Friday, August 21, 2015

Nathan Rabin on Harmontown (the movie)

It was quite a disappointment when Nathan Rabin was let go from The Dissolve and then, shortly thereafter, The Dissolve stopped publishing outright. It has been heartening to see Rabin re-emerge in places such as The AV Club (where he was head writer for years), Splitsider, and Playboy of all places.

Listening to Dan Harmon on You Made It Weird brought to mind an unenthused column Rabin wrote on the Harmontown movie for Streaming University, a regular feature Rabin wrote covering documentaries available on streaming services. Rabin didn't like the movie as much as I do, particularly being turned off by Harmon's self-involvement.

Personally, I found the sometimes unflattering portrait of Harmon to be more interesting than glossing over his narcissism. But, yes, Harmontown the movie and the podcast are very self-centered enterprises that ironically espouse connection and inclusion. I find that to be a very human contradiction. Anybody not particularly entertained or engaged by Harmon would likely find it insufferable.

While not sharing his opinion, I still found Rabin's impressions to be interesting. Particularly, the connections he makes to Conan O'Brien Can't Stop are fairly spot-on. Click on the excerpt to take a look at the full column:

"What Harmontown and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (whose title seems more like a warning than a boast by the end) strongly, if unwittingly, suggests people who’ve lost shows don’t do is immediately embark on a grueling cross-country tour and have a documentary crew chronicle their antics. Yet when Conan lost The Tonight Show (apparently there were some scheduling issues involved regarding the show of his lead-in, journeyman comic Jay Leno) and Dan Harmon was temporarily removed from his television baby Community, that’s exactly what both men did. When things got bad and fans started worrying, Conan and Dan Harmon did what men at a personal and professional crossroads and in crisis often do: they get the hell out of town and hope that, in the process of running away from themselves and their problems, they will, in a Zen paradox, find themselves and the answer to their problems. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop and Harmontown are both curious propositions in that they seemed to be baiting me to hate the creators of some of my all-time favorite television shows. Both films bank hard on audiences’ feverish love for their subjects in ways that sometimes come across as desperate and, at other times, feels disingenuous."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

featured on a short I co-wrote and co-directed in college entitled Solid White Albacore about the sexual dysfunction and neurosis of Guy Harvey