The Darjeeling Limited Perspective

I love many of Wes Anderson’s films, but this video essay by Leon Thomas (AKA Renegade Cut) does a great job of identifying the flaws in one of Anderson’s weakest, The Darjeeling Limited.

Describing a late plot development, Thomas writes:

The brothers realize, after the first half of the movie plagued with infighting, that they have to stick together. All they were missing was a dead Indian boy. The child does the demanding work of dying tragically so that the privileged white Americans won’t have to die spiritually or emotionally. There is no joke here. The scene is played to tug at our heartstrings, and as quickly as the Indian boy is mourned, he is forgotten.

It’s all very brutal but accurate.

Michael Bay: An American auteur

As usual, I’m really appreciating Patrick Willems’ latest video essays. This past month he’s put together an ambitious two-part series on Michael Bay’s contributions to American cinema.

Some interesting observations from the videos:

  • It is extremely difficult to reverse engineer or replicate Bay’s style, which in and of itself tells you that there’s something undeniably distinct about it.
  • Taken as a whole, Bay’s films don’t really have a cohesive political point of view, and Bay practically never speaks about politics, despite how many of his films glorify the military and seem to be in the tank for “real (red state) Americans”.
  • I guess The Island probably wasn’t that bad after all.

Check out the videos above and find more on Patrick’s Youtube channel.

The two conversations that defined ‘Better Call Saul: Season 4’

Here’s a brief video on what I loved about Better Call Saul this season – specifically, the two conversations in the season finale that define the arc of the characters. It’s really impressive when a prequel can chart new territory from its predecessor, and I think the show has done just that.I wrote, filmed, and edited this video over the course of just a few hours on Saturday. I hope you find the insights to be worth your time. If not? S’all good, man.


I’ve been under the weather after my trip to Virginia, and the travel didn’t improve things (it turns out when you have sinus issues, you shouldn’t get into an aluminum tube with recirculating air hurtling across the country at 500 miles per hour!). But I hope to back to full functionality soon. In the meantime, here are some interesting links I’ve come across:

‘Ready Player One’ and nerd culture

When I first saw Ready Player One, I was deeply unsettled by how the film handled nerd culture. It seemed to encourage the aspects of fan gatekeeping that has made online discourse so toxic. It made fandom into nobility. It made nerds into undeserving heroes. It was also just a noisy mix of different homages, action scenes, lights, and colors. I wasn’t a fan.

Youtube channel Renegade Cut has put together a smart video essay explaining why the message of Ready Player One is so toxic. I hope when people watch a film like this, they understand that these kinds of subtle influences can have real and unfortunate consequences.