Shorty Get Down, Good Lord

Hello, hello! That title has very little to do with this post, except that I have the Pitch Perfect soundtrack in my head and this is a post about short films. Whatever.

This will probably not surprise anybody, but I spend A LOT of time watching internet videos. In many ways, I think online content is doing more innovative and intelligent things than more traditional media outlets are, and that is only going to become more true in the future. It occurred to me that, since I like these things so much, I should probably share them with you, the people who inexplicably read the things that I write, since you will probably like them also. Plus, it’s good to steer people toward things you like, right?

Without further ado, here are some online films that I really like, as well as links to a few other places where you can find really premium content online FOR FREE without having to pirate or illegally stream anything, because it’s suppose to be that way. Welcome to the information age. Links to the videos are in the titles.

1. Cargo

Despite my love for scifi, I’m actually not much for zombie films. They’re pretty played out in my mind, and it’s rare to come across a new story in the genre (though I have heard that I really need to see Warm Bodies). That said, Cargo is a whole new beast–a small, deeply personal story that will probably make you cry. The basic set-up is that the man pictured above has to get his infant daughter to safety before the zombie virus in his blood makes him eat her. It’s exactly as devastating as it sounds, but also really compelling and wonderful in all the most heart-wrenching ways. Even though it puts a woman in the refrigerator in the opening scene, and then plays the “maternal instincts” card on another. Can’t have everything, right?

2. Kara

I literally just discovered this film via tumblr, and holy crap demo videos have gotten sophisticated. Kara was created so that game developer Quantic Dream could show off their tech (it’s not even related to their upcoming game–interview about it here), but the film itself is way more than just flashy graphics. It centers on a female AI as she comes to life, experiencing the world around her for the first time while also running through test protocol. But something has gone wrong with this particular AI, because she has gained self-awareness–and she doesn’t want to be deactivated. I won’t give away the ending, but I do have a slight problem with the implication of what this girl’s future might look like. Also the dialogue is a bit stilted at times. Other than that, though, beautifully executed film with some gorgeous graphics.

3. Black Button

This film is quite a bit older than the other two, and unfortunately the online version of it is pretty los-res as a result. Sorry about that, but I still highly encourage you to watch it, because it’s great. The basic premise of Black Button is very simple: you are presented with a button. If you press that button, someone, somewhere, who you don’t know, will die. You will get a million dollars. No one will ever know what your decision was. What do you do? As a meditation of the relationship between morality and consequences, this film is A++. It’s a little iffy when it starts to bring theology into it toward the end, but for the most part it stays on track.

As a side note, there actually was an attempt to turn Black Button  into a feature-length film, which was rumored to star Cameron Diaz. How you could possibly stretch this film out to 70 minutes is beyond me, which is also probably why it didn’t happen. Thank christ for small favors, eh?

There are a few other places where you can find really high-quality, on-going content online. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – Modern, vlogging adaptation of Pride & Prejudice with a whole cast of super talented, absurdly attractive actors. I have written about this series before. It’s complete now, and delightful all the way through. Highly recommended, even if you aren’t an Austen fan (which you and I would have in common). Don’t bother with the new series from the same folks, though; Welcome to Sanditon is pretty much the pits. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next series, which is suppose to start some time this month. We Shall See.

The Good Stuff – Conceived and run by internet personality WheezyWaiter (Craig Benzine), The Good Stuff is an on-going informational video series a la NPR’s This American Life. Every other week, they pick a topic and then make five themed videos on the subject, which can be history lessons, short films, interviews, etc.–whatever’s appropriate. While the videos themselves can vary in quality, so far I haven’t come across anything on this channel that didn’t interest me. If you’re into random trivia, this series is great.

Gritty Reboots – If you’re a fan of things that make fun of movie trailers and also want to relive portions of your childhood on a regular basis, this is your new favorite channel. Gritty Reboots is exactly what it sounds like–tons of trailers for fake movies “rebooting” beloved childhood characters in unlikely and overly dramatic ways. While the videos are usually quite funny, their hilarity comes from your familiarity with the source material and how frankly absurd the new version is. Even so, some of these are films that I wish actually existed. My personal favorites are PBS: The Movie (although the lack of LeVar Burton is a crying shame) and Calvin & Hobbes.

I hope you like some of these things that I like. If you don’t, you’re wrooooong. <3

Yours digitally,
M.M. Jordahl

“Some days it seems to me like the purpose of life is to convert energy into beauty.” – Hank Green

1 thought on “Shorty Get Down, Good Lord”

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