Revue Review

I'm back from Seattle, where I was more immersed in popular culture than is my usual wont, mostly thanks to Mike. A report on certain especially interesting artefacts:

Richard Taylor: Mike and I watched a few of the featurettes on the Fellowship of the Rings Extended Edition DVD and became mildly obsessed with Richard Taylor, the seriously obsessive mad scientist behind the non-digital effects in the movie. There was just something insane about the way he insisted on perfect historical accuracy for this movie about a wholly fictional world.

I think the point at which we realized Taylor was power-mad was when we heard about the chain mail. The mail for the movies was made out of PVC pipe, sliced into rings, painted metallic, and then hand-woven into garments. They used something like three million of these rings; the assembly was a full-time job for two men for two years. One of them referred to it as the best job he'd ever had.

Mike thinks that if the movies had been made a decade from now, Taylor would have genetically engineered some of the special effects. I think that it's a good thing the movie didn't have any truly huge explosions, or Taylor would have made some nukes.

Camp: The night after I saw this film with Mike, he went back with another group of friends and saw it again. I misread the web page he pointed me at; I thought we were going to see a documentary about a performing arts summer camp. It turned out to be a meta-musical: a movie musical about kids who are at a camp where they put on stage musicals. Though the summer-camp world has been providing teen comedy fodder for years, this movie is camp of a different sort: there's something dark and twisted at its heart, something a little bit of a non sequitur.

High point: the two fifteen-year-old divas whose quarrel reaches poisonous proportions during a performance of "The Ladies Who Lunch." Low point: realizing, after talking about how much the songs were recogizably the work of Stephen Trask, that he wrote nothing but the underscore.

Carissa's Wierd: Are breaking up, in news too sad to contemplate for long.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: Another of Mike's TiVo-fueld obsessions, a wonderful show, and the most genuinely uplifting thing I have seen on television in a long time. Compared with the sordid and calculated pettiness of most major-network reality shows, it's refreshing to see the genuine pleasure that the Fab Five take in giving each week's straight guy a dose of style and confidence. But for all that, the show never dips too far into sentimentality: there's always a catty remark waiting, always that moment when the Five stare sadly at the screen while their protege shaves before showering.