikshank, Fred is a child of the Internet (and a heavily implied broken home) searching for some form of acceptance. And what better way to do that than by bleating your heart out on stupid shit across a webcam? FRED: THE MOVIE takes the meta-nature further: Fred (still Cruikshank) is now in high school, in love with neighbor Lucy (British pop songster Pixie Idol who doesn’t bother to remove her accent) and lives in fear of the school bully, Kevin, who takes the time to shout, “I RUN THIS CUL-DE-SAC,” which he does across from Fred’s own home. From there it degenerates into a mixture of subtle class commentary (Fred has never seen a Mexican, has never left the suburbs) and almost presents itself as a hyperactive response on how found footage became doctored into the viral web hits YouTube is famous for privatizing. There is no better double feature to see our transition of video consumption than Trash Humpers followed by FRED: THE MOVIE.
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