Sunday Morning! Stranger Things and Suspiria

Rufus F.

Rufus is a likeable curmudgeon. He has a PhD in History, sang for a decade in a punk band, and recently moved to NYC after nearly two decades in Canada. He wrote the book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (2021).

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11 Responses

  1. Aaron David says:

    So, still in the middle of a rereading of Ellroy’s LA quartet and Underground USA series. And while at times the writing itself can feel self-indulgent, it truly is a transcendent work. Only not in a way of lifting you up, but of forcing you to move away from easy interpretations of recent history. There are no good guys here, no viewpoint characters who can, nudge-nudge and wink-wink away violence, racism and all that was entailed in the containment philosophy of policing that were prevalent at the time. And this is one of the great failures of modern storytelling of past era’s. We want to look at the cars and clothes and all that was pretty of a time period, but we want to be protected by modern morals and opinions of all things political and cultural. Ellroy gives no respite.

    I am curious what you think about Saturday, as I was deeply disappointed with it. As was my wife. I felt that he refused to take the story where it logically went, and Boomer Fantasy copped out on it. I haven’t read anything by him since.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Aaron David says:

      I guess wasn’t deeply disappointed, just regular disappointed. Stories in which successful, middle-aged, Men of Reason are confronted by their own potential for violence and come to mildly question the Enlightenment as a result are a bit overdone and, yeah, there was a point where I thought “Well, that de-escalated really quickly.” The writing wasn’t spectacular either. So, I probably won’t come back to him either.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F. says:

        Another thing about Saturday- not to pile on here- is it bordered on what I call “show your work” writing, wherein the novelist will learn everything they can about some arcane subject in order to flesh out their characters, and then, in the course of that, let the reader know everything they’ve learned. (It’s pretty common among MLA writers, I find.) McEwan obviously had to do quite a bit of research about neurosurgery for a novel on a neurosurgeon, but it came right up to the line of one-more-passage-on-this-and-I’m-done-reading.Report

  2. George Turner says:

    For me, the biggest mistake in Stranger Things was their ridiculous portrayal of ham radio. It was never anything like CB radio, very few kids are ever licensed, and they conduct themselves as adults on the air. It’s boring and technical. That got worse in season 3.

    *** small spoilers ***

    One of the kids comes back from camp with what he says is the most powerful ham radio ever. They haul it up to the highest hill in town so he can talk to his girlfriend in Utah. It’s a vacuum tube set but they leave off the enclosure, which is a huge no-no. They set up a large antenna that looks like a random Christmas tree made out of antenna scrap. They didn’t bring a generator to power the rig, and then leave the unenclosed radio and all the equipment sitting outside, on the ground, but somehow ready for use later. Then he started hollering for Suzy over and over, as if that’s how anyone makes contact.

    The ham radio elements should never have been written in, and for me they knocked a star or two off my rating.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    Stranger Things is enjoyable but seems a somewhat Reaganite show. Since I grew up in a very non-Republican area, my political memories are different and it’s weird seeing Cold War era tropes about evil Communist played straight.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      It’s like they didn’t even know that the USSR wasn’t real Communism! Seriously, if you’ve never read the collected letters of Leon Trotsky, you have been missing out. His “Literature and Revolution” really opened my eyes to a lot of things and I think that anybody who hasn’t read it shouldn’t be talking about Communism at all.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I grew up an hour outside DC, so my memories are of being told that, in the event of a nuclear war, we’d be fried- and that there was a 50/50 chance of a nuclear war. I was young enough that me and my friends thought it would be like Road Warrior and we’d have great adventures. So it was okay for us.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Rufus F. says:

        I went to a high school six miles off the end of the main runway at SAC headquarters. Everyone recognized Looking Glass when we were in the takeoff pattern. Quite a few Air Force brats in my class. Everyone knew we were likely toast if a full nuclear exchange happened. But the thinking bandied about by all of the brats’ parents was that such an exchange was very unlikely.Report

  4. Much as I love the Coen brothers (a lot), their movies are all about other movies. I’d call it good pastiche, since they generally have clever and funny takes on their source material, but it’s pastiche nonetheless.Report

    • Right, I guess that’s what you’d call The Hudsucker Proxy and Hail Caesar! both of which I love. I think what makes it really good pastiche for me is they bring in their own little obsessions about fate and morality and it never feels like you’re just watching parts of other movies.

      It might be clear here that I’m not what you’d call a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino’s output past Jackie Brown.Report

      • Also Miller’s Crossing, which I love. It’s not about people; it’s about crime ficton, in particular Hammett’s The Glass Key.

        I just finished watching The Hateful Eight, and am wondering why I bothered. (Well, because I thought Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins would be a fun pairing. Perhaps, in a different film.)Report