Category Archives: the mindlab

Daft Favorites

I frequently get asked my favorite film(s); I then wonder what the point of “favorites” are in the face of the vacuousness of the Internet and seals of freshness franken-barfed up by Rotten Tomatoes and the ilk. Shortly after, I remember that I have a long overdue post about a new ‘reviewing method’. It is an arcane method, that along its way addresses things like fresh.com aggregators, but it’s also a more human system and thus better than all the others in the known universe. This much I can attest to.

Until I publish ‘that’, what proceeds is my list of films for the year 2020 that I feel everyone should watch or rewatch in said year. The selection is from an introduction to film studies class I taught, and it was guided by Kanopy, which the school has a subscription too, meaning students could watch the films at no additional cost. It also means that if your local library has access to Kanopy, you can watch these films as well. The one exception is Akira, which can be streamed on Hulu, even for free if one just signs up for the 7 day trial.

While there are different reasons for positioning some of the films where they fall, the ordering is primarily by formal topic.

I keep thinking I’ll start a new site at some point and post stuff like this on it rather than Protozoic. I haven’t made that site yet, so here you go. If you are trapped at home for the holidays, now you have my list of films to watch that I genuinely recommend beyond a point of favorites — because let’s face it, favorites are daft.

  • Silent Comedy – Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916), Mabel Normand and Fatty Arbuckle, One A.M. (1916), Charlie Chaplin, One Week (1920), Buster Keaton; (intro)
  • Rashomon (1950), Akira Kurosawa; (narrative)
  • Pather Panchali (1955), Satyajit Ray; (mise-en-scène)
  • Daughters of the Dust (1991), Julie Dash; (cinematography)
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), Taika Waititi;(editing)
  • Suspiria (1977), Dario Argento; (Halloween)
  • Playtime (1967), Jacques Tati; (sound)
  • The Hitch-Hiker (1953), Ida Lupino; (all formal categories)
  • Akira (1988), Katsuhiro Ôtomo; (all formal categories)
  • The Lure (2015), Agnieszka Smoczynska; (all formal categories)

See you in memes…

To close down Halloween 2020 and in a futile gesture to send off hell, last night we watched A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). I have no idea what the poster is, why the cat is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and catching or deboarding1 a trolly. Was Anne H. Ahrens, the set decorator of the film, predicting the Internet? Until the future arrives and we have the answer, see you in memes.

Cat Poster
A Cat Deboards

  1. Apparently “deboard” isn’t a word. 

Ensatina eschscholtzii eggs

This weekend while clearing some vines in the yard, we had to move a rock and found some eggs, which I believe belong to the ensatina eschscholtzii, a type of salamander found in the PNW. We put the rock back, so hopefully we didn’t disturb things. I haven’t seen a lot of amphibians or reptiles out here, a toad here and there, two garter snakes, and then a couple years ago some salamanders in up near Lake Sylvia. Pictures of the eggs are and other salamanders are below.

Ensatina eschscholtzii eggs
Ensatina eschscholtzii eggs

Salamanders at Lake Sylvia, WA

The video and photo at Lake Sylvia were taken circa June 2017.

Salamanders at Lake Sylvia, WA
Salamanders at Lake Sylvia, WA