Watch Andy Warhol Eat an Entire Burger King Whopper–While Wishing the Burger Came from McDonald’s (1981)

In the early 1980s, Danish experimental filmmaker Jørgen Leth came to America intent on capturing it live as it was actually lived across that vast, still-new, and often strange country. The result, 66 Scenes from America, offers images of roadside motels and diners, desert landscapes, the Manhattan skyline, miles of lonely highway, and stars and stripes aplenty. Halfway through it all comes the longest, and perhaps most American, scene of all: Andy Warhol eating a fast-food hamburger. A few moments after he accomplishes that task, he delivers the film's most memorable line by far: "My name is Andy Warhol, and I just finished eating a hamburger."

"Leth did not know Warhol, but he was a bit obsessed with him so he definitely wanted to have him in his movie," writes DailyArt's Zuzanna Stanska. And so when Leth came to New York, he simply showed up at Warhol's Factory and pitched him the idea of consuming a "symbolic" burger on film. "Warhol immediately liked the idea and agreed to the scene – he liked it because it was such a real scene, something he would like to do."




When Warhol showed up at the photo studio Leth had set up to shoot the scene, complete with a variety of fast-food hamburgers from which he could choose, he had only one question: "Where is the McDonald's?" Leth hadn't thought to pick one up from the Golden Arches as well, not knowing that Warhol considered McDonald's packaging "the most beautiful."

Warhol had a deep interest in American brands. "What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest," he wrote in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. "You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good." Surely the same could be said of any particular fast-food burger, even if Warhol couldn't have his preferred brand on that particular day in New York in 1981. In the event, he chose a Whopper from Burger King, still a well-known brand if hardly as iconic as McDonald's — or, for that matter, as iconic as Warhol himself.

Above, you can see Leth talking years later about his experience filming Warhol.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Wes Anderson’s Breakthrough Film, Rushmore, Revisited in Five Video Essays: It Came Out 20 Years Ago Today

"I genuinely don't know what to make of this movie." So said eminent New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael about Rushmore, Wes Anderson's second film. But having spent the better part of a decade in retirement by that point, she didn't publish that judgment; rather, she spoke it straight to Anderson himself, who had rented out a theater to give her a personal screening. "I was a little disappointed by Ms. Kael's reaction to the movie," Anderson writes in his recollection of the event. Upon its release on December 11, 1999 — twenty years ago today — a fair few of its viewers would echo Kael's bewilderment. But just as many would feel they'd seen the early work of a master, and time would soon vindicate that feeling: whether you love his movies or can't stand them, Wes Anderson became Wes Anderson because of Rushmore.

"There are few perfect movies," says critic and Wes Anderson specialist Matt Zoller-Seitz. "This is one of them." His video essay on Rushmore, part of a series adapted from his book The Wes Anderson Collection, breaks down just a few of the elements that have made the film so beloved. "At once arch and earnest, knowing and innocent," Anderson's story of a flakily ambitious teenage prep-school boy Max Fischer's friendship with a middle-aged steel magnate Herman Blume — and the affections for a widowed first-grade teacher that turn that friendship into a rivalry — "feels unique and furiously alive."




Drawing deeply from the personality and experience of Anderson himself (and those of his co-writer and frequent collaborator Owen Wilson) as well as The 400 BlowsThe Graduate, and other classic pictures, it never does so in an obvious or predictable manner.

Of all the strokes of luck required for the then-twentysomething Anderson even to get the chance to make a movie like Rushmore (especially after his debut feature Bottle Rocket seemed to have vanished without a trace), no coup was greater than the casting of Bill Murray as Blume. It "resonates backward through film history," says Zoller-Seitz, "because Max is a geeky teenage version of a certain kind of 80s and 90s hero. Rushmore's masterstroke is how it takes the piss out of those characters: it implies that maybe the bravado that those 80s and 90s characters had was just a cover for fear and depression." Quite a depth of insight for a young filmmaker to possess — but then, many once underestimated the young Anderson, whose sensibilities get further examined in the ScreenPrism video essay "Rushmore: Portrait of Wes Anderson as a Young Man," and they did so at their peril.

"The charms of this movie are abundant," says the New York Times' A.O. Scott in his Critic's Pick video on Rushmore. "It has whimsical production design; clever and sharp writing; tender, comical performances; a brilliant use of pop music to underscore and slightly ironize the emotions being expressed on the screen." Scott singles out the strength of its visual compositions, which Anderson uses to, for example, "arrange people in the frame in such a way as to show everything about their relationship — a kind of psychological dimension to the space that almost makes the dialogue secondary." It all comes in service of telling two stories in counterpoint, one "about an adolescent coming to terms with his limitations" and another about "an artist coming into possession of his powers."

Over the past twenty years, the critical consensus on Rushmore has shifted almost universally away from assessments like Kael's and toward those like Scott's. In the video above, a more mature Anderson reflects on making the movie — and making it, in fact, at the very same high school he went to himself. "The strongest association for me is being back in class," he says. "In the end, the thing that strikes me most forcefully when I think back on it is just that I went home." He also adds that "I don't even know how we managed to get Rushmore made, or why," given the apparent failure of Bottle Rocket, a picture on which he and Wilson had labored for years. "Rushmore was more expensive, maybe even a bit stranger, and yet it seemed just to happen. I think it was just lucky." Especially lucky for us viewers over the past two decades, as well as the generations of Rushmore fans still to come.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Movie Accent Expert Analyzes 31 Actors Playing Other Famous People: Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan, and More

Well-known figures' voices are often as distinctive as their thousand-watt smiles and influential hairdos.

While there is some evidence as to the accents and idiosyncratic speech patterns of such historical heavy hitters as Thomas Edison, Florence Nightingale, and Harry Houdini, technological improvements have really upped the ante for those charged with impersonating real life people from the mid 20th-century onward.




Natalie Portman had to sustain her Jackie Kennedy impersonation for an entire feature-length biopic, a performance dialect coach Erik Singer gives high marks, above. Portman, he explains, has truly internalized Jackie’s idiolect, the individual quirks that add yet another layer to such signifiers as class and region.

As evidence, he submits a side-by-side comparison of the First Lady’s famous 1962 televised tour of the White House renovations she had spearheaded, and Portman’s recreation thereof.

Portman has done her homework with regard to breath pattern, pitch, and the refinement that strikes most 21st century ears as a bit stilted and strange. Most impressive to Singer is the way Portman transfers Kennedy’s oddly musical elongation of certain syllables to other words in the script. Tis no mere parrot job.

Jamie Foxx’s Oscar-winning turn as Ray Charles succeeds on copious research and his ability to inhabit Charles’ habitual smile. Obviously, the posture in which an individual holds their mouth has a lot to do with the sound of their voice, and Foxx was blessed with plenty of source material.

The 1982 epic Gandhi provided the versatile Ben Kingsley with the opportunity to showcase not one, but two, idiolects. The adult Gandhi underwent a dramatic and well documented evolution from the British accent he adopted as a young law student in London to a proudly Indian voice better suited to inspiring a nation to unify against its British colonizers.

It’s likely that many of us have never considered the speech-related building blocks Singer scrutinizes while analyzing 29 other performances for the WIRED video, above—epenthesis, tongue positions, relative degrees of emphatic muscularity, and retroflex consonants—but it’s easy to see how they play a part.

Singer invites you to expand his research and teaching library by recording yourself speaking extemporaneously and reading from two sample texts here. Pray that whoever plays you in the biopic gets it right.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  See her onstage in New York City through December 20th in the 10th anniversary production of Greg Kotis’ apocalyptic holiday tale, The Truth About Santa, and the book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Stream 48 Classic & Contemporary German Films Free Online: From Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the German Expressionist classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. As soon as Robert Weine’s 1920 film came out, it was described as essential. Or as one reviewer wrote, “so-called cultured people who fail to see it are neglecting their education.” There are dozens more German films to which that sentence might apply. Films from the country’s explosive Weimar moment—which also produced Metropolis, Nosferatu, M, Faust, etc.—to those of the New German Cinema movement of the 1960s and 70s, which gave the world such enfants terribles as Wim Wenders, Margarethe von Trotta, Werner Herzog, and Rainer Maria Fassbinder. The furiously prolific Fassbinder died in 1982 at 37, but the former three directors have continued to make internationally-known films into the 21st century.

You may have seen Von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt (trailer above), which won multiple awards in 2012. Or perhaps you caught Caroline Link’s WWII-themed Nowhere in Africa, which won an Oscar that same year. The Nazi era may have laid waste to the German film industry—whose biggest talents ended up exiled in Hollywood—and the postwar years are often thought of as a “lost decade” (wrongly, it seems). But on the whole, German filmmakers have produced some of the most visually distinctive, narratively thrilling, and emotionally raw films in world cinema since its beginnings.

WERNER HERZOG TEACHES FILMMAKING. LEARN MORE.

Germany’s cultural institute, the Goethe Institut, is honoring the legacy of German film, from its classic to its contemporary periods, with 48 films free to stream on Kanopy. (The films include subtitles in English.) The initiative is just one part of Wunderbar, a celebration that includes “Goethe Pop Ups in the US,” with film screenings, festivals, appearances by German filmmakers, and an online series of critical articles by German and American experts.

If you haven’t seen Dr. Caligari, NosferatuMetropolis, or Faust, you can stream them now at the Goethe Institut’s Kanopy. You can also see Hannah Arendt, Nowhere in Africa, and other acclaimed contemporary films. Herzog’s 1971 Aguirre, the Wrath of God is in the collection, as is Frank Beyer’s far more obscure Trace of Stones from 1966, a film banned for 25 years by East German officials after its release.

There are documentaries on artists like Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter, on Marlene Dietrich and, naturally, German beer. Films by directors Anne Birkenstock, Christian Petzold, and Tom Tykwer. Berlin International Film Festival nominee Beloved Sisters appears. There are films that “so-called cultured people” are expected to have seen, and many more unlikely to show up on the syllabus of a survey course.

Perhaps only one of these movies has been specifically credited with grimly predicting the future—as Siegfried Kracauer alleged in his book Caligari to Hitler. But all of these are films that deserve a wide audience outside their national borders. To view the Goethe Institut’s selection of 48 films, you’ll need to sign up for a free Kanopy account, which you can do with your Google or Facebook logins or with an email address. Then simply set your home library as “Goethe-Institut” and you can stream any or all of the films in the collection, from 1920’s Caligari to 2017’s Axolotl Overkill, on IOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, or your computer.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Mira Nair, Director of Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake, Teaches an Online Course on Indie Filmmaking

FYI: Mira Nair, the director of Monsoon Wedding and The Namesakehas just released an online masterclass on independent filmmaking. In 17 video lessons, the Oscar-nominated director teaches students how to "make a big impact on a small budget, evoke the best from actors and non-actors, and protect your creative vision so you tell the story that can only come from you." Nair's course runs $90. But for $180, you can get an All-Access Pass to Masterclass' catalogue of 45 courses, which includes courses by a number of other prominent filmmakers--Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Ken Burns, Ron Howard, Werner Herzog and more. Not to mention actors and actresses like Samuel L. Jackson and Helen Mirren.

FYI: If you sign up for a MasterClass course by clicking on the affiliate links in this post, Open Culture will receive a small fee that helps support our operation.

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Blade Runner Getting Adapted into a New Anime Series, Produced by Cowboy Bebop Animator Shinichiro Watanabe

You may remember, in the run-up to the theatrical release of Blade Runner 2049 last October, that three short prequels appeared on the internet. Black Out 2022 (above), the most discussed installment of that miniature trilogy, stood out both aesthetically and culturally: directed by famed Japanese animator Shinichiro Watanabe, it expanded the reality of Blade Runner through a form that has drawn so much from that universe over the previous 35 years. "I just want an animated bladerunner series now," says the current top-rated comment below that video, "this was magical." And so, a year later, the answer to the prayer of that commenter (and clearly many other viewers besides) has appeared on the horizon: a Japanese animated series called Blade Runner — Black Lotus.

Overseen by Watanabe in the producer role and directed by Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki, the latter of whom worked in the art department on Black Out 2022, the new series will take place in 2032, between the events of the short and those of Blade Runner 2049.




"It will also include some 'established characters' from the Blade Runner universe, but that could mean all sorts of things," writes The A.V. Club's Sam Barsanti. "Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard would already be in hiding at that point after fathering the miracle replicant baby, so it could be about him going off on some cool guy adventures, but Deckard doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who goes on cool guy adventures. Ryan Gosling’s K probably wasn’t 'born' yet, since he’s a Nexus-9 replicant and those weren’t created until later in the 2030s, but we don’t know for sure."

Perhaps supporting characters from both movies, "like Edward James Olmos’ Gaff (he might still be an LAPD cop) or Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace (he’s definitely hanging around, being an evil rich guy)," will show up. Whatever happens, the thirteen episodes of Blade Runner — Black Lotus will certainly have no small amount of both familiarity and surprise in store for fans of Blade Runner, as well as those of Watanabe's other work. That goes especially for his philosophical space bounty-hunter series Cowboy Bebop, itself the source material for a new live-action television series on Adult Swim, who will air Blade Runner — Black Lotus at the same time as it's streamed on anime site Crunchyroll.com. No release date has thus far been announced, but odds are the show's debut will happen some time in 2019 — the perfect year for it, as everyone thrilling to the prospect of more Blade Runner already knows.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

How David Lynch Manipulates You: A Close Reading of Mulholland Drive

David Lynch messes with your mind. You've probably heard variations on that observation before, as likely to come from people who love Lynch's films as from those who can't stand them. Unlike most "normal" filmmakers, who tell stories comfortably ensconced in the reality that the tradition of cinema has built, Lynch has always told his stories in a cinematic reality of his own, built out of the existing elements of cinema but bolted together by him in surprising and often unsettling ways. Hence his name's long-ago conversion into an adjective: David Lynch movies are Lynchian, and it falls to we who watch them to deal with the psychological effects — frightening, thrilling, completely disorienting, or some combination of those and more — that Lynchianness stirs within us.

In the video essay "Mulholland Drive: How Lynch Manipulates You," Evan Puschak, better known at the Nerdwriter, breaks down Lynch's process of mind-messing, at least as it works in one particular scene of one of his best-known and most acclaimed films, Mulholland Drive. Lynch, Puschak explains, "uses expectation as a tool. He wields expectation — the expectation that comes from what we know about film, about its history, the history of stories, and from our humanity — with the same nuance and power as someone else might use light to create a variety of moods in a space."




Mulholland Drive, which seems to begin as the story of a would-be blonde ingenue arriving in Hollywood with dreams of making it big, gets further and further off kilter as it goes, leveraging the ostensible stiffness and even corniness it dares to present at the beginning to deliver a much darker and more complex cinematic experience in the end. "All throughout the film, from the overdubbed dialogue on down, David Lynch has made us privy to the veneer of things," says Puschak. "It's all curiously two-dimensional, and that puts us on our guard, since surfaces are what we get. Lynch encourages us to examine those surfaces, always remaining detached enough for a disinterested, critical view of what we're seeing."

But "as with everything that Lynch does, this two-dimensionality, this flatness, is also a deception. While we think we're on our guard, superior to the cloying emotions of Hollywood wish-fulfillment, Lynch relishes dropping the bottom out, showing us just how unprepared for and susceptible we are to emotions that our society treasures or deeply fears." In Mulholland Drive he accomplishes this over and over again by using ancient Hollywood stereotypes, film noir tropes, a nightclub singer lip-syncing to a Roy Orbison song in Spanish, a caveman living behind a Sunset Strip diner, Angelo Badalamenti spitting out an espresso, Billy Ray Cyrus, and much more besides. And as both Lynch's fans and detractors must suspect, he no doubt has a few more ways to drop the bottoms out from under his audiences in his toolbox yet.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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