DID YOU READ

Communicating the “Magic and Light” of Spielberg

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The team over at Press Play is in the midst of an impressively comprehensive study of director Steven Spielberg. Each chapter of their “Magic and Light” series deals with another facet of the popular filmmaker’s career. They started with a video essay about the depiction of violence in Spielberg’s work; later they examined the roles and representation of villainy in his work. That “chapter” was subdivided into four smaller videos, so when I say impressively comprehensive, you know I am not easily impressed (or comprehended. Wait…).

My favorite chapter of “Magic and Light” so far though was the one written and edited by Matt Zoller Seitz about the pervasive theme of communication in Spielberg’s work. Like Kevin B. Lee’s “The Spielberg Face,” Seitz observes a fundamental but easily overlooked aspect of Spielberg’s work, explaining its importance with clear writing and smart editing. Take a look:

Seitz’s observations mesh perfectly with Spielberg’s new films “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse.” Animals feature prominently in both films — Tintin’s canine sidekick Snowy and the eponymous equine Joey, respectively — as do their attempts to bridge the communication gap between man and beast. Snowy is easily the smartest creature in “Tintin” but as a dog he can’t directly communicate with the much dumber humans he spends his time with. He frequently struggles to get Tintin’s attention with barks or grunts, or by tugging on his shirt. Joey’s intelligence level isn’t as cartoonishly high but at one point he functions in much the same way that Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” does to the Israelis and Palestinians in “Munich.” In a delicate and moving scene set in No Man’s Land on one of the battlefields of World War I, one German soldier and one English soldier find common ground as they try to save Joey from a tangle of barbed wire. In Spielberg’s cinematic universe, beauty, purity, and goodness transcend the boundaries of country and especially language.

For more on the new Spielberg films, make sure you check out my reviews of “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse.” For the previous and future installments of “Magic and Light: The Films of Steven Spielberg,” go to Press Play.

What’s your favorite Steven Spielberg film? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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