Tag Archives: YouTube

Some guys made a real-life version of Streets of Rage. It’s amazing.

After comparing Gareth Evans’ The Raid to my all-time favourite childhood game Streets of Rage 2 in my recent review, I had a bit of a YouTube session devoted to it. Look what I found. The music, the SFX, the little details, it’s all there. Amazing. What must passers-by have thought?

All credit to YouTuber TheStreetStupid.

Der Himmel über Berlin – subway support

Back from short Berlin break, feel compelled to post the following, lovely moment from Wim Wenders’ 1987 classic Wings of Desire, or, to furnish it with its grander original language title Der Himmel über Berlin (meaning The Sky Over Berlin). Will return to regular posting soon. Enjoy:

Super committed YouTube guy does 75 years’ worth of Best Supporting Actress impressions

Wow. Click HERE for a staggering vid of one guy rattling through 75 years’ worth of Best Supporting Actress impersonations, from Hattie McDaniel to Anjelica Huston. Credit to blogger The Lost Boy for the spot, and YouTuber  for actually pulling this shit off. Hilarious.

Minute by minute: A look back at Yacht Rock

“Oh hi… I’m Hollywood Steve. You caught me relaxing in my music nook! From 1976-1984 the radio airwaves were dominated by really smooth music, also known… as ‘Yacht Rock’ “

…and so began one of the best, funniest web series’ of recent times. Written, directed and produced by J.D. Ryznar, Yacht Rock took an affectionate, fictionalized (though grounded in some biographical truth) look at the trials and tribulations of the soft rock scene of its chosen era, with actors playing heightened versions of genre stalwarts like Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins and, memorably, Steely Dan, whose portrayal as a pair of evil, scatting overlords was perhaps the show’s highlight. From McDonald’s uncannily immaculate conception of ‘What A Fool Believes’ in the first episode, to his desperate struggle to stay relevant in the era of ‘We Are The World’ in the last (featuring a truly ludicrous cameo from “extraterrestrial” producer Giorgio Moroder), the show was astute, funny and packed with the kind of fanciful detail and genuine love that could only come from real fans.

Yacht Rock lasted 10 episodes as a primetime show on rolling internet-based film festival Channel 101 from 2005 to 2006, but was so popular as a download, and garnered so many YouTube hits, that the creators made two more episodes in 2008 and 2010. By this point, the show had established such a cultural cache that it was able to attract the likes of Kevin Bacon and Jason Lee (aka Earl from My Name Is Earl) to cameo.

Though the music in the show is never actually referred to as ‘Yacht Rock’, its presence has certainly helped a generation of younger fans to come out of the “soft rock closet”, as it were, and take to the streets to declare the likes of Steely Dan and Hall & Oates among their favourite bands. Though I’ve always been open about my love for this type of music, I know not everyone has, so I hope that me re-posting this can assist others in finding the confidence to be themselves. (For further, Dan-specific reading, check out this excellent primer from The A.V. Club).

Here, then, follows a handy (yet probably computer-crashing) compendium of all Yacht Rock‘s 12 fantastic episodes in one place. Of course, mad, mad, crazy props go to JD Ryznar (whose YouTube channel can be found here) and everyone involved in its creation and distribution.

“Accused and tried and told to hang
I was nowhere in sight when the church bells rang
Never was the kind to do as I was told
Gonna ride like the wind before I get old”

Christopher Cross – ‘Ride Like The Wind’

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

  

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9

Episode 10

Episode 11

Episode 12

Post-graduate delirium: Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture

This first feature by Lena Dunham is a frank and hilarious look at the self-promotion and solipsism of Gen-Y as it graduates and tries to find An Occupation. Tiny Furniture follows Aura (played by then fresh out of college Lena Dunham), a 22 year-old recent film graduate who breaks up with her “male feminist” college boyfriend, moves back to the Tribeca loft she shares with her artist mother Siri (played by her actual artist/photographer mother Laurie Simmons) and precocious sister (again actual sister Grace Dunham), and falls into a “post-graduate delirium” of crap jobs and crappier relationships. This may be the film’s problem – if the thought of watching the quarter-life crisis of a small group of ultra-liberal New York narcissists has you reaching for your gun, this may not be your chai latte. However, Dunham is as aware of the minutiae of Aura’s problems as you are, as evidenced by the comically honest send-up of so many hipster fads, and the title Tiny Furniture, which describes Siri’s occupation of photographing miniatures, but also works as a metaphor to suggest that this is not a film about big or serious problems. If Tiny Furniture were a hashtag, it would be #whitegirlproblems.

What Tiny Furniture so wonderfully sends up is the shallowness of online fame, and the anonymity of online eyes quick to critique; when Aura falls for Youtube sensation Jed the “Nietschian [sic] Cowboy” (played in a hilariously slimy manner by Alex Karpovsky), Aura notes that “he’s a little bit famous”, which Ashlynn (Amy Seimetz) undercuts with “in a, like, internet kind of way”. Dunham’s knowingness reveals elements of youthful paranoia. Everything is parodied, most obviously in playing a version of herself as the lead character, but also by using her own family and liberal background, and in pastiching her own short films. Dunham achieved online notoriety on Youtube through her 2007 short film The Fountain in which she strips off and brushes her teeth in a fountain at liberal arts college Oberlin in Ohio. “I saw that your dyslexic-stripper video got, like, 400 hits!” drawls the irritating “monologist” (Amy Seimetz) at a party, itself a send-up of Dunham’s 2007 short called Hooker on Campus. The motto, which Dunham may or may not be critiquing, comes from fucked-up and vulnerable arts brat Charlotte (Jemima Kirby): “You’re just so concerned with having things polished and perfect… Any exposure is good exposure”.

The film (and we) exist in a world where displays of taste and style represent yet another form of hyper-mediated capitalism. As such, the cultural landscape of this film is one where W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz is referenced as easily as Cormac McCarthy, YouTube and Nietzche. This is a world of loft spaces, exuberant tattoos, performance art (“she’s a monologist”), and prescription meds. A potential love-interest is critiqued as “a little speck of granola on a home-made yoghurt” (who’d have thought dairy products and YouTube would come to define a generation?). Dunham both references and gently ironizes this world from the maturing eye of someone getting to grips with understanding it.

Tiny Furniture, much like the mumblecore movement it bears some similarities to in its use of non-actors and real settings is representative of a certain type of film, something Mark Grief would describe in his analysis of hipster culture as “works of art where the tensions of the work revolve around the very old dyad of knowingness and naiveté, adulthood and a child-centred world – but with a radical or vertiginous alternation between the two”. In between revealing all in skimpy underwear, using her own home, friends and family, and pastiching the New York hipster art world where one can seemingly curate a trendy exhibition at the flick of a switch, Dunham alternates between the two polarities which Grief describes: knowingness and naiveté, adulthood and a child-like innocence.

In bandying about references to hipster sociology and liberal arts wankers, I may be risking the danger of making the film sound even more unpleasant than it may already seem. Actually, in Tiny Furniture, the contents of the tin are far better than the label. Though the film’s characters are narcissistic, they are also warm and often likeable, or at least likably dislikable. 90210-by-way-of-Williamsburg’s Charlotte is particularly engaging as ‘Rich Girl with Problems’, and raffish pseudo-intellectual sous-chef Keith is incisively but subtly played by David Call – watching this in the cinema, I was mentally wagging my finger at the screen frantically thinking “yes, oh my god, he is such a type of twat – AHH!!.

This film may appear to deal in tiny emotional furniture, but the reality is an acutely perceptive look at an admittedly privileged generational sub-strata trying to find its feet, and coming to terms with a changing landscape. In one of the most sharply observed aspects of the film, Aura anxiously compares herself to her mother’s artistic fame. Finding some of her mum’s journals in their comically minimalist white shelving unit, she hopes to find meaning in her mother’s journey at the same age, but instead raids the journal for material for her next YouTube video, in a seemingly symbolic comment on how one generation has adapted from the last. Aura’s desire to create films is believable, but her fluctuation between desire and boredom is frustrating. It is not just feelings of oppression from the past that Aura seems to be reacting to, but a sense of generational indeterminacy. The ‘minutiae’ of this film’s themes have something current to say about what it means to want to create art now, and how the prevalence of ‘hipster culture’ both asserts difference while being a homogenizing force.

Happy 65th birthday David Bowie

The thin white diamond spider from Tin Machine turns 65 today, and though he’s somewhat understandably best known for his music, I happen to think he’s quite underrated as an actor. From the title character in The Man Who Fell To Earth to Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and even, yes, Labyrinth, he’s always exhibited a compellingly alien talent in front of the camera. Here, thanks to YouTuber Bodacea1, is a handy two-part compilation of his rather excellent performance as Andy Warhol in Basquiat, Julian Schnabel’s biopic of the tragic New York artist. Enjoy:

*Not sure what happened to Part 3. Never mind!

Arnie quotes

As you might have guessed, PPH is pretty busy at the moment, so in lieu of a proper post here’s a couple of my favourite vids, in fact probably the best two vids on YouTube; Arnold Schwarzenegger quote heaven. Watch, and watch again. (All credit goes to the redoutable hh1edits). Normal service will be resumed next week.

‘God’s eye view’ montage

Check out this montage of spellbinding ‘top-down’ shots taken from various films. All credit goes to YouTuber Editcadet1, who explains “This type of shot is commonly referred to as a “God’s Eye View” angle. The camera lens is perpendicular to the subject without any POV reference, which gives the viewer an omniscient viewpoint of the character and the surrounding space”. See how many you can recognize:

Tom Selleck’s moustache…

is just one of the things we like to celebrate at Permanent Plastic Helmet on a regular basis, reflecting neatly as it does our love of profound facial hair, the 1980s, and ruggedly handsome leading men of yesteryear (I know he’s in Blue Bloods, but the guy’s hardly at his peak). So imagine our delight when this video surfaced on the internet. Full credit to YouTuber Buchan39 for a masterpiece of cheaply rendered imposition. Just sit back and enjoy: