#20: Which Porn To Get Us For Christmas

#20: Which Porn To Get Us For Christmas

This episode of Reasonable Discussions is rated... well, actually probably just PG. While we discuss some racy stuff—the NC-17 rating for Shame, the subtle bondage in 1951's The Thing From Another World—we never get graphic about it. Shame is apparently very graphic, leading the MPAA to bestow upon it the dreaded NC-17 rating, but in a strange turn of events, Fox Searchlight has decided to brandish that like a badge of honor, a potentially major turnaround for Hollywood. Uncharted 3 earned an T rating from the ESRB and a C from The A.V. Club, prompting a lot of outrage from the game's fans (who gave it a B). It got us talking about the tricky world of reviewing video games, which sometimes has its own rules. Also tricky: recommending things you know are significantly flawed or even outright bad. Tasha Robinson uses a discussion from Pop Culture Happy Hour—in the podcasting world, the Sharks to our Jets—to get some other examples of this phenomenon. Extracurricular Activities closes it all out, as usual.

:56 - Scott Tobias and Noel Murray ponder a new world for the NC-17 rating with Shame
10:54 - John Teti checks in to talk about Uncharted 3 and the blowback unique to the video-game world
19:32 - Tasha, Scott, and Keith Phipps talk about things they enjoy but can't really recommend
31:30 - Extracurricular Activities with Scott, Tasha, and Genevieve Koski

Related stuff
Nudity, Three-Ways, Hints of Incest: A Studio's Plan to Sell 'Shame' to Oscar [The Hollywood Reporter]
This film is no longer questionably rated: Blue Valentine
Drake's Reception: "Uncharted 3" and Video Game Criticism [Kotaku]
Halloween TV, From Homer To Linus And Back [Pop Culture Happy Hour]
Inventory: Tighten Up: 21 good albums that could have been great EPs (for Diamond Dogs)
Margaret
TIFF '11: Day Four (for Twixt
Empowered [adamwarren.deviantart.net]
The Brown Bunny 
The Mill And The Cross
Attack The Block
Poetry
Bellflower
The Vampire Diaries [Netflix Instant]
The Thing From Another World [Netflix]

Direct your comments to discussions@avclub.com, or leave us a voicemail at 314-AVCLUB0.

Subscribe to Reasonable Discussions
iTunes
FeedBurner


Listener mail

On ReasDis #14's discussion of Funny Games:
Scott,

The other day I was listening to the podcast where you discussed your fondness for Funny Games.  I saw the original about a year a half ago and I loved it too. I have a slightly different take on the movie that I'm going to gratuitously share with you.

You may not have had the time to explore this on the podcast, or perhaps you disagree with it, but here goes. . . . The movie is punishing the audience, yes, but not exactly by giving them what they want.  Instead, it gives us all the bad without any of the good. In most violent movies, the director gives the audience the "pleasure" of seeing the physical acts of violence--whether a punch, kick, etc., or a bullet exploding through flesh.  Haneke gives us the aftermath without the act.  The scene where the father first gets hit with the golf club is a good example of this. When I first saw this scene, I thought I'd missed seeing the father struck with the club.  But then I replayed the scene and I noticed that the camera quickly cuts away as the father is being struck.  I think Haneke wants to deprive the audience, even though they likely are rooting for the family, of the satisfaction of seeing the brutal act--instead focusing on the aftermath.  A few more scenes seem to follow this theme.  The one scene that felt dragged out--deliberately, I'm sure--was the one where the parents are both bloodied and barely able to even move.  There, Haneke is punishing us by showing a more realistic view of the effect of the kind of violence we routinely see in American movies.  And finally, there's the scene on the boat.  Haneke had previously telegraphed the placement of the kitchen knife on the boat, to "foreshadow" its possible use.  Then, when the wife is on the boat, Haneke dangles that possibility in front of the audience before having one of the invaders cavalierly toss it, and the wife, overboard--once again depriving the audience of a violent confrontation. 
The exception that seems to prove the rule here is the "rewind" scene.  There, we finally are given the pleasure of seeing a gunshot explode through the chest of one of the invaders, only to have the sequence erased from the story.  
I haven't seen the remake yet but I'm looking forward to checking it out and seeing if my theory holds up or falls apart. 
Ashwin


On our quizzes:
Hey Guys,

Enjoying your podcast but can I implore you to please never have another quiz again? They might be fun for you guys, but as a listener they are absolutely excruciating. I can't even imagine what made you think this might be something that people would want to listen to.

Yours,
Pete


On ReasDis #18's discussion about sci-fi & fantasy:
Hello AV Club,

In your last podcast Noel and Tasha went over some of the issues that sci-fi and fantasy fans may or may not have with "softer" elements such as love and relationships in their fiction. For the record, I largely agreed with Tasha on this issue, at least regarding The Matrix and Star Wars and so on.

What I wanted to comment on was an aspect of geek culture that wasn't discussed, that of sci-fi / fantasy video games. As any gamer can attest to, there's been a general trend in "hardcore" gaming over the last decade or so toward more and more "cinematic" game presentation and structure, to the point where games in many cases resemble interactive cinema. What I wanted to focus on specifically was the RPG genre, which is arguably the subset of gaming that has the most in common with film - namely, a stated desire to create coherent and engaging characters and plot. Perhaps the most successful and well-known studio to make such games (in the western hemisphere at least) is Bioware, now a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.

If you play Bioware's games over the last 10 years, one after the other, you'll notice two things - one, the narratives become more "linear" and film-like, with full voice acting and dynamic use of perspective and a relatively brisk sense of pacing. The other thing you'll notice is that "romance" has taken on a greater and greater emphasis. It's amusing to hear Noel posit that sci-fi / fantasy geeks are averse to love stories in their media, because Bioware fans have a seemingly overwhelming tendency towards 'shipper-ism, to a genuinely unsettling degree (a thread on the Bioware forums in which fans debated the chemical makeup and taste of alien sweat comes to mind). I put "romance" in quotation marks because there are a couple of issues with it in most every game it features in. Frankly, characterization in games is quite poor on average, at least to the degree that character relationships are rarely, if ever, brought across in a way that seems genuine (this is compounded by the state of animation and the compressed sense of time in gaming). Bioware, for example, has leaned on past trauma (rape, abuse, neglect, adoption etc) as a catalyst for inter-character relationships (romance tends to look a lot like psychotherapy), and the fact that gamers inhabit the role of protagonist means that you get a lot of mary sue / marty stu elements and more esoteric "gamification of courtship" problems.

Anyway, this email has ended up much longer than I intended. Point of the story is: Geeks do love a love story now and again, they just like it when they're the ones directing the scenes, and they get pretty skeevy about it.

Thanks for the outlet!
Kid van Pervert

More Reasonable Discussions