Welcome to What’s the Buzz, 25YL’s feature where members of our staff provide you with recommendations on a weekly basis. In our internet age, there is so much out there to think about watching, reading, listening to, etc., that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, filter out the noise, or find those diamonds in the rough. But have no fear! We’re here to help you do that thing I just described with three different metaphors. Each week a rotating cast of writers will offer their recommendations based on things they have discovered. They won’t always be new to the world, but they’ll be new to us, or we hope new to you. This week, Vincent Greene is watching For All Mankind, Stephanie Edwards recommends Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, Jason Sheppard is listening to the Far and Away score, and John Bernardy has discovered Manners & Madness: A Jane Austen & David Lynch Podcast.
For All Mankind: One Giant Leap For Apple TV+
Vincent: For All Mankind premiered on Apple TV+ back in November of last year. It stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Jodi Balfour, and Wrenn Schmidt. It centers around an alternate history asking what if Soviet Russia were to land on the Moon first and what ramifications that event would have on the space race as a whole. The answers that the creators Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi, and Matt Wolpert give are so intelligent and incredibly well thought out.
They look closely at what other landmark achievements the American superpower could have done in response to the Russians setting foot on the lunar surface first. The way that the first accomplishment reverberates around the American social and political consciences is very interesting.
The once imperious leader of global innovation finds itself on the back foot, scrambling around for the next first. Due to this scrambling and the competition with Russia, who is constantly one step ahead, America looks to progress and evolve much quicker in all areas.
This hastened evolution presses America into reaching for new horizons on not only the celestial body but also back home. Now we see people of color and women getting a chance to position themselves into roles that they would not get until much later if it was not for the American need for innovation.
The take the creators have on this alternate timeline is so very intriguing, it makes one wonder what if this had really happened. Would we be a species that is better for it? What if the space race had continued to boldly go where no human had gone before instead of going out with a whimper.
Just like The Man in the High Castle, For All Mankind views the world through a slightly skewed lens, using this skewed version of reality to create extremely thought-provoking situations and moments. It looks at events with a very clear and unbiased mind to craft truly living breathing worlds that are so similar to ours but still wholly new and original.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
Stephanie: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is the Dorian Award-winning documentary that tells the story of an important icon of horror and queer history. The film follows Mark Patton, star of 1985’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, a sequel that has polarized horror fans for decades. For some, the sequel is the worst of the franchise and a blight on the Freddy Kreuger saga, but for many who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, the film holds a special place as a cult classic and as the first horror film to ever feature a male scream queen.
We travel with Patton over the course of a year as he visits multiple conventions across the US to meet fans and to raise awareness about his experience as a closeted young actor who was poised to be a huge success in the industry, but who was unceremoniously excommunicated after starring in what The Advocate called “the gayest horror film ever made.” Patton’s tale is a harrowing one, covering the rampant homophobia of the 1980s and the painful experiences of being a gay man who lived through the AIDS crisis.
The main thread of the documentary is Patton’s wish to confront Freddy’s Revenge writer David Chaskin, who Patton holds somewhat responsible for the homophobic treatment he received after the film’s release. In the past, Chaskin blamed the film’s homoerotic subtext on Patton’s casting, claiming that Patton was just so gay that the film followed suit, and even went as far as saying that he wrote the film to be homophobic not homoerotic. Chaskin changed his tune as the years went on, but Patton never had the chance to speak to him face-to-face about the backlash and hurt that Chaskin’s comments caused. In the final act of the documentary, Patton finally gets his chance to speak to Chaskin and perhaps get the closure he has been looking for.
I was lucky enough to receive a screener of this film and I cannot recommend it enough. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know too much about Patton’s past and all of the ignorance and pain he had to endure due to his role in the film. Although there are many painful moments explored in Scream, Queen!, there are many bright spots as well. One of the most effective and memorable scenes in the film for me is a section that features LGBT fans of the film expressing how much the movie and Patton’s character mean to them. For many, Patton is a hero, with his character representing the first time these men were able to see themselves on the screen in a horror film. The moment of these confessionals comes at the perfect time in the documentary and pulls on every one of your heartstrings. I’m so glad that Patton, after almost 25 years of living hidden away in Mexico, gets to interact with these fans and hear what kind of positive legacy he has left.
Scream, Queen!: My Nightmare on Elm Street is available on DVD and digital download now. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about this captivating tale in horror history, make sure to check this one out!
Far and Away Soundtrack
Jason: Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day comes one of John Williams’s colorful scores of the ’90s, Far and Away, in a newly expanded and remastered edition from La-La Land Records. The 1992 epic directed by Ron Howard, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, is the story of two dreamers in the 1890s who leave Ireland to fulfill their dream of owning land in America. Howard filmed his movie in large format 70 mm and with that big canvas needed a big musical score to propel the story.
Surprisingly, Howard didn’t choose his regular composer collaborator James Horner to write this score nor did he choose Hans Zimmer, who had scored Backdraft the year before. Howard chose John Williams, who interestingly at this point in the early ’90s was taking on smaller projects such as Presumed Innocent and JFK. Still, no other composer could do large as brilliantly as Williams. After all, his Star Wars music spanned an entire galaxy.
With the classic Irish band The Chieftains (Stanley Kubrick’s chosen performers for Barry Lyndon) brought on to fervently perform the Celtic melodies that Williams composed, Far and Away is a lively, rich, flavorful, intimate, thrilling and epic score that carries the picture easily. The main theme is a grand, sweeping melody played at various times on pan flute, French horn and full-scale strings. This main theme is heard most triumphantly in the standout track “The Land Race” which is so energetic and exuberant, one would think it was for composed for an Indiana Jones movie.
The original MCA CD soundtrack incorporated over an hour of score and has since long been one of the most in-demand non-Spielberg, non-Lucas John Williams expansions. Now, 28 years later, we have the full score plus alternates in this new two disc release. Definitely grab this one. This music is sure to make you want to dance an Irish jig.
Manners & Madness
John: Co-hosts Maya Adkins and Christian Cabrera have been posting episodes of Manners & Madness: A Jane Austen & David Lynch Podcast since October, but I’ve only recently begun listening. What have I heard? Enough to know this concept holds water and I’ll be going back to the beginning to catch up.
The hosts are entertaining and knowledgeable. Adkins is deeply entrenched in both Austen and Lynch, while Cabrera is passingly familiar to both. That perspective works nicely as Cabrera knows enough to ask questions that Adkins fills in well. As an added bonus, the show is smart as a whip yet relaxed in its delivery. What could end up really stodgy ends up feeling playful, and that can only help grow its listener base.
The podcast began with coverage of movie adaptations of Austen’s books, alternating with David Lynch movies. Currently they’re switching between Austen’s actual books (covering about an hour’s worth of reading per episode) and episodes of Twin Peaks, which is where I joined their show in progress.
As someone unfamiliar with Austen, I’ve enjoyed the book club approach they’re taking with Northanger Abbey, and I’m really into the sassy narrator framework. This podcast is going to get me reading Austen.
As far as the Twin Peaks coverage, Adkins does a solid enough job bringing in the show’s history and the hosts explore the show in the way I’d want them to. They’re a nice value worth adding to the already voluminous Peaks podcast landscape.
As far as their mission statement goes, I can feel how Austen matches up with Lynch’s work fairly well, though I can’t quantify how yet. It’s a fun way to expand my horizons after being near exclusively focused on Twin Peaks over the past few years. I know that’ll be music to Maya and Christian’s ears, as they really encourage the Austen fans to try Lynch and vice versa. They make a good case.
Next up for the podcast is the second section of Northanger Abbey, and I’m just as happy to hear that one as their most recent Peaks episode, which I’m posting here.
Two friends, one who loves both Jane Austen and David Lynch, one who is only passingly familiar with both, explore their bodies of work and the adaptations of that work.
Those are our recommendations this week! What are yours? Let us know in the comments!