relliw


On Friday nights — and special occasions! — IndieWire After Dark takes a feature-length beat to honor fringe cinema in the streaming age. 

First, the spoiler-free pitch for one editor’s midnight movie pick — something weird and wonderful from any age of film that deserves our memorializing. 

Then, the spoiler-filled aftermath as experienced by the unwitting editor attacked by this week’s recommendation.

The Pitch: Appointment Viewing for “Stoners, Seekers, Archivists, and Drinkers”

It took more than 1,700 miles and an honest-to-God movie theater for me to discover that the livestream I’ve been wanting my entire adult life tapes weekly just ten minutes down the street in LA. Yes, I had to fly all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana for The 2024 Overlook Film Festival to stumble onto the genius that is Museum of Home Video.

A woman with short black hair wearing a collared shirt and holding a burger; Uma Thurman in 'Pulp Fiction'

Actor Leonardy DiCaprio in a suit and bowtie.

The found-footage livestream with a semi-hallucinogenic feel — described by its creators as “college radio for the eyes” and “channel-changing on an infinite scale” — is infused front to end with California stoner culture and bears every earmark of the media I love. Arguably, I should have known about it before now; those bastards at Thrillist sure did.

And yet, sinking into my couch tuning into MOHV for the first time this past week…ahead of 4/20…in this…the year of 2024…something in my soul went quiet and I knew: Bret Berg and I had met at exactly the right time.

“I watched this last week’s episode of ‘SNL’ with Ryan Gosling,” the captious and charming host said during the April 16 livestream — arm extended, joint lit. “The ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ sketch? Funny on paper. Funny for 20 seconds. Not funny for five minutes.” Flawless.

A curly-haired vision of 420-friendly taste but hardly a Teflon nostalgic, Berg works in film distribution by day (he comes via the now defunct Cinefamily and college station KXLU 88.9 FM), but likes to use the lens of nearly lost archival material to comment on current pop culture as a passion.

“It’s a lot like college radio and it’s a lot like Weird Al’s ‘UHF,’” Berg told me in an interview over Zoom.

“I feel like I took a lot of inspiration from specifically the scene where he’s working with that note board of like, ‘This show goes on this night and this show goes on that night.’ I freeze-framed it as a kid and read all the names of the shows, and I thought, ‘How awesome is that that he gets to just have his own TV station, much less a TV show?’”

In the latest MOHV episode, Berg along with producer Jenny Nixon and producer/technical director International Voice of Reason — who, in keeping with the tradition of college radio, each host speciality programming blocks for the website — look back at the legendary Jan Hooks and the comedian’s five years at “Saturday Night Live.” It’s a delightfully blistering curation that condenses Hooks’ career to just its best bits (and is capped-off with an unforgettable Bette Davis will-and-testament sketch I’m personally embarrassed to not have yet seen as an IndieWire editor.)

“I’ve seen too much TV to want to watch TV anymore,” Berg said; he’s also described MOHV as the very reason television was made: a distillation of the best nonsense screens have ever had to offer. “I have to present it to people in this hyped up like Cliffs Note style because otherwise there’s too much material to get to.”

Curation is a craft in and of itself, and MOHV has sharpened its POV to a piercing yet unbothered point. This celebratory but not at all navel-gazing “SNL” reflection played alongside Berg’s sharp but nonplussed commentary as well as a smattering of hip-hop music videos…Martin Short in an extended home safety demonstration…commercials of all shapes and stripes with a particularly good showing by Mentos…and a sublimely trimmed down microdose of 1977’s woefully melodramatic “The Promise” among other oddities.

The multidisciplinary kaleidoscope of a livestream didn’t actually screen at the film festival where Berg and I were introduced; but it’s thanks to The Overlook showing a rendition of Berg’s “Fasterpiece Theater” (what the editor calls the ruthless supercut format he applies to movies like “The Promise”) that I learned about MOHV. Too easy to lose but too good to miss, the material that Berg combs, curates, and protects is exactly the type of stuff this column aims to find.

“People have described the things I do as a deep dive,” Berg said, noting the wide regional and generational appeal of his anti-streaming service. “I don’t see it like that because there’s no way to ever hit the surface. These are only stones which skip across this ocean because what I’m finding is actually a fraction of what was once aired.”

MOHV started on Twitch in July 2020 as a pandemic-era fix for what was originally meant to be an in-person show. Now, it airs every Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET like Salvador Dalí-inspired clockwork on its own home website: https://www.museumofhomevideo.com.

It’s backed by Berg’s monolith of a hard drive (funny enough, he’s not much of a physical media guy) and MOHV’s ever-expanding network of fans. In the grand tradition of midnight movie screenings, Berg says in-person events are indeed helping his audience and community grow.

“I mean, that’s how we met,” he noted to me.

Livestreams reach a vibrant chat box (shout out to the moderators, long may you moderate) and an estimated 400 to 600 viewers who have made appointment viewing out of basking in these two-plus hour blasts of talk show segments, game show clips, music videos, cutdowns of movies, television scenes, commercials, and more.

The livestream is a digital destination for “stoners, seekers, archivists, and drinkers,” Berg says each week; not to mention a party where “you don’t have to put on socks.” But for even casual fans, MOHV is a welcoming midnight movie-adjacent mattress anyone with an internet connection can cuddle up to.

“Some people are there to show up and maybe fall asleep too, whether through sleep or inebriation,” Berg offered. He had a joint for our interview as well. “I’m fine with all versions. It’s just TV.” —AF

If you are a filmmaker with a lesser known work of fringe cinema — or cinematic preservation! — that you would like to see featured on IndieWire After Dark, email Alison Foreman (aforeman@indiewire.com) and Christian Zilko (czilko@indiewire.com). Make it weird, ya sicko.

Any loyal reader (or frankly, even a disloyal reader) of this column has seen me and Foreman spill endless amounts of ink reminiscing about the midnight movie screening and its role as the 20th century’s counterculture cinema hub. But a case could be made that strange late night television was an equally important distribution vehicle for consumers of weird media.

I don’t mean “late night” in the sense of the talk show genre, but merely TV that’s on very late at night. Every stoner, night owl, or cultural vagabond of a certain age can relate to the experience of landing on a public access broadcast in the wee small hours of the morning and being subjected to something endlessly strange. Whether it was weird homemade content that a would-be auteur could only afford to broadcast at 3am or a rerun of some obscure old movie that should have never seen the light of day, the grab-bag experience made late night channel surfing one of linear television’s greatest pleasures.

The phenomenon seemed to crystalize when Adult Swim found a way to brilliantly recreate it by producing its own original content that simulated the out-of-body experience of discovering obscure randomness on television. But much like the practice of going to an actual movie theater at midnight, changes in viewing habits eventually render cultural rites of passage obsolete. YouTube and Reddit contain more strange archival content than anyone could watch in ten lifetimes, and watching an algorithm personally curate a feed that matches your interests eventually becomes a better use of time than channel surfing.

Courtesy of Museum of Home Video

Still, looking at a screen with the knowledge that you truly have no idea what’s coming on next is a valuable experience that we shouldn’t be so quick to disregard. I think “Museum of Home Video” is a natural recreation of linear TV weirdness, but presented in a way that’s aligned with current internet culture. If I hadn’t known the context before I watched, I could easily have been led to believe that Bret’s stoner collages of existing media were Adult Swim segments. The fact that they’re comprised of actual television and music history only added to the experience.

Complex art forms like film and television are comprised of many components like writing and cinematography and music and acting. But when an art form exists in the public consciousness for long enough, it eventually becomes a component in and of itself. Texts are comprised of words and sentences, and then the artists of the next generation comprise their own works of existing texts. “Museum of Home Video” clearly subscribes to that philosophy, treating the completed works of yesteryear’s misguided TV producers like paint for its own frescoes. But it also takes things a step further and presents the delivery format as its own work of art. These streams wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if they didn’t air live, but the mystery of not knowing what’s airing next will be what keeps me tuning in. If you’re looking for some true 4/20 weirdness in your life, maybe it’s time to watch something that doesn’t always let you skip ahead. —CZ

A Note from Bret Berg on Future MOHV Engagements

New programming hits the Museum channel soon. We’re developing a really fun regular series about our favorite television tropes. Our producer Jenny Nixon is also getting more of her “Afternoon Delight” episodes on the schedule. 

We’re starting a publishing line with our first zine!  We’ve seen friends like the Beacon Cinema in Seattle do their own, we got jealous.  So coming later this year is “The Pobrecito Guide To Home Video”, a longtime movie journal kept by our Austin, TX friend Laird Jimenez.  The first film book I ever read was “Roger Ebert’s Home Video Companion,” 1989 edition… I wanted MOHV to contribute something to the world in that same vein. 

And we might be IRL in your town!  We’re taking the Museum on tour a few times this year.  So far we’ve locked Chicago (the Music Box on Sunday, June 30). Stints in Texas and the Pacific Northwest to come in the fall season. —BB

Those brave enough to join in on the fun can watch Museum of Home Video’s livestream at 10:30 p.m. ET every Tuesday; Patreon gives you access to old episodes. If you are dying to watch a stoner movie right now, Bret Berg recommends “Existenz.” IndieWire After Dark publishes midnight movie recommendations at 11:59 p.m. ET every Friday. Read more of our deranged suggestions…



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts