Steven Soderbergh on the set of Logan Lucky.
May 5, 2021
After writing last week’s ScreenTime column about the Steven Soderbergh Oscars, I had Sodey on my mind.
I skimmed his Wikipedia page in awe of what a valuable, creative life he’s lived already. I’d say he’s one of the great living artists.
For proof, do a Google search for “Steven Soderbergh Culture Diary.” It’s a deep rabbit hole in which Sodey documents all the culture he takes in on a daily basis. I can’t overstate how much time this guy spends studying other people’s work. He reads several books every week, endless scripts, newspapers, poetry, everything. But, mostly, he watches things.
No matter what ugly things are going on in the world, people like Sodey love to remind us that there’s always a lot of great art being made.
So, under Sodey’s influence, I kept a record of all the art I devoured in the week since I wrote the last edition of ScreenTime. I don’t have a lot of free time to begin with, but during this week I was finishing up an edit of a short film, so my screen time was largely committed to that. Most weeks I watch much more.
Flipped through Taschen’s reissue of their David Hockney book, Hockney. What a genius. Everyone should own this book. Rewatched Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life. It’s good, but it’s not one of his best works. Mostly, I was bored watching the film a second time.
I also watched two random episodes of my go-to comfort food series, Peep Show.
Did a deep dive on subversive filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini after listening to John Waters talk about him. I was so excited about Pasolini after reading about his work that I ordered four of his Criterion reissues.
Also ordered the recently released Criterion Collection edition of Bong Joon-Ho’s Memories of Murder. Can’t wait for those to all show up. Ultimately a research night, though I did take a nap in which I had a dream that included Bong Joon-Ho.
Listened to several episodes of The Big Picture podcast. Probably one of my top three favorite podcasts. I never miss an episode. The hosts, Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins, are excellent.
Swallowed up Taschen’s Egon Schiele book. I will never be that good at anything ever. What a brilliant stylist. Started working on a new YouTube playlist titled “Wu-Tang Clan Videos (93-99).” It’s already my most favorite thing ever.
Watched part of David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch before taking it off and putting on Baby Mama for a while. I recently got the Criterion edition of Naked Lunch and have been excited to finally see a nice looking print of the film. Just not in the headspace for DC tonight.
Also, I heard today that Cronenberg is finally making another film. That’s such good news. His last big project, Maps to the Stars, was an instant cult classic in my book. He’s old enough that I thought he had maybe retired and not told anyone, so news of a new film is very welcomed.
Worked more on my Wu-Tang video playlist, which has me considering getting a paid account so maybe I won’t have to watch all these commercials for five seconds at a time.
Prior to going to the bar tonight I had some wine spritzers while watching William Friedkin and Ron Shelton’s Blue Chips for the millionth time. I remember seeing this in the theater when I was young and it was everything I loved in one place: Indiana basketball and the ’90s and young Shaq. Nick Nolte’s performance in this was the first great performance I ever took note of.
At the bar I played maybe 15 songs on the jukebox, then came home and worked on my Wu-Tang Youtube playlist for maybe an hour before going to bed.
Managed to wrap the final edit on my new short film. I indulged myself by revisiting the first three episodes of Netflix’s Hip-Hop Evolution series. If you love hip-hop or are just interested in a good story, this show is excellent.
Also worked on the Wu-Tang video playlist, of course. Going deep with this one. Adding in some little doc pieces to the selection of music videos. I love seeing these guys back when they were young. They were so much cooler than everyone else. And much cooler than anyone right now.
Watched the ’90s remake of The Out-of-Towners with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn. Goldie is unthinkably charming, but I tend to hate films that rely simply on one thing going wrong after another. Ultimately the film felt cheesy and tedious.
Watched a basketball game and finished up my Wu-Tang Clan YouTube playlist. It’s so good. My new favorite thing to watch ever. We’re talking about around two hours of classic-era Wu-Tang and Wu-adjacent music videos from the 1990s. I’d rather watch these videos than any film ever made. That group of artists had a five-year stretch of making things (mostly videos and albums, but also clothes, movies, and books) that is about as good as it gets. And I think this new playlist is the proof.
Send your culture diary my way at email@example.com. (And if you’re a developer out there and you want to help me develop a dating app in which people find love while stalking each other’s culture diaries, I’m here waiting.)
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