The Double Life of Exotica


Not long ago, a friend emailed me to say she had recently NetFlix’d a “little B movie.” She said she enjoyed it, but her tone suggested that she was reluctant to go too far with an endorsement of such a lowbrow film. Had I seen it, she asked?

The name of the movie was Exotica. Why did that blow my mind?

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e-Cahiers, Hidden Iraq, and Movie Locations on Google Earth

Sweeeeeet. The “e” stands for “electronic” as well as for “English”. Mais oui. Now I don’t have to keep typing sentences into and hitting just to figure out what those crazy French critics at Cahiers du Cinéma are on about this month …. Google Video has Iraq: The Hidden Story, an utterly engrossing hour-long piece from Channel 4 on the difficulties television journalists are having getting the real story out of Iraq — as well as the general squeamishness of television producers in the U.K. and the U.S. when it comes to airing graphic war-zone footage (some of which is included here, so be warned) that could influence public opinion of the current military escapades in the Middle East …. If you’re like me (and you have a decent computer and a fast Internet connection), you’ve already loaded up and become mesmerized by the globetrotting wonders of the Google Earth software. Well, Google Earth became a huge time sink for me over the Presidents Day weekend as I found this old post at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog in which DJ Mark Allen discusses various film locations that can be viewed from a satellite’s eye using the system. I was most fascinated by the overhead images of the park from Blow-Up, but he has instructions for finding locations from La Dolce Vita, Heathers and even Friday the 13th. A category search for film locations at Google Earth Hacks turned up more time-wasting goodies, including the houses from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Poltergeist. (I am a child of the 80s. I can’t help it.) The dudes who wrote Deja Vu totally had a copy of Google Earth loaded up — I actually started getting frustrated that the system wouldn’t let me move forward and backward in time.

YouTube: George Washington

I don’t know who the hell Cox & Combes are, but the funniest thing I’ve seen lately is this blunt, oddly hilarious music video directed by Brad Neely dealing with the outsized exploits of the first president of the United States. Nicely short-circuits the main drawback of YouTube — lousy video quality — by relying solely on lo-fi cartoon images.

“George Washington”

“George Washington”

“George Washington”

Pitchfork’s “Awesome” Music Videos

PItchfork links to 100 “awesome” music videos at YouTube. Most of them are, in fact, pretty awesome. Since there’s not a chance in hell of anyone getting a chance to legally compile a collection of this scope, well, viva the Internet bootlegs.

Off the top of my head, I’d add the following:

Jonathan Demme’s video for New Order’s “Perfect Kiss”

The Flaming Lips’ “Turn It On”

Monster Magnet’s “Spacelord”

When is The Industry going to figure out a way to make shit like this happen legally, and for a reasonable price? I mean, come on — two bucks to buy a music video at sub-VHS quality just so you can watch it on your iPod? At that rate, the Pitchfork list would run you $200, and that’s just silly. Carry on.

Len Lye on Google Video

So you go to Google video and type “Len Lye” into the search box, and whoomp, there it is. Somebody pointed a video camera at a screen in a darkened room where prints of some of Len Lye’s (wonderful, transporting, mind-expanding) work were showing. Yes, these highly compressed bootleg video streams are a poor substitute for seeing the real thing — but man, how psyched was I to suddenly have a copy of “Free Radicals” that I could watch on my PSP on the train ride home? I can honestly say it elevated my mood. What kind of film snob am I?

More at Cinemarati.