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Posts tagged: alex MacFadyen

At The Gutter: Forget The Consequences, Just Get Me A Sandwich

This week at the Gutter, Screen Editor alex looks at Adventure Time, narrative, consequences and sandwiches.

Over the past several months I’ve been working my way through all of Pendleton Ward‘s Adventure Time, in part because it comes in 11 minute segments that are easy to squeeze into tiny cracks of spare time, but mostly because it’s awesome. There are lots of things to love about it – the humor, the weirdness, the clever allusions to art and literature – but I think the thing I enjoy most is how creatively they play with narrative. Watching all of the ideas they’re able to explore by ignoring the usual boundaries of time, space and consequences makes me realize how limiting conventions can be.

At The Gutter: Vengeful Gods And Other Simulated Life Failures

Screen Editor alex becomes a Vengeful God (and Comics Editor Carol becomes a tyrannical mayor) in simulated life games:

When it comes to raising a child who can use words and interact with other humans, so far I seem to be succeeding, but I have to admit that my track record prior to this was not exactly promising. Aside from managing to keep an egg safe for a week in middle school, my first attempt at virtual parenthood was a joint effort with comics editor Carol Borden in the initial release of the game Creatures in the late 90s. We had fun, but we failed.

At The Gutter: David Banner Will Never Have A Normal Life

Screen Editor Alex thinks about the 1970s tv show, The Incredible Hulk, and what it means to have a normal life.

Whenever I find myself edging towards misery or self-pity, I start humming the ending theme from The 1970′s tv version of The Incredible Hulk. I think to myself, “David Banner will never have a normal life.” It’s a technique I owe to Carol Borden, who has a lot of interesting things to say about The Hulk.

Having inevitably hulked out wherever he’s just been, David Banner is forced to move on down the road at the end of each episode with nothing but a duffle bag and his own radioactive blood for company. When I imagine that the outcome of whatever predicament I’m in will be that I will never have a normal life, the sheer melodrama helps put it in perspective. Also, I find it almost impossible to take my problems too seriously with the “Lonely Man” theme as the soundtrack.

At The Gutter: Maybe We’ll Buy A Boat

Screen Editor alex ponders theoretical sailboats, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and the guy he’ll never be:

To my mind, those empty boat supports became a metaphor for the things you know in your heart of hearts you’re never going to do but you just can’t quite let go. Instead you bend and twist to fit around them so you don’t have to admit to yourself that you’re actually just not that guy. Sometimes you could never be that guy, and sometimes you can’t be without giving something else up so you have to choose. And sometimes that choice really sucks.

But how do you differentiate between an achievable dream and an unrealistic fantasy? It’s one of the central dilemmas in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I have seen many, many times (minus the scary scenes with the villains, Boggis, Bunce and Bean).

At The Gutter: Naked Woman (Steep Hill)

This week at The Gutter: Editor alex thinks about “Naked Woman (Steep Hill)”

One night, when I was poking around on the internet for something mindless to play, I stumbled across a game called Naked Woman (Steep Hill). The description: “Control the fate of a naked woman riding down a steep hill. 20 options decide her doom. Feel free to suggest any other fates she can face!” My response was something akin to watching a horror movie between your fingers – I had a feeling that I’d wish I hadn’t seen it but I couldn’t quite bring myself to look away.

At The Gutter: Never mind, try again, fail better

Screen Editor Alex looks at flaws, failures, Raising Arizona and Run Fatboy Run:

I feel like there’s a lesson in a thousand quirky movies that I, in my struggles to do my absolute best at all times, never quite seem to learn: our limitations don’t make us less lovable. They may drive us crazy and make us more irritating, but being flawed is something we all share. We’re all good at this and suck at that. It’s one of the roots of compassion.

It’s also why I’m fond of movies like Raising Arizona or Run Fatboy Run.


More here.

At The Gutter: Dolly vs. Elvis: Why Wait Until You’re Dead?


Screen Editor alex considers Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley.

"Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley. Two cultural icons born a decade apart, both grew up poor in Tennessee and became musical legends. They also both have major tourist attractions dedicated to them – Dollywood and Graceland – but the big difference there is that one of them is still alive and owns part of it. Well, that and the roller coasters. I’m intrigued by the difference between an attraction dedicated to a living person vs a dead one, although I suppose that only applies if you don’t believe any of the Elvis sightings."

At The Gutter: Tammy Faye Says Give Everyone A Chance!

Screen Editor alex watches The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000):

As someone who spent most of my teens and twenties struggling with depression, it took me a long time to arrive at the realization that I am an optimist. It was a fact that was obscured by my overall misery, as well as an aesthetic that involved a lot of skulls, listening to melancholy music, and reading sad books to make myself cry. My mother asked me to play guitar and sing at a few of her dinner parties, but after a round or two she looked at me hopefully and asked whether I didn’t have anything less bleak in my repertoire. (In case you’re wondering, the answer was no.) I didn’t feel like someone who believed that everything would work out until proven otherwise, but looking back I can see that being optimistic was one of the things that saved my life.

image via Ghosttowns.

At The Gutter: A Little Bit of Evil Keeps You Alive

Screen Editor alex looks at contagion and epidemiologically-driven narratives from 28 Days Later and Alien 3 to Resident Evil and Newsflesh.

It’s inside you.If you’re talking about blood or cookies, that’s a good thing. You definitely want those inside you. If you’re talking about aliens or zombie viruses, not so much, right? Well, 99% of the time the answer is probably ‘Hell, no!’ but the other 1% makes it a much more interesting question than it appears at first glance.

Xenomorph facehugger anatomical drawing by Dave McGinty.

At The Gutter: And The Award For Most Egregious Editing Goes To

Two of Screen Editor alex’s favorite films are disemboweled before his very eyes:

Once upon a time, long, long ago, when Netflix and TiVo were just a twinkle in the ether, there was a boy who loved going to the video store. His usual haunts were small, dark independent stores tucked around corners or in basements, stocked with an eclectic mix of classics, oddities and trash. But sometimes, when he was feeling tired and lazy, he’d slouch around the corner to Blockbuster.

What the boy didn’t know was that there was a hidden artistic price for his sloth. Although Viacom/Blockbuster does not edit their movies, and this particular boy has no idea what they currently do, in this long ago time they did order “edited for content” versions of movies from studios. This is a lesson the boy learned the hard way, at the cost of watching two of his favorite films disembowelled before his eyes.