Andrea Zuckerman issues Trump death blow

Also: 20 years of Donnie Darko. AND: Netflix offers shuffle play

Many hours of TV are today being turned over to the inauguration of Joseph R Biden Jr. Always Be Watching welcomes the first Parks & Recreation actor to the White House.

Perd Hapley - you’re next.


Donald Trump faces the greatest indignity of all

Sure, he lost the election. Sure, he helped lose the Senate for the Republicans. Yeah, okay, he got impeached and will face the Senate. Oh, and there’s also that $400 million debt and possible jail time ahead. Also, nobody really turned out for his goodbye parade this morning.

But that’s nothing compared to this:

Former Beverly Hills 90210 star and current President of SAG-AFTRA Gabrielle Carteris has initiated charges against Trump, stripping him of his union card.

“Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred — democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press,” Carteris said in a statement. “There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

Source: Variety


20 years of Donnie Darko

It’s 20 years since cult classic Donnie Darko made its Sundance premiere. As is the way with such anniversaries, there is an oral history of the film to read.

The movie didn’t truly become a curiosity until teenagers who missed it in theaters began finding it. The film had three sharp hooks: a deep cast of angsty up-and-comers, a new-wave soundtrack, and a Reagan-era setting. But what really turned Donnie Darko into an obsession was its complex yet accessible plot and themes, which kept college kids up at night, debating in smoke-filled dorm rooms. What is life? What does it all mean? Like The Matrix did a few years prior, the eerie indie challenged an audience weaned on meta-slasher flicks and raunchy comedies. And while its profundity decreases the older you get, Donnie Darko will always be a wormhole that sucks in curious adolescents and blows their minds.

Source: The Ringer

Donnie Darko filmmaker Richard Kelly’s second film was not as well received. But now Kelly is releasing a revised version of the film which brings it in line with his original cut that was panned at Cannes, but less panned than the eventual release.

I was so proud of having gotten to the festival that, as traumatizing as it was, I had to do my best to keep my chin up and kind of take the licking. Had I been older and more seasoned, I wouldn’t have been as traumatized. What happens over there is you get invited into the club, and then they’ll beat the shit out of you. But, you know, that’s the nature of being so new an experience.

Source: Vanity Fair


Netflix will roll-out shuffle play globally

Not sure what you want to watch? Just press the shuffle button on Netflix and it’ll select something for you. Why anyone would want that feature is a mystery to me, but there must be an audience for it - Netflix have been trialing the function on connected TVs. It’ll debut through the first half of 2021.

“It’s really working for us where our members can basically indicate to us that they just want to skip browsing entirely, click one button and we’ll pick a title for them just to instantly play,” Peters said on the company’s Q4 investor interview Tuesday. “And that’s a great mechanism that’s worked quite well for members in that situation.”

Source: Variety


30 years later - John Lurie has a new show

Fans of cult show Fishing With John will be interested to know that John Lurie’s new show will debut on HBO Max this week.

The new show won’t have celebrity guests and probably won’t end with Lurie and Willem Dafoe dying while out on the ice. It’s also not exactly Bob Ross either.

Here’s Lurie on how the first series came about:

I’d gone out to L.A. to play with Tom Waits on New Year’s Eve, and the next day we went fishing, and a friend videotaped us. And I had been fishing with Willem [Dafoe] a few times, and we videotaped that. And somebody saw the tapes and brought them to this Japanese company, and they said, “Yes, we want to make this.” And I was like, “Really?”

Read: New York Times


The most watched Australian shows

Curious about what the most-watched Australian TV shows were throughout 2020? Wonder no longer.

“The quality of Australian television drama in 2020 was world class and should be celebrated. It’s no accident that Stateless and the second series of Mystery Road were selected to make their world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Our television content continues to punch above its weight and resonate with audiences here and around the world,” said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason.

The Secrets She Keeps secured a prime time premiere on flagship channel BBC1 and was the sixth most watched series on BBCiplayer. Stateless reached a worldwide audience on Netflix following its successful premiere on ABC in Australia, and The New York Times included the second series of Mystery Road, which screened on Acorn in the US, in their top 20 Best International Shows of the year. The Chinese adaptation of ABC series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries created by Every Cloud Productions screened across Southeast Asia.”

Source: Mediaweek


Behind the music: Cobra Kai

I’m not as wild about Cobra Kai as some (look, it’s entertaining enough - but c’mon), but there are two areas where I think the show elevates itself beyond its relatively low budget: the fight choreography and the soundtrack.

Variety has a very good chat with the series composers who lead a 90-piece orchestra performing tracks that lean from hard rock to synthwave to Japanese classical.

The overlapping influences come to a head in the finale, as the dojos led by Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) convene for a climactic battle. The extended fight sequence is scored by the epic, nearly 10-minute “Duel of the Snakes,” which Birenberg says has all the elements of a dramatic score. “You’ve got father-son betrayals, master-student betrayals, the stakes are literally life and death. It’s just giant orchestra the whole way through and it brings in our bass guitar and drums. It’s a major climax in the storytelling.”

Read: Variety


TeeVee Snacks

  • That 70s Show star Danny Masterson continues to face criminal rape charges. His attorney has entered a plea of ‘not guilty’. Read: Variety

  • BBC Home and BBC Food has been added to Pluto TV and STIRR. Read: The Streamable

  • The Marvelous Mrs Maisel has commenced production on its fourth season. Read: Deadline

  • Many at Fox News blame its ratings downturn on the election call for Biden taking Atlanta. The head of the election desk, Chris Stirewalt, appeared on camera to explain why they made the call. He’s just been let go by Fox News. Read: The Guardian

  • When Superman & Lois debuts in Feb on The CW it’ll do so with a double-episode premiere. The season return of The Flash has been delayed by a week to accommodate it. Read: Deadline


Weekend At Bernies - not as accurate as you might think

Mortician Caitlin Doughty has spoken out about Weekend At Bernies on her YouTube channel. She reveals that dead human bodies don’t work as seen in the film:

“Bernie is simultaneously too floppy and too stiff,” Doughty opines at one point, explaining how and why his rigor mortis should long have already set in by the time his morbid shenanigans ensue. “This is the true lie of this film: there are no dead bodies that have completely upright necks and a floppy body. Doesn’t happen.” 

Read more: The AV Club


Trailer Park

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World, a collection of original films, debuts Feb 11 on the BBC.

Can’t Get You Out of My Head tells the story of how we got to the strange days we are now experiencing. And why both those in power - and we - find it so difficult to move on. The films trace different forces across the world that have led to now, not just in the West, but in China and Russia as well. It covers a wide range - including the strange roots of modern conspiracy theories, the history of China, opium and opiods, the history of Artificial Intelligence, melancholy over the loss of empire and, love and power. And explores whether modern culture, despite its radicalism, is really just part of the new system of power.

The Predator has joined the game Fortnite. You can read more details about it at Polygon.


What’s next? Tomorrow.