(15 replies, posted in Episodes)

Science! Yes! Someone with answers!

Thanks sir.


(660 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Endings are sad, but wins are happy. You guys did the shit out of this thing. Never in a million years would I have thought the show would still be kickin' this many episodes down the road; way to go and super congratulations.

Anyway, I'm not opposed to guest appearances, it's just a question of subject matter and scheduling.



(201 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I'm gratified to hear that you're snobbing on his sentences. I couldn't help myself either.

Also, prepare to read 'joie de guerre' like four fucking times.



(172 replies, posted in Off Topic)

MartyJ wrote:

A question for our resident screenwriting buffs: do you think the show had a chance of working well in 2018? Could it be salvaged by making some changes? I haven't been able to figure this out. Any ideas?


I think the problem is less about the X-ness of these here Files, and more about the intended fantasy of them.

It boils down to an A-meets-B problem, where A is your topic and B is your genre; where A is your thematic setup and B is your thematic payoff. The need to keep major secrets from the public will always have a place in the culture, and from this we can assume paranoia and conspiracy-theorizing aren't going anywhere. For lack of a better word, we'll call that particular topic 'conspiranoia' — and conspiranoia is a super-solid thematic setup; it speaks to human nature, it's a part of us. Thus, 'secret powerful operations that must be happening in the background' stories will always be eligible for being taken seriously — if it's not James Bond, it's Bridge of Spies, or Men in Black, or All the President's Men, or Independence Day, or Ocean's 11 [think about it], or Citizenfour, or any of a hundred documentaries about classified ops or UFO sightings — because people love big complex secret truths hidden from everyday life. Conspiranoia is an itch the audience is permanently willing to scratch; what may not be permanent is any cultural interest in scratching conspiranoia with monster-of-the-week magic in particular.

"Where The X-Files gets into trouble," Teague said authoritatively, like an asshole, having never watched The X-Files, "is connecting serious conspiranoia thematic setups to magic monster-of-the-week thematic payoffs."

You can land on monster-of-the-week magic by way of any number of different genre setups, you don't have to use conspiranoia to get there: Buffy gets there by way of dramedy, Ghostbusters and Men in Black get there by way of comedy, and if you're willing to swap 'secret alien shit' for 'secret supernatural shit,' Indiana Jones gets there by way of adventure. But getting to monster-of-the-week magic by way of conspiranoia is trickier, because conspiranoia takes itself a little more seriously than those other thematic settings do — after all, another way of describing conspiranoia would be 'revealing the secret reality that's even more representative of how the world actually works, mannn.' It's inherently a topic with high standards for plausibility; audiences of any given random zeitgeist might be willing to roll with inherently silly payoffs to inherently serious setups, but that's a function of the escapism and whimsy of the zeitgeist at the moment, not audiences in general. In the nineties, we seem to have been pretty willing to roll with it — or perhaps it wasn't the nineties, it was Gen X. Whatever.

Basically, I think what happened is 9/11 advanced the zeitgeist and made silly premises look sillier.

Modern audiences are still quite willing to engage in stories about whimsical escapist cartoonish shit — oh my christ don't get me started on Marvel and Star Wars — but our standards have shifted greatly: escapism currently works if the pay-off is a lot less magical than The X-Files, e.g. The Dark Knight trilogy, or if the setup is a lot more fun than The X-Files, e.g. Marvel and Star Wars. In this way, X-Files suffers because its serious setup is a mismatch for its escapist pay-off. (It's also possible to have the opposite problem — and if you've come this far without wondering where DC might fit into this theory, you're going to enjoy the thought you're now having.)

I think the problem X-Files faces with modern audiences is that modern audiences are perfectly willing to sit through your thematic setup about humongous secrets the government has been keeping, but we also expect those setups to pay-off with plausible reveals, because we've been hearing a lot about humongous government secrets lately and the subject doesn't seem remote and escapist to us like it did in the nineties. In this atmosphere, with this audience, it's way harder for a story to follow its conspiranoia setup with a pay-off that feels monster-of-the-weekish, rather than feeling journalistic or gritty; equivalently, it's way easier for a story to take the form of a monster-of-the-week fantasy so long as the setup feels escapist. It's only when you take something that no longer feels like escapism and try to turn it into a fun genre story that you hit a disconnect.

Following from all this theorizing, it would seem X-Files has some meaningful options: it can drop the serious conspiranoia and become 'more fun' (tonally: Buffy, Agents of Shield, Men in Black), or it can drop the escapist fantasy and become 'more serious' (tonally: Bridge of Spies, Citizenfour, All the President's Men). If both sides of this spectrum are untenable, as I imagine they would be — I mean, at a certain point it just ceases to be The X-Files, y'know? — is there anything they can do to appease modern audiences? Can any show like this appease modern audiences? Sure: Fringe. Fringe skates with modern audiences because it anchors so much of its fantastical monster-of-the-week shit with explicit magic beans in the universe, rather than some hazy sense that the truth could be anything. Perhaps X-Files could skate just as well, if they were to drop the conspiranoia thematic setup and follow Fringe's lead with an escapist setup modern audiences are far more tolerant of: sci-fi.

Here's your high-concept pitch for a workable X-Files reboot: 'Fringe at Area 51.'

...but so long as we're throwing everything out anyway, I'd rather explore 'The West Wing at Area 51,' myself.

tl;dr — I think X-Files is out of fashion. It may become workable again once the world gets less scary.

Dude, totally. That's pretty much exactly the trick I would have been hopin' would work.

Chyeaaaaaah dawg. Looks sick.

You might be able to pull a matte from the color information, but, yeah, I'd expect to do fuzzy rotos.


(41 replies, posted in Off Topic)

That's a neat tool.

Also, how in the entire fuck did I not originally post a top five?

*glances at to-do list* *moans*

Instead of Color Neutralizer, you could probably get pretty close in Hue / Saturation by lowering the saturation and slightly increasing the lightness for the reds, oranges and yellows.

I think this video is less boring (or at least more densely interesting) than such walkthroughs tend to be — talkin' about philosophies of VFX, shit like that — and in any case, hopefully it answers your questions.

Here's the smoke element I used. Here's my project, if you want to poke around in it (sorry it's such a mess; I left it with the same bad organization you'd recognize from the video, rather than tidying it up), and here's a copy of the image frame, which I guess one could just as easily download from your original post.

Catnip! Video uploading.


(115 replies, posted in Episodes)

Man, going back and re-reading this thread is a trip.


(4 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Damn, Prax. That's a hell of a post.

I think I agree with everything you said, but since my brain isn't done thinking about this stuff, let's zoom in and try to trace the underlying impulses. What I'm curious about is the line — not just where it is, but what it is.

But there are hypothetical exceptions in the same vein as Tarantino. One of my absolute favorite books, Philip K. Dick's VALIS, casts its author as not one but two of its main characters. I've a feeling that, were I to find out that Dick had raped someone, my ability to enjoy that book would be rapidly eroded. My ability to empathize with the character of Phil Dick would be compromised by my knowledge of what the real Philip K. Dick had done; it wouldn't be a literal example of having to look at his face the way one does with actors, but it'd be very nearly that.

I think I would have the very same reaction — which seems to be, in a nutshell, 'reflexively withholding the social gift of voluntary empathy.'

Our reaction gives us a clue as to what 'the line' must have been: since the punishment is to reflexively omit future empathy, we apparently see the crime as having been enabled by previous empathy. If 'empathy' is a metaphorical currency, and 'society' is a metaphorical economy, we see a line-crosser as having 'stolen' unearned empathy. As vested co-exchangers in this shared empathy economy, we award various amounts of 'credit' to everyone we encounter based on the empathic examples they provide us with — moral behavior, good works, meaningful art, etc.. If the first empathic examples we're given by a person indicate that they're a piece of shit, we can avoid expending undue empathy in the first place... but, if we're convinced to expend generous empathic affection in someone only to later discover that the examples they 'applied for credit with' were a distortion of their empathic worth, we're forced to reflexively freeze their credit and cut our (non-metaphorical, because that's the point of this metaphor) losses.

When we discover someone has been secretly 'looting' empathy from their even closer investors, we can't ignore that behavior, because we're investors in the same damn thing — and as people who fell for the same con, people who would have invested so much more if only we'd been given the opportunity to get closer to the person, we're forced to conclude that the only thing protecting us from losing so much more was the fact that we never had that opportunity in the first place.

It seems like the primary change 'behind' the #MeToo moment has been for people who wouldn't be victimized by Weinstein, Wagner, or Jefferson — people who aren't women, Jewish, or black — to begin regarding crimes which don't target them personally as 'crimes against humanity' regardless. We've just gotten there.

Which is completely mortifying.

I want to spend ten thousand words exploring this metaphor, but for now I have to run.


(39 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Thanks for collatin' the data. Interesting stuff.

Of the movies nobody has seen... I have heard of one.


(4 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Well that's a bunch of terrible shit.

We've known he's an edgelord creep for a while but this crosses a line. If I wanna see his next movie I'm going to have to find a way to avoid paying for it.

Speaking of this — if y'all are in the mood, I'd be interested to try hashing our way through a 'separating the artist from their art' conversation; I don't think we've ever seriously taken a swing at it before. Wagner, etc..


(9 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Gotta love that Zarb ban!


(9 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Well this is promising as fuck.


(2 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Thanks for the review! Would you recommend Writhyn for minor household chores? I've got scuffs on my walls that I'm having a devil of a time removing. And what about snake repair?

I think he means uber-progressives make meals of each other more than uber-conservatives do.


(14 replies, posted in VFX)

Teague wrote:
Saniss wrote:

I'd write/record a quick overview of it for the forum but I won't be home for a month.

dooo eeeet

doooooooo eeeeeeeeeet


(40 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Bump, motherfuckers.


(2,106 replies, posted in Off Topic)

The list is real.


(2,106 replies, posted in Off Topic)

How does it compare to The Master in terms of abject interminability?

Sorry. I'm trying to be gentle.


(2,106 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Hm. Well. I have absolutely no bead on how I'll feel about this thing.

On the one hand, I tend to agree with your reviews and would thusly expect to enjoy it; on the other, you say The Master is an even better movie, and I straight-up walked out of that shit. (I think I've only ever walked out in the middle of an unseen movie twice in my life, and the other time doesn't count because I was eleven.)

Whatever. I'll probably see it regardless; especially if I'm feelin the strain after a few Dayless years.

I'll tell you this: I fucking love the logo, and its animated treatment in the trailer.