Coming Up on Viewpoints Show 18-08

vprlogo

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A debilitating and misunderstood malady

David Adam is a reporter and author who has lived with OCD for almost 20 years. He joins the show to explain his disorder and clear up some common misconceptions about the debilitating disorder.

Processing Unimaginable Grief

Grief is something all humans experience in their life. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Author Tom Malmquist suffered a terrible loss: his partner of 10 years died after childbirth. This was compounded a short while later when Malmquist’s father died. He talks about how we processed his grief through writing, and the hope he finds in raising his daughter.

Culture Crash: A Father and Son Duo’s New Creepy Ghost Story

Authors Richard and Billy Chizmar aren’t just partners, they’re family. Their new horror novella, Widow’s Point, tells the story of a haunted lighthouse. Despite its scary plot, the father and son say writing it was a blast.

Advertisements

Culture Crash 18-07: The New Era of Science Fiction

Culture Crash Logo

 

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Stand-alone science fiction stories are having a moment. In the past few years, smart sci-fi has gone from something of a forgotten genre to at the forefront of the streaming wars and the cineplex.
Netflix’s Black Mirror pumps out unique, interesting stand-alone episodes imagining the future of technology. Amazon’s recently released Electric Dreams is trying something similar with a twist: they’re modernizing some of the great stories written by Philip K. Dick, as an anthology show of their own.
Even at the movies, stand-alone science fiction is making a comeback in an unlikely place: The Cloverfield franchise. Movie franchises these days are almost entirely serialized: Each Marvel movie builds on everything that came before it. But Cloverfield may be JJ Abram’s most clever trick, because the movies are hardly related. Cloverfield was released in 2008 to high marks from critics and made its budget back over 6 times. Then, in 2016, a mysterious sequel was announced. Except…it wasn’t really a sequel at all. It was a previously written script that they tweaked a few things here and there to make into a “Cloverfield” movie called 10 Cloverfield Lane. Essentially, it’s an entirely stand-alone movie shoe-horned into a franchise so it could be made. The Super Bowl-surprise movie The Cloverfield Paradox was a similar story . As is Overlord, the franchise’s next entry coming to theaters later this year. All 4 of the Cloverfield movies that have been announced or released so far come from different writers and starring entirely new casts, making this a franchise unlike any other.
In a time when big budget tentpoles have to be part of a larger universe, Abrams has found a way to disguise interesting projects he’s producing into name brand, helping these movies get seen and helping original sci-fi find its seat at the table again.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up on Viewpoints Show 18-07

vprlogo

 

The Graduate, 50 Years Later

Few movies become as iconic as Mike Nichols’s December 1967 classic, The Graduate. The film became a touchstone for Baby Boomers and became emblematic of the generation’s desire to stand out from the generations before them. We look at some of the elements that made The Graduate so memorable.

The Power of the Written Word

Storytelling is a human impulse that has guided civilizations as far back as we can remember. Martin Puchner is a scholar on the subject and takes us through the history of writing stories down, and how those written accounts have become so important to our understanding of the world.

Culture Crash: The New Era of Science Fiction

There was a time when science fiction stories had to be a part of some established arc or it wouldn’t get made. Now, thanks to Black Mirror, Electric Dreams, and the Cloverfield franchise, stand-alone sci-fi is thriving once again.

Culture Crash 18-06: YouTube’s Logan Paul Problem

Culture Crash Logo

 

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Tweens, teens, and young adults aren’t lining up to buy DVD box sets anymore. By and large, they’re watching things exclsively online. Netflix shows like Stranger Things are big, sure, but one of the biggest entertainment spectacles of all for today’s high school crowd are YouTube vlogs.
YouTubers like Tyler Oakley or Miranda Sings have millions of subscribers and they typically release videos weekly. Those videos regularly rack up hundreds of thousands of views, and occasionally hit the millions, views driven primarily or entirely by 13 to 25 year olds. This videos can mean big money for YouTube stars thanks to ads and sponsors.
The biggest of these stars is- or was- Logan Paul. Paul is internet-famous for his prank and parody videos. In the final week of 2017, Paul was in Japan filming his usual brand of videos: in one, he and his friends dressed up as Pokemon characters and pretended to be playing for real on a busy street corner.
His channel was occasionally criticized for racism or misogyny but mainly, his fans kept watching and those who disliked him simply ignored him. But in the first week of the new year, he uploaded a video many say made light of suicide. He and his friends were in Japan’s notorious Sea of Trees or Suicide Forest when they stumbled upon a dead body- a man who had apparently committed suicide hours earlier. Instead of deleting the tape and leaving the forest, Paul posted the video, including footage of the body itself and of Paul laughing and joking around in the moments after finding the body.
The backlash was quick and fierce. Within a few days, he removed the video from his channel and issued an apology. But forgiveness hasn’t come so quickly- many internet users have called for Paul to be banned from YouTube. Though YouTube has said he won’t be banned for this, over a month later, Paul still hasn’t returned to his regular schedule of making silly vlogs.
In the age of internet viral-videos, entertainers are constantly trying to push the envelope. Logan Paul’s situation offers us a look at how the internet marketplace will regulate itself without typical FCC or network executives overseeing content creation. How and when Paul is able to put his suicide forest video behind him will set a benchmark for what it takes to overcome controversy in the wild wild West of internet memes.
Resources for people contemplating suicide are available at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints Show 18-06

vprlogo

 

Making Philosophy Relatable Through Humor

Often, philosophy is so dense and hard to fully process that it feels impossible to understand and enjoy. Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein are trying to fix that problem. They explains some of the deepest thinkers of all time, like Immanuel Kant or John Locke, with humor.

Norwich, Vermont’s Olympic Formula

How has a small town in Vermont produced 11 Olympians since the ‘80s? New York Times sportswriter Karen Crouse went there to find out, and says the answer lies in the town’s culture and most crucially, the parenting.

Culture Crash: YouTube’s Logan Paul Problem

YouTube stars rack up huge followings and a lot of cash. But YouTube’s hottest star is in a lot of hot water over one of his videos. How should the internet regulate itself?

Culture Crash 18-05: TV Theme Songs

Culture Crash Logo

 

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Our senses can trigger all kinds of nostalgia. Maybe the smell of your mother’s cooking reminds you of childhood or the sight of your high school brings back memories of the awkward years. But most things pale in comparison to the sound of an old TV show’s opening credits song.

For you, it may be Full House. If you’re like my dad, it’s the whistling from The Andy Griffith Show, but all of us have some show’s song that got lodged in our heads and stayed there for life.

More recently, the Mad Men opening song had the strange ability to drop us into the 1950s world of Don Draper and HBO’s Game of Thrones takes audiences on an epic journey throughout Westeros at the start of each episode. But have you ever stopped to think about the evolution of opening credits?

They used to be set to cheesy made-for-TV music, feature silly yellow fonts and exist just to credit the cast. Each character would turn, face the camera and smile while their name appeared on the bottom of the screen. Then, shows went mainstream. Who could ever forget the iconic Friends sequence where the characters danced in a fountain to the tune of “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts? The Friends credits were such a hit that the song, which was written for the show, ended up on the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

As TV grew more serialized and darker, these sequences grew up with them. They became more artsy and cinematic in shows like Six Feet Under or The Wire. And now shows may not even include opening credits, opting instead for a simple title card. But many shows, especially on Netflix and HBO, have learned to set the tone for their show with beautiful opening credits.

The internet went crazy for Stranger Things‘ simple credits which featured spooky music and a closeup of the retro font coming together to spell out the show’s title. And who hasn’t sang along to Orange in the New Black‘s Regina Spektor opening as picture of inmates fly by?

Whether you fast-forward through them or find something new to enjoy every time, opening credits occupy a lot of time for any TV watcher. I particularly loved the 11-second opening to NBC’s short-lived The Black Donnellys and the various versions Boy Meets World ran through over its run.

TV credits are so simply but have somehow come to mean so much.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints Show 18-05

vprlogo

 

Reworking a Classic

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” is a film classic. The story of a man spying on his neighbors and witnessing a murder has been the inspiration for countless books and movies. Now comes author AJ Finn’s version “The Woman in the Window,” which uses Hitchcock’s film as a jumping-off point to tell a story close to Finn’s heart about the anxiety disorder agoraphobia.

Super Bowl Ads

Maintaining a relationship or a marriage is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it can be tricky. We hear tips from an expert clinical psychologist on how couples can communicate better, understand each other more deeply, and work through some of the issues common in modern marriages.

Culture Crash: TV Theme Songs

TV theme songs: they’re the soundtrack to our childhoods, adolescence, and Sunday nights. But have you ever stopped to think about their evolution… or how many of them you’ve grown fond of?