Saturday, December 31, 2005

DVD Review: Wholphin

I think I've mentioned here before the McSweeney's literary magazine I subscribe to (lifetime--they screwed up my account so bad once, early on, somebody felt bad and gave me a lifetime subscription to recompense!). They also have an ironically funny website,

They have done some fascinating stuff in the past. Each issue is a different format. The one before the latest was like a stack of mail, including postcards, ad circulars, and a couple of magazine/journals. So bizarre. Sometimes they include unusual items, like a comb. It's all very deconstructionist and postmodern.

The latest issue is a very regular copy of the journal, plus a DVD, the first "issue" of a quarterly DVD magazine called "Wholphin." You can see more about it at There's a sample clip there too.

I just spent a couple of hours watching it. It has a bunch of short features, dramatic, comedy, documentary. It's irresistible

There's one incredible sequence with a Dutch guy in front of St. Paul's Cathedral in London singing Stairway to Heaven, backwards, to a karaoke track. It sounds weird, and it is. He recorded singing the song BACKWARDS, and then this tape is run backwards. It's so dorky but cool. The same guy also did a longer piece, just set his camera on a beach. Lo and behold here comes a Hovercraft up onto the beach, and some guy runs onto it, and it takes off. It is creepy as hell for some reason.

There is a Spike Jonze documentary done during the Al Gore presidential campaign that showed him as just a regular, funny, warm guy... and the realization is, if they had shown this, he would have REALLY won.

Another item is an actual Civil Defense film from the 50s which proves that, if you would only paint your house, it will withstand the heat blast of an atomic bomb. I kid you not. It is so weird. It is subtly racist, and you can see where FEMA got its start.

There is also an episode of a Turkish sitcom based on The Jeffersons (for real; the credits are in Turkish but you can see Norman Lear's name there). You can watch it with english subtitles based on the actual show, but then they have six other versions with wacky subtitles by funny people, so you get a variety of versions of the same show.

There's also an Iranian cartoon.

And some other things.

Check it out. And Happy New Year!


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