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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I am a Montreal-based actor, writer and comedian. When U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was three days old. I cried all day. My favourite books of all time are Moby Dick by Herman Melville, The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis and The Ewoks Fun Time Activity Book by Chirpa and Pamploo. I am a member of The Vestibules, On The Spot Improv and The Best Buy Battery Club. Except for the Battery Club, I've been at all this stuff for over 20 years. Enjoy my blog.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Mashiest Mash-Ups Ever

There's alotta this kinda stuff in mashups
I have said it before and I will say it again: look, even briefly, at some of the stuff on Youtube and you will come to the conclusion that there are some people out there with quite a lot of time on their hands.  The medium of choice for many of the leisurely enabled out there is the mashup. There are many different types of mashups on the 'net these days. 

When discussing online phenomena, stick with the experts: Wikitionary defines a mashup like this: 

Mashup: (computing, slang) A derivative work consisting of two pieces of (generally digital) media conjoined together, such as a video clip with a different soundtrack applied for humorous effect, or a map overlaid with user-supplied data.

So what exactly does that mean?

It means that if you only have a relatively small amount of time on your hands but you've always wondered what the opening titles of Dallas would look like with footage from Battlestar Galactica, you can find it on Youtube. It also means that if you have a lot of time on your hands, you can make that Transformers-Terminator crossover you've always dreamed of seeing and upload it to Youtube.

Mashups are the Football Fantasy League for guys that aren't into sports. Youtube is full of the cross pollination of big mainstream films and TV shows featuring genres like SF, Horror, Action, Spy Thrillers, Gangster,  Frat Boy Comedies, Animation and, occasionally, Westerns. As a general rule, you don't see many mashups, of say, the audio from the trailer for Eat, Pray, Love set to scenes from Sex in the City 2. Nor do you get a many mashups that feature what it would be like if the character of Death from Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal  met up with Antoine Doinel from Francois Truffaut's Let Quarte Cent Coups. Though, really, both of those mashups would be a hoot.

In an era where it's not unusual for new computers to come with video editing software already loaded into them, everybody has the power the make mashups. And it seems like everybody does just that.  Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, an original idea can catch on really fast. No sooner does a trailer of a horror movie recut to look like a romantic comedy get uploaded then are there 70 more just like up the next day. Like many creative endeavours, there are many imitators but only a handful of initiators.

These are my 10 favorite mashups.

10. 10 Things I hate about commandments

Coming in at 1:18, this trailer mashup of The Ten Commandments moves a little more quickly than Cecil B.DeMille's 4 hour epic.

Makes you kinda wish Heston did more teen comedies back in the day, doesn't it?

I've always found that the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson at the end of this mashup comes out of nowhere. However, that's the part always gets the biggest laugh when I show this bit. So maybe that's just me.

9. Nine Inch Nails Trek

Do a search on "Brokeback" on Youtube and you'll get back about 37 different mashups. Who knew that so many of the classic bro's of pop culture are actually gay? Everyone from Batman and Alfred (yes, Alfred)  and the obvious Ernie and Bert to the slightly less obvious Marty McFly and Doc Brown, Holmes and Watson, Captain Picard and Wesley Crusher, R2-D2 and C-3PO and, of course, Kirk and Spock, gets Brokebacked.

To be fair, there is some clever editing in many of the Brokeback mashups. Putting that acoustic guitar based Brokeback Mountain theme quickly and easily suggests just about any two guys are living an "alternative" lifestyle. Personally, though, I've found such "tee hee...they're really, gay...see?" jokes pretty juvenile.

However, I do like this mashup. Not only is not all Frat Boy giggly about its premise but I also get the sense that whoever made this clip is quite earnest about their subject matter.

8. Apocalypse Pooh

Possibly the first mashup ever made. This clip was produced way back in 1987, a time when digital editing was pretty much strictly in the domain of the professionals. It was created by a student in Integrated Media at The Ontario College of Art. I hope the kid got an A+ for inventing a new genre....and somehow coming up with the idea linking Coppola and Disney.

7. Ghostbusters (1954)

Someone who goes by the username of "whoiseyevan" made quite the media stir back in 2009 when he gave the mashup it's greatest innovation since the recut trailer, the premake:

This clip is so convincing that when I posted it on Facebook, I had people making comments like "Where can I see this old movie?" and "Ghostbusters was remake?!". "whoiseyevan" also has premakes of Forrest Gump, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back and even of the upcoming Avengers movie. They are all well worth checking out.

6. Contact 5-0

Many of these mashups have a major "WTF?" factor to them. For instance, there's someone out there who is so totally obsessed with Dallas, that they have done Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who versions of the opening titles of the classic prime time soap.

This one is also pretty big on "WTF?", but in a good way.

My fave moment as got to be The Borg drone turning his head toward the camera just like the beautiful beach girl in the original Hawaii Five-0 opening titles.  There's also a Star Wars Five-O but it's not quite as well done.

5. Raging Fred

Many film commentators have made the case that seminal American director Martin Scorsese's male protagonists are, in essence, brutish, primordial and even primitive. Nowhere has that argument been made more succinctly than in this mashup.

Making beloved childhood characters swear is a mashup genre of its own.  Just look up all the Muppet/Tarantino crossovers.

4. The Vader Sessions

It takes a special combination of patience and being the world's biggest James Earl Jones fan to pull of a mashup as fun as this one.

George Lucas really ought to hold an annual Best Star Wars Mashup Award ceremony every year. There would be ton of friggin' competition.

3. Dark Knight 1966

Another popular mashup genre is that of the trailer of Christopher Nolan's landmark Batman movie, The Dark Knight. The audio of that trailer has been attached to scenes of everything from  Toy Story 2 to Star Wars to What About Bob? (seriously, check it out).

Another popular take on the seminal trailer involves just about every other screen incarnation of said Dark Knight, including this blast from the past...

2. The Lost James Bond Film

After Sean Connery ditched the Bond franchise in the early 70's, the guy had a helluva time building a career outside to the sphere of MI6. He ended up taking on some roles in really bizarre films. Even then, Connery still had a hard time escaping the ever encompassing influence of 007.

I find that one very satisfying because not only is incredibly well edited but, when you think about it, the original Zardoz is already a mashup in and of itself.

1. Shining

The movie trailer recut to make a film from one genre look like a film from another genre is at the core of what the video mashup is all about. This is the one that started it all. It was originally a final project for an editing class that, as is often the case in the information age, ended up on the Internet and quickly became a sensation.

I'm told that the guy who made this clip was approached by Warner Brothers after it reached, like, 7 billion hits. I've heard unconfirmed rumours that he is currently editing trailers for the studio.

While some may think that the suits at Warner's don't really get what the guy was doing, I maintain that said suits understand exactly what he was up to. In fact, they probably understand it a little too well.

So go ahead,  waste three hours of your life just to find one or two good mashups on Youtube.

I dare you.

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