Postmortem: Every Frame a Painting
Tony Zhou

Why is it that the fast and cheap is so tempting even though it returns so little?

I still find myself lapsing in consuming shit TV because it has ideas I like but dangles them just out of reach. Like Stranger Things, made fast and cheap and extended too long. Why not just make it a movie? Money obviously but they have to repeat scenes, and their special effects don’t pay homage to spiel berg’s puppets or bubble gum stuff from The Thing which they reference in the show. They don’t even really improve upon spielberg socially either. Eleven, though no longer the annoying sister of the group of boys, is still is mute and it’s not trying to upset any other kind of social issues.

I haven’t seen the second season of the show but have listened to the soundtrack over and over . I love it and I know what I love about the show and know what I hate. And I feel that way about a lot of stuff, yet people who are going to make “video essays” of Stranger Things and other shit are only going to capitalize off people’s attraction to it and they’re only going to talk about character and plot and it’s sooooo sooooo bad. like AAHHHHHHH.

I just want to say, as another person who’s life was changed by Every Frame a Painting, that I think it’s really sad that people who are too concerned with the good don’t continue. But I get it. Miyazaki certainly won’t produce anything like his first films again (though holy shit have you seen anything about his new movie I’m so excited) — see there, I can’t help but be the audience that Orson Welles was talking about.

I think the best part of movies is talking about them. I just saw IT recently and the whole time I was trying to divide the film into things I found beautiful and unnecessary, because the film, on a whole was not good. It was cheap and fast. So talking about it afterward with my dad and sorting that out and getting to the heart of what was good felt the best. Like talking about the new Star Wars with John Boyega felt. Like the movie didn’t even matter that much to me. It was the joy of being able to talk to any one about it and say what I thought was good and bad.

But the thing is some things really don’t have that much bad. That’s what drew me most to Every Frame a Painting: videos like Kurosawa’s movement. Instead of choosing to make video essays about popular creations, which may have little bits of beauty in them, you chose to make art, essay art, about another artist chosing to make art without furniture and with big budgets and lots of time. That’s what I really think about your guys’ videos, is that they are art, especially the one’s like Satoshi Kon for the reason you said: you can sit back and enjoy the way you guys used images and sound. I’m not trying to sound like woh I’m your biggest fan, but I would like to say that you said your videos took hours for “just minutes” but I really have seen your videos, all of them, over and over. I would freak out when a new video came up and watch it like three times at least (I’m not exaggerating) and I hope you realize that other video essayists Nerdwriter for a example, just make these shit videos full of furniture and I can never rewatch them. They just feel like maybe one mark above buzzfeed videos.

Guys there are so many “video essay” channels out there now and its an epidemic. I haven’t looked at it for a while but I have to say that if you quit, I quit. I’m not going to Youtube to be pulled into hours that feel so bad afterward. I think you’re right when you say that it’s best to stick to writing form when it comes to film, with some images like David Bordwell. But I would like to say that you guys did it: you reachd the popular crowd like me and you made us watch films like Lynne Ramsay, and I would watch the films in the videos afterward, sometimes before (like when I was fifteen — I was born in 2000 — I watched the Imposter before because I saw the video was about it and then watched the video with my mom and we were like “that’s awesome” whenever you made a visual point we liked. Ditto for everything else. Part of my growing up was Every Frame a Painting and I bet there’s others out like me who were super young and kind of unhappy but not sure why and the reason was the shit made for kids today is so bad. The sooner kids get to watch shit like Miyazaki the better.)

And I watched your guys’ filmstruck essays. They were pretty good but I agree that you guys should stop. I didn’t watch those twice. Tampopo is an amazing film and Cleo from 5 to 7 too but (and I worship you) I kind of hate video essays now. I’m tired of feeling like I could read a blog post instead, and when we get into the territory of what the rest of people are doing on youtube, it shouldn’t even be on the radar.

Your ideas in those videos I love, but I want them fleshed out in the way you fleshed out this blog post.

I’d love if it you continued to spread your ideas in a cheaper “Medium” but I don’t see the reason to keep Patreon going. You guys get paid to do whatever you’re doing on the sidelines, but you obviously are continuing to watch movies and produce ideas so is there some way to pay for blog posts? I mean really a dollar is so little like fuck your shit is the best and I’m gonna cry If I feel like you guys are having awesome Film conversations I’ll never get to see the product of. And twitter is stupid so I’m not checking it anymore to see if you guys are still alive.

The Kurosawa’s movement video was years of notes and research was it not? (I remember reading the patreon notes that you’d post. I’ve read them all and I made my own notes with yours. Infact, I remember your early asides about Taylor being really helpful and I think at one point you even said that you should be putting her in the credits and then you did haha)

But really I bet you guys are putting all your energy into your work and that, even though I won’t know the projects, I hope I’ll see them. I think it’s too much work to do a blog like Bordwell, because if you did it like him then there’d just be another film Blog like Bordwell, but if it was good I’d read it.

My heart started beating this morning when I saw this, and I don’t want Every Frame a Painting to float out of my mind or memories without saying something.

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