Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
Staff Picks, December 12, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 03:41 PM
Your weekly dose of recommendations from the staff of OTM. Give us some of your own down in the comments section and enjoy!
Doug Anderson: Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s arrival at the South Pole. I’ve been enchanted by the photos of his journey, and also by those from Robert F. Scott's rival expedition. Scott’s team reached the pole a month after Amundsen, and then died on their way back. Particularly eerie is this photograph taken by Scott’s team the day after they learned that Amundsen had beaten them to the pole.
Bob Garfield: The American Dance Institute of Washington, DC is staging "The Nutcracker." The "first mouse" is an extremely talented and beautiful 10-year-old who also brings home a very good report card and can be easily defeated in Monopoly. Tickets are $25. There are so many performances that I can now legitimately identify myself as a patron of the arts.
Brooke Gladstone: Watch In Bruges, a film by a great Irish playwright that was marketed so badly it never found the audience it richly deserves. Hilarity, irony, tragedy, and a kind of redemption. Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleason , Ralph Fiennes. Written by Martin McDonagh.
Alex Goldman: It’s no secret to my coworkers that I am a fan of media that some people might find "inaccessible." I wanted to get that out of the way as a caveat to my staff pick, a short (not safe for work) animated film called The External World. Not every joke in The External World works, and it’s a little overlong, but the aesthetic is really interesting and otherworldly, and the jokes that do work are unbelievably funny (if, perhaps, you’re into very very dark humor). I find myself coming back to this movie over and over again, even though it’s not an altogether pleasant experience.
Chris Neary: My staff pick this week is a water powered jetpack. It was featured on Kottke.org, which means everyone has probably already seen it -- but just look at that guy go. It’s like an aquatic Dr. Octopus come to life and (I’m assuming) less evil. It’s not as exciting as a workable conventional jetpack, but those never work out anyway.
Katya Rogers: This season of Top Chef is the best one in ages, mainly because Padma is back! She didn’t technically go anywhere but last season Padma was clearly juggling breastfeeding between takes, her clothes weren’t fitting her post-baby body so great…she was a bit of a (very glamorous) wreck. But this season it’s the all-padma-lakshmi show and the producers are totally living it up. As a mother myself I can tell that Padma has fully returned from baby-land and she’s clearly enjoying the free booze this season. On one recent episode her and the other judges Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio were laughing at the poor contestants who they’d just put through the ringer:
Padma: I can’t believe that after this grueling challenge we’re putting these poor people through more hell.
Gail: we’re assholes
Padma: we are!
[gales of drunken laughter]
I heart padma.
PJ Vogt: The Descendants made me cry twice this weekend, once while just looking at a shot of scenery. I am emphatically not a movie crier. It is also pretty funny. You should go see it.
I don't want to spoil the plot even as much as the trailer does, but it's a doozy. It's directed by Alexander Payne, who directed the best short in that Paris, Je T'aime movie. (Actually you could watch that short as a kind of trailer for The Descendants because it will give you a taste of why he's a good filmmaker without ruining the first 40 minutes or so).
Jamie York: I stumbled into an essay by John Jeremiah Sullivan recently and really fell hard for his style and especially the eye for detail that distinguishes the essays I love best. Joseph Mitchell isn’t coming back again and Luc Sante has been away on business but John Jeremiah Sullivan has helped me forget for awhile.