All My Stars (29)

By: Joanne McNeil
July 21, 2016


One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.


Writing to you from Venice Beach. Last night I walked to Angela Bennett’s house. A block from the canals, so yes, indeed, Sandra Bullock’s character in The Net is living her best life.

Netflix so often has my number it is slightly unnerving. While I’m pleased to be able to watch things that are good and clever and not boring, I get self-conscious about what it means about them and what it means about me that I am part of a demographic that is targeted. I’m not used to it.


I loved Stranger Things but, while watching it, I kept thinking about whether and how I’ve been algorithmically sorted to adore it. Something like: people in their 30s, who watch Batteries Not Included and ET alone, and listen to M83 on Spotify are twice as likely to express disappointment that Winona Ryder has yet to follow up with a role as meaty and weird as Black Swan.

But Stranger Things is really great. Irresistible if you grew up on the movies to which it pays homage. It felt new and familiar at once and made me think of all those long-ago weird kids movies I would watch on the Disney Channel — like The Peanut Butter Solution. Kids riding around on bikes, destroying monsters with makeshift slingshots, the woods at twilight, faded jeans.

Other parts play a bit like the Southern Reach trilogy through a hazy blue-tinted Instagram filter. I have some stray thoughts about how digital technology might be pushing a trend toward supernatural science fiction storytelling. When the Annihilation movie comes out next year, there might be a general push for things described as creepy, spooky, and Picnic at Hanging Rock-like.


I was also reminded of Gregg Araki’s gorgeous adaptation of Scott Heim’s unforgettable novel Mysterious Skin, which, with the light and the music, and the subtlety, accessed my nostalgia, and went somewhere traumatic and difficult while earning it.



CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators



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