Cultrface – a blog dedicated to culture and how it enriches our lives.

Myles Loftin's 'HOODED' project seeks to humanise Black boys and men in hoodies

Gigantic Magazine featured Myles Loftin’s ‘HOODED’ project back in 2020:

Society’s negative view of Black males needs to be erased because it’s extremely harmful and divisive. It contributes to the reason Black males are targeted more by police, why we receive longer jail sentences than our white counterparts, and the discrimination that we receive. This project seeks to understand where these negative portrayals come from, and how we can change them for a better future.

Also, by reversing the portrayals of Black and white males, this project seeks to understand how the perception of both changes depending on how they are depicted.

The wildly different original draft for Batman Returns

Batman Returns recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and on my quest for “new” info on my favourite movie, I found this article on Sam Hamm’s original draft. It’s… different lol

The first villain we meet is Mr. Boniface, introduced inside a prison cell, surrounded by birds. He’s “beak-nosed, epicene, and so fat that it seems his skin should burst.” He also employs an arsenal of trick umbrellas, yet is adamant no one refer to him as his nickname, the Penguin. (“Epicene” means androgynous or asexual, by the way, leading me to wonder how Hamm envisioned Penguin.) The notorious thief bribes his way out of prison and immediately sets out on his next scheme.

He enlists the aid of Selina Kyle, described as “exotic, with vaguely Eurasian features,” and later “dark and elegant, fine-boned, regal of bearing.” Selina works as Curator of Antiquities for a local museum, hiding her double life as a jewel thief with a bondage fetish. Her Catwoman outfit is explicitly described as “a bondage mask…studded, with openings for the eyes and mouth, (with) one incongruous touch; a pair of pointed cat ears.”

Vicki Vale was also still around. Something I did know was Dick Grayson was around and stayed in subsequent drafts until he was taken out altogether. I dunno if I’d trade Hamm’s screenplay for the final cut but I’d love to have seen the original on screen.

More on Batman Returns: The making of Batman Returns, Did Danny DeVito eat a real fish in Batman Returns?, and An ‘Honest Trailer’ for Batman Returns

My all-time favourite dad joke

My dad used to tell this and I used to think he made it up. Alas, he didn’t (although I have no idea who did). Regardless, it remains the funniest dad joke I’ve ever heard and my dad tells it the best:

Son: “Dad, there’s a man at the door with a bald head!”

Dad: “Tell him I’ve already got one, son!”

The art of Kenneth Harris

Kenneth Harris is a Jamaican artist based in Florida, USA. His artwork depicts landscapes and portraits of Jamaica and its residents.

As a self taught artist I paint anything that inspires the eye and imagination, but I have been focusing mostly on tropical scenes. The ocean, sky and tropical landscape are never ending sources of great inspiration and pleasure to me, symbolizing the eternal yet ever – changing aspect of the wonders of nature. Though I do not limit myself to just landscape scenes I constantly broaden my mastering of sea, sky and tropical landscape techniques, maintaining my Jamaican artistic touch. I have painted with water colour, pastel, acrylic and currently mastering oil.

via his portfolio

Check out his work on his portfolio website.

Yak cheese of the Eastern Himalayas

Jitaditya Narzary wrote an interesting piece on the Brokpas, the semi-nomadic yak herders of the Eastern Himalayas:

In Arunachal Pradesh (in Northeastern India) as well as neighboring Eastern Bhutan, the Brokpas spend summers trekking through high mountains in search of grazing pastures. (A similar community in Western Bhutan, the Bjops, does the same). The yaks provide milk, wool, and meat, but the Brokpas are best known for making yak cheese, which is a major component of local cuisine.

Historical accounts on the Brokpas are rare. In the book Assam Adventure, British botanist and adventurer F Kingdon Ward describes hiking to Tibet through these regions in the early 1900s and passing industrious yak herders. The Brokpa lifestyle has changed very little since then, but modern infrastructure and climate change are beginning to make this trade unsustainable, and their yak cheese increasingly rare.

Unlike pule, chhurpi (yak cheese) is much cheaper:

“One kilogram of chhurpi usually sells for anything between INR 400 to 600 ($5-$8) in the local markets,” [Sange] Norbu says.

More on cheese: moose cheese is creamy, rare, and expensive and Chiyo Shibata and her Japanese cheese

An interview with me

This is my 1,000th article on the site and I’m celebrating by interviewing myself.

What is favourite city in the world?

Lisbon.

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go?

D&D dice. I don’t play but they’re so cool.

Why do you do what you do?

Because I find it fascinating and by it, I mean the Web, tech, and music. They all make more sense to me than human beings but I appreciate the people who makes those disciplines better. I don’t appreciate those who make them worse.

Where do you go to relax?

YouTube, particularly videos of old TV commercials.

69, 280, or 420?

69.

How do you say goodbye in your culture(s)?

If I can get away with a French exit, I will. Otherwise, it’s “see you later” or a simple “bye”

Movies with 1% on Rotten Tomatoes

If you want to find the movies with 0% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, you can go to the website, select Rotten in the Tomatometer and sort by Tomatometer (Lowest). Spoiler alert: there are loads as of this month (June 2022).

But what about movies with 1%? The reason I even bothered to look was because someone found the site using the search term ‘movies with 1 on rotten tomatoes‘ (it’s my DIY version of keyword research) and I was also curious. The problem is there are so many 0% rated films that it takes a lot of Load More button clicks to find the 1 percent-ers. And you’d be surprised to hear… there aren’t a lot of them. Good for me as I don’t have to write so much.

So here they are: the films that Rotten Tomatoes has rated 1%, based on the Movies at Home list rather than Movies in Theaters. (I may add periodic updates every so often.)

Alone in the Dark (2005) (Amazon) (Letterboxd)

  • Genre: Horror/Adventure
  • Director: Uwe Boll
  • Tomatometer rating: 1% (from 123 reviews)
  • Critics consensus: ‘Inept on almost every level, Alone in the Dark may not work as a thriller, but it’s good for some head-slapping, incredulous laughter.’

Daddy Day Camp (2007) (Amazon) (Letterboxd)

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Fred Savage
  • Tomatometer rating: 1% (from 81 reviews)
  • Critics consensus: ‘A mirthless, fairly desperate family film, Daddy Day Camp relies too heavily on bodily functions for comedic effect, resulting in plenty of cheap gags but no laughs.’

Disaster Movie (2008) (Amazon) (Letterboxd)

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
  • Tomatometer rating: 1% (from 74 reviews)
  • Critics consensus: ‘Returning to their seemingly bottomless well of flatulence humor, racial stereotypes, and stale pop culture gags, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have produced what is arguably their worst Movie yet.’

The Master of Disguise (2002) (Amazon) (Letterboxd)

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Perry Andelin Blake
  • Tomatometer rating: 1% (from 104 reviews)
  • Critics consensus: ‘An ill-concieved attempt to utilize Dana Carvey’s talent for mimicry, The Master of Disguise is an irritating, witless farce weighted down by sophomoric gags.’

Twisted (2004) (Amazon) (Letterboxd)

  • Genre: Mystery & Thriller
  • Director: Philip Kaufman
  • Tomatometer rating: 1% (from 135 reviews)
  • Critics consensus: ‘An implausible, overheated potboiler that squanders a stellar cast, Twisted is a clichéd, risible whodunit.’

Related to bad movies: Regretflix – A Podcast For Patter on Panned Pictures

The Akhal-Teke: a Turkmen horse

THE AKHAL-TEKE - A HORSE OF HISTORY

I don’t know much about Turkmenistan besides its Gates of Hell until I found out about the Akhal-Teke, a rare Turkmen horse breed. Due to the country’s dry and hot climate and centuries of breeding, the Akhal-Teke has adapted to the environment, giving it qualities such as high endurance, hardiness and the ability to survive on minimal amounts of food and water.

Its ancestors are said to be the Nisean horse and often comes with a beautiful, shimmering coat, which can be any shade of gold or silver. Akhal-Teke are popular in racing, dressage, eventing and even as a working animal in Turkmenistan but they are also known for being good pets. The breed is intelligent and quick to learn, but can also be quick to spook. As a result, the Akhal-Teke is not a suitable mount for beginners or riders with a lack of experience.

Fun fact: an Akhal-Teke stallion named Absent who won the Grand Prix de Dressage at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and the bronze individual medal in Tokyo 4 years later, and gold at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

But Absent isn’t the only famous Akhal-Teke in Turkmenistan. The nation’s former president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, immortalised his favourite horse White Khan with a personal statue. His son—the new president—approved it a few weeks ago with the monument set to “increase the glory of the Akhal-Teke horses – the national pride of the Turkmen people”.

New Scientist on time

Since I read Joe Zadeh’s article about time and wrote about it here, I’ve been on the lookout for anything to broaden my mind on the subject. Then today, I saw that the latest issue of New Scientist was all about time which pointed me to the website which, lo and behold, had a roundup on its time-related articles.

They date back as far as 2011, with this piece on whether time will end and what it’d be like:

WILL time end? It is a disturbing prospect, more chilling even than the end of our universe, because in most of the ordinary scenarios of cosmic doom there remains the comforting possibility that a new universe might rise from the ashes of the old.

But if time itself can end, then we surely have no get-out clause. There will be no time for anything new to get started. That will be that.

It’s all quite doom and gloom, with an aptly abrupt ending. Anyone who will ever read this won’t likely see the end of time so it’s almost fear-mongering in a way and… a waste of time. But I guess it’s cool and interesting to understand from an acacdemic perspective (I mean, there are whole faculties that dedicate their research to space-time).

Read 35 screenplays from some of the most iconic Black movies of the 90s

Shout out to Kyle Alex Brett for uploading a ton of awesome Black movie screenplays from the 90s, including Best Man, Soul Food, Love Jones, The Nutty Professor, and loads more.

Yeah.

So, I bought 35 screenplays to some of the best black movies of the 90s.

A golden era for black cinema.

I’ve read most. But, I want to release them all for free because I believe this collection should be a birthright for black writers.

via kyle a.b. on Twitter

Grab the screenplays on Google Drive.

More on Black cinema: A brief history of Black actresses fighting for sci-fi roles, Carvell Wallace on Candyman and the exploitation of Black pain in cinema, and Get Out: Black Solidarity and Knowing the Code

Daniel Dockery on Batman Returns's 30th anniversary

Did I mention that Batman Returns was my favourite movie of all time? If you’re a regular reader, you might have guessed I’m a fan but Daniel Dockery is the only other person I know who loves it as much (well, probably more).

He wrote a retrospective for the film’s 30th anniversary, giving it the accolade of “most anti-franchise franchise movie ever made”:

Burton initially didn’t want to revisit Gotham City. He only returned for a sequel after he was guaranteed more creative freedom (“What if the second movie is really just a Tim Burton movie?” Warner execs allegedly asked him.) Burton’s best films, especially early ones like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, combine fairy-tale logic with satire and gruesomeness. They reveal the playfully rebellious spirit of a creator who identifies with the lonely freaks and obsessed outcasts he puts on screen. With Batman Returns, he was given the license to do even more of that with a character known around the world.

But can Batman Returns even be called a sequel to Burton’s Batman? Burton certainly operated under the idea that he wanted nothing to do with the original. In his hands, Batman Returns evolved into perhaps the most anti-franchise franchise film of all time, a rebuttal to the idea that giant superhero series and other films of their scale need to follow a fan-friendly formula for expansion.

It was dark, horny as hell, more violent than would be allowed nowadays for a film that had a run of toys and kids promotions, twisted, and did I mention it was horny? And it was all set during Christmas (which makes it a Christmas film as I’ve established already). Happy 30th, Batman Returns.

P.S. – if anyone wants me to celebrate in style, buy me this please?

Canadian cheese soup

Vegetables, bacon, and lots of cheese. What’s not to love with Canadian cheese soup? (Although I’m certain you could make a great vegan version of this and it taste just as awesome, in which case let me know if you do.)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6oz Canadian bacon, trimmed and diced
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper

Find the full recipe on Taste of Home.