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Mastodon Is the Good One

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Mastodon Is the Good One

Earlier this week, friend of 404 Media Katie Notopoulos, who is a great journalist and internet knower, wrote an article for MIT Tech Review that you should read, called “How to fix the internet.” The article grapples with 40 years of internet history, Elon Musk, “hellsites,” AI, and disinformation. It ultimately comes to the conclusion that in order to fix the internet, we need to take more control of it using technologies like decentralization, social media federation, our own websites, and microcommunities. 

I’m writing this mostly to cosign Notopoulos’s piece: we quit our jobs and left behind short term financial stability at a website that we did not own to create a website that we do own with the basic thesis that, in the long term, having total ownership and control over our business and our website will be better for us, our readers, and the media ecosystem. I’m on board. Her piece argues that social platforms are not going away, are not necessarily bad, and briefly touches on the pros and cons of different Twitter replacements:

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“Another thing to be optimistic about (although time will tell if it actually catches on) is federation—a more decentralized version of social networking. Federated networks like Mastodon, Bluesky, and Meta’s Threads are all just Twitter clones on their surface—a feed of short text posts—but they’re also all designed to offer various forms of interoperability. Basically, where your current social media account and data exist in a walled garden controlled entirely by one company, you could be on Threads and follow posts from someone you like on Mastodon—or at least Meta says that’s coming. (Many—including internet pioneer Richard Stallman, who has a page on his personal website devoted to ‘Why you should not be used by Threads’—have expressed skepticism of Meta’s intentions and promises.) Even better, it enables more granular moderation. Again, X (the website formerly known as Twitter) provides a good example of what can go wrong when one person, in this case Elon Musk, has too much power in making moderation decisions—something federated networks and the so-called ‘fediverse’ could solve.”

As Notopoulos writes, the Fediverse is a better, more user-centric social media concept than the one we currently have, where you amass followers on a single platform then lose them if that platform dies or becomes bad and you decide to quit. Federated social media means that you create an account on a server, can follow people on that server and on other servers, and can move your account to other federated platforms or servers whenever you want.

This brings me to the point I would like to make: Mastodon is the good one. 

I didn’t join Mastodon until after we launched 404 Media. I joined, frankly, because lots of people told me that we should. Mastodon had been decried by many (me, previously), as a social media platform that is too complicated or weird to sign up for. I had also convinced myself that people on Mastodon would be mad at me if I made jokes, which has (mostly) not been the case.

I’ve now been using it for about two months and I am here to tell you that it is, in principle, what we should want the internet to be. If you have been remotely interested in Mastodon but had reservations about joining because you thought it would be difficult, confusing, or otherwise annoying, it is not. 

Here is how you make a Mastodon account: You go to this website. You agree to not share disinformation or be an asshole. You select a username and password. Then, you have a Mastodon account. 

So, Mastodon:

  1. Not difficult to sign up for
  2. Not difficult to use
  3. Has an app like every other social media network
  4. Not owned by world’s richest man
  5. Not owned by a company whose main platform has been credibly accused of facilitating genocide by the United Nations
  6. Not funded by the guy who made the last place, which sold itself to the world’s richest man
  7. Doesn’t have a crypto thing going on
  8. Free and open source
  9. Administered by a crowdfunded nonprofit
  10. Decentralized, portable, and interoperable

I’m writing this because it has been weird to watch some journalists and people who are fully aware of Facebook’s catastrophic history with things like disinformation, algorithmic dark patterns and ever-shifting reward systems, user monetization and tracking, disastrous forays into the news business, shoddy content moderation, and complicity in a genocide become the world’s largest Mark Zuckerberg / Threads simps because he’s a little less awful than Elon Musk. These same people who are chit-chatting with Mark about his MMA are chastising their colleagues who choose to stay on “Xitter,” “the Bird Site,” “the hell site,” etc because their audience is there. 

I think people are excited about Threads primarily because they believe it can scale better than other alternatives, as in, theoretically the people whose tweets they want to read will be there. Threads has definitely begun to feel more vibrant, and like an actual social media network and not just a place to ask if anyone is still using Threads. But this also means Threads evangelists are basically hoping that Zuckerberg will be successful enough to control yet another gigantic social media network, which isn't a terrible bet, but isn't necessarily good for society, either. I'll just say that I believe Mastodon can scale, has scaled, and can continue to scale particularly because of its decentralized nature (hundreds of millions of people have used BitTorrent, for example, which is about as hard to get started with as Mastodon is). Mastodon currently has about 1.7 million monthly active users.

Anyways, I am using Threads, and I will continue to use Threads, because I am a pragmatic person who wants to connect with readers wherever they are because my livelihood and my reporting relies on it. If Threads "wins," I will submit and use it daily, probably for the rest of my career. Right now, I feel like my brain is falling out of my skull at all times because in order to spread the articles we publish on this upstart website, I need to think about the slightly different ways in which I will share it on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Instagram, LinkedIn, BlueSky, TikTok, etc. All things considered, I’d like to pick one and stay there, but that will result in fewer people reading our work and not meeting our readers wherever they are, which isn’t a smart move at this juncture. So, I’ll keep using Threads, but I will not become an evangelist for one of the biggest companies in the world because it is slightly less bad than the alternative, when an actually moral alternative with none of that baggage exists.

It would be good for the internet if Threads were to actually federate itself, but, for now, I will just point out that Threads is still not interoperable with the continent of Europe for reasons of “it’s illegal there because of Facebook’s privacy practices”

It is possible to make Mastodon complicated, because it’s highly customizable. But you don’t have to make it complicated, and you can even make it look like Twitter. Here’s how you do that: You go to www.elk.zone and you log in. That’s all. 

One of the most compelling things about Mastodon, and something Notopoulos brings up in her piece, is the fact that it’s portable. 

Meta claims that Threads will eventually become federated, meaning that it, too, will allow you to take your followers and port them elsewhere, and that it will possibly become interoperable with Mastodon at some point. There are reasons to be skeptical of this actually happening, which have been explained much better by other people but largely have to do with the fact that Facebook likes to monetize its users and strives for social media monopolization. I believe it would be very good for the internet if Threads were to earnestly and actually federate itself, but, for now, I will just point out that Threads is still not interoperable with the continent of Europe for reasons of “it’s illegal there because of Facebook’s privacy practices” and thus I’m not holding my breath.

If you are at all worried about how complicated Mastodon is or can be, you can ignore this part, join Mastodon.Social, and never think about the rest of this article. Anyways, portability is good and important because, let’s say that hypothetically Mastodon.Social were to be taken over by some maniac billionaire. I could choose to take my account and port it somewhere else, and bring my followers with me. What a concept!

Mastodon Is the Good One

To make this more concrete: Earlier this week, I wrote an article about goatse, which is objectively a graphic image. I chose to very tastefully crop the top image to NOT include the man’s gaping rectum. I posted a link to the article on Mastodon. People started sharing it. Most people did not seem to have an issue with this, but someone suggested I add a content warning. I did not, because I did not feel it was graphic. 

A moderator eventually reviewed it and sent me the following message: “Some of your posts have been marked as sensitive by the moderators of mastodon.social. This means that people will need to tap the media in the posts before a preview is displayed. You can mark media as sensitive yourself when posting in the future. This is sort or borderline, but we'd prefer to blur the link preview here, particularly if it's likely to receive a lot of boosts. It's a solid half of a naked rear end.”

First of all let me state for the record: I disagree with the moderator’s decision. Second of all: WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (!!!!!)(!!!)!!!!: This is, actually, an incredible message the likes of which I do not think I have ever gotten from a social media platform. It is nuanced, well-reasoned, and reasonable. It is the type of moderation you get from a GOOD moderator on a GOOD community forum, and sometimes in the best subreddits. Unlike Reddit moderators, however, Mastodon.Social’s moderators are paid. Third of all: I am going to move on with my life. But let’s say that I didn’t want to, and wanted to die on this goatse hill. I could simply take my Mastodon account, put it on another server that appreciates goatse, and continue posting goatse there until the end of time. I would keep all of my posts and all of my followers. It's a good site.

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Wilshu
269 days ago
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We Should Have Bought the DVDs

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It’s 2022. I don’t know if I’ll ever own a house, but I can own my favorite television shows in their entirety.

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Wilshu
1645 days ago
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Yeah he will never own a home, you know why? BECAUSE HE'S SUBSCRIBED 11 FKIN SERVICES.
Vote with your wallet
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MotherHydra
1646 days ago
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Imagine subscribing to 11(!) different streaming services. Who has the time to pull value from all of that?
Space City, USA

Calibre replacement considerations

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Summary

TL;DR: I'm considering replacing those various Calibre compnents with...

See below why and a deeper discussion on all the features.

Problems with Calibre

Calibre is an amazing software: it allows users to manage ebooks on your desktop and a multitude of ebook readers. It's used by Linux geeks as well as Windows power-users and vastly surpasses any native app shipped by ebook manufacturers. I know almost exactly zero people that have an ebook reader that do not use Calibre.

However, it has had many problems over the years:

Update: a previous version of that post claimed that all of Calibre had been removed from Debian. This was inaccurate, as the Debian Calibre maintainer pointed out. What happened was Calibre 4.0 was uploaded to Debian unstable, then broke because of missing Python 2 dependencies, and an older version (3.48) was uploaded in its place. So Calibre will stay around in Debian for the foreseeable future, hopefully, but the current latest version (4.0) cannot get in because it depends on older Python 2 libraries.

The latest issue (Python 3) is the last straw, for me. While Calibe is an awesome piece of software, I can't help but think it's doing too much, and the wrong way. It's one of those tools that looks amazing on the surface, but when you look underneath, it's a monster that is impossible to maintain, a liability that is just bound to cause more problems in the future.

What does Calibre do anyways

So let's say I wanted to get rid of Calibre, what would that mean exactly? What do I actually use Calibre for anyways?

Calibre is...

  • an ebook viewer: Calibre ships with the ebook-viewer command, which allows one to browse a vast variety of ebook formats. I rarely use this feature, since I read my ebooks on a e-reader, on purpose. There is, besides, a good variety of ebook-readers, on different platforms, that can replace Calibre here:

    • Atril, MATE's version of Evince, supports ePUBs (Evince doesn't)
    • MuPDF also reads ePUBs without problems and is really fast
    • fbreader also supports ePUBs, but is much slower than all those others
    • Emacs (of course) supports ebooks through nov.el
    • Okular apparently supports ePUBs, but I must be missing a library because it doesn't actually work here
    • coolreader is another alternative, not yet in Debian (#715470)
    • lucidor also looks interesting, but is not packaged in Debian either (although upstream provides a .deb) and depends on older Firefox releases (or "Pale moon", a Firefox fork)
    • koreader and plato are good alternatives for the Kobo reader (although koreader also now has builds for Debian)
    • GNOME Books is interesting, but relies on the GNOME search engine and doesn't find my books (and instead lots of other garbage). it's been described as "basic" and "the least mature" in this OMG Ubuntu review
    • Bookworm looks very promising
    • Foliate looks gorgeous and is built on top of the ePUB.js library, not in Debian, but Flathub
    • Buka is another "ebook" manager written in Javascript, but only supports PDFs for now
  • an ebook editor: Calibre also ships with an ebook-edit command, which allows you to do all sorts of nasty things to your ebooks. I have rarely used this tool, having found it hard to use and not giving me the results I needed, in my use case (which was to reformat ePUBs before publication). For this purpose, Sigil is a much better option, now packaged in Debian. There are also various tools that render to ePUB: I often use the Sphinx documentation system for that purpose, and have been able to produce ePUBs from LaTeX for some projects.

  • a file converter: Calibre can convert between many ebook formats, to accomodate the various readers. In my experience, this doesn't work very well: the layout is often broken and I have found it's much better to find pristine copies of ePUB books than fight with the converter. There are, however, very few alternatives to this functionality, unfortunately.

  • a collection browser: this is the main functionality I would miss from Calibre. I am constantly adding books to my library, and Calibre does have this incredibly nice functionality of just hitting "add book" and Just Do The Right Thing™ after that. Specifically, what I like is that it:

    • sort, view, and search books in folders, per author, date, editor, etc
    • quick search is especially powerful
    • allows downloading and editing metadata (like covers) easily
    • track read/unread status (although that's a custom field I had to add)

    Calibre is, as far as I know, the only tool that goes so deep in solving that problem. The Liber web server, however, does provide similar search and metadata functionality. It also supports migrating from an existing Calibre database as it can read the Calibre metadata stores. When no metadata is found, it fetches some from online sources (currently Google Books).

    One major limitation of Liber in this context is that it's solely search-driven: it will not allow you to see (for example) the "latest books added" or "browse by author". It also doesn't support "uploading" books although it will incrementally pick up new books added by hand in the library. It somewhat assumes Calibre already exists, in a way, to properly curate the library and is more designed to be a search engine and book sharing system between liber instances.

    This also connects with the more general "book inventory" problem I have which involves an inventory physical books and directory of online articles. See also firefox (Zotero section) and ?bookmarks for a longer discussion of that problem.

  • a device synchronization tool : I mostly use Calibre to synchronize books with an ebook-reader. It can also automatically update the database on the ebook with relevant metadata (e.g. collection or "shelves"), although I do not really use that feature. I do like to use Calibre to quickly search and prune books from by ebook reader, however. I might be able to use git-annex for this, however, given that I already use it to synchronize and backup my ebook collection in the first place...

  • an RSS reader: I used this for a while to read RSS feeds on my ebook-reader, but it was pretty clunky. Calibre would be continously generating new ebooks based on those feeds and I would never read them, because I would never find the time to transfer them to my ebook viewer in the first place. Instead, I use a regular RSS feed reader. I ended up writing my own, feed2exec) and when I find an article I like, I add it to Wallabag which gets sync'd to my reader using wallabako, another tool I wrote.

  • an ebook web server : Calibre can also act as a web server, presenting your entire ebook collection as a website. It also supports acting as an OPDS directory, which is kind of neat. There are, as far as I know, no alternative for such a system although there are servers to share and store ebooks, like Trantor or Liber.

Note that I might have forgotten functionality in Calibre in the above list: I'm only listing the things I have used or am using on a regular basis. For example, you can have a USB stick with Calibre on it to carry the actual software, along with the book library, around on different computers, but I never used that feature.

So there you go. It's a colossal task! And while it's great that Calibre does all those things, I can't help but think that it would be better if Calibre was split up in multiple components, each maintained separately. I would love to use only the document converter, for example. It's possible to do that on the commandline, but it still means I have the entire Calibre package installed.

Maybe a simple solution, from Debian's point of view, would be to split the package into multiple components, with the GUI and web servers packaged separately from the commandline converter. This way I would be able to install only the parts of Calibre I need and have limited exposure to other security issues. It would also make it easier to run Calibre headless, in a virtual machine or remote server for extra isoluation, for example.

Update: this post generated some activity on Mastodon, follow the conversation here or on your favorite Mastodon instance.

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Wilshu
1751 days ago
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OPDS is the reason why I'm using calibre ( as server ). I can browse my collection via bunch of apps thanks to this.
There's nice web frontend too, calibre-web.
This type of usage gets rid of my main issues with it, buggy cruft I don't need plus horrible UI.
I'll jump to anything new with opds support though
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jepler
1751 days ago
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python3 sigh
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm

A Celebration of Great Movie Defenestrations

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This article is part of Tropes Week, in which we’re exploring our favorite tropes from cinema history. Read more here.


Picture this: The year is 1491. The location is Prague. A priest is leading a protest outside of a local town hall, demanding prisoners to be released from custody. A rock then emerges from the window of the building and hits the priest. Understandably, the holy man and his posse are pissed off, so they enter the town hall, grab the judge and members of the council, and throw them out of the windows.

Although there had been several incidences of defenestration before that riotous event, known as the Defenestration of Prague, coined the term. Centuries later, it’s also now a cinematic trope. From the days of silent films to modern blockbusters, scenes in which people are thrown out of windows have been commonplace in motion pictures, and they have been used for a variety of purposes.

Sometimes these scenes are the culmination of a brawl between a hero and a villain, with windows proving to be the deciding factor between a victory and a loss. Other times, they’re the result of a sudden act of aggression, usually carried out by an antagonist to establish their cruelty toward other human beings.

In some cases, defenestration is accidental because people are just clumsy and fall through windows sometimes. This is called self-defenestration, and it also applies to scenes depicting people purposely throw themselves out of windows — either as a means to escape from a perilous situation, or because they’ve had enough of life and want to end it on their own terms.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some great defenestration scenes that are notable for unique reasons. This isn’t a “best of” or “coolest” list, per se; instead, the aim is to explore what makes these moments stand out from the pack when they’re put up against their counterparts. Enjoy.

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Sherlock Jr.

No list about people falling out of windows would be complete without Buster Keaton. As one of cinema’s pioneering stunt performers, he was no stranger to crashing through glass, and he put his life on the line every single time.

In Sherlock Jr., Keaton comes flying off a motorcycle and straight through a window. This scene is a great example of a reverse-defenestration, which involves performers crashing through a window from the outside. It’s not defenestration in the common sense, but the scene deserves to be celebrated for paving the way for the abundance of window-smashing stunts that came after.

For a more traditional defenestration scene featuring the legendary performer, Three on a Limb sees him tossed out of a window onto a fire escape. Compared to some of Keaton’s other stunts, the scene is very tame. But that doesn’t make it any less commendable. Without Keaton putting himself through hell to entertain moviegoers, action cinema wouldn’t be the same today.

L’Age D’Or (1930)

The Golden Age

While defenestration scenes tend to be violent, they rarely incite societal outrage. In this surrealist comedy from Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel, however, the trope was employed as a way to stick it to the Catholic Church and powerful people who oppose sexual freedom.

The scene features a bishop being tossed out of a window, which, in 1930, wasn’t exactly deemed acceptable and easy to overlook among good, God-fearing moral folk. That said, it’s one of many notable moments in the movie that resulted in it being trashed by the right-wing press and banned in several countries for decades.

The bishop doesn’t die after landing on the ground outside, nor is the scene one of the coolest in the grand pantheon of cinematic defenestrations. However, it made a bold statement about the destructive value systems that are inherent within religious institutions. Whether you agree with its message or not, there’s no denying that the scene got its point across.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist

Of all the self-executed defenestrations in the history of cinema, this is by far the most powerful. Usually, suicide is depicted as the ultimate form of hopelessness, an escape from life’s torment when there’s no reason to go on. In the case of Damien Karras (Jason Miller), though, he takes his own life in order to save the soul of a child.

In the scene, the priest convinces the demon who’s possessing Regan (Linda Blair) to leave her body and enter his instead. When the hellspawn accepts his invitation, he hurls himself out of the nearest window and plummets to his death via a set of concrete stairs.

It’s a powerful ending, both tragic and uplifting. Self-sacrifice is an admirable trait in a human being. There’s an emotional weightiness to this scene that few other movie defenestrations have been able to capture since, which is why it’s one of the most memorable of the bunch.

Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins

Gremlins is the best horror-comedy of all time. Even if you disagree with this statement, you can at least admit that it’s a special movie. There are several scenes that make Joe Dante’s festive frightmare a classic, but the one in which the titular pint-sized creatures wire an old lady’s stairlift so that it launches her out of an upstairs window is quality cinema.

Defenestration is often used for comedic effect in movies, but this scene is the only example where tiny monsters — dressed in adorable winter scarves and holiday hats — cause an old-age pensioner to go flying with a device that’s supposed to help her move around. Not only is it hilarious, but it’s also one of the most original window-shattering scenes you’re ever likely to see.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Beverly Hills Cop

Throwing people out of windows is frowned upon by the law. If any of us had to do this to someone in real life, the police would at least ask us a few questions about the incident. In Beverly Hills Cop, however, Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is arrested after being thrown out of a window by some office security guards.

The best part of the scene is that the goons could have opened the doors next to the window and tossed him onto the street without damaging any property. They wanted to rough him up, though, and hurling a human being through a glass surface is a powerful method of accomplishing that.

Of course, the funniest part of the scene is when the cops show up and accuse Foley of disturbing the peace. He responds by saying: “Disturbing the peace? I got thrown out of a window! What’s the fucking charge for getting pushed out of a moving car, huh? Jaywalking?” The whole scene is gold, but Murphy’s comedic timing makes it special.

RoboCop (1987)

RoboCop

One popular method of sending someone out of a window doesn’t even require physically grabbing them. Sometimes all it takes is a loaded gun. In RoboCop, the titular law enforcement machine decides to relieve the corrupt corporate figurehead Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) of his duties by blasting him out of a skyscraper window, causing him to fall to his demise with a loud scream.

This was a common trope in ‘80s action blockbusters. For example, Die Hard’s Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) is disposed of in a similar fashion. John McTiernan’s classic features the more iconic defenestration scene, but RoboCop makes the cut because this moment is a big middle finger to corporate corruption. On top of that, Murphy/RoboCop (Peter Weller) earns his revenge after being murdered and brought back as a slave to the man.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

The Hudsucker Proxy

Joel and Ethan Coen’s tale of corporate mobility revolves around a nobody (played by Tim Robbins) who suddenly becomes the president of a massive company. His appointment comes after the previous president, Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning), steps down from his position — by jumping out of a 44-story window during a board meeting.

This defenestration scene is noteworthy because it completely skews corporate power structures. Furthermore, Durning running across a table and leaping out of a window is a memorable sight. The best part comes after his character’s death, however, when the other board members immediately get on with the business of replacing him with someone they can control. They barely even react to the tragedy that just took place before their eyes.

These suits only care about staying on top, and when their time is up, jumping out of a window is more appealing than a life without power.

Braveheart (1995)

Braveheart

Villains often throw their own people out of windows whenever those people let their side down. These scenes are effective because they highlight just how easy it is for the bad guy to take a human life while also declaring that failure and disagreements will not be tolerated.

The cruelest example of one of these scenes happens in Braveheart, when King Edward Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan) grabs his son’s friend — and implied lover — and throws him out of a castle window. Why? Because he spoke to the king while His Highness was on the verge of snapping.

The scene is also effective because it shows that the king is ashamed of his son and doesn’t care about his feelings. Victory and power are the only things that matter. No other defenestration scene out there exemplifies authoritarian cruelty as brilliantly as this savagery.

The Night Comes for Us (2018)

The Night Comes for Us

If you want to see the art of defenestration at its most insane and brutal, then Indonesian action movies have you covered. In The Raid: Redemption, the hero, Rama (Iko Uwais), pulls a criminal goon out of an apartment window and uses his body to break his fall on a balcony below. That scene merits a mention, but there’s an even better one from a similar movie that deserves your attention.

In The Night Comes For Us (which also stars Uwais), a character named Bobby (Zack Lee) slits an assassin’s throat on the shards of a broken window during an apartment brawl. Afterward, he thwarts an incoming attacker by flipping him over his shoulder, causing him to fall on a concrete block below and most certainly die a physically broken man.

The Night Comes for Us boasts the ugliest and nastiest defenestration scene out there, and I mean that as a compliment. The brawl in question is the epitome of cinematic chaos, and the window drop is merely one small moment in a riot that just keeps going until no one is left standing.

The post A Celebration of Great Movie Defenestrations appeared first on Film School Rejects.

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Wilshu
1758 days ago
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RT @SimoneGiertz: I volunteer one of my robots to be the new president pic.twitter.com/AvvAe84eRY

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I volunteer one of my robots to be the new president pic.twitter.com/AvvAe84eRY


Posted by SimoneGiertz on Sunday, January 29th, 2017 9:29pm
Retweeted by internetofshit on Friday, June 28th, 2019 7:26pm


41913 likes, 8016 retweets
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Wilshu
1845 days ago
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The 25 Best TV Shows of 2019 So Far

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Usually, Valerie Ettenhofer and I do the Midyear TV Report together, but this year we’re doing things a little differently, and a little more democratically. We polled the entire FSR team on their favorite shows, we crunched the numbers, and we came up with a list that represents the whole tv landscape… or at least 25 parts of it.

And those 25 parts feature not just the best stories, but also the stories we need to hear the most. There are frightening and heart-wrenching and challenging shows on this list, to be sure. Some of them are right at the top. But many more are bright and warm and filled with love in all its forms — love among friends, love within families, love between couples, and love for the world.

Our #1 pick is a self-described love story, with a main character whose love has been displaced and left her lost. “I don’t know what to do with it,” she says. “With all the love I felt for her. I don’t know where to put it now.” It’s a loss everyone has felt, even if they couldn’t find the words.

At least on our end, we’re putting it in TV.

Made with science and magic and lots of Excel algorithms, here’s the FSR team’s definitive ranking of the best TV the first half of 2019 had to offer.


25. Good Omens

Good Omens Tennant and Sheen

It’s been nearly thirty years since the publication of Good Omens, the beloved account of the endtimes co-authored by Neil Gaiman and the late, great Terry Pratchett. And now, with Gaiman himself at the helm, the novel has finally come to the screen in an adaptation that’s remarkable for being what so few things are: utterly true to its source material. And best of all is the unmatched chemistry between David Tennant and Michael Sheen as Crowley and Aziraphale, a demon and angel who love Earth and each other and would rather not do the whole apocalypse thing, thank you very much. While the show occasionally glosses over some details or dwells on others, on the whole it’s a delight. Book lovers will be thrilled and, most importantly, Terry Pratchett would surely have been proud. (Liz Baessler)


24. Euphoria

Euphoria

It’s been a particularly anxious and apocalyptic year for storytelling in both movies and TV, and yet nothing could have prepared audiences for the loud and seismic arrival of Euphoria. Deceptively billed by the headlines as an explicit but empty flash in the pan that is the teen genre, the show is instead a visceral and empathetic portrayal of modern teenage life, with a heady tone that suggests desperate times create desperate young souls. Viewers might be turned off by its lightning-speed pace and bleak atmosphere, but this is the first teen drama that refuses to settle for a simple, nostalgic retreat to the awkwardness of high school, instead fueled by a clear intent to capture the current realities of a generation raised on Internet cynicism and Pornhub. And based off its first four episodes, these kids are too busy chasing highs and navigating thrilling situations to simply wallow in despair. When a show opens in utero, follows almost a dozen different characters, and has a mid-season climax shot in long takes at a giant carnival, you know you’re dealing with a new breed of coming-of-age TV. (Fernando Andrés)


23. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn He Said She Said

It can be a cruel, depressing world out there, and when you’re feeling down there’s nothing quite like the Dan Goor/Michael Schur brand of “nicecore” comedy to take the edge off — which is why last year’s news of Fox’s cancellation of their beloved police sitcom inspired outrage across the internet. Luckily, NBC came to the rescue. While season 6 might have been a little shorter than its predecessors, Brooklyn Nine-Nine remained the same hilarious, wholesome content viewers know and love, no worse for wear after its move. Chelsea Peretti’s departure marked the first exit of a principal cast member, and while Gina will never be replaced, the rest of the 99th Precinct kept going strong throughout the season with a little help from an excellent slate of guest stars including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sean Astin. Not every sitcom can stay funny after six years, but as the latest season came to an end with more than a few hints towards what’s to come, all signs point to Brooklyn Nine-Nine remaining one of the most consistently enjoyable, warm-hearted sitcoms on television. (Ciara Wardlow)


22. Tuca & Bertie

Tuca&bertie

The brainchild of BoJack Horseman producer and production designer Lisa Hanawalt, it’s tempting to approach as Tuca & Bertie as “female BoJack.” And it’s true that the show shares many of BoJack’s best qualities, namely an absurd but devastatingly frank examination of the human condition… with animals. But as distant as BoJack is with his tv career and Hollywoo mansion, the titular Tuca and Bertie (Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong) are utterly relatable as they deal with anxiety, sobriety, career ambitions, and what it feels like, in seemingly minute but monumental ways, to be a young woman in a man’s world. I’ll admit that I don’t know what it’s like to watch this show not as an American woman in her thirties, but I’d go so far as to call it required viewing for everyone who isn’t. The show starts a little heavy on the kooky side, but stick with it — there are devastating and vital depths in store. (Liz Baessler)


21. One Day at a Time

One Day At A Time

The multi-cam sitcom is a vivid mix of comforting throwbacks and clever subversions, with a big heart and boldly asserted moral compass. The series follows the Alvarez family; single mom and PTSD-suffering veteran Penelope (Justina Machado), hard-headed queer activist daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez), cool kid brother Alex (Marcel Ruiz), and spirited, traditional grandmother Lydia (Rita Moreno), along with their friends, neighbors, and love interests. As with other seasons, the third’s most memorable moments were teachable ones, like when Elena and her nonbinary partner reveal that they’ve been staying inside because of a threatening experience they had with homophobic strangers, or when reformed addict Schneider (Todd Grinnell) falls off the wagon in a big way. But it’s the smaller moments — casually spoken Spanish with no subtitles, universally embraced gender pronouns, and the like — that made ODAAT a truly progressive show, one that will always have a home in our hearts. (Valerie Ettenhofer)


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The post The 25 Best TV Shows of 2019 So Far appeared first on Film School Rejects.

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Wilshu
1849 days ago
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So, the most overrated show of 2019 landed #1.
There's Chernobyl in top three at least...
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