Open Thread for June 24, 2011

J.K. Rowling’s e-pub announcement, the late Ryan Dunn, a whole bunch of movies, and the week of June 24th.

Happy Week-of-the-Solstice, Overthinkers! The longest day of the year heralds the longest Open Thread of the year. We hope.

The big news for all you book nerds: J.K. Rowling announced that the Harry Potter series will be available in e-format for the first time through her branded site Pottermore. Industry sources say that, by going outside of a traditional publishing house and keeping all royalties herself, Rowling stands to make all dollars. That’s all dollars, everywhere. They will all flow to her like the tide.

Some losses this week: Ryan Dunn, star of MTV’s “Jackass,” in a car crash probably brought on by alcohol; and a stagehand in the Daniel Radcliffe-starring Broadway production of “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,” possibly brought on by heroin O.D. Tough business, that show business.

New movies out this week: indie darling A Better Life, trashy comedy Bad Teacher, and Conan O’Brien documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. Pixar is also releasing Cars 2, which, like Cars, will probably be “merely very good” and not “an instant classic for all generations” (a la Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, Up, The Incredibles or WALL-E).

Comment of the Week goes to Svan on Larry Crowne, The 40 Year Old Virgin and American Transportation Policy:

I’m not satisfied with the narrative that this trope is purely the result of filmic convenience. I am partially satisfied to be sure, having a dramatic external change can be used as short hand for representing dramatic internal change. However, in the last Clichemaggedon, I suggested: include an experience where the main character purchases and is satisfied with a commercial product as staple Cinema Americana. This grows out of an internalized vision of self as an autonomous individual and of industry’s ability to equip them with the trinkets of a hero’s journey.

Americans tend to mythologize the origins of their possessions in a different way than other cultures. Of course most all character arc’s I’ve ever seen will start with the hero having some undesirable possessions and end with them holding something quite better. Where these things come from and how they reflect upon their user are usually a different story.

And that’s only half of it! Svan’s got something to say; check it out.

Will J.K. Rowling wreck her CGI-talking car on a drunk driving binge in West Goshen, PA? Or is there something we missed? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

11 Comments on “Open Thread for June 24, 2011”

  1. Darin #

    re:Ryan Dunn. I kept thinking about the cult of personality of this guy. Evil Knievel was a ‘death defier’. Dunn did stunts, but he had a following. There was a spate of posts suggesting that this was a big prank. If Knievel bought the farm on one of his stunts we would have seen it live, game over.

    Then, Roger Ebert tweets “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” riffing on the old PSA “Friends don’t let friend drive drunk.” Of course, his facebook page gets plastered and then fb takes his page down. I don’t know if Ebert saw the pics of Dunn drinking prior to the accident, but ultimately the police say he was going 100mph+ and had a bac of 0.196.

    My point is that the lines between discrete human being and star get blurred very quickly with fame. Ebert, famous, makes a true but insensitive comment about famous Dunn. The fans go ballistic. Also, the fans got excited about a man who cheats death and are upset when he doesn’t.

    Famous people who we feel touched us die all the time. When they pass, what exactly is the feeling we have for someone we never knew personally?


  2. Johann #

    So after Clarence Clemons, Ryan Dunn and now Peter Falk, the infamous triplet of celebrity deaths is complete again, it seems.
    Here’s a suggestion: In memory of Peter Falk, I would LOVE for you guys to produce an episode of The Overview on The Princess Bride.

    Oh, and I found this piece of pop culture – science – mixture:
    The Asterix comic books are very popular in Europe. They are about the inhabitants of a Gaulish village, fighting against the Roman Empire. With their magic potion, the Gauls can resist the Roman occupation. Not infrequently, Romans get hit on the head. So a bunch of German Neurosurgeons decided to write a paper about traumatic head injuries in Asterix comic books and a renowned medical journal actually publishes it. Brilliant!


    • Gab #

      Here’s a suggestion: In memory of Peter Falk, I would LOVE for you guys to produce an episode of The Overview on The Princess Bride.

      Totally seconded!!!!


    • Chris #

      Don’t do it for Peter Falk. Do it for Andre the Giant.


      • Brian #

        Can’t it be for both, or is that inconceivable? Hiyo!


  3. Brian #

    Bad Teacher got me thinking, are there any inspiring female teachers in pop culture, like school system teachers- not care givers like Marry Poppins?

    Maybe there’s lots, but the first female teacher I think of is Ms. Krabappel or Ms. Garrison in post-op episodes of South Park, and they both had their ambition and hopes crushed by the system and have no faith the kids will learn anything, it seems like any teacher with years experience is portrayed that way in shows, and there’s usually even an episode where a new inspiring teacher comes in and gets crushed or is only a substitute and leaves the kids back to their dull factory line style learning.


    • Johann #

      Michelle Pfeiffer as LouAnne Johnson in “Dangerous Minds” comes to mind. But that is based on a real teacher’s experience.


      • Brian #

        Yeah that’s the first one that occurred to me too, haven’t seen it though and the poster looks so tough I get it confused with The Substitute which is also about an ex-Marine cleaning up an inner city school- with extreme prejudice because this time… it’s personal. Haven’t seen that either but it looks like The Substitute set out to undo everything Dangerous Minds was trying to do.

        I guess The Miracle Worker counts? Haven’t seen that either, but she does live with Helen Keller and isn’t a modern teach breaking through the system, right?


      • Brian #

        Thanks. 30 minutes of imdb searching got two more that have female leads, “Bright Road” (1953) and “Up the Down Staircase” (1967), someone suggested “Sister Act” in a forum list of their top teacher movies but I don’t remember it being quite in the category. Compared to nine male leads I found in 30 minutes, not counting the various non-English language ones.

        Race theme in almost all, “To Sir, With Love” Sidney Poitier is a black teacher in an all white London school tries to reverse the dominant race roles, and both the female ones are about a white teacher in American south.

        Doesn’t look like “Bad Teacher” deals with race or drugs, but does keep the hot teacher trope going, which Hilary Swank wearing a skirt is something a female teacher complained about in an imdb forum on “Freedom Writers” saying a teacher with any training would know not to wear a skirt on the first day. So there’s that if anyone’s interested.


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