A Very Auteur Christmas
What if Scorsese, Eisenstein, Kubrick, and other directors renowned for their singular visions made a Christmas movie? This is the question Four Grounds Media Inc., a Canadian production company, try to answer in the amusing video "The Auteurs of Christmas."
After the holiday season is over, perhaps some of these same directors could try filming the Super Bowl.
Will We Be Eating Asian Fusion in the Future? Spike Jonze Thinks So.
In a scene about halfway through Spike Jonze’s thought-provoking sci-fi romance Her, Joaquin Phoenix’s character goes on a blind date with a sexy Harvard grad played by Olivia Wilde. They meet in a sleek, dark restaurant, get a little tipsy, and end up talking about what animals they resemble. Then, agreeing that it’s been a pleasant evening, Wilde’s character says something like, “Don’t you just love Asian fusion?”
It’s a jarring moment in a film that is otherwise seamless in its construction of a plausible near-futuristic Los Angeles. Does Spike Jonze really think we’ll be eating Asian fusion cuisine in a few decades?
As Sara Dickerman explained in Slate last year, the term “Asian fusion” was born in the late 1980s, when European chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Jean-Georges Vongerichten created restaurants that self-consciously combined Chinese, Japanese, and Thai ingredients (ginger, daikon radish, coconut milk) with classical French preparations (vinaigrette, beef stock, mousse)—and vice versa. By the early 2000s, Asian fusion had trickled down to the Food Network and Chili’s and consequently seemed fusty and tired. This isn’t to say that the idea of remixing Asian food with other world cuisines died out—instead, chefs like Danny Bowien in San Francisco (and New York) and Roy Choi in L.A. began dishing out “Americanized Oriental Food” and Korean tacos. Not many chefs call their cuisine “fusion” anymore—in fact, New York magazine recently proclaimed, “Asian hipster cuisine has replaced Asian fusion cuisine.”
So why did Jonze choose a slightly passé type of cuisine as an exemplar of what hip white Los Angelenos will be eating in the future?
New Community Trailer Brings Some Twisted Holiday Cheer
A Dan Harmon-helmed Community returns on Jan. 2, and NBC has been making solidefforts to make sure fans are aware of its arrival amid the end-of-the-year haze. The latest trailer is fun, holiday-themed, and features our favorite study group (along with misfits Dean Pelton and Chang) in animated form.
A few smart quips (including a playful jab at the show's ousted cast member, Chevy Chase) provide more reason to believe that maybe the upcoming Season 5 will see the show return to top form.
Google Celebrates 100 Years of Crossword Puzzles
Are These the 100 Greatest Action Movie One-Liners?
Action-movie one-liners are basically tailor-made for the supercut treatment. ("The Pre-Mortem One-Liner" video by montage maven Zach Prewitt is a particularly strong effort.) Mewlists has gone all out with this 9-minute version, purporting to contain the 100 best examples of the beloved phenomenon.
Watch John Oliver’s Tearful Final Appearance on The Daily Show
After more than seven years on the show, John Oliver made his final appearance on The Daily Show last night. As he moves on to his own well-earned new show on HBO, Jon Stewart celebrated him the only way they could: By showing a highlight reel of the most embarrassing things they ever made him do.
Actually, they eventually got around to showing some of his best clips too, but nothing could stop both men from getting a little emotional. (The waterworks start around 7:25.)
The 1980s Board Game You Had Nightmares About
What, you didn’t have nightmares about board games during your 1980s childhood? Well the fine folks known as Dark Igloo clearly did—or at least they remember all those weird commercials one used to see for bizarre children’s entertainments, and they know how to rummage through your subconscious (OK, my subconscious).
The Short Films of Spike Jonze—and What They Can Tell Us About Her
Spike Jonze began production on Her in 2012, but in some ways he has been working on the movie for more than a decade. While the sci-fi romance is singular as a feature (and has been praised to the heavens, with New York’s David Edelstein calling it “the best film in years”), its unusual setting—call it the uncanny valley—is not new territory for Jonze: He has been exploring it for years in all his best shorts, such as the Ikea commercial Lamp (2002) and the 30-minute film I’m Here (2010).
Those shorts now feel like rehearsals for Her, and they are among the best places to gather insight into Jonze’s work. After all, while Her is his fourth feature, it’s the first based on his own original screenplay. (Being John Malkovich and Adaptation were written by Charlie Kaufman; Jonze and Dave Eggers adapted Where the Wild Things Are from the book by Maurice Sendak.) For fans interested in how Jonze came up with something as strange and beguiling as Her, Jonze’s shorts are the starting point. Below you will find a survey of all of Jonze’s fiction shorts, and what they can tell us about his new movie.
You’re Doing It Wrong: Tamales
Making tamales is a criminally overlooked Christmas Eve tradition in the United States. Tamales are common Christmas fare in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, and in regions of this country with large Latino populations. But, in spite of periodic newspaper, magazine, and radio features about tamales in late December, the cornmeal dumplings have never caught on among the majority of Americans who celebrate Christmas. That’s a shame, because tamales are very possibly the best food you can make around Christmastime.
This is because making tamales is as much a craft as it is a culinary endeavor. They require some special materials and a fair amount of counter or table space. You’ll get your hands messy. They’re fun to make in groups (especially groups that include children). They encourage creativity: Anything you can chop or purée, you can put inside a tamale. And your heart will swell—rather like the Grinch’s after the Whos’ rendition of “Welcome Christmas” in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas—when you see the beautiful results.
Lauryn Hill Performs “Ex-Factor,” and It’s Electrifying
With her legal troubles seemingly behind her, Lauryn Hill has gotten back to touring, and the reviews have been glowing. Yesterday, the singer shared an electrifying performance from one of the recent concerts: a rousing rendition of "Ex-Factor," with a heavy reggae accompaniment in place of the original, more subdued R&B arrangement.
The nearly 12-minute peformance is worth every second, rising to an intense, emotional finale and proving that when it comes to performing, Hill has still got it.