Notes from the Kraken: January 17th 2016

In All, Notes by David

Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.

Since we are in full Oscar mode right now here in the Kraken (well, at least I am), this is probably as good as time as any to address the acting nomination controversy (although I’ll discuss the issue in more detail in my ongoing Prediction coverage). For the second straight year, all of the Academy’s acting nominees were white. This is a sad thing that highlights the ongoing diversity issue the Oscars and Hollywood as a whole is suffering from. My worry, though, is that too many people are focusing on the wrong thing when talking about this issue. Were there a number of deserving nominees that were “snubbed”? Sure. Will Smith for Concussion or Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation or even arguably Michael B. Jordan for Creed were all deserving candidates (not to mention the omission of Straight Outta Compton for Best Picture), but let’s not act like even all four men getting a nomination would have magically fixed the issue. The real problem are institutional barriers that Hollywood has continued to allow to exist, barriers which make it difficult for minority actors/actresses to consistently get access to the same quality roles as white actors. Until that is fixed, the Oscars are never going to be equal, because more high-quality roles going to whites means more great performances proportionately from that group. I am not saying don’t yell at the Oscars, because this whole thing is ridiculous, but to some degree the Academy can only vote for what is put in front of them, and until opportunities are more equalized, slates like this year’s will continue to happen, because there only 20 spots to fill. So we all need to think bigger. We need to yell at Hollywood until it makes a change in how it works as a whole, because, let’s be honest, one or two minority nominations should not be considered a “win.” Sure, it would be a start, but the movie industry can and should aim higher.

David Robertson

From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.


  • Today is a moment of reflection. Find your center, and take a breath. No new content today as we teach the Kraken how to find his chakras. Each chakra is over nine feet in diameter and excretes a harsh, caustic slime. We are slowly being poisoned. We hope he finds them soon.


  • This time we mean it! Kyu’s long-awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens review will finally be showing in the Screening Room. After a long session in the re-editing room, Kyu feels well-edited, and was able to finally finish this piece with his remaining hand. Enjoy!


  • TV Roulette is MIA for one more week, so that means another edition of Welcome to the Wolfpack will be coming instead. Don’t tell the Kraken, though. The beast loves roulette, but hates wolves, so David will submit his post and then spend the day hiding in the monster’s duodenum.


  • Nothing But Trash continues as Keskel looks at Sakura Diaries. They don’t make shows like this anymore. For once, that may actually be a good thing…


  • No new content today. The Kraken wants to have a picnic in the center of the earth, so we have to put together the proper heat shielding. Also the proper potato salad.


  • Baturdays continues with Detective Comics #40, the introduction of one of Kyu’s favorite villains, Clayface. Also, this series tries something new: a murder mystery. Whodunnit?, and at what point do they turn into clay? Read to find out!

Also be on the look out for more Awards Predictions for Oscarathon 2016, which will come out at irregular intervals in the coming weeks.

Spotlight on Blogs Past:

Today we look back at one simple mission of Kyu’s: to prove that Edge of Tomorrow‘s ending makes no sense whatsoever. He insists he has the evidence in a column we’re calling Exhibit A. Check out this old case file about Tom Cruise’s Groundhog D-Day and reach your own verdict.

Catch of the Week:

Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.

Kyu: Is it still January? Then I’m still talking webcomics. This week I’m taking you on a walk down Memory Lane. Not the clean, shining Memory Lane. This is Memory Lane East, which takes us through the slums the internet forgot. There we will find a parking lot, but The Parking Lot is Full. A bizarre and caustic one-panel strip from artist Jack McLaren and writer Pat Spacek, TPLIF ran from 1993 to 2002, but its archives remain up for perusal even at this late date. Imagine if Gary Larson’s The Far Side had nothing left to lose, and you’ll start to see what this strip actually was. It had its share of dumb jokes (many of them oddly catchy), but something like this was more the strip’s style, panels of almost surreal simplicity that applied TPLIF‘s unique brand of horribly dark to pop culture or simply life itself. Paranoid, absurd, ridiculous, cynical, and psychotic, the strip’s blend of off-the-wall goofiness with pitch black sensibilities made it inimitable–even as it arguably influenced many webcomics that came later, particularly its heir to the one-panel sick joke throne, the not-quite-as-upsetting Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. No need to linger long in The Parking Lot is Full‘s grim little alley of Memory Lane; these comics stay with you.

Keskel: This week I recommend Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou. If I had seen this show before writing my best of 2015 list, it would have easily surpassed School Live! as my favorite show of the year. It’s a beautifully animated deconstruction of the 1960’s and all of the sci-fi children’s shows and movies (Kamen Rider, Voltron, Guyver, Ultraman) that Japan had in that era instead of superhero comics. Concrete Revolutio is decidedly nonlinear, and spends most of running time world building an alternate history. It beautifully handles the moral complexity and problems that come from using a children’s morality system in a world of gray, and is also secretly a stunning exploration of several geopolitical topics that few works attempt to accomplish. Check it out!

David: There is a good chance these might be movie based for me for a while, so for this week I recommend Carol. The biggest Best Picture Oscar snub, this Todd Haynes film is exquisite. It is beautifully shot, edited, and costumed. More importantly, its focus on both the female and queer perspective is something simply too rare in today’s cinema. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are superb in their roles, and this is a love story well worth exploring.

That’s it for this week. We hope you continue to find the Kraken to your liking. Also, be on the look out for a lost orca. Her name is Vivienne, and is the Kraken’s favorite pet, so please help us find her before The Kraken punishes us for losing her.