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The Pop Culture Wing of Hot Corner Harbor

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Some Thoughts on Protagonists and Antagonists, via Cars 3

This is just going to be a short piece, but it’s something that bugged me while I was watching a movie, so I might as well put into words why I didn’t think it worked. It never hurts to think things through and try and learn from them.

I saw Cars 3 over the weekend, as part of my Pixar completionist streak, and was pleasantly surprised. In all honesty, I enjoyed Cars*, but don’t really remember anything about Cars 2, so my expectations going in were pretty tempered. Add in a pre-release campaign that seemed…unclear at best, and I think it’s fair to say that this was the least excited I had been for a new Pixar movies in a while.

*I don’t know if I’d put it all that high among Pixar’s in-studio rankings, but that’s as much a reflection on their strong track record as the movie itself.

In the end, the movie turned out mostly good. It will definitely stick in my brain longer than Cars 2 did, so at the very worst, so it has that going for it. However, there were just some minor complaints I had, most of which are tied to some of the thematic things going on. This will contain some light plot spoilers as a result.

Basically, it all boils down to this: the villains of the movie just don’t work. This isn’t the end-all, be-all, of course. The personal growth arcs of the main mostly work… except that they insist on using these “villains” as the end demonstration of that growth, which sort of undermines the arcs a little, in my opinion.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summer Playlist 2017



June 7th marks the third anniversary of Out of Left Field, and I struggled to think of something that would mark the occasion as well as my Hot Corner Harbor seventh anniversary post the other day. In the end, I decided to instead go back to a feature that I’ve critically underutilized so far, playlists. I love sharing music, after all. The amazingly nice weather recently had me thinking about summer songs again, so I decided why not try and build off of last year’s post and do a new Summer Playlist for 2017.

It’s not going to be exactly, the same of course. I made sure to stick to stuff not on either of my earlier playlists* (even though I was really tempted to feature “Weekend” by Neon Trees again, it’s really perfect for this, and Scavenger Hunt got crowded out partly because of two features on last year’s list). And it wound up being a little less thematically laser-focused, meaning a larger list with sometime more abstract connections to the summer theme. Some of them feel more like “good songs to listen to during summer” rather than “summer songs”, but I can’t really explain in words what that difference is exactly, other than it’s an instinctual feeling. Just know that it occurred to me during my brainstorming and bugged me a little.

*Or upcoming playlists, in a few cases; I have several more in the works, maybe I’ll eventually get around to posting them.


 A few blurbs on the songs now: