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- 12/27/13--07:05: _'Game of Thrones' t...
- 12/27/13--11:24: _These are all the m...
- 12/27/13--14:22: _10 Netflix movies t...
- 12/28/13--05:00: _The future of Spike...
- 12/30/13--05:04: _Justin Bieber is ju...
- 12/30/13--07:14: _Someone mashed up a...
- 12/30/13--13:26: _Egyptian singer cal...
- 12/30/13--14:24: _Are Hulu subscriber...
- 12/31/13--07:00: _The 10 most influen...
- 12/31/13--08:25: _These were the 13 p...
- 12/31/13--14:10: _This guy could be t...
- 12/31/13--14:47: _8 reasons 2013 was ...
- 12/31/13--15:30: _After 5 years, Grac...
- 01/01/14--08:10: _Here are the best t...
- 01/02/14--00:01: _Being John Cusack: ...
- 01/02/14--06:00: _'My So-Called Secre...
- 01/02/14--08:17: _This Aussie concert...
- 01/02/14--10:41: _Mindy Kaling wants ...
- 01/02/14--10:52: _Will Smith's 'Fresh...
- 01/02/14--11:54: _YouTube's DeStorm r...
- 12/27/13--07:05: 'Game of Thrones' takes piracy crown for second year running
- 12/27/13--11:24: These are all the movies about to disappear from Netflix in 2014
- Dark Shadows (original from late 1960s)
- Saturday Night Live, The 2000s
- Mr Bean
- The Kids In The Hall
- Perfect 10 Model Boxing (Volume 1)
- Transformers Dark Of The Moon
- The Rundown
- Being John Malkovich
- Back To School
- Battle Of Britain
- Born On the Fourth Of July
- Body Of Evidence
- Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo
- Man On The Moon
- 1492 Conquest Of Paradise
- Killer Klowns From Outer Space
- Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
- Do The Right Thing
- Up In Smoke
- Can't Hardly Wait
- Biloxi Blues
- Seed Of Chucky
- As Good As It Gets
- In The Name Of The Father
- Inside Deep Throat (documentary)
- I'm Gonna Get You Sucka
- In Like Flint
- Hard Target
- Foxy Brown
- Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell
- Half Baked
- 50 First Dates
- For The Love Of The Game
- The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
- The Bad News Bears
- The Russia House
- The Secret Of Nimh
- Revenge OF The Ninja
- Roman Holiday
- Rob Roy
- Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back
- Remo Williams
- Requiem For A Dream
- Quigley Down Under
- Once Upon A Time In Mexico
- October Sky
- Mystery Men
- The Skulls
- Romeo And Juliet (1968)
- Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood
- Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight
- The Woman In Red
- Top Gun
- Street Fighter
- TNT Jackson
- Seed Of Chucky
- Scary Movie
- Running Scared
- Troll II
- True Grit (1969)
- War And Peace
- Talk Radio
- War Games
- We Were Soldiers
- What Dreams May Come
- World Trade Center
- The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes
- The Odd Couple (1968)
- The Mask Of Zorro
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Faculty
- The Dream Team
- Best Of Times
- Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
- Alice In Wonderland (1951 Disney)
- Dynamite Warrior
- 12/27/13--14:22: 10 Netflix movies to watch before they disappear in the new year
- 12/28/13--05:00: The future of Spike Jonze's 'Her' is already here
- 12/31/13--07:00: The 10 most influential YouTube channels of 2013
- 12/31/13--08:25: These were the 13 photos the Internet loved this year
- 12/31/13--14:10: This guy could be the new king of surreal Vine comedy
- 12/31/13--14:47: 8 reasons 2013 was the year of Sir Patrick Stewart
- 12/31/13--15:30: After 5 years, Grace Helbig is leaving My Damn Channel
- 01/01/14--08:10: Here are the best titles Netflix added for your New Year's marathon
- American Psycho (2000)
- Raging Bull (1980)
- Thelma and Louise (1991)
- West Side Story (1961)
- What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
- Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
- Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
- Bull Durham (1988)
- Red Dawn (1984)
- Mouse Hunte (1997)
- Spaceballs (1987)
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
- The Chinese Connection (1972)
- Amelie (2001)
- Grapes of Wrath (1940)
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
- Children of a Lesser God (1986)
- Scrooged (1988)
- Days of Thunder (1990)
- The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
- The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
- Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
- Death Race 2000 (1975)
- Ghost (1990)
- Good Burger (1997)
- Play It Again, Sam (1972)
- 01/02/14--08:17: This Aussie concertgoer's 2014 is off to a painful start
- 01/02/14--10:41: Mindy Kaling wants Tinder users to hook up with her TV show
- 01/02/14--10:52: Will Smith's 'Fresh Prince' reunion episode is a viral hoax
- 01/02/14--11:54: YouTube's DeStorm recaps all of 2013 in a single rap
The show beat out Breaking Bad for the title by a landslide with 5.9 million downloads via BitTorrent; Breaking Bad, in second place, had 4.2 million downloads (with over half a million downloads just 24 hours after the series finale). The Walking Dead rounded up the top three with 3.6 million downloads.
As one of the more popular shows on cable television, Game of Thrones has already broken piracy records. The season premiere on March 31 was downloaded by more than 1 million users in the first 24 hours after it aired, setting a record at the time.
The majority of downloads for an episode occur within the first week after an episode aired.
While many showrunners have spoken out against piracy, the issue didn’t seem to botherGame of Thrones director David Petrarca, who said that the show survives on “cultural buzz,” which is partially sparked by piracy. Meanwhile, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes called the piracy “better than an Emmy.”
Viewers have expressed interest in watching Game of Thrones legally if HBO offered an à la carte version of HBO Go without a cable subscription. The channel didn’t appear interested in offering that service, but now some markets allow you to buy an Internet-HBO bundle without access to other cable channels.
The Big Bang Theory, Dexter, How I Met Your Mother, and Homeland round out the top 10, which can be found at TorrentFreak.
There are some things that you take for granted. The pizza place you order from on lazy weekends won’t run out of pepperoni. Starbucks won’t run out of coffee when you duck in on a rushed morning. Your mom won’t stop calling to ask if you have enough socks even though you’re 27 and an adult, damn it. And lastly, Netflix will always be there for you, to serve as the background setting for your leisurely Friday nights avoiding actual social interaction. The white noise to which you fold laundry. The soft sound of reruns that lure you to sleep on a drunken night.
Unfortunately Netflix isn’t like that pair of stretchy pants that always just fit. Netflix is a fickle beast. And the streaming entertainment company is shedding a substantial catalog of good movies as 2013 draws to a close, abandoning titles like Do the Right Thing and Being John Malkovich. Top Gun is getting axed. Top Gun!
A Reddit user went through hundreds of individual titles to determine their expiration dates, compiling a list of some of the most notable entries. For television, classic Canadian sketch show Kids in the Hall is going to the Netflix graveyard, as is SNL from the 2000s, the original Dark Shadows, Mr. Bean, and something called Perfect 10 Model Boxing (Volume 1). And Breakin’ 2: Electric Bugaloo is expiring, so my thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.
Streaming film and TV fans used to be able to find out when almost any title was expiring easily, since sites like InstantWatcher kept up on what was coming and going. But Netflix changed its policy and stopped providing a list of expiring titles, noting “We are making this change because the expiration date can be inaccurate as a result of frequent, often last minute, changes in content flow.” However, users can still see when something is set to expire by going to individual title pages, so the Reddit user did a good (and time-consuming!) deed by doing the legwork for everyone.
Netflix loses titles every year, a result of their short-term licensing agreements. Last May, the company discarded over 1,800 titles after agreements with studios like MGM and Universal expired. It costs more money for longer licenses, and part of Netflix’s appeal is the changing lineup of viewing options, so there’s not much of an impetus to go in for the pricier deals, especially since Netflix is putting more resources into its original programming. And as sad as I am to see Titanic go (the possibility of watching saucy period-costumed Leo in his prime has always been a source of comfort), it’s a fine trade-off for another season of Orange Is the New Black.
Silver lining for those unconvinced of the merits of a dynamic entertainment lineup: plenty of the new content that will be made available in 2014 is looking excellent. According to StreamersWorld, upcoming titles include Amelie, American Psycho, and that’s just the A section. Plus, they’re not taking Dawson’s Creek away from us. Not yet.
Here's the list of notable expirations in full:
Expire January 1, 2014 (TV shows)
Expire December 29, 2013
Expire January 1, 2014
Expire January 4, 2014
You might still be emotionally reeling from the news that Netflix will be axing several titles from its library by the end of 2013 or early 2014, but there’s still time for one last binge.
One redditor made a list of all the titles expiring between Dec. 29 and Jan. 4. So with a few days left in the year, here are 10 of the best films to get all up on this weekend. Or on New Year’s Eve. Or as a way to avoid/bond with your family during the holidays. All the titles below expire on Jan. 1.
Being John Malkovich
Before he made a movie about someone becoming obsessed with a gadget, Spike Jonze directed a movie about someone becoming obsessed with climbing into John Malkovich’s head. His 1999 film, penned by Charlie Kaufman, was beta/meta version of augmented reality: As John Cusack’s character declares, “Do you see what a metaphysical can of worms this portal is?” Sounds a lot like the Internet...
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
If you happened to watch this movie on HBO as a kid in the ‘80s, you likely have fond memories of it this schlock-shock classic, and were likely terrified of cotton candy for a short time. Its title is literal, and it was directed by the Chiodo brothers, who were responsible for the low-budget special effects of other ‘80s cult-comedies like Critters. Bonus: The Dickies did the “Killer Klowns” title track.
Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee’s latest joints haven’t really lit up the box office — let’s be honest and admit Oldboy never needed to be remade — but 1989’s Do the Right Thing might be his masterpiece. It’s a perfect film, with the dramatic tension building in a Bed-Stuy neighborhood over the course of one summer day. The riot scene is often cited when discussing this film, but Lee’s ensemble cast is the magic here.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Real talk: I watched this film again recently, nearly a decade after seeing it in the theater after a heartbreak, and it’s just as devastating now. Michel Gondry captured the aimless despair of a bad breakup and how hard it is to disentangle from another human being. Beck also does an excellent cover of the Korgis’ “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime.”
Of course Tim Burton attempted to remake this ‘60s television show, but his version was pretty campy. Gone was the the stylish, gothic drama of the original series. The main character, Barnabas Collins, puts all these modern sensitive vamp-bros to shame, and the Collins family were the original Cullens, with much more sartorial edge. It’s easy to forget this was a daytime soap opera: that was pretty edgy for the late ‘60s.
The Kids in the Hall
And The Kids in the Hall was pretty edgy for early ‘90s cable. The Canadian sketch group made an infinitely quotable series, much like Mr. Show, which debuted the same year The Kids in the Hall ended. The sketches revolved around absurd storylines, and every fan has their favorite. Definitely good for a weekend binge and a nice, comfy green sweater.
Speaking of green sweaters, Half-Baked is another infinitely quotable film, and starred Dave Chappelle pre-Chappelle's Show fame and Guillermo Diaz pre-Scandal. Who hasn’t re-enacted this scene in the last 15 years?
This sequel to 1986’s Troll actually has nothing to do with the original, and features no trolls. It’s also really bad. Somehow, this mixture of awful acting and inexplicable plot led the film to become a cult classic. The 2010 documentary Best Worst Movie, which is also on Netflix, documents the unlikely modern-day popularity of the film, the cast’s struggles with Italian director Claudio Fragasso, and a whole new generation that knows what "nilbog" is spelled backwards.
When Netflix gets classic films, you’ve got to snatch them up. You’ve got Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn looking equally beautiful in this William Wyler film, with Rome as their backdrop. The film’s screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, finally got full credit in 2011, after being blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the early ‘50s.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
This movie about Texas’s infamous Chicken Ranch stars Dolly Parton and Jim Nabors, which is all you really need to know.
Image via MoneyBlogNewz/Flickr
In 1999, TheMatrix showed a human race uncertain about the Internet age and critical of the ways in which technology was slowly encroaching on our humanity. The Matrix was a film borne out of post–Gen X alienation. 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was largely cut from the same cloth, an indictment of the ways we can use technology not to feel. The procedure that allows Clementine and Joel to forget their pasts isn’t a technological revolution; it’s a step into the future that wipes clean our pasts, the very memories that give us meaning. If anything, Her, the new film by Spike Jonze, is an indication of how much has changed since 2004: It shows what our alienation looks like today.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve learned to stop worrying and love the machine. As rabid technological advances have completely transformed the role of the digital in daily life, our relationships to the world around us have changed, and movies are starting to show it. Since Eternal Sunshine debuted in theatres, we’ve lost our cultural ambivalence about technology—and so have our movies. Compare The Matrix to Gamer, that 2009 flick in which Butler’s power is tied to his ability to control virtual reality. Whereas the digital used to be a curiosity onscreen (think You’ve Got Mail), CGI has made technology an increasing force given equal weight to humans. In Avatar, digital imaging allows Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully a chance at redemption, a self-actualized second life to live out his white-settler fantasies. Similarly, in Her, the lines between what is digital and what is human are irrevocably blurred.
The most unsettling thing about Her is the way its vision of a futuristic society reflects the Way We Live Now, as we struggle to find connection in a world controlled by surfaces. Jonze has called Her his answer to Lost in Translation, his ex-wife Sofia Coppola’s exploration of disconnection abroad. Critics have read that as a mea culpa for their breakup, but if anything, Jonze is picking up where Coppola left off.
In Her, Jonze’s protagonist and probable surrogate, Theodore Twombly, finds himself lost after his divorce. Twombly works for “BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com,” a company that customizes handwritten thank-you notes, one that epitomizes Jonze’s view of our historical era. We live in an age where we make the personal impersonal, where love is a form of digital commerce. Like Coppola’s vision of a Tokyo ruled by billboards, America lives in an online shopping mall, everything a form of consumeristic choice.
When Twombly purchases Samantha, an artificially intelligent secretary, the program advertises her as “a consciousness that knows you.” In the wreckage of divorce, the promise of being understood offers hope, a chance to move on—or at least try something new. His best friend, played by Amy Adams, thinks the partnership will be good for him. (Her acceptance of the situation is jarringly casual.) At first glance, Samantha seems to be a dream realized; she’s the ultimate Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a woman who exists only for your enjoyment and pleasure. You are the only reason for her existence; without your preferences to give her life, she couldn’t even function. After Theodore installs her, he finds himself increasingly drawn to Samantha as his human relationships don’t work out. He loves Samantha as a concept of what a woman is, but the problem is, as Samantha informs him, that she’s learning at an exponential rate. She will outgrow him.
The Siri romance angle might be uncomfortable for some, but how is Theodore and Samantha’s relationship that different from anyone else’s? Although Samantha happens to be a computer, Jonze is speaking to our most deep-seated fears about falling for another person; love is, after all, what Adams’s character describes as a “form of socially acceptable insanity.” In many ways, Her is a cautionary tale about what happens when we rely on our computers to connect us, instead of taking a chance on other people, but it’s also an exploration of the openness and wonder that gives life a sense of purpose. With Samantha, Theodore might not have met the one, but in their conversations, he finds himself able to be more free—to see what love might be like. It’s not connection, but surely it’s a step.
In most science-fiction films, we’re presented with a future that’s cartoonishly dystopic, devoid of all traces of humanity. Instead the not-too-distant future of her shows a world where machines are becoming more human, just as we becoming more digital; however, Jonze isn’t out to chastise us for the state of our being. Spike Jonze is not a moralist. He rediscovers the Wachowskis’ ambivalence not for the purposes of indictment but for healing. Her shows how we can rediscover ourselves—by balancing the consolations of technology with what you can’t get from a computer, giving yourself over fully to another body. Labeled a “romantic transcendentalist,” Spike Jonze speaks exactly to what makes us human, just at a time when too many of us may be forgetting. It’s a vision of the future that couldn’t feel more necessary to the present.
Last week, the world was hit with the horrifying news that Justin Bieber is set to retire at the ripe old age of 19. The announcement wasn’t made during a flashy press conference, or by an agent while Bieber hid behind closed doors—it was made, as these things increasingly are, via Twitter.
But Bieber is not the first—hardly. The Twitter retirement has become a staple of current celebrity culture. With little more than few keystrokes and a click, your career can come to a close. Except not really, because the Twitter-announced retirement is little more than cheap attention-grab, a shot into the Internet to ignite fans and haters alike.
So let the stroll down Twitter retirement memory lane begin… and let’s take a look at how exactly some of these notable “retirements” went.
Perhaps the most infamous Twitter retirement announcement belongs to Amanda Bynes, who sent the tweet back in 2010 (unretiring the next month, mind you). The comment came after a series of inane and nonsensical posts, foretelling her future relationship with Twitter. Over the last year, Bynes engaged in a variety of Twitter wars and feuds.
Since her retirement, Bynes endured a well-documented breakdown, faced a couple arrests, and eventually was placed under involuntary psychiatric hold. She’s reported to be doing better now and has conspicuously kept out of the public eye.
Technically, Shaq retired via Tout, a social network he promotes, but the video was cross-posted to Twitter and went viral there. In 2011, after a disappointing season with the Boston Celtics and a history of injuries, the athlete known by many names (Shaq-Fu, the Big Shaqtus, Shaq Daddy, etc.) confirmed he was done playing basketball.
im retiring Video: http://bit.ly/kvLtE3 #ShaqRetires— SHAQ (@SHAQ) June 1, 2011
But he wasn’t done with basketball. O’Neal is now an analyst on Inside the NBA, where I’ve personally pegged him to become the next Charles Barkley.
It should be noted that Barkley has yet to announce an official retirement from either rapping or acting.
While Chris Brown hasn’t officially retired, he did take to Twitter to threaten to retire. There’s nothing like a good tweet scare to get everyone on your side!
Brown has had a storied relationship with Twitter. His infamous war with comedian Jenny Johnson following his arrest for domestic violence set the tone. Much of his tweeting is defensive, clearly frustrated with the (deserved) attacks on his character.
The tweet announcing his retirement this past August didn’t stray from that attitude (it has since been deleted). Brown has one giant chip on his shoulder.
This past September, very popular porn star Rod Daily announced via Twitter not only that he was retiring, but that he’d contracted HIV. His tweet announced his disease and his retirement was surprisingly positive.
Drumroll please!! I'm 32 years old and I'm HIV positive. Acute HIV, which means I recently was infected. For that I am blessed— Rod Daily (@Rod_Daily) September 3, 2013
Daily's girlfriend, porn star Cameron Bay, also found she was HIV positive. They are among the handful of porn stars whose illness has sparked controversy in the porn community.
There are a lot of sad stories tied to Twitter retirements, but Frankie Muniz’s retirement-related tweet shines like a diamond in the rough.
@iHeartMtnDEW Yeah, but being retired with $40,000,000.00 at 19 has not been awful. Good luck moving out of your moms house before youre 35.— Frankie Muniz (@frankiemuniz) September 16, 2010
Sure, it’s not exactly an announcement that he is quitting acting but one that he is done with it. And that he is very, very rich. Kudos, Muniz. Don’t blow all that cash and make me change my tune. To be fair, things haven’t been entirely golden for Muniz since then: He was involved in a domestic violence incident in 2011 and has suffered two mini-strokes.
Photo via Margie Johnson/Flickr
Someone on YouTube just created a monster.
Hybrid Theory is the debut album of Linkin Park, while “Gangnam Style” is the one song that got the world talking about Psy. Now we have a masterpiece we never asked for: Gangnam Park’s debut album, Psybrid Theory. It's an entire album, gangified.
Painstakingly mashed together by YouTubers RosalinaSama and Triple-Q, it should have disaster written all over it. The duo took Linkin Park’s instrumentals and used the lyrics of “Gangnam Style” (and even a little bit of “Gentlemen”) for not just one song, but the entire 12-track album.
In reality, it works together better than it ever should have.
“Your edgy, angsty teen phase just got a whole lot sexier and stylish,” declares the pair in a preview vid. It’s not just that. It gives us something new to listen to for when we get sick of listening to a viral horror like "The Fox."
Last night, Egyptian musician Amr Mostafa posted on his Facebook, “Those that hate the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists and demand their executions without trial like [this post.]” As of this writing, the post has 8,197 likes and 74 shares.
Mostafa’s words illustrate what the New York Times describes as “a new level of disruption to a society already riven by violence and suspicion in the months since the military ousted Mohamed Morsi.” Morsi, a member of the Brotherhood, was Egypt’s first democratically elected president. He was removed in July.
On Christmas Day, Egypt’s military-backed government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
The Arab-language website Mobtada reports that mosques in the city of Mansoura have refused entry to members of the Brotherhood, and that the Association of Taxi Drivers has vowed not to offer their services to members of the group.
The government has blamed the Brotherhood for a number of recent bombings targeting police and military personnel, the Times reports. “Don’t let these treacherous terrorist incidents affect you or your spirits,” said Defense Minister General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. “We’re on the side of pronounced righteousness.”
If you’re like me, the main selling point for becoming a monthly Hulu Plus subscriber is free access to the Criterion Collection. Sampling the vast archive of the famed purveyor of “important classic and contemporary films” would normally cost several thousand dollars, but with a Hulu Plus subscription, you can access hundreds of films at once.
And as you can see from some of the most popular movies in the collection, it’s truly worth the cost, especially if you like the highbrow, artistic, innovative...
Screengrab via Hulu
Hiding at the bottom of Hulu’s movies page is its dirty little Criterion secret: the most popular “art” films on its site are the ones that promise the most nudity—particularly female nudity.
If asked for the most popular Criterion film on Hulu, most people would probably guess one of the collection’s more well-known classics: Seven Samurai, perhaps, or Breathless, or Tokyo Story.
In fact, many of the most popular films of all time in Hulu’s Criterion collection prove the age-old maxim that the Internet is for porn—or at least for ample depictions of female nudity.
The two films that top Criterion’s most popular list are both erotic art films: Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no Corrida) and photographer David Hamilton’s Premier Desirs.
Here’s the slightly misleading Hulu description for In the Realm of the Senses, a lush and erotic 1976 jawdropper that has the distinction of being included in Wikipedia’s list of films featuring unsimulated sex:
A graphic portrayal of insatiable sexual desire, Oshima’s film, set in 1936 and based on a true incident, depicts a man and a woman consumed by a transcendent, destructive love while living in an era of ever escalating imperialism and governmental control.
And Hamilton’s last film is decidedly, well, French:
Premiers Desirs is a coming-of-age drama about a group of teenage girls who leave their private school on an idyllic resort island, lose their boat, and embark on a series of romantic/erotic adventures.
The enthusiasm of Hulu’s subscribers for a certain type of fare may ultimately dupe them. While more culturally recognized films like Seven Samurai and The 400 Blows have nearly 5 star-ratings, Hulu viewers seem to resent the films that promise nudity for not delivering the erotic buffet they were hoping. Both In the Realm of the Senses and Premiers Desirs have ratings closer to the 2.5 – 3-star range.
Why the lower rating? Viewers seem angry that there’s not enough porn in Oshima’s dark and troubling Japanese offering. The most recent comment on In the Realm of the Senses resentfully wants to know: “Where were all the pretty girls?”
Meanwhile, some viewers are angry that there’s too much porn in Premiers Desirs. “Why not call this what it is....pnography! [sic]” reads a shocked comment from last year.
Come on, Hulu viewers. Criterion isn’t going to give you porn. Here’s hoping that at least a view viewers come for the nudity and stay for the exquisite storytelling.
Screengrab via Hulu
Or, you know, the shock value. We’ll take what we can get.
Photo via discreetcharmsandobscureobjects/Blogspot
Having already invested $300 million in original content, the Google-owned company doubled down on exclusive programming with two themed weeks—devoted to geeks and comedy—and a video music awards program, pairing mainstream stars with YouTube’s A-list talent in an effort to blur the distinction between the two.
It didn’t work. Those efforts were considerable busts, yielding more rubbernecking and ridicule than actual entertainment value.
If there was a lesson to be learned, it’s that success on YouTube can’t be pre-programmed from the top down. It has to start from the community, with the inventive creators who are pushing the platform’s boundaries and building their own independent audiences.
In a year of pranks and fails, these are the channels and creators that left the biggest mark on YouTube this year—and not always for the better.
1) Pronunciation Book | The final countdown
For 77 days, the Internet was enraptured by Pronunciation Book’s cryptic countdown, a series of disturbing video messages uploaded daily. Sleuths from Reddit and 4chan pieced together clues from the channel’s warped English-speaking tutorials into elaborate conspiracy theories. It ended not with a whimper or a bang, but with a marketing stunt turned performance art piece that challenged every notion of authenticity on the Web.
These three have long been among YouTube’s leading ladies: Helbig hosts My Damn Channel’s Daily Grace and stars in MyMusic, Hannah Hart turned My Drunk Kitchen into a national sensation, and Mamrie Hart serves up comedy in a martini glass with You Deserve A Drink. But in 2013, the three real-life best friends took serious steps offline, too, first with a live comedy romp and then the filming of a feature-length film, Camp Takota.
3) Simple Pickup | Pick-up (con) artists
Pick-up artistry—an oxymoron at best—hit a fever pitch online this year, due primarily to a pulled Kickstarter project that was labeled a “date rape guide” and this disturbing YouTube sensation, anchored by three bros: Kong, Jesse, and Jason. Simple Pick-Up was at at the forefront of a disturbing trend of content creators turning sexism into pageviews, lowering the bar for original content all the way to the floor.
In one video, the dudes rubbed unsuspecting women, sometimes against their will, and in another viral stunt, the three motorboated women under the guise of raising funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The organization ultimately refunded the money and “asked Simple Pickup to cease all references and associations to our organization.”
4) The Vlogbrothers | The standard bearers
Brothers Hank and John Green are the only YouTubers to make a repeat appearance on the Dot’s annual top 10 list, and with good reason. Aside from running VidCon, the closest thing to a YouTube convention, and churning out incredible content on multiple channels, this year the two launched Subbable, a crowdfunding subscription service that allows fans to directly support content creators. And when YouTube’s Google+ integration hit the fan, the brothers quickly responded by added a commenting system to Subbable.
“It's a low-margin business, and this is easily 10 times bigger (in terms of startup capital) than anything else we've ever funded,” Hank Green told the Daily Dot in August. “So it's scary and exciting, and I really hope it can sustain not just itself but a lot of amazing content.”
5) PewDiePie | Color commentator
Sweden’s Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg is an almost inexplicable YouTube sensation. At one point, he was gaining roughly 50,000 new subscribers a day… by commenting on video games. In August, PewDiePie became the most-subscribed to channel ever, surpassing both Jenna Marbles and Smosh, with over 19 million followers. Like Hank Green, he also used his popularity to push back against YouTube’s changes to the commenting system, disabling comments altogether in protest and fielding questions about his decision on Reddit.
6) Ylvis | Chart-topping pranksters
Thanks to Ylvis, the entire world now knows what the fox says. While often dubbed the “Lonely Island of Norway,” that’s not exactly accurate. Brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker have been cranking out sketch comedy videos since 2000, and their talk show, I kveld med Ylvis (Tonight With Ylvis), just entered its third season. But it took one absurd music video to push them over the top. Ylvis isn’t a one-hit YouTube wonder like Psy. Their prank videos, like this one in IKEA, regularly go viral.
7) AwesomenessTV | Teen empire
Veteran TV producer Brian Robbins cornered the teen demographic on YouTube. In less than a year, his AwesomenessTV recruited a small army of promising contributors, landed a $33 million deal with DreamWorks Animation, and partnered with Nickelodeon for an original series that highlights the channel’s original sketches and talent. In the process, it’s become one of the most powerful and influential YouTube networks around, with 236 billion views to date.
8) AsapSCIENCE | Whiteboard educators
"What causes a hangover?" Solved. "The scientific power of naps.” Check. “What if you stopped sleeping?” Answered. With whiteboard animation and clear narration, friends Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown have garnered more than 160 million views with weekly educational videos that are as informative as they are entertaining.
“These videos get tons of traffic from being shared because they ask very simple, interesting questions that you would want to talk about with people,” Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s trends manager, told the Daily Dot in November. “These are questions that we don’t always think about, but the moment they’re presented to us we immediately want to know more about it.”
9) Emma Blackery | Vlog folk hero
With one song, “My Thoughts on Google+,” this previously unknown singer-songwriter perfectly summed up all of the frustration felt about YouTube’s changes to its commenting system. “You've ruined our site and called it integration,” she sang. “I'm writing this song to vent our frustration.” The song clocked 1.8 million views.
10) GoPro | The game-changer
Everything filmed with a GoPro ends up looking like a commercial—or becoming one—but that doesn’t make the footage captured any less extraordinary. The versatile, hands-free camera makes everything seem extraordinary, whether it’s attached to a pissed ram, an eagle, a fireman, an office worker, surfer, model train, or a referee.
Illustration by Jason Reed
Imgur, the image sharing site started more than three years ago by a student at Ohio University, was one of the Internet’s most popular and influential sites of the year.
Thanks to its simple user interface and share tools, Imgur links have become a permanent fixture on Reddit. Imgur’s seamless integration into the social news site has helped an image of a boy standing outside a closed Washington National Zoo become a national symbol for the government shutdown.
As one of the top 30 most visited sites in the country (actually edging out Reddit by a few spots), Imgur has piqued Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s interest. In early December reports circulated that the search giant was in talks to buy the company.
In what has become a yearly fixture at news organizations like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and CNN, Imgur has compiled a list of its 13 most influential photos. Each one has been viewed “over 1 million times, shared widely on all social networks and, in general, defined a bit of our culture this year.”
13. Panoramic shot gone wrong
"Toward the end of 2012, panorama mode made taking quick panoramic shots on your phone easy. By 2013, panoramic shots gone wrong were sprouting up everywhere. Elongated bodies, morphed faces and floating heads maintained their humor throughout the year. By the time this image popped up in November, it quickly went viral, seeing over 1 million views in the first seven hours after submission. It's now up to 2.2 million.”
12. My friend went diving in Australia and caught this priceless photo
"This Napoleon wrasse and diver captured the hearts of 1.5 million with their matching expressions. You just can't teach side eye like that. The shot was captured on a diving trip to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, where this endangered fish species is said to be friendly with humans. They're also apparently friendly with the camera, as multiple other users were prompted to share their own images with this beautiful blue fish.”
11. Comedian Kurt Braunohler hired a sky writer to do this over L.A.
"u/Boodle put it best: "I like the fact, as a species, we've reached the point where we can write jokes in the clouds if we want to." In February, Kurt Baunohler successfully funded via Kickstarter this sky writing project for no other reason than just to do it. The message was written in the sky over Los Angeles in March and lasted about 20 minutes. It regained life on the Internet in May, receiving over 2.5 million views—12 times the daytime population of Los Angeles!”
10. Cat bath
"It wouldn't be a complete Imgur list without a great cat image, and the pure terror and betrayal on kitty's face had us captivated from the start. Nearly 2 million people laughed at this poor cat's expense. The little guy was bathed again six months later, and that was the last time OP was ever heard from."
9. Friend's dad got a call from his buddy to go check the sky outside
"Halos are produced by the ice crystals in cirrostratus clouds. The crystals behave like prisms and mirrors, refracting and reflecting sunlight between their faces, sending shafts of light in particular directions. These amateur sky-watchers were lucky enough to spot some outside their home in Finland, and in doing so, captured one of the most beautiful images this year. The halo images caught the attention of media outlets worldwide. Yeah, science! Visit this link to see the rest of the photos they captured that day.”
8. You broke my achey breaky heart
"Yes, we are all sick of hearing about Miley Cyrus, but she did have a huge year on the Internet. Credit where credit is due! After her infamous performance at the VMAs, a multitude of mockeries spawned, including this image, which went on to be the second most viewed image of 2013 at 7,800,358 views (this is the first most viewed). That's 2.07 TB of data transferred and over three times the views of any other image on this list. Miley also helped bring twerking, another contender for word of the year, to the forefront of pop culture this year. Let's hope that one stays in 2013.”
7 A friend of mine moved into a former drug house and found this HUGE safe. How do we get it open?
“The safe wins the award for biggest disappointed of 2013. While we waited for OP to deliver and finally open the thing, it became a running joke among the Imgur and Reddit communities. Safe references appeared almost daily in comments and safe spin-off posts appeared all through our nine month waiting period. The word 'safe' alone elicited bad feelings. 2.2 million people were sucked into the mystery of the safe. This December, OP finally cracked it and revealed the contents—nothing. You could basically hear the hopes and dreams of a collective community shattering into a million pieces. The safe has since been repurposed for alcohol storage.”
6 Please Open the Government
"This image of a toddler locked out of Washington's National Zoo became the defining image of this year's government shutdown, which lasted 16 days in October, shutting down national monuments and parks. Posted to Imgur nine days into the shutdown, the image circulated quickly on social media and became known as the ‘shutdown's saddest image.’"
5. Doge is looking fab
"Dog has been around for years but the wow intensified in 2013 when it became one of the most widely spread and well-recognized memes of the year. Doge was photoshopped into just about everything. Doge GIFs invaded and pretty soon even our internal monologues had been translated to Doge. You can even type 'doge meme' into YouTube and get a full doge takeover. Such Shibe. Much meme. Wow.”
4. Tried to get a photo of our proposal... nailed it!
"You can almost hear the, 'WUP, sorry!' as this man accidentally photobombs a proposal at Disney World. After the poorly timed image was submitted in July, the man dubbed In The Way Guy instantly became a subject of countless Photoshopped mockeries. He continues to pop up anywhere an important event is taking place. A meme is born!”
3. 99 year old Harold Percival, World War II veteran, had no family to attend his funeral—until an apeal
“In early November, a small ad appeared in a UK newspaper announcing the death of Harold Percival, a veteran with no close family to attend his funeral. The Internet took control, and the clip quickly went viral. On November 11 (Veterans Day in the US and Armistice Day in the UK), over 300 strangers were in attendance to pay their respects to the 99-year-old former World War II airman. This image, taken at the funeral, once again exemplifies the amazing power of the Internet.”
2. Selfie with The Pope
"2013 was the year of the selfie. No really, it was actually named the 2013 word of the year, and this one with Pope Francis may be the best of them all. Taken with fans at the Vatican, the first ever Papal selfie made a splash, receiving over 1.5 million views and marking the promise to move the Papacy into a more modern, informal age. Pope Francis has popped up a lot on Imgur this year, and the verdict is that he's actually a pretty cool guy."
1. Beyonce's Publicist Wants These Unflattering Photos from the Super Bowl Removed from the Internet
“Rather than disappearing completely from the Internet, this and other unflattering Beyonce images from her Super Bowl XLVII performance were delightfully memeified and pretty much seen by every living human. This isn't even her final form. Beyonce, do you even lift? This image proceeded to reach the front page again and again, just about every month since February. May it live forever.”
The Glaswegian writer (not the “fecking poet” by the same name, he says in his Twitter bio), has crafted 10 minutes of absurd, surreal vignettes that are funny, creative, and a bit creepy. It plays out a bit like a short film.
Larkin’s fond of splicing scenes, like the ones in which he presses a button he shouldn’t and ends up on an entirely different plane. There’s also a lot of bathroom humor (Literally. He films several scenes in public toilets.) and mysterious fluids being vomited up. He often ends up crying or screaming by the end of his vines. The “toothbrushing” series is essential.
On his Tumblr, Larkin admits he’s “a bit obsessed with this Vine thing.” So many viners clutter feeds with self-important rubbish, but Larkin’s managed to make a compilation with a little edge, and let some air in the room.
Screengrab via Philip Larkin/YouTube
The esteemed actor joined Twitter in June 2012, and he’s been tweeting visual gold ever since. Whether he was eating pizza with his hands for the first time after a night of drinking or traveling around New York City with his best friend, more than 828,000 followers were watching and living vicariously through him.
He’s also had that day job of his to keep him busy.
But not only is Stewart a master tweeter, he’s also passionate about the causes he supports, and frequently gives back to his fans.
Much of his social media genius might be in the name of self-promotion—he’s currently starring in No Man’s Land and Waiting For Godot on Broadway with X-Men costar and BFF Ian McKellen—but we’re already sold.
Here’s why 2013 was the Year of Sir Pat Stew:
1) He knows the proper way to eat a pizza.
Pizza is such a vital part of everyday life that many of us couldn’t tell you when we had our first slice or what was even on it. Stewart has photo proof of his, though.
It was his fiancée, jazz singer Sunny Ozell, who decided to grab that early morning slice to soothe the hangover they both had from the night before. Since Stewart was in New York, he even held it like the locals.
My first ever pizza "slice". Please note: the authentic NY fold. pic.twitter.com/X7nWRbftyh— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) May 29, 2013
He later corrected the news stories that claimed he had just eaten his first pizza ever. What Stewart really meant was that he’d never eaten a slice before.
“I would go in [a pizza place] and order a pizza and eat a whole pizza. It was the concept of the slice that I had never encountered before,” he said.
2) His epic, documented friendship with Ian McKellen
Todaymight have dubbed James Franco the “selfie king,” but Stewart easily gives him a run for his money. And Franco certainly doesn’t have his best friend with him.
Stewart and McKellen are on Broadway together until March, but you don’t have to go to New York just to see their antics. They’ve all over Twitter, and they’ve even been parodied to perfection by another set of best friends: Matt Renton and John Wybar.
Stewart and McKellen marked many of the year’s highlights together, whether it was Thanksgiving dinner, visiting the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, or ringing in the New Year.
And the parade of selfies isn’t just limited to calendar holidays. It seems like the two are photographing themselves almost any chance they get, and we’re certainly not complaining.
And with X-Men: Days of Future Past coming out in May, there’s plenty of photo ops to come.
3) He’s an advocate against domestic violence
In recent years, Stewart has opened up about his childhood, where he felt powerless to stop his father from regularly abusing his mother. He became a patron for Refuge, a U.K. charity that aims to help women and children affected by domestic violence, in 2007, but some of his fans didn’t know how passionate he was about it until it came out during a Q&A session at Comicpalooza that went viral.
Heather Skye, an attendee at the convention, asked Stewart what he was most proud of in his life, aside from acting, and Stewart talked about his charity work against domestic violence.
But when Skye revealed that she was a victim herself, and that Stewart’s story had helped her accept that everything that happened to her wasn’t her fault, Stewart hopped off the stage and hugged her, telling her that she was safe.
4) He took over Twitter HQ
5) He finally revealed his secret weapon
You could take a master acting class from Stewart and still not learn everything he has to offer. Thanks to Ozell, we have a sneak peek into the method behind the madness.
In the world of hammy acting, a single take or a double take won’t do it for Stewart. He manages the actor’s ultimate weapon, the quadruple take, and even manages to show off a sillier side of himself.
Normally, we would cringe at the vertical video, but this time it frames Stewart perfectly.
6) He announced his marriage in the best way possible
Some celebrities use a giant magazine photo shoot. Others reveal it in a press release months later. Stewart did one better.
When it came to announcing his marriage to Ozell, he used a parody of his Twitter avatar, which has always been a photo of his head poking out of a ball pit. With just two words and a photograph, he sent Twitter into a frenzy:
Yes, married. pic.twitter.com/ZSMnpluSeL— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) September 8, 2013
Even better: McKellen officiated the ceremony.
7) He’s an expert on cow dialects—and delivers
When NPR’s How To Do Everything was given a question about different cow accents, Stewart had the answer.
It’s all due to environmental and cultural conditioning, and Stewart was able to demonstrate the various “moo’s” of cows from West Oxfordshire, Nevada, and even with a priceless Cockney accent.
8) He rang in the New Year in style
Another year of entertaining social media is at an end, so what better way to celebrate it a bit early then having your best friend with you?
Stewart and McKellen are together again, but this time they have streamers and noisemakers.
Here’s to an even better 2014! Make it so!
Photo via @SirPatStew/Twitter
After five glorious years, YouTube star Grace Helbig is leaving My Damn Channel, the content network where she got her start. Helbig’s contract with the company is up, and she’s chosen not to renew it.
Although the split appears to be amicable, fans are lashing out at My Damn Channel in the comments of its fond goodbye post to Helbig, because the company announced it would continue operating her flagship channel and brand, Daily Grace.
The Daily Grace name has become a big part of Helbig’s brand, and with the decision to leave My Damn Channel, she also leaves behind the five-day-a-week video format. In its New York-based company’s goodbye post, the company said it will keep the Daily Grace channel active without Helbig’s involvement, posting old videos that never made it to YouTube. (Helbig’s channel began in 2008 on My Damn Channel and moved to YouTube in 2010.)
The change angered Helbig’s fans because they believe their heroine won’t see a dime for content she worked on and created. It’s not clear if this is true—neither Helbig nor My Damn Channel could be reached for comment.
Helbig addressed the changes in a video titled “See You Next Year,” which she prefaced with “No one freak out!” She announced she was taking a week-long vacation and thanked My Damn Channel for being “great” over the past five years and for giving her a job making “stupid videos.”
Helbig has moved over to her old YouTube channel, It’sGrace, which hasn’t been updated in six months but already has more than 98,000 subscribers. In the comments on her final video of 2013, some fans said that when Helbig starts making new videos, presumably on Jan. 6, they’ll unsubscribe from the Daily Grace channel so as not to give My Damn Channel money for Helbig’s content. Fans have already vowed to bring the new Helbig channel to the 2-million subscriber mark, the milestone Daily Grace achieved this year.
Helbig has made no secret of her ambitions outside of YouTube—she recently starred in a feature film, Camp Takota, with friends Hannah and Mamrie Hart—but she also thrives in the format. As she told the Daily Dot last year: "I want to make videos that, if I didn't know myself, I'd want to watch. As long as I'm making myself laugh, I'm usually having a good time. That's how I know I've made a video that I'm proud of: I've made myself laugh."
Photo via Streamys
Several titles will also be expiring today, and all the buzz around this year-end event has sparked a discussion once again about supporting brick-and-mortar video stores. Netflix had a pretty good year with its original programming, namely Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, both of which will see second seasons in 2014. Has Netflix's accessibility made us more willing to binge, and therefore more willing to wait around for titles than seek them out?
If you do want to binge, the added titles make for a good New Year’s Day marathon. Of particular note is American Psycho; Christian Bale’s portrayal of dead-eyed Wall Street wolf Patrick Bateman is still pitch-perfect a decade later, especially this scene:
Also worth streaming: Raging Bull, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. There’s some talk in a Reddit thread about 2001: A Space Odyssey only being available in Sweden and Brazil, but Netflix should definitely add that in the States posthaste. Here’s what’s on:
Photo via John M/Flickr
Is the actor John Cusack a graffiti artist obsessed with Tupac Shakur and Macaulay Culkin? Probably not. But this Instagram account that he’s denying is his might say otherwise.
Cusack, an 80s heartthrob known for movies like Say Anything and High Fidelity, was reportedly behind the surreal Instagram account @CusackShakur, a bizarre photo hub of videos of former child star Culkin eating pizza, walls tagged with “John Cusack,” photos of the actor with L.A. artist David Choe, and photoshopped mashups of Cusack, drugs, sex, and the rapper Tupac. A frequent hashtag used is “#dontfuckwithme.”
On Twitter this week, Cusack denied the account belonged to him after a site called Slam X Hype wrote about it in an article called “What Has John Cusack Been Up To?” Other sites also picked up the story that the Instagram belonged to Cusack. He’d previously denied being behind the “John Cusack” graffiti tag in August, but had never addressed whether @CusackShakur was really him.
wasn't me! ‘John Cusack’ on a graffiti tagging spree across east Vancouver: So who’s really the culprit? http://t.co/iyIllYgiam via— John Cusack (@johncusack) August 1, 2013
In the SXH article, the site says the account does belong to Cusack, “It’s unclear whether he’s doing this stuff as a performance art thing a la Joaquin Phoenix in I’m Still Here, but everything’s there on his IG, so follow him @CUSACKSHAKUR and take an adventure through the mind of 2013 Cusack below.”
The graffiti, mostly done in the Vancouver area, includes the name “John Cusack” or tags including “Don’t Sleep On John Cusack” and his name mocked up like the Wu-Tang Clan symbol cleverly changed to say, “Cu-Sack.” The graffiti tag also often references Shakur, connecting the IG account to whomever is doing the tagging.
Cusack, on Twitter, again denied that either tag belonged to him, though he did admit to creating graffiti with his friend Choe, some of which includes Culkin.
The account also alleges (truthfully!) that Cusack is obsessed with imagery showing Culkin as a Christ-like figure. Cusack claimed on Twitter that the Instagram is a “creepy fake account” but then confirmed that he did indeed make the picture of Culkin as Jesus behind him in one of the photos.
There are also other photos of Cusack posted to the account, so if it doesn’t belong to him how is whoever runs it getting these pictures? Most of the photos of Cusack on the site include Choe, and some on Twitter speculate that Choe is behind the Instagram, but Cusack quickly shot down that theory.
So what is going on? On Twitter, Cusack denies the account @cusackshakur is his, but the pictures and videos on it are not fake. He says he does not have an Instagram. Who is behind @CusackShakur? How are they getting this information and these photos? Best guess is that it’s indeed David Choe, but Cusack called the account “creepy” and cleared his friend’s name. So basically, what?
Photos via CusackShakur
From Hawkeye and Harley Quinn to Wonder Woman and Black Widow, women are often oversexualized and objectified when portrayed in comic books. Despite a constant fight for more positive representations of female characters, there has been seemingly little progress over the years. But a comic launched online in early 2013 is showing that it’s not so hard to create fleshed-out, well-represented female characters in a superhero story.
My So-Called Secret Identity (MSCSI) is the brainchild of Dr. William Brooker, a professor of film and cultural studies at Kingston University and a pop culture expert known as “Dr. Batman” for his dissertation about the cultural history of the superhero. He came up with the idea for the comic after a day spent visiting a comic book store and welcoming a new group of doctoral students that included smart, determined women. The events made him remember that originally Batgirl had a Ph.D., and he started to wonder why we don’t see more normal, clever, likeable women in comics.
Brooker gathered a creative team of mostly women that includes artists Sarah Zaidan and Suze Shore. The story they developed focuses on Cat Daniels, a woman getting her doctorate whose superpower is that she’s the smartest person in Gloria City. Her city is full of celebrity superheroes, and she’s been taught that she’s just ordinary, that her remarkable mind is something she shouldn’t let other people know about because they wouldn't like it. Cat ends up getting sick of pretending and becomes a hero without needing a skimpy outfit.
“On a simple level, there are more female characters in the main cast, and I think they play more varied and diverse roles than is the case in most superhero comics,” Brooker told the Daily Dot. "Our feeling is that women in superhero stories are often represented in quite limited ways—in terms of both how they're written and how they're drawn."
The cast of MSCSI is drawn with a variety of body types, another area lacking in mainstream comics. Cat herself is slim but not in great shape while other characters are lean and muscular. Brooker said they also give characters outfits people would actually want to wear, and Cat’s superhero attire is put together from stores that can be found in any mall.
“The women in MSCSI tend to move around and stand in what we hope is a fairly normal, relatable way, rather than posing in contorted positions, like some superheroines in mainstream comics—the classic pose that shows both boobs and butt—and the artists avoid angles that would gratuitously show cleavage or focus on revealing glimpses,” Brooker said. “Cat dresses for comfort and style, and walks around with purpose; Catwoman, in mainstream comics, often seems more concerned with presenting half-dressed cheesecake poses for the reader than with actually living her own life.”
That doesn’t mean skimpy costumes and toned figures don’t exist in MSCSI. Brooker pointed out that one character, Kyla, comes the closest to the mainstream image of a hero like Supergirl, but she’s just one out of a diverse cast of characters that come in all sizes and types.
“Being blond, tall, and slim is, of course, an entirely valid choice! But in the superhero mainstream, a lot of the female characters fit that type—or brunette, tall, and slim, and occasionally redhead, tall, and slim—so they end up all looking like Victoria's Secret models," Brooker explained. "Victoria's Secret is a nice store with a lot of cute products, but I don't think the real world is genuinely full of their models, and it would be a strange place if it was."
The first three issues of MSCSI have been published online, but even though it’s a Web-based comic, Brooker doesn’t really think of it as a regular webcomic. Originally he thought the project would just consist of some sketches, a script, and a few sample pages, but as it grew the team decided publishing online would be the best way to reach as many people as possible quickly.
The team looked at webcomics for inspiration when designing and developing the MSCSI website, including some of their favorite writers and artists like Kate Beaton, Lea Hernandez, and Melinda Gebbie. Their goal with the website was to build a vibrant, diverse environment that felt like a community.
They work to grow that community and gain new readers mainly by using social media, according to Brooker. He said that Twitter is very good for immediate announcements but that Facebook has been more effective in building a dedicated fanbase. The team has also tried some creative ways to get people interested, such as creating Twitter accounts for Cat and the comic’s vigilante lawman, Urbanite, a week before they launched so the characters could enter in a dialogue with the public as well as each other.
Brooker said they always hoped to produce a print version of the comic, and this month they were able to fulfil that dream. Thanks to a partnership with Geeked magazine, issues one and two are available in print for the first time. Brooker makes no profit from the comic in print or online, funding issues through donations. He pays the artists but donates the rest to an outreach charity for women and youth called A Way Out.
Photo via My So-Called Secret identity/Facebook
As MSCSI prepares to celebrate its first anniversary in February, the team is looking toward new goals, like printing the first five issues in a complete edition. The team's ultimate goal is to have 15 issues in three volumes of five each that trace her character arc and would end her story for now. They've already started discussing where volumes two and three will take Cat’s story.
Looking back at their first year, Brooker said they’ve achieved more than they could have dreamed.
“It's been a remarkable year, and we have had a great time,” he said. “Some of the personal messages we've received have been incredibly moving and important to us—people saying this is the comic they want their daughter to read, or that they almost wept when reading it. We've had fan art, fan videos, and people cosplaying as Cat. It is awesome to think that this little idea grew into something that's touched thousands of people.”
Illustrations via mysocalledsecretidentity.com
On New Year’s Eve, rapper A$AP Rocky was performing at the Origin Festival in Perth, Australia, when a fan nearly fell into his lap.
“Oh shit,” he says. “C’mon, man. Be careful, kid.”
The camera pans to a man hanging from the stage truss. After a few pleas from A$AP for someone to help him, he falls and lands right in front of the stage.
“He’s OK, he’s alive, y’all,” A$AP says after a few minutes. He then performs one last appropriate song: His hit “Fuckin’ Problems.”
The man, who somehow slipped past stage security, sustained“serious but not life-threatening” injuries. The tour’s director told The West Australian that “[s]lipping past security to go up there was really irresponsible and unfair on the crowd.” Here’s another video from a different angle, to show you just what a bad idea this was:
Can we all just stop jumping into crowds in 2014?
The FOX series The Mindy Project follows a pretty predictable formula with its episodes: The main character, Mindy Lahiri, played by Mindy Kaling, attempts to find love, fails awkwardly, and then we’re reminded how adorable she is. It gets pretty insufferable, and often her supporting cast is the only thing that saves the show from rom-com squee-i-ness.
Back in November, it was reported that there would be a Tinder-themed episode in January. If you really wanted to like the show but were a bit put off by Kaling’s LOL/OMG depiction of a professional woman, then you’re really going to love their latest marketing attempt: fake Tinder profiles.
Valleywag reports that the show is advertising on the “dating” app by matching users with characters. And users have reported being matched with Mindy Lahiri. A Tinder rep did not respond about their involvement, but her “profile” reads like a Mindy Project script:
Tiny doctor in a big city looking for love, friendship, or a donut that’s so good it’s spiritual. I’ve got a Reese Witherspoon personality, a Nicki Minaj body, and Frnak Sinatra eyes (they turn blue in the summer, I swear). Looking for the Channing Tatum to my “girl from Step Up.” Swipe right if you like a high-powered firecracker of a woman who has it all but only recently figured out her DVR. To see more about me, tune-in to THE MINDY PROJECT this Tuesday at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.
Tinder’s had some security issues in the past, and late last year it was revealed you can “fake” matches between people, and potentially leave them open to harassment. So in that respect, this marketing stunt sort of make sense.
This isn't the first time Tinder's merged with a TV show. Last summer, USA advertised virtual hookups with the stars of Suits.
If Tinder’s going to let television characters slip into the mix, why stop at The Mindy Project? They should just filter in as many fictional people as possible until fantasy and reality are indistinguishable. That’s the fun part of hooking up, right? LOL.
Screengrab via FOX/YouTube
Millennials have been ultra-nostalgic for the 1990s lately with the death of actor James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (and provided the voice of Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as fewer people know). Looking to capitalize on this flashpoint of cultural grief, someone sculpted a none-too-convincing Twitter hoax about a reunion episode of Fresh Prince, spearheaded by the show’s lead, Will Smith.
In fact, most of the people who shared the tweet were pointing out that it was fake. The real Will Smith doesn’t even use Twitter; NBC prefers not to conduct business via direct message, however secure it may be; and there’s no such thing as a Fresh Prince episode without Avery’s booming baritone—ridiculous. Still, that’s a lot of traffic for a spam account!
The phony conversation led to a far more interesting proposal from @Seinfeld2000, Weird Twitter’s off-kilter, mostly garbled answer to the more conceptually even-keeled @SeinfeldToday. Somehow, this sounds a lot closer to how studio executives talk. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see more of Krame and Garge?
Only 999,000-some-odd retwets to go, you guys.
Photo by Karsten Hoffmann/Flickr
It’s only a couple days into the new year and we’re already nostalgic for 2013.
Luckily, you don’t have to dig deep into your Internet browser history to find everything you’re looking for. YouTube rap star DeStorm Power is back with his annual “Rap Up” video, which perfectly packages the highs and lows of the past year in one punch.
DeStorm transforms 2013 into a catchy rap tune and covers everything from Nelson Mandela’s death to selfies, from twerking to the World Series, the Super Bowl, and even Beyoncé’s year-end power move.
Last year, he sang about still being here after everything that happened in 2012, but now he’s got a different outlook on life. He’s joined in the chorus this time by LianeV, who wants you all to go harder next year.
And if this year is anything like the last, it’ll happen in no time.
Photo via DeStorm Power/YouTube