10 on the 10th – August 2016

Today is the 10th and that means it’s time to review the last 10 films I’ve watched, and so our next Arrow Video proposal will go up tomorrow. High marks go to Hoodlum Priest, Sing Street, and The River Fuefuki, but the real noteworthy watch was the Duffer Brothers’ Stranger Things. Like everyone else, we’ve been glued to our TVs watching this horror-adventure series, captivated by its meticulously crafted plot and aesthetic.

Here are a couple of initial takeaways on Stranger Things. First, while the first season is certainly a great achievement in pastiche and its retro-setting is a narrative necessity, I can’t help but feel like Stranger Things offers some commentary on what has been lost in an era of social media, helicopter parenting, and the like. Secondly, am I the only one connecting Stranger Things to the tall, pale, long-armed, faceless Slender Man? I would hesitate to draw too strong a line to the Slender Man meme, being aware that it was constructed from various other monsters of folklore and pop culture. Still … (And a quick shout out to Steelberg, a fantastic artist producing mock VHS cases of contemporary films including the Stranger Things package below.  See more at Steelberg’s Instagram page!)

  1. Steelberg Stranger ThingsHoodlum Priest (Kimiyoshi Yasuda, 1969)
  2. Sing Street (John Carney, 2016)
  3. The Witch (Damiano Damiani, 1966)
  4. The House with Laughing Windows (Pupi Avati, 1976)
  5. Walk Cheerfully (Yasujiro Ozu, 1930)
  6. The White Sheik (Federico Fellini, 1952)
  7. Sex in the Comix (Joëlle Oosterlinck, 2012)
  8. The River Fuefuki (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1960)
  9. Mudbloods (Farzad Nibakht, 2014)
  10. The Beyond (Lucio Fulci, 1981)

Last, I set up a Letterboxd account about a month ago, so those looking to see what I’m watching and my reactions to them can find me at “rjtougas” and glory in my consistent misappraisals! MMC! readers can climb down off the ledge though; “10 on the 10th” posts will continue on.

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2 thoughts on “10 on the 10th – August 2016

  1. Silver Screenings August 13, 2016 / 5:05 pm

    I was kind of talked into watching “Stranger Things” and was immediately hooked. Loved the homages to 1980s film. Also, I love how filmmakers are picky about 1980s technology.

    You make a good point about what’s been lost in the era of social media. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I agree. Looking at this series, the 1980s seems like a different planet.

    • spinenumbered August 13, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      That’s a really interesting comment – the ’80s do seem like a totally different world with its own particular technology, making Stranger Things an exercise in sci-fi even before government experiments and the like ever arrive. In a way similar to how film noir only became thought of as a genre by French critics years later, Stranger Things may be unpacking the many ’80s films it cites as a genre or mode unto itself, something that is only appreciable with the distance of time. I don’t recall anyone considering E.T., War Games, or Flight of the Navigator a particular genre of their own when they were being released, but works like Stranger Things and Super 8 seem to be retrospectively assessing it as such, marking it by independent youngsters, half-aware parents, compromised authorities, analog technology, lens flares, excessive backlighting, and its suburban spaces.

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