Friday, May 11, 2012

Context and mythology in 'The Cabin In The Woods'

In the long-running battle between art and commerce, very little so exemplifies art's inability to compete with commerce like a horror film franchise. Sure, the movies that kick those franchises off can be fresh and fascinating, even unlike much of anything the audience has ever seen before, but once the profit-generating and marketing machines get their claws into them, what was once original becomes paint-by-numbers, a stone from which every single drop of blood gets wrung before it's finally tossed aside. Sure, a bright and shining light can sometimes rear its head unexpectedly (Season of the Witch, New Nightmare, Friday the 13th: Part IV), but those are aberrations, and not anywhere close to reflections of the whole. A horror movie franchise is about as crassly commercial as it gets (and those attempted franchises that don't get beyond a single film? Yeesh), and it's well past time someone made a movie like The Cabin in the Woods in response to it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Diamonds in the Rough: Dan Stark in 'The Good Guys'

Richard Belzer's played John Munch full-time on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: SVU, for guest appearances on Law & Order: Classic, 30 Rock, The Wire, and Arrested Development, and even been offhandedly mentioned on Luther. Munch is a great character, for certain, but why is he so special? There's a legion of great TV characters just as deserving as he of continued existence, and many of them never even appeared on a single great TV show, let alone eight. In this attempt at a recurring series, I'm going to try to spotlight folks from less well-regarded programs, and make a case for their reinstatement on the small screen. To kick things off, let's take a look at Dallas Detective Dan Stark from The Good Guys, played by Bradley Whitford.