I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

GLOW Season 1

I don’t usually review TV, but this show is short and consistent enough to review like a movie, and long-time commenter Mr. Majestyk tried to get me to defend my love for it, and it seemed to me worthy of its own post.

GLOW is a fun new Netflix show inspired by the 1986 founding of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. It’s not a historically accurate representation of people or events, and even the wrestling personas are sort of off brand or alternate dimension versions. There’s a Machu Picchu instead of Mountain Fiji, and a team called The Beatdown Bitties are similar to The Housewives. But it takes the idea of fringe Hollywood people doing a casting call for women willing to live in a house together and learn to wrestle, and makes it into ten breezy half-hour-ish episodes of dramedy. There are underdogs, friendships, creative expression and a winning let’s-put-on-a-show spirit. And the show they put on is women in crazy costumes and glitter makeup tossing each other around in a ring with pink ropes, which is better than some other types of shows that somebody might put on.

At the center of the story are two friends, Ruth (Alison Brie, SCREAM 4) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin, Nurse Jackie). The former is a struggling actress frustrated with the shitty roles for women that she can’t even get hired for anyway, the latter is a successful soap actress who recently quit to have a baby. In the first episode we find out that the doofus who Ruth has been fucking (Rich Sommer, Mad Men) is Debbie’s husband, so this establishes the show’s biggest conflict. Ruth has to come to terms with not being the good guy she thinks of herself as, and the betrayal becomes fuel for a wrestling feud that we hope will save a friendship.

The fictional G.L.O.W. is conceived by two cokeheads: rich kid rookie producer Bash (Chris Lowell, THE HELP) and creative director Sam (comedian/podcaster Marc Maron). All the bitterness, liberal cynicism, casual abrasiveness and relationship turmoil of Maron’s comic persona is reborn in the body of a burnt out b-movie director, and I suspect he had alot of input into his dialogue, because it sounds just like him. Sam is an asshole, but once the girls coalesce into a team they can handle him. Instead of a tyrant he’s more like their puppy who happens to be an asshole.

Sam has a previous relationship with Cherry (Sydelle Noelle, CAPTIVE), who as a stunt woman (she says she doubled Pam Grier) is the closest thing they have to a wrestling teacher (after he fires the real one). She’s my favorite, the most badass of the ensemble, though they also have Kia Stevens, a good comedic actor who, when the matches started, I realized was a real wrestler.

The story gets really good when Ruth and Debbie are unsatisfied with their training and go to get private lessons from Machu Picchu (Britney Young, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)’s brothers, played by wrestlers Tyrus a.k.a. Brodus Clay (NO ONE LIVES) and Carlos “Carlito” Edwin. She’s part of a wrestling dynasty, but her dad Goliath Jackson (played by the menacing Winston James Francis, who’s not really a wrestler but sure looks the part) disapproves of her participation. We get some behind-the-scenes how-to-do-wrestling-moves and a training montage set to Stan Bush’s “Dare” (from TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE).

Does Stan Bush still make music like that? Somebody should get him to do new songs for training montages.

Maybe my favorite thing about the show is how, without being insidery at all about wrestling, it shows a great respect for it as an art form and as an athletic feat. Obviously they have to learn on tv-show-fast-speed, but we see the hard work that goes into learning wrestling, and we get hyped for them to pull off a successful match, and especially to do the big finisher move that’s so important to them.

At the same time, Debbie transforms from the person least respectful of what they’re doing, who has to be begged and bribed into lending her mild stardom to their project, into the one who feels it deepest. She discovers a new side of herself through wrestling, describes it convincingly, and waves it in the face of her snooty husband who doesn’t get it. Gilpin also gives the star performance of the show, a very layered portrayal of a woman suffering devastating disappointments that lead to the best kind of self discovery – the kind where you jump off the top rope.

I’ve read that creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch did not grow up on G.L.O.W. – in fact, they hadn’t heard of it until they saw the documentary. I don’t think they’re as young as the Stranger Things guys, but the number of times they have people saying “fanboy” and “fangirl” in the ’80s made me wonder. I only bring this up because there are probly G.L.O.W. hardcores who will be disappointed that this doesn’t have that much specific fan stuff in it. I guess that’s why it’s my speed, as someone who doesn’t follow wrestling but is endlessly fascinated by the idea of it.

A major theme is discomfort with wrestling’s tradition of promoting cartoonish stereotypes. Sam gives some of them characters they find demeaning. He argues that it’s some kind of satire, which I think was the case with the actual G.L.O.W. tag team the Housewives, who wore hair curlers and bathrobes and whined about their opponents dressing like tramps. On the show the satire defense applies best to Welfare Queen (Stevens), a villain who parodies right wingers’ greatest nightmare/wet dream by bragging about getting rich from the government and stuffing food stamps in people’s mouths like Ted Dibiase did with hundred dollar bills. It’s, uh… very uncomfortable satire, in my opinion.

In one of my favorite episodes, Cherry realizes how bad they’re going to look beating up “old” white ladies and comes up with a brilliant way to get the crowd on their side (SPOILER: She convinces the Bitties to fight them wearing Klan robes.) But most of them don’t get that luxury. I like the scene where “Beirut the Mad Bomber” (Sunita Mani, Mr. Robot), after getting serious, beer-can-throwing heat from a crowd riled up by the hostage crisis in the headlines, goes backstage feeling bad about them genuinely hating her. Britannica (singer Kate Nash), trying to be supportive, asks, “Yeah, but that just means you’re doing a good job, doesn’t it?” The scene ends without an answer.

(Read my review of THE SHEIK for more thoughts on this dilemma.)

A podcast I listen to, in the context of praising the show, mentioned disappointment that it’s about “fighting over a man.” I think that’s wrong. They never fight over the man, only over the betrayal of a friendship. Everyone also seems to mention that there’s a little bit of nudity on the show, and some of you brought it up in a comment thread. I guess I didn’t know anything about the marketing that Majestyk considers hypocritical, but in the context of the show I don’t see anything exploitative or inorganic about these moments, other than that you never thought you’d see Marc Maron’s ass. If we’re going to ditch the restraints of advertising-based television it’s only natural to leave behind the PG-13 boob-covering blanket. And I guess I take the STARSHIP TROOPERS shower scene position that we should’ve moved beyond making a big deal out of naked bodies. That we do make a big deal out of them, though, is the whole reason for the scene, because they know the shock of the abrupt cut makes Ruth’s moral lapse funnier. We wouldn’t shout “oh no!” at the screen if they were tastefully blocked by romantic candles.

The creators have said they’re fascinated by the question of whether the women are being empowered or exploited by G.L.O.W. I think they’ve made a good argument for empowered. Though they’re wearing spandex and high cut leotards, they don’t seem sexualized. They seem like super heroes. They’re relatable people overcoming a lack of experience, questionable organization and funding, societal prejudice against women and also against wrestling, to become icons. So when they get in the ring and they manage to fly through the air or take a hit convincingly it feels like a great triumph.

The character of Sam, it has been pointed out, must be loosely inspired by Matt Cimber, who directed G.L.O.W. but also CANDY TANGERINE MAN, HUNDRA, YELLOW HAIR AND THE FORTRESS OF GOLD and THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA. Sam sometimes mentions the eight movies he’s directed, and they don’t sound as cool, but he prides himself on having what he thinks are deep left wing ideas in what other people just see as trash. And now he’s clumsily trying to use wrestling as a vehicle for that type of expression.

All of these characters (including the producer and director) are failures in some way, and are fighting to prove their worth. All of them have something that they need to express or exorcise, and they discover how to do it through wrestling. We get to know them as vulnerable, flawed, funny people living together in this hotel, and then when they’re in character they tap into something different. In the guise of arch-enemies American Belle and Zoya the Destroya, Debbie and Ruth are closer than ever. They work hard together, support and encourage each other, collaborate, are physically intimate, and put full trust in each other. But outside of the ring, as co-workers with a history, they have a hard time even talking. Only in their exaggerated selves can they stay best friends.

In my experience, many of these shows designed to dump onto streaming all at once tend to have longer and more episodes than the story requires. They don’t need you to tune in every week like a real TV show, they just need you to leave the Netflix on all day while you sort of watch and sort of look at your phone. I’m not really made for that type of thing and if I live another 50 years I don’ think I’ll be able to get to the end of Daredevil season 1. Sorry. But this one I got through in a couple of days, and I can’t wait for more.

In asking me why I like this show, Majestyk made it clear he wasn’t in love with it, explaining “I keep almost giving up on [it] because it’s a lady wrestling show that seems to find cute pizza boys, Russian landlords, and obnoxious theater kid neuroses more interesting than, you know, lady wrestling.”

But I guess I disagree that this should be limited to focusing on the physical act of wrestling. The premise, taken from reality, is an underdog story of unlikely people becoming wrestlers, originally as a gig before it takes over their lives. It’s also largely about Ruth trying to find her character. You guys have all heard, or experienced yourself, that a big part of writing is going throughout your day not getting jack shit done while your brain tries to figure out what the fuck you are gonna put on the page – in this show wrestling is kinda like that. Ruth awkwardly latches onto a Russian person and meets his family as research to play a villainous Russian. Debbie attends a real wrestling event to understand what she’s up against. Sheila the She-Wolf (Gayle Rankin) tries not to let anyone see her out of character.

To me the process of getting to the wrestling is what makes the wrestling a thrill. Otherwise wouldn’t this just be non-wrestlers doing fake matches? Shouldn’t we just watch wrestling then?

I love these characters and root for them. You know how much? To the point that when Britannica gets them to join in a terrible “Super Bowl Shuffle” style rap (like they did on the actual show), first as a time killer and then as a demonstration of unity and pride, I find it actually moving. I’m sensitive about terrible rapping, even when it’s intentional like this, so that’s a true achievement in my opinion. I guess what I’m saying is that GLOW is better than BULWORTH.

P.S. Extra special thanks to my friend Jason B., who generously allowed me to use his Netflix to watch this and some of their exclusive movies to review in the future. I can now say from experience that their streaming service is catastrophic as a replacement for video stores (I can’t abide by a world where kids grow up with no access to T2) but really cool to have as a supplement.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 13th, 2017 at 9:50 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

55 Responses to “GLOW Season 1”

  1. This might be one of my favorite seasons of any Netflix show, in part because it isn’t way too long. This is also a better showcase for Maron than “Maron.”

  2. You need to review the DAREDEVIL seasons because: fight scenes.

  3. I’ve never seen the show, but I’ve seen Community, and I would be perfectly fine if Allison Brie wanted to have my kids.

  4. Succinct wrap-up, Vern. GLOW is absolutely not a show about two ladies fighting over a man. They’re fighting BECAUSE of one, yeah, but as you say it’s the betrayal and not some kind of shared desire for this obvious douchebag. The training scenes are great, but it’s the character interactions that kept me intrigued. I’ve never been a wrestling fan but I’m into the idea of these athletes doing amazing things with their bodies that I’ll never be able to do.

    It’s super fun and hits those emotional beats hard, but not with ham fists like you might expect from a show about wrestling.

  5. I apologize for bringing this show up at all. People like it. I don’t. Nobody has to defend themselves to me. I especially apologize for turning my suspicion that actress Alison Brie broke her well-documented no-nudity clause for less-than-artistic reasons into some kind of “controversy.” Maybe I was white-knighting, maybe it was my own hang-ups showing, but it was something that made me distrust the show’s intentions and made me go off on a conspiracy theory that this whole golden age of TV thing we got going on as just a way to let people look at celebrity tits in the comfort of their own home without feeling bad about it. If it didn’t bother you, that’s cool. It threw me off.

    Also, I’ll give you the sex scene, Vern, but the locker room scene? Come on. We come off a scene (the audition) meant to illustrate the kind of sexism women face in the entertainment industry, and we then we cut to the kind of “actresses change clothes while delivering exposition so nobody changes the channel” scene that has become a staple of modern TV. They even try to act like it’s “ironic” nudity because they hang a lampshade joke about 80s slasher movies or something in there. There’s no story reason for that scene, no emotional beat that only bare flesh could get across. It’s just “Hey, don’t worry, guys, we know discussions of sexism make you nervous, so here’s the girl from COMMUNITY’s boobs.” Coming so early in the show, it made me seriously doubt the sincerity of the show’s feminist intentions, which could not have been more baldly stated by that opening scene. I eventually came to believe that the show is mostly in earnest. That’s not what made me give up on it.

    I’m just not built for this kind of storytelling. If I don’t do the whole season in a few days, if I take even the shortest break, I lose all interest. I went away for a couple of days after watching Episode 6 and when I came back I found that I had better things to do. It just felt like it was spinning its wheels.

    Anyway, good review, Vern. Sorry if I made a big deal out of nothing. I’m just not gonna talk about TV anymore. It just seems to make me real negative.

  6. It was a good back and forth Mr M. No shame there.

  7. I get where you’re coming from, Mr. Majestyk but I’ll argue that nudity, even if it’s unnecessary or exploitative, doesn’t mean something isn’t feminist… Not that I’m at all qualified to speak for feminism! And I probably shouldn’t. But I would never in a million years expect ANYONE to argue that even explicit, random, shock-value male nudity degrades men in any way (like in Spartacus, say?). Maybe they would, or have? I dunno… but I don’t see female nudity as any less appropriate. Historically it’s used to just to titillate and keep men interested, obviously, which is unfortunate. But that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t move past that stigma as a society. There’s nothing obscene, distasteful, or objectionable about the human body, which I think is what Vern was getting at with his STARSHIP TROOPERS reference.

    In short, someone can both have legitimate feminist intentions and feel okay showing nudity or even explicit sex, even if it’s titillating. In my opinion, which is probably wrong. But maybe not? Hard to know sometimes.

  8. Jesus, KingNewbs… equivocate much?

  9. You might be right, Newbs, but I disagree that the STARSHIP TROOPERS is equivalent to the scene I’m talking about. The ST scene had a point: It was meant to show that, in this society, men and women truly are equal. Not only do they serve in the military together, but they shower together, and nobody thinks it’s weird at all. The locker room scene in GLOW is saying nothing about anything except “Here is what Alison Brie looks like naked.” That might be perfectly fine in itself. I don’t know. But it’s not the same kind of scene at all.

  10. Netflix’s involvement in the death of video stores is complicated. Their streaming service was never intended to be a replacement. For folks looking to browse thousands of titles, Amazon and Vudu have about 50,000 tiles for purchase or rent which is surely larger than any mom and pop or Blockbuster ever stocked.

    However, when Netflix launched streaming, a lot of users TOOK IT as a replacement for the video store. That was poorly thought out in my opinion, because it is a subscription service with a rotating selection of titles. Just like you don’t subscribe to HBO and go, “Well, that’s it. HBO has every movie ever made so I’ll never rent a DVD again.” It should have made a great companion to the local brick and mortar joint.

    If Netflix does indeed do away with their disc service, that would be a shame because that is another good way to access titles not on streaming. It is their prerogative as a business though, if they prefer to focus on the streaming service and original shows.

    Anyway, I have to subscribe to everything for my job. Not sure how people on budgets choose between Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and cable.

  11. I don’t think that scene is just about showing Alison Brie naked. They’re literally talking about sexist casting practices, etc, but I don’t think the meaning of the scene is clear-cut or easily parsed. It does ask us, implicitly but intentionally I think, why it’s “acceptable” today and in this context to show what they’re showing. And I think that foreshadows a lot of other exploitation (labor, ethnic caricatures, etc) addressed by the show later on. Is the welfare queen schtick okay, given that’s intention is satire? Does it matter if most people won’t read it that way? Can we laugh at it in 2017 “ironically” and without guilt?

    Basically I think that while the show is not always super-sharp as satire, it is intentionally wading into the dilemma of whether you can have your exploitation cake and eat it, too.

  12. Majestyk’s point for whatever reason (way off-topic here) reminds me of when Roger Ebert reviewed BLACK DYNAMITE and mentioned about how he missed gratuitous “casual” nudity at the movies.

    Franchise Fred – in other words its like Rotten Tomatoes where people have horribly misabused it from the original intended use and its now its become a be-all-of-end-all.

  13. I liked this show overall, but it was a bit creaky from time to time. Some of the writing was on the level of an 80s sitcom. Do we really need a subplot about holding a car wash to raise money? Also, I tend to buy into Majestyk’s reading of the locker room scene, but it didn’t ruin the series as a whole for me.

  14. Family Video, if you’re heard of it, is proof that the video store can still be successful. Blackbuster was going to fail regardless of streaming video but they could have surivived. Everybody talks about cable not surviving cord cutting and they’re still around doing just fine.

    Also, the death of VHS is what killed the video store anyway.

  15. Mastor Troy - Google+

    Mastor Troy - Google+

    Great, so now we’re shitting on the beloved Car Wash trope. IS NOTHING SACRED!!!

  16. RRA, good comparison, people now expecting it to be something it was never created to be.

  17. But they did create a business designed to put brick and mortar stores out of business. They had big investors so they could take a loss on their mail order service for years. It was not a business model that was ever going to be profitable, so they started moving toward streaming. They killed video stores and replaced them with HBO.

  18. They did, but the customers didn’t have to go along with it. If millions of Americans wanted to keep going to video stores, they could have. I have a hard time absolving the public for their tendency to abandon their old stuff every time something new comes along. Netflix exploited that. I’m the guy that wants to keep my VHS even when we have DVD.

    But what of Amazon and Vudu’s 50,000 title catalog? If I had access to that in the ’90s I would’ve never left the house. Today no one sea to think that kind of access is a big deal.

  19. When Blockbuster was going under no way it was because all those people were streaming or renting their movies instead. I need some hard evidence. Who wants to do the research? lol

  20. Vern, this is one of those rare times where you and I on exactly the same wavelength. If we were piloting a PACIFIC RIM Jaeger together then if we put on an episode of G.L.O.W. then we’d totally kick some Kaiju ass, possibly incorporating a Moonsault finisher. Like yourself I’m someone who enjoys the idea of wrestling without actually following it, so I was in the perfect position to enjoy the show.

    I don’t know where this supposed tit-focused marketing campaign was. I go to a lot of nerdy sites filled with Allison Brie obsessives and I didn’t see a peep. Whoever was in charge of their advertising really messed up.

  21. Sternshein – I believe Blockbuster went under because too many of their customers switched to Netflix’s mail order service, which was cheaper because they were operating at a loss. They basically devalued the product of movie rentals by making people think they weren’t worth paying an amount that a business could profit off of.

  22. Vern, I don’t think we should forget how big impact movie piracy had, and are still having. When people started to get internet that was 24 hours connected, rather then you paid for the hour, it changed everything. I remember I got that in 2001 and we downloaded a lot of films. Even thought piracy was a big deal, I still bought a lot of DVD. I think I got over 1000 DVDs, so it stop me from renting films, but I still bought the stuff I liked, mostly because I’m a movie fan and love directors commentary. I think I rented my last film in 2003 (was it that terrible Ryan Reynolds, Alyssa Milano comedy “Buying the cow” or the “Sum of All Fears”), and for like a year I used one of does mail order service company, I think in my country it was called 24Film or something like that. Got to watch a lot of older stuff that way, like “Bonnie and Clyde”, and of course rented stuff that I would never dare to rent in a video rental shop like “The Lovers” and “In the Realm of Sense”. Yeah, finding films and porn to download wasn’t as easy in 2003-04 that it is today.

    I do think the Netflix streaming service seem to save the home video industry from piracy, the same way Spotify did it for music. While it pays shit for the artist, and Netflix is destroying the b-action film (I know Scott Adkins is very worried about the future of his type of films). The convience of just paying $10 a month and have most of the films available, and with piracy being struck down hard in countries like the US and Uk, people seem to pay for their film entertainment. I still buy blu-rays because I love the special features. But I just bought “John Wick Chapter 2” on blu-ray in my country, and it didn’t have a single special feature or even chapter selection, they are probably only releasing does in my country on the Ultra HD 4k blu-rays (or whatever they are called), I’m considering starting to buy films on itunes as they mostly have all of the special features, and I was worried they would not have big sales, as I just bought a bunch of great films like “Arrival” for just like $6-7, but they seem to occasionaly sell films for $7, and not needing physical storage space is also a good. Plus you can still rent stuff on itunes.

    I’m worried that the competition between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, etc, will make it so there will be too many streaming services, and to watch everything you need to have all of them. Of course it still probably cheaper than to buy a handful of blu-rays every month, but I’m afraid that some people will just go back to piracy and just pay for an VPN to hide themselves, as it will be easier than to have than 5+ subscription and sites to take care of. Of course movies will always make money as long as there is theatres, and that will not go away, but we might reach a point where we only get big blockbusters, because they are the only films that make money.

    In the end who actually need to watch everything. I don’t watch that many films or tv-shows anymore. I have two huge stacks of blu-rays waiting to be watched. My blu-ray of “Creed” is still in plastic and I have owned that for more than a year. Tomorrow I might finally watch “Jurassic World”, as I wanted to wait until I had time to watch all four of the Jurassic films in a row.

    For me Youtube and Twitch has taken over as where I spend a lot of my freetime, as I can do a lot of other things while have them on in the background, they don’t requier my full attention. And compared to cable it’s free. I also spend a few hours a day playing video games, as it’s fun to spend time in worlds that you don’t get in films much anymore. Of course I spend my time mostly just shooting shit. We have an overload of entertainment and different medias, and the only thing that suffer more than my TV and film watching is reading, as I mostly read while I’m travel or waiting for something when I don’t have access to internet.

  23. I dunno Vern, I kind of used Netflix mail-order in conjunction with brick and mortar (when there was brick and mortar to use).

    Brick and mortar took care of instant gratification, whereas netflix fed me a supply line of new shit while in my underwear. Which was nice, but couldn’t scratch the “I need to watch Vanishing Point this very minute” itch.

  24. PS Daredevil Season one is a fucking slog (and this comes from someone who was a big Matt Murdoch fan in his younger, formative years)

    Daredevil season two, however, hits the ground running with ninjas and crazy shit then proceeds to not look back (and it actually feels like, y’know, Daredevil. Instead of whatever they were going for with season one)

  25. There are so many Netflix/Amazon shows I never make it through because each episode is an hour fucking long. That was why this show was perfect. 40 minutes or so a pop, so easy to plow through.

  26. “In asking me why I like this show, Majestyk made it clear he wasn’t in love with it, explaining “I keep almost giving up on [it] because it’s a lady wrestling show that seems to find cute pizza boys, Russian landlords, and obnoxious theater kid neuroses more interesting than, you know, lady wrestling.”

    This season is about a bunch of ladies in a warehouse LEARNING to wrestle with the smallest degree of competence. Next season is gonna be about the actual inner workings of a weird fringe wrestling promotion on the rise.

    Also this cast is gonna soar once they get to doing dumb GLOW skits. Brie got to do a little bit of that this season when she was trying out her Russian heel character but next season is gonna take the dumb comedy to another level.r

    I also thought there were definite weak spots in the 1st season (basically everything involving Maron, his daughter and Sexy Pizza Boyfriend) but on the whole I really enjoyed it and binged the whole thing in one evening. At the same time, I can’t fault anyone for not being into this. It’s just not everyone’s thing, just like the 80s show wasn’t.

    Also as a big old wrestling nerd I didn’t have any problems with the portrayal of wrestling as a whole, except they kept calling shows matches. Awesome Kong (who is on the show as Welfare Queen) and Chavo Guerrero (who is related to the guy who trained the ladies in the 80s) did a really good job of both training the actors and helping out with small script stuff. Really wish Chavo could have got a small part too but at least they named the warehouse after him.

  27. flyingguillotine

    July 14th, 2017 at 10:50 am

    I flat-out love this show. It’s one of my favorite things on the small screen right now, along with VEEP and SILICON VALLEY. Great acting, sharp writing, strong direction… and it’s just a lot of fun. Looking forward to season 2.

  28. Spotify didn’t save the music industry, and they really need to be taken to task for their shady practices w/r/t paying artists.

    But in general, digital music distribution and the bandcamp model have been great for artists and music fans, and shitty for industry middle men who can no longer steal both parties’ money.

    Steve Albini on the surprisingly sturdy state of the music industry – in full

    The music producer, Shellac frontman and author of seminal 1993 essay The Problem with Music has turned his frown upside down – read his Face the Music speech in full

    Hand in hand with this is the fact that music has gotten far cheaper to create as well as distribute, which is where the parallel with film really breaks down as far as I can tell.

  29. Digital era has been way kinder to the music biz than film for certain. I remember I used to scramble for coins to even sit in a studio for an hour now the studio can conveniently be in your own home and you can be your own distributor.

  30. Broddie, I agree. Another reason it’s more manageable for the music industry then film by how people consume it. People can take the music and listen to it whenever but movies is a bigger commitment. You know what I mean?

  31. Yeah Sternshein. Removing the right screen (the big one of course and then your own personal TV) element undersells the purpose of film consumptuon and so people would rather just opt out all together if they can’t consume a movie the right way at any given moment.

    This is why you hear people go “I only go to the movies 2 times a year” and whatnot so much now a days. You have to set time aside for movie watching because it’s more limited to set locations like your living room or a multiplex.

    Where as with music you can listen to it anywhere and everywhere thanks to digitization. Most people would still rather watch a movie on a proper screen than on a phone. TV on the other hand works better for them on a phone. Weird.

    With digital’s impact on music they don’t care about lower fidelity and clarity in the music they consume via their phones cause at least the portability makes up for it. Movies as portable options outside of long train or plane rides is still a non factor for the most part.

    People still love going to the movies to catch a movie but it’s always a matter of convenience. Music consumption could happen on the crapper. It’s no wonder it has the greater appeal.

  32. That’s what’s so frustrating, Vern. You and I can have foresight to say, “Let’s keep going to video stores, you guys. We’re gonna want to have this resource around.” but nobody listens. Then they’re surprised when it’s gone.

    Same thing with the banks and mortgages. We can say taking out a loan that never pays down principal can only end in foreclosure, but we (meaning I in this case) get called crazy and told we have to believe in the market.

    Why is it impossible for people to anticipate things before they happen? And what’s the point of giving a few of us the gift of foresight if we’re doomed to be ignored? The Greeks knew what they were talking about with Cassandra.

  33. I am surprised that in a world with Banshee and Spartacus and GoT that the tv show Vern reviews is GLOW. I mean, it was decent, but there are so many better shows out there. Usually with these Netflix shows I bulldoze through them pretty quickly but this one I’ve just watching one episode every couple days when I’m bored. But I did a google search and it seems like a ton of people are falling all over themselves about this show for some weird reason.

    And I can’t believe how much energy has been wasted talking about the 8 seconds of nudity in this show.

  34. It’s funny that I heard of GLOW before the creators of this show did, back in 2004 there was a wrestling game on the PS2 called Rumble Roses that was basically a video game version of GLOW which one of the gaming magazines I read at the time made the comparison.

  35. You guys must be really young. I remember seeing GLOW when it was on tv. And I think they were on an episode of Married With Children…or are you guys too young to remember that too?

  36. MARRIED WITH CHILDREN is eternal and will never be forgotten.

  37. I remember the episode of MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, but I had no idea that the wrestlers were real. (The real G.L.O.W. never made it to Germany.)

  38. Vern, just a bit of a correction:

    Although NFLX indeed started operating at a loss, by the time they had started streaming in 2007 the DVD business had been profitable for four years (I’m going off of their annual reports filed with the SEC).

    I think we might get nostalgic for certain aspects of the video store, but Netflix gave you access to a gigantic library, no late fees, and no annoying “have to drop these off by Monday night” trips.

    I suspect readier availability of porn killed off the movie rental places more than NFLX did, but I have no numbers on that.

  39. Saludos! I just want to recommend “Savage Dog” to the Outlaw Vern community. You probably know this film already (directed by Jesse V. Johnson, starring Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror…) Maybe you don’t need anyone’s endorsement to check it out. However, just in case, I want to say that I’m very glad to have modestly supported this project (by paying to see it, just so I’m clear).

    “Savage Dog” shows artistic ambition. There’s lots to praise just on a screenplay level. For example, the hero’s character arc is more nuanced than I expected, one of the sub-plots is a good complement to the main thread, and the voice-over narration (by the great Keith David) adds wit, humor, and world-weary feel. How about the action? Well, it’s refreshingly clear and hard-hitting! The choreography is not inventive, but the performances are intense, the sound effects are spot-on, and there’s room for many details (character reactions, badass lines…) To top it off, we get legitimate fights between Adkins and Cung Le, and then between Adkins and Zaror. To those who were disappointed by the anti-climactic standoff in “Safe” (the Jason Statham film), I assure you, “Savage Dog” sticks to the rules of the genre.

    That’s it for my part. Oh, I almost forgot: I’m posting on this thread because I don’t know where else to do it. I checked the forum, but it seems fairly inactive. I apologize for bringing up an unrelated topic. Cheers!

  40. I can say for sure that Vern has seen it and liked it. Looks fantastic and can’t wait to see it.

  41. I remember tuning into the real GLOW a few times in the 80s and not really knowing what to make of it. The skits and such seemed far weirder then the already weird WWF.

    I kind of forgot about it, then I saw the rap video (real version) go by on my FB feed. Without a doubt that wet my appetite for both the documentary and this series!

  42. M. Casey, another crucial factor in absolutely obliterating b&m video stores was the one-two punch of DVD and Blu-ray. It’s not easy for a small business to replace their entire stock, and years ago I heard from one video store owner (on this site??) that he and his colleagues had barely begun to recover from the DVD ordeal when their entire inventory was made obsolete once more by Blu-ray.

    Beyond that, you had the rise of internet piracy which yeah, gave people a low-risk convenient way to steal the content rather than having to pay for it, but I would argue it more importantly had the effect of de-valuing digital media itself. It emphasizes the fact that DVDs and Blu-rays are just piece-of-shit plastic vessels for the same 1’s and 0’s that you can download.

    Also, we had been dealing with the treachery of compact discs and their tendency to get scratched and become unplayable (and not in the romantic way that happens to vinyl), and I don’t think our culture has the same romantic attachment to DVD and Blu-ray that they did to earlier physical formats of both cinema and music. Unknown music artists can make a decent amount of money selling hand-painted cassettes or LPs, but what equivalent phenomenon is there in film?

  43. I was an early adopter on Netflix. I started with their earliest delivery available in Seattle, did that for quite a while, then switched to their digital when it got going in a big way. I always wanted to just watch films on line, have for years before you really could.

    Libraries are starting to take over the slack that Video stores had, and I’m good with that. Most libraries I’ve been to have pretty huge DVD and VHS collections now. Of course, I hope Scarecrow manages to survive, they are pretty much an institution at this point, but they are not like other video stores, part store, part grand archive of film.

    It wasn’t until last year I stopped having Netflix. Now we tend to sub and un sub from one service to another to watch their library for a while. Suits me nicely, I can watch all kinds of things and don’t have all those boxes and disk cluttering up my space. (which is quite small these days)

  44. Almost forgot… I was just the right Age for Glow when it was a thing and watched it pretty much every night it was on back in the day. I’ve always loved the silly side of wrestling and Glow was plenty silly. And as I recall, while they were mostly pretty young ladies, they were also dressed as much in character or in an athletic sort of fashion as they were to show skin. Not sure I had any favorites back in the day, I just liked the overall silliness of it all. And the boobs, boobs are always appreciated.

  45. Guys – you know what’s way way better than Netflix’s new show GLOW? Netflix’s new show FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE.

  46. Thanks for reminding me that it’s on Netflix now.

  47. It’s impossible to keep up with them at this point. However, they just released season 2 of Last Chance U. If you haven’t seen the first season, I would highly recommend dropping everything and checking it out if you like sports, documentaries and/or sport documentaries.

  48. Hallsy, I am enjoying Friends with College but the show has a major major flaw. The two main characters are fucking awful people. The weird thing is that Key is extremely likable most of the time and I don’t buy for a minute that he would wanna choose the terrible unlikable married chick instead of his much hotter and likable current wife.

    I don’t think it’s better then GLOW though.

  49. My wife and I both thought Friends From College was hilarious. It’s weird though – after watching it I read an article on another site about how everyone hates it and it has like 25% on RT. And a lot of the comments made the same point as you that the characters were awful people which makes no damn sense to me because I can’t remember any tv show in the last 80 years where the main characters were even remotely decent people. By comparison, the GLOW tv show has 95% on RT which is bizarre. I mean, it wasn’t funny (I think its supposed to be a comedy?) and was pretty boring. I watched Friends From College in two night and took several weeks to slog through GLOW. It did get a lot better at the end when they started actually putting on rassling shows – so I think season 2 will be way better since it should have way more rassling and way less abortions.

    I’m gonna go ahead and repeat my recommendation for LAST CHANCE U – season #2 is just as great as season #1. It is light years better than both of the above shows.

  50. I don’t like football that much so, while I hear it’s good, I will be passing.

    The big problem with FFC is the huge focus on affairs. When they don’t is when the show takes off the best.

    Doesn’t matter, no way this thing is getting a season 2.

  51. I would say watch the first episode and see if you like it. It’s hard to say how much a person that doesn’t like football would like it because who the Hell doesn’t like football, but if you like documentaries I think you would like it anyway. The access they got is amazing and I think it would still be very interesting for a non-football fan. As someone that likes football but is not a massive fan (and not really a college fan at all) I did not think I would be interested in following a junior college team in the deep south.

    So Netflix already has another series of Wet Hot American Summer coming out this week. Plus the Defenders later this month. I am really looking forward to both of those. I did not the WHAS movie was all that great actually but the prequel show on Netflix was hilarious.

  52. I can’t remember in which thread we were talking about Netflix and the extinction of the local video store, and this may have already been discussed, but this article about their current financial position is telling of just how far in debt they’ve been willing to go to own the market.

    Even if the bubble explodes in their faces I can’t see physical media rentals making a comeback, sadly, and there will no doubt be another streaming service to rise up and take its place. I just hope the artists who have helped build the NF Original library have all been paid their dues before the sharks swarm in.

    Report: Netflix Is $20 Billion In Debt

    Experts are warning that the streaming company could face "a looming write-down" if spending isn't reined in.

  53. WHAS, is great. My wife and I will laugh at the same stuff but then there is stuff she thinks is hilarious while I don’t and vice versa. This means between the two of us the movie/show has a 100% hit rate on the jokes.

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