Rivers and Brooks

First of all, you knew I would link to the new Scott Pilgrim Trailer, so here it is (link via everyone on Earth).

Also in the news [via The Beat in my case] is a teaser trailer by Dash Shaw and Frank Santoro for an animated feature-to-be called The Ruined Cast (co-produced by John Cameron Mitchell who, I discovered a few years back, looks a bit like Ron Regé when not in Hedwig make-up, but that’s neither here nor there).

Funny thing is, when looking at the two trailers rubbing shoulders in their separate browser tabs, and considering how different they were, I realized there was a big part of my old ’80s-era lizard brain that wanted to label them “mainstream” and “alternative”—even though those terms have mutated beyond recognition in the last ten years.

After all, O’Malley’s comic, for all its rabid fans, is hardly the X-Men (and Edgar Wright is hardly James Cameron). The Scott Pilgrim movie is more geared to “mainstream audiences” than Shaw and Santoro’s project, but both have their roots in what my generation would have unhesitatingly championed as independent sensibilities.

Maybe, the best way for me to get a handle on what “mainstream” means is to just go to what I assume is the root of the term and look to see where the money flows like a big river; and know that rivers split all the time.

Discussion (7)¬

  1. Mike L says:

    Interesting. That trailer is very different from the one I just saw in front of “Prince of Persia.” The casting is… interesting.

    You know what else has been made mainstream that was once nearly against it is the whole hippie culture (though done a long while ago). The theme seems to be that anything will eventually be accepted and for sale. I’ve heard Ramones songs in supermarkets, and Talking Heads music is being used in advertising. Heck, even the Impressionists used to be considered ‘wild’ and ‘shocking.’ One of the most talked about artists in the world makes graffiti. As long as there’s money to be made, anything, seemingly, goes.

    Is there really an ‘alternative’ now?

    • Scott says:

      Tom Hart’s classic GN Hutch Owen’s Working Hard has some great riffs on the mainstream appropriation of alternative culture.

      • Mike L says:

        Ooh, I’ll have to look that up. I certainly remember it and may even own it. Remember when people like Hart, Rege, Clowes and Ware were ‘alternative?’ :”D

  2. John says:

    Personally, I’ve given up on trying to figure out if something is mainstream or not. But then again, I spent some getting into, what my friend had called, the obscure stuff. Which includes cinema. Whats matters is if someone can tell a good story regardless of what kind of label the critics or reviewers put on it.

    But that’s just me. I probably have no bearing on mainstream stuff. 🙂

  3. T Campbell says:

    Right there with you, Scott.

  4. Andrew says:

    Did you like it? Is it good? That is what matters. It would be one thing if the only content available to us was stuff by the James Cameron’s of the world but that isn’t the case. We have access to creative work from a huge scale of budgets and all of it has the potential to be awesome and all of it has the potential to suck.

  5. Jacob W Fordham says:

    Everything seems to become mainstream at some point. Naturally because everything that really makes waves generally starts as some sort of revolution. The question you have to ask when a once obscure sub culture or medium becomes strikes it big is has the revolution succeeded and simply turned everyone else to the sub culture in questions way of thinking? Or has the original message been corrupted? Castrated and put on display for the world to see a subculture that once stood for a new way of thinking now selling shampoo? For the majority counter cultural movements it’s a combination of the two. A half victory. And then for other movements the very nature of their revolution means gentrification on any level is a failure. For example, a mainstream punk band can’t very well call themselves punk (though, many do).