The Spider House Rules

So last May (that’s May 2007), Matt “Call Me the Webmaster” Wrather and I were taking in The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy of plays by Tom Stoppard. It covers the part of Russian history most people don’t know a … Continued

So last May (that’s May 2007), Matt “Call Me the Webmaster” Wrather and I were taking in The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy of plays by Tom Stoppard. It covers the part of Russian history most people don’t know a lot about — between when Catherine the Great had sex with a horse and when Animal Farm picks up.

So anyway, during one of the intermissions, I was sort of free-associating, as is my wont. And like an apple hitting me on the head (see how I’m referring both to Newton and orchards?) I realized that Tobey Maguire is in both Spider-Man and The Cider House Rules. And that Spider and Cider rhyme. And then I knew I was doomed. I was going to have to do something about it.

So here you go, internet. The Spider House Rules.

I don’t really expect it to get watched that much, since The Cider House Rules isn’t that well-known. But as long as you guys are impressed, I will not have sat through the terrible 1992 Michael Caine thriller Blue Ice in vain (I needed him holding a gun).

19 Comments on “The Spider House Rules”

  1. fenzel OTI Staff #

    I like the concept and the execution is pretty high quality, but I think it suffers from changing focus at different times, both because of how hard it is to edit together the soundtracks (and other subtle elements of the movies) and the way the plot and focus of the trailer itself moves. I think you could really sharpen it if you pulled the transitions you have naturally in your material more in line with the transitions in the piece.

    The American Flag shot of Spider-Man, I think, is misplaced, although I really like the cut from it to the studio logo. The area around the Uncle Ben shot is where it is at its roughest. And it doesn’t quite gain the steam at the end it needs to sustain its twist.

    I think the piece makes a few different jokes, and it needs to commit to those jokes more strongly while it’s making them; right now it kind of spreads it out a bit too much.

    But I wouldn’t have these sorts of criticisms if I didn’t while watching it totally see where it was going and how it was coming together — if I didn’t totally buy into its premise, which I do, and if I didn’t know you do great work in general and thus hold your work to a standard a few levels above what is considered great on YouTube.

    I like it a lot, it’s great work, it showcases your strengths, and if you don’t feel like tinkering with it anymore (God knows you must have tinkered with it plenty), I think there are definitely both things to be proud of and lessons to take to your next project.


  2. fenzel OTI Staff #

    Watching it again, some of the moments are fucking brilliant. I love “go ahead, cut my clothes, I’ve got other clothes.”


  3. fenzel OTI Staff #

    Yeah, I definitely think if you just smoothed over a few rough spots in the audio track and maybe fixed the pacing around the middle, it’d be perfect.


  4. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    I’m sure there are things that could be improved. For starters, almost three minutes seems a little long (but it would break my heart to cut anything). Not sure whether the audio problems you hear would be fixable – depends what specific sections bother you. Keep in mind, it’s often impossible to get a completely clean piece of dialogue. These movies have a lot of underscoring, and there’s not much you can do sometimes. You can minimize it by pulling only the center track of the Dolby Digital mix, which is usually mostly dialogue. But sometimes you’re stuck with a pesky oboe behind a key line.

    Anyway, I think it’s reached a point of diminishing returns. I could kill a whole weekend making tiny tweaks that most people wouldn’t even notice, and I doubt it would make a big difference in the number of views I eventually get. Hell, I was never really expecting this to take off anyway – The Cider House Rules is a little too obscure. This was kind of for fun, and for now, I’ll give myself a big gold star and call it a day.


  5. fenzel OTI Staff #

    I’m right there with you and know exactly the shot you’re talking about. Yeah, I figured it was probably like that — that basically you need better raw footage for it to be cleaner, and it’s amazing you’re pulling off as many of the notes on it as you are.

    I think you certainly deserve a big gold star. It’s certainly the best piece of John Irving fandom I’ve ever seen.

    Keep in mind, I also haven’t seen the Cider House Rules, so a lot of this goes over my head. That’s where the focus on the technical aspects comes from.


  6. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    I wonder if the pros have some sort of trick to get clean dialogue off a DVD. If they do, I haven’t seen it online. Like, let’s say you want the audio from the big Independence Day speech. You’re pretty much stuck with that swelling soundtrack too. I’m assuming the folks at Fox could get that line if they needed it for something, but just using a DVD, I think you gotta make do. That’s one of the charming handicaps you take on when you work on mashups.


  7. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    So here’s something that goes back to my earlier point about how some videos are just more viral than others. Here’s another mashup I found on YouTube: “Spiderman vs. the Hulk vs. X-Men”
    Now I don’t think I’m bragging if I claim that I’m a better editor than that guy. The video is pretty poor technically, and really not that exciting or clever in the way he combines the footage. But based on the title alone, the guy’s got over 150,000 views. And if you click on statistics, you can see almost NONE of those views come from outside YouTube. It’s ALL people just stumbling upon it through searches and related videos.

    One day, we need to figure out what the top three YouTube search keywords are and combine those into one title. Doesn’t matter if we produce a great video or not – I just want to see if you can reverse engineer a hit.


  8. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    Huh. See now I almost wonder if I should change the title to “Spider-Man vs. Michael Caine”. That might get more people to click than “The Spider House Rules.”


  9. fenzel OTI Staff #

    you could try doing both and see which gets more hits


  10. Professor Coldheart #

    I don’t really expect it to get watched that much, since The Cider House Rules isn’t that well-known.

    Ha ha, shows what you know! I’m telling EVERYBODY.

    I will not have sat through the terrible 1992 Michael Caine thriller Blue Ice in vain (I needed him holding a gun).

    The original “Get Carter” wasn’t available?


  11. B #

    I like the title “The Spider House Rules.” I say keep it.

    I mistook Fenzel’s first comment to be a toung-in-cheek spoof of a film critic write up. Anyway, like the vid. I got a pretty good laugh out of it.


  12. Matthew Belinkie #

    I definitely watched Get Carter. But there actually isn’t a great shot of him pointing a gun right at the camera, in a way that matches up well with the shot of Uncle Ben lying on the ground. Plus, Caine’s so young in that, you almost doing recognize him.


  13. fenzel OTI Staff #

    I’m pretty much a tongue-in-cheek spook of a film critic by nature, so your assessment wasn’t quite off the mark ;-)

    At one point, I tried out as a theatre reviewer for one of our college newspapers. I did one review, and they asked me not to come back, ostensibly because I gave the show too much credit for trying.


  14. fenzel OTI Staff #

    that should say spoof. But it works


  15. Gab #

    To those that commented: I really don’t think his goal was to have a seamless, perfect, authentic movie trailer, people. Comments like, “Fix the audio,” and such seem irrelevant.

    But, then again, this site *is* called “” So maybe y’all are doing exactly the right thing.

    Anyhoo, to Matthew: I was truly giggling the whole time, and I guffawed in a few spots, too. I get it, most definitely– for yes, I have seen “Cider House Rules,” so I appreciate it marvelous much.


  16. Stokes #

    Re: isolating the dialogue track.
    I read a little essay about this somewhere a few years back, I think around when the Grey Album dropped. Apparently it’s relatively easy to *remove* the human voice from an audio clip (which is you sometimes see stereos with an auto-karaoke feature), but the opposite is usually very hard. There’s no particular reason why this should be so – theoretically, if you take the waveform of the original sample and then subtract the “karaoke” version, what’s left should be the voice alone – but in practice, unless you have the unmixed vocal track, you have the option of A) living with those random oboe notes in the background or B) having everyone sound like they’re talking through a cheap walkie-talkie.


  17. fenzel #

    Yeah, I was pretty clearly excessively mean to Belinkie in this post for no reason.

    If anything, you can see this as a window into the emails I send Belinkie when he asks for my feedback on things.

    In retrospect, those emails of mine were excessively mean for no reason.


  18. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    For the record, I’ve never thought Pete’s feedback was “mean,” and I hope he doesn’t start feeling guilty about it. He’s like Simon Cowell. Sure, he’s tough. But he’s also right most of the time. I always go to Pete with my ideas because I know he’ll give it to me straight, and tell me if it needs work.


  19. Del #

    great! audio/visual/story fits perfectly.


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