Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks, 11/7/2011
Monday, November 07, 2011 - 02:51 PM
Your weekly dose of recommendations from the staff of OTM. Give us some of your own down in the comments section and enjoy!
Sarah Abdurrahman: I know this video has probably already made the rounds, but on the off chance you haven’t seen it, I pick this Jimmy Kimmel clip where he challenged parents to tell their kids they ate all their Halloween candy and then filmed their reactions. It is hilarious, from the girl who yells at her dad “You’re ugly!” to the more calm (but obviously angry) boy in the red pajamas who warns that his mom will probably get a bellyache now:
Doug Anderson: Every item in my Netflix queue is either a candy or a vegetable. The candy includes Pixar movies and anything with Johnny Depp. The vegetables include Ken Burns documentaries and classics of the French New Wave. Needless to say, the candy tends to turn over quickly, while the vegetables languish down below the fold for longer than they should.
If I hadn’t already watched “Bicycle Thieves,” the film would almost certainly be relegated to vegetable status, along with all the other Italian neorealist classics. But knowing what I know now, it has become my life’s goal to convince my friends of its candylike quality. Maybe I like the movie so much because it justifies my occasional feelings of disgust toward humanity, feelings that originated when my own bike got stolen in 2007. (Nope, still not over it.) The movie rightly elevates the bicycle to a sacred status: to the main character, it represents not only his mobility, but also his livelihood and his ability to provide for his family. The movie chronicles his quest to find his stolen bike, all leading up to a notoriously twisted ending.
My friend Mary got her bike stolen a few weeks ago, and we have a pending date to watch this movie. You can bet that tissues will be on hand.
Bob Garfield: I like and dislike the actor Adam Goldberg, because he reminds me of me. He's shorter, darker, more muscular -- but, still in all, he's very, very me. And so I'm delighted to say I was wonderful in the 2009 film titled (untitled), a clever riff on modern art. Goldberg plays a classically trained musician whose piano-clarinet-found object trio plays his atonal and arhythmic compositions. They are supposed to make us wonder whether the pieces are music or sound design or garbage. Director Jonathan Parker pushes us toward "garbage," but I can't go there. I like the work, and I like the way (untitled) plumbs the borderline between conceptual art and pretentious, phony self-indulgence.
Alex Goldman: It is truly a rare feat to find a video that combines my love of disturbing imagery, discordant music, and cats, but animator Cyriak has managed to do so with his video “Welcome to Kitty City.” I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I do.
Chris Neary: My staff-pick this week is a ridiculous sport. This piece ran in the New York Times last week – it’s about parahawking which is, according to the article,
‘”an adventure sport that combines falconry and paragliding, drawing both bird enthusiasts and thrill seekers.” The bird and paraglider are in the air at the same time – the bird leads the paraglider to the best air currents. The guy who wrote the article actually parahawked in Nepal, he described it this way:
We took our position, monitoring the windsock and tattered prayer flags posted at the takeoff point for signs of wind. And then, when it arrived, Mr. Mason yelled, “Go, go, go!” We ran downhill awkwardly, tethered by the tandem harness, straining against the weight of our inflating glider, until our feet left the ground.
One of Mr. Mason’s staff members released the vulture — Bob, he’s called — and he began his approach. Bob took his reward from my hand and then soared off in search of a pocket of warm air, which provides a lift to both bird and glider. We followed him.
For those who take the leap, little compares with the feeling of soaring hundreds of feet above a turquoise lake and forested hills in the company of a feathered guide.
Katya Rogers: If On the Media were a tv show it would be “The Good Wife” on CBS. Seriously – the Venn diagram of storylines between us and them is crazy. Here are some episode descriptions and the corresponding story from our archives.
The Death Zone: The author of a book about a Mount Everest expedition is being sued for libel, and Lockhart/Gardner is handling his case. The plaintiff claims that the book makes it look like he let a man die near the top of the mountain in order to get to the peak, and his reputation has suffered ever since. After Will gets the case dismissed in US court, though, the plaintiff decides to re-sue in the British courts. Lockhart/Gardner must defend their case again, this time in an unfamiliar judicial system where the burden of proof lies with the defendant.
Great Firewall: LGB is suing a social networking website on behalf Shen Yuan, a Chinese dissident who was jailed and tortured for five years by his government. Shen claims that the website failed to protect his anonymity by turning his IP address over to the Chinese government. Alicia and Will know that if they can get a large enough settlement, the comapny will stop cooperating with the Chinese and they can help prevent the incarceration of future activists.
Executive Order 13224: Lockhart/Gardner takes on the United States Government on behalf of a military contractor who claims that he was imprisoned and tortured by the army in Afghanistan. While Diane and the team plow through boxes of censored documents looking for evidence, Alicia must meet with a government monitor whose authority overrides attorney/client privilege.
Anything we’ve ever done on Gitmo and the restrictions placed on lawyers and journalists covering it.
And don’t even get me started on politics and social media.
PJ Vogt: Have you guys heard about American pop music? How about American pop music in the 1970s?
My staff pick this week is every single hit pop song released in the 1970’s. You can listen to a megamix of 10 seconds of every US hit from the 1970s on WFMU’s blog here. I know some people may disagree with me, but after spending the morning listening to these songs, my verdict is that the 70’s chart-toppers were often cloyingly annoying sing-song tracks. American pop music in the 1970’s gets a B- from me. Better luck next decade, pop music.
Jamie York: I’ve gone through an uncharacteristic movie drought for the last two months. So it’s all the more unusual that the two I’ve seen, in the same week, go so nicely together.
Weekend is a deceptively simple story of two British men who meet on a Friday night and over the next 48 hours come together and drift apart, talk and fight and have sex and fall in something like love. It’s as neo-realist as it gets without any of the heaviness and didacticism that that implies. No manipulative plot twists, no grandstanding performances, no cheap emotion. It’s utterly convincing and affecting and I wanted everyone to see it.
And then Bill Cunningham’s New York is, in a different way, just as elegant and deceptively simple. Cunningham, fashion photographer for The New York Times, is a lifelong hunter of beauty. And somehow subject matter that should feel trivial becomes, because of Cunningham’s infectious devotion and the filmmaker’s light touch, much more profound.