Movies & Media

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Imagine my delight learning there was a 1928 silent film of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Telltale Heart’. I’m guessing it’s German:

 

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That room is so German Expressionistic the chairs are just abstract shards reflecting the character’s tortured psyche.

 

The film’s a breeze to watch at a mere 28 minute running length, though the cheap synth-keyboard soundtrack makes it feel a little longer. Its main charm is the use of animated text and overlay to convey the main character’s tortured mindset, along with what at the time must have been VERY fast edits.

 

You can watch the entire thing with burned-in Russian subtitles here; the site seems like it’s a haven for porn and viruses, but from brief perusal has a wide selection of anime, TV shows and vintage films.

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This seems like something Tim and Eric copy the look of exactly.

 

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If you guessed this might be a still from a French 80s music video, you are both stereotyping and absolutely correct.

 

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That guy is not even trying to pretend he’s playing the guitar. At one point he magically plays a synth flamenco riff by slapping the top strings.

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May 2014 be less weird than 2013, or more weird but in a good way. Either’s fine.

 

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Over the years, I’ve created PowerPoints for many deeply unsavory reasons – to push pharmacological products using sketchy ‘data’ published by the parent company, as part of half-assed attempts on educators’ parts to get hip with technology and liven up rote classroom presentation (one of the few chunks of high school, along with forced learning to type without looking at our hands, that actually had real-world applications), to reinforce big business mentalities I did not believe in. Each of which falls under the standard use of PowerPoint, a program designed with the twofold goal of ‘snappy corporate presentations’ and ‘useability by the computer illiterate’.

In spite of, or rather because of the inherent weirdness at this intersection of Business and Flair, the program’s potential for pure art has been explored by several artists, most notably David Byrne’s E.E.E.I tour. I was going to say ‘accidental’ or ‘ironic’ art, but all that’s ever needed to turn something practical into art is to remove the practicality.

Which brings me to my recent, happier experiences with PowerPoint – created for a friend’s yearly salon of presentations on whatever we wanted, far from the boundaries of desks or logic, these slides were fun to create. No templates! The pure joy of random transitions! Finally using all the sound effects your supervisor expressly forbad! Unfortunately after the small gathering was over, the presentations languished on my computer. No more! I finally figured out how to time slides and export to a movie file, so that you, The Reader, may benefit from my research.

Admittedly quite a bit is lost in translation – no transitions, only one audio track and no sound effects, no me rambling on about a particular subject while accidentally skipping three slides ahead – but I’ve tried to make up for it with a dip into my recently acquired well of 50s instrumental tracks. Enjoy!

Mary Maxim: A Wearable (Mostly Canadian) History from Rarer Borealis on Vimeo.

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Today I’m focusing on Ephemeral safety films featuring that all-knowing, all-judging voice of reason, The Narrator. This Paternalistic Condescender is the bridge between You, The Viewer and You, the Doofus on Screen. Unlike the overtly idiotic and risky Goofuses from the ‘Goofus and Gallant’-style videos, people in Paternalistic Condescender videos are relatable, identifiable, and make terrible choices. You, The Viewer are in the unique position of sharing the Narrator’s godlike omniscience and wisdom, while still capable of all the foibles of your onscreen counterparts. The idea is to see yourself in the mistakes onscreen, and listen to the literal Voice of Reason (almost always male) to avoid them yourself.

 

Before we start, remember how I mentioned the one time that guy caught everything on fire in ’Hospital Safety’?

Hospital Safety no smoking

DUN DUN…

 

Hospital Safety see this is why no smoking

DUNNNNNNNN!

The narrator remains calm and impassive even as the ward burns to the ground.

  I’ve written a lot about ‘Live and Learn’ (and made several GIFs of children falling off cliffs), so I’ll let these additional images speak for themselves.

Live and Learn head bandage

Live and Learn scissors

 

What I didn’t know until recently is ‘Live and Learn’ had a sequel filmed 2 years later in color called  ’Why Take Chances?’ It features the same Narrator remarking calmly on childrens’ foolish impulses and casually noting their grim injuries. ‘Why Take Chances’ goes a step further and features intertitled cartoon versions of the kids’ injuries. Somehow that seems like it would impress kids with the idea they’d only get ‘cartoon’ killed if they dropped a piano on a pal’s head.

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Why Take Chances oh snap

 

‘Time Out For Trouble’ is BANANAS. It features a rare female narrator, but since the entire premise of the film is how accidents are caused by EMOTIONS (instead of, you know, boiling water falling on you), of course they have a female narrator. When the narrator isn’t tsk-tsking couples in broken relationships for their psychological pain, the voiceover is provided by (I am not making this up) a psychotic clock bent on killing the leading lady through emotions for calling the clock an eyesore.

Time Out for Safety spooky clock

 

(Just one of the many ways the clock uses household items and rage to kill)

Time Out for Safety trip

 

1990′s ‘Range Safety’ is the ‘Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does’ of gun safety. The narrator has all the outrage and breathless pace of a Hard Copy story intro at the many, many ways people incorrectly use guns.

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Range Safety breaker breaker

Range Safety all in a row

 

Range Safety gunsight

 

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