1. “How HBO’s Looking Went from Boring to Brilliant.” Matt Brennan on how the show began like most blind dates, awkwardly, only to change with time.
“With admirably precise detail, ’Looking,’ as its title suggests, illustrates how common it is to mistake sex for intimacy, romance for love, satisfaction for contentment—blind spots that follow no type. Indeed, it was in the midst of this sequence that I finally stopped worrying if my love of ’Looking’ was simple identification, a way of seeing myself. We’re all just looking for the future, and it promises to be anything but boring.”
2. “Manny Farber 1: Color Commentary” David Bordwell on Manny Farber.
“Farber’s views were partly in harmony with Greenberg’s. Like most critics, he took abstract art and surrealism to be the primary trends of the moment, and he valued the emerging Abstract Expressionists highly. He saw problems with ’illustration,’ especially that which was as melodramatic as Thomas Hart Benton’s. He could talk about picture planes and fidelity to materials with the best of them. But his criteria were pluralistic and his analytical categories surprisingly traditional.”
3. “A Pastry-Covered Hammer.” Sam Adams on Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
“Such self-aware aestheticism is the manna on which Anderson’s admirers feed, but in The Grand Budapest Hotel, it has a specific, decidedly un-frivolous purpose. M. Gustave isn’t simply a prissy nostalgist, a Belle Epoque throwback pining for a world that ’had vanished long before he ever entered it.’ His insistence on elemental decency, his mantra that anger is merely the expression of needs unmet, is a subtle form of resistance—tinged, it must be said, with a hint of willful denial. At times, his insistence on maintaining decorum in the face of chaos evokes history’s whipping boy Neville Chamberlain.”
4. “Our Two Dads.” Eric Hynes on Louie (episode: “Pregnant”) and Kramer vs. Kramer.
“It took us over an hour, but we’re finally at a point in the film where a scene can have its own internal drama, where it can make us feel dread and panic and empathy and adoration without those feelings fundamentally changing what we think of characters that have already become fully realized in our minds. Not coincidentally, it’s also the scene that feels most present tense, most eternally, anytime New York, the scene in which Hoffman’s simultaneously panicked and confident comportment has the most in common with CK’s, the scene that could most easily to be followed by a stand-up bit in which Hoffman riffs on rim jobs without dulling the impact of what we’ve just seen. Instead Ted pats Margaret on the butt and gives her a hard time about how badly she’s drying the dishes, and she responds by half-hugging his shoulder. They’re far from freshly acquainted neighbors, but the interaction does rhyme with how the Louie sequence resolves. In both cases, these are essential relationships for which there’s no name or rules. It takes being an adult in the city—being a single dad or instinctively caring neighbor or geographically imposed, upstairs-downstairs latchkey guardian or confidante or secret soul mate or friend—to know that you don’t always know who or what you need to get by.”
5. “A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet.” The loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire.
“For me, the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire. And there most likely was an electrical fire. In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. If they pulled the busses, the plane would go silent. It probably was a serious event and the flight crew was occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the mantra in such situations.”
Video of the Day: Good grief, indeed:
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