Taking Stock Archive

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Off the Grid and Into the Cut: The Impossible Kid

Aesop Rock has probably been one of our best rappers working and churning music out today. And now with both Skelethon and The Impossible Kid, he has become one of […]

Aesop Rock has probably been one of our best rappers working and churning music out today. And now with both Skelethon and The Impossible Kid, he has become one of our best producers working today, introducing heavily industrial sound and outright math-rock-like time signatures to hip hop. Much has been made about his vocabulary, his heavily intricate lyricism and his amazing flow. But his musical compositions are just as delightfully driving and out of the world as his lyrics.

The Impossible Kid is that rare album that manages to break away from an artist’s general style while still being tangibly and uniquely his. Aes’ previous work was often outright cryptic at times. Not unlike Death Grips’ MC Ride, Aesop delighted in dropping hints about his life and articulating his own pain. There were occasions when he was willing to bare it out (One Of Four, which, should be pointed out, is a secret track) but once Skelethon arrived and Aesop was producing his own beats, something clicked and Aes decided to be outright open about his life as a depressed and reclusive rapper.

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Kanye West: Millennial Hero

Kanye is probably the biggest musician of our time, for better and for worse, because he has truly become one with his art. His life, tweets and struggles are as […]

Kanye is probably the biggest musician of our time, for better and for worse, because he has truly become one with his art. His life, tweets and struggles are as important as the lyrics, the musical landscapes and the concerts to appreciate or depreciate the man. And the thing about him is that he never reduces himself to be a reliable or known property. A huge aspect of Kanye’s place in our culture is that we never really can tell how self-aware he is. But it doesn’t matter. What’s great about Kanye is that he’s so damn earnest.

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Two Years After The Wolf Among Us.

The Wolf Among Us is a remarkably dense game, even by Telltale standards. By the end of the game, ideas of community, identity, storytelling and even more have been dealt […]

The Wolf Among Us is a remarkably dense game, even by Telltale standards. By the end of the game, ideas of community, identity, storytelling and even more have been dealt with and examined in ways that other games aspire to. More than any other video game out there, it takes a huge advantage over the idea that videogames are more akin to TV than film. As we approach two years since its release, I can’t help but miss its presence on a monthly basis on my console/PC, in a way that a lot of games simply can’t fulfill.

Once you get down to it, massive video game releases don’t really focus a lot on writing. By this I mean, dialogue and structure. This isn’t to say that video games are not good at story (atmosphere and tone complement dialogue and structure, and good story games, such as MGS or Silent Hill manage to compensate for clunky dialogue and messy structure with those)  but rather that games often treat writing, as in the creation of dialogue and structure that help convey powerful characterization, as secondary to the world building. Execution vs. concept, essentially.

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Remembering Wes Craven: Horror’s Guiding Voice

Without Wes Craven I might not have gotten into horror. I probably didn’t know it at the time. I was four and the idea of directors and writers wasn’t really […]

Without Wes Craven I might not have gotten into horror.

I probably didn’t know it at the time. I was four and the idea of directors and writers wasn’t really that prominent in my brain. What was prominent was a snarling one-liner spewing killer that was everywhere at the time: Freddy Krueger.

If you ask me, Freddy Krueger is easily the best of the well-known slasher monster as well as the most accessible. If you want any proof, just look at the Freddy mania that gripped America in the late eighties and early nineties. Even now he’s a household name, occupying the same mental space as Frankenstein and Dracula. Not only does the brilliant presence of Robert Englund provide not just the menace of other slashers but the charisma of a rock star and a gleeful bully. Freddy Krueger was someone who fascinated kids as much as he terrified them.

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Video Game Superheroes Aren’t Very Heroic or Super

Superheroes, at their very core, are power fantasies. They’re about empowering individuals with the ability of righting perceived or real wrongs in the world. Allowing them the ability to quite […]
Superheroes, at their very core, are power fantasies. They’re about empowering individuals with the ability of righting perceived or real wrongs in the world. Allowing them the ability to quite literally mold the individual’s world into a universe that makes relative sense. Most of these stories are centered on entirely heroic individuals who fight for high values against easy-to-distinguish crimes and attacks on society/humanity that we can all recognize as inherently amoral.

Yet, because of the growth the genre across the 20th century, superheroes and the milieus they populate have become more varied in morality breadth and thematically interests. Stories from The Boys’ anti-corporate screed to Hawkeye’s fascination with the (relatively) mundane populate the comic book medium and give readers of superheroes a huge variety of choice in regards to how they consume their favorite genre. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aesthetic Vs. Execution: On Andrew Jarecki and Robert Durst.

As of right now, we’re about to enter five days after the explosive finale of The Jinx, HBO’s documentary series reconstructing the life of Robert Durst, a millionaire who may […]

As of right now, we’re about to enter five days after the explosive finale of The Jinx, HBO’s documentary series reconstructing the life of Robert Durst, a millionaire who may or may not have killed at least three people in cold blood. And the ending is probably one of the most hauntingly powerful moments captured in film on the last two decades if not more so. It’s the product of careful and laborious craft, investigative work and sheer determination.

In many ways, I think that’s what’s so easily compelling about The Jinx. It’s a brilliant piece of manipulation on par with anything that Orson Welles would do by the end of his career in documentaries like F For Fake. However, the film has many problems, some of them are downright ethical while others are purely aesthetic. It is still, after all, the product of a filmmaker who gave us Capturing The Friedmans, a film that was willing to go the extra mile in order to craft a narrative (and that extra mile often involved the deliberate manipulation of information)

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Saving Sleepy Hollow: The Things That Keep It From Regaining Its Former Glory.

I love Sleepy Hollow. I love the time-displaced Ichabod, I love Abbie and her loose-canon sister Jenny, and I love the imaginative monsters it’s given us week after week. I […]

I love Sleepy Hollow. I love the time-displaced Ichabod, I love Abbie and her loose-canon sister Jenny, and I love the imaginative monsters it’s given us week after week. I love it even now, after a series of grave mis-steps, including new characters that haven’t worked out as well as had been desired, pacing issues, and just a general loss of focus moved the show from something I was frequently excited to see to something a lot more lukewarm. The mid-season finale -a thing that TV is apparently doing now- featured a pretty big shift for the show, so I had hoped for a more positive shift. However, the addition of an archangel as a villain seems to imply that rather than restructuring what worked and made the show unique the show is moving in a more generic, safe direction.

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Why Blockbusters Franchises Won’t Destroy Cinema

I just returned from seeing the Hobbit. I had enough fun, having seen the things that I expected to see with the creativity that Peter Jackson brings, but felt that […]

I just returned from seeing the Hobbit. I had enough fun, having seen the things that I expected to see with the creativity that Peter Jackson brings, but felt that the intent of a children’s book was lost in favor of conforming to the current model of high-octane action franchises. This was something the original Lord of The Rings trilogy managed to pull off without losing the appeal and charm of the initial book. With the Hobbit, a lighthearted children’s book, things became a bit more of a problem. There are plenty of angry reviews of the Hobbit though, so I find it immensely more interesting to talk about its place in the current landscape of films.

As 2014 has passed, you’ve no doubt seen a number of articles, discussing the very subject, many lamenting the overpowering presence of the franchise, bemoaning the presence of Young Adult novel and comic book adaptations. Oftentimes the word ‘teenager’ will be used in a derogatory context, as though teenagers are some subhuman mass dedicated to ruining meaningful film rather than a subset of the human population that are no less deserving of fiction that speaks to them. The general idea is simple, that the dominance of big franchised blockbusters is polluting the market and preventing more meaningful, artistic films. There was even a pretty good movie that lived under that pretense this year.

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Greetings from your New Editor In Chief

I was against writing this post from the start. Nerdstock doesn’t exactly get many eyeballs so the idea of change is not exactly a dangerous one, by any means. And by that very same token, there’s not an actual need for transparency. But more than that, I didn’t want to seem presumptuous for taking charge of the situation, since it was bestowed upon me upon circumstances that I feel don’t prove that I deserve the title. But I suppose that’s that writer self-perception working out against you.

So, I guess an explanation is in order. As of a month ago, Chris decided to make me an admin and to let me take over as Editor In Chief of Nerdstock.com. His reasoning being that I was writing the bigger load for the website and that I was providing quality content for the site.  I was very tempted to say no but I realized, as much as Chris did, that he wasn’t in a position where he could take Nerdstock to the heights we both wanted to take it to.

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The Last Colbert Report Says Good Bye To Stephen Colbert And One Of The Most Unique Voices In Comedy.

This Thursday night saw the ending of The Colbert Report. Having gone for nine years and over fourteen hundred episodes, Stephen Colbert has left Comedy Central to take over for […]

This Thursday night saw the ending of The Colbert Report. Having gone for nine years and over fourteen hundred episodes, Stephen Colbert has left Comedy Central to take over for David Letterman, which made me wonder if the people behind the ‘Cancel Colbert’ movement had made a wish upon a monkey paw since it required him to retire the character with the same name. While I wish Stephen Colbert well on his new endeavor and will watch his show the night it airs, I feel something of a sorrow to see the character of Stephen Colbert go. There was a unique magic to Colbert, a dedicated parody that ended up growing into a mad, beautiful character with a life of his own.

Stephen Colbert started out as a clear-cut parody of Bill O’Reilly. His first episode featured ‘truthiness’ which was a word mocking the gut-based emotional responses that typified O’Reilly. One of my favorite moments of the show came when Colbert managed to get O’Reilly to come on his show’ ‘Don’t you see!’ O’Reilly cried. ‘This is all an act.’ This prompted a dumbfounded Colbert to reply ‘If you’re an act, then what am I?” Of course Colbert couldn’t have lasted nearly a decade without evolving. Colbert grasped the ideas of a comical blowhard and grew him out into an auteur egotist, having had his own superpac, talking about a series of novels where his self-insert was the most heroic womanizer in space, holding a years-long grudge with K-pop artist Rain that culminated in a dance-off, and much more.

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