It’s that time again: New record reviews
We Interviewed a Blind Film Critic
If you’re one of those army fuckers with 20/20 vision, chances are you’re not aware that there’s a whole other (very fuzzy) world that us lesser-sighted people inhabit every day. A world where sometimes you can’t even tell if another person is staring deeply, romantically into your eyes or if they’re asleep. Sometimes all you normal-sighted folk’s eyes are just two dark splodges on a big pink splodge. Sorry.
This happened to me the other day, when I tried to watch Ratatouille and couldn’t find my glasses. I had to listen really intently to figure out when the rat was talking, and when the humans were. But obviously a lot of people can’t just put their glasses back on, so movies with shitty soundtracks and clumsy dialogue sound 100 times worse.
Tommy Edison goes by the title the Blind Film Critic and makes YouTube videos reviewing movies he’s never seen, only heard. It’s pretty fascinating, and totally useful for fellow blind and partially sighted movie buffs. We caught up for a chat, largely to find out what he thought of The Matrix, but also to learn more about his Instagram account, his favorite movies, and who he crushes on.
VICE: What exactly made you want to start reviewing movies in the first place?
Tommy Edison: Well, I’ve always been into film, but sometimes with movies it’s a long watch, and then you get to the solution at the end and… they don’t say anything, it’s all visual. Ben, my video producer, was like: “You’ve got to see Die Hard, that’s an action movie with great dialogue.” So we thought, Hey, why not start reviewing movies?
Which movies are the most reliant on visuals?
Action movies are, quite frankly, pretty dull for me, what with all the CGI, fights and effects. That’s true of most superhero movies, really. Like Thor, for example, bored me—the story wasn’t much. Although The Dark Knight was amazing.
Some movies are hard enough to follow when you’re not blind. Like Inception, WTF.
Well, if you close your eyes, I think you can actually follow Inception even better. That was one of the earlier ones we reviewed. Everyone kept asking me to review it, but in the end, I was actually able to follow it pretty well.
How about The Matrix?
When the first Matrix movie came out I watched it over and over and still couldn’t figure out why everybody thought it was so great. Then I used the “descriptive video” feature and was able to follow it. Then I realized why everyone was going crazy for it! When I go to the movies with Ben, though, we don’t talk about the visuals—I just listen. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any point in being a blind film critic.
Do you develop crushes on movie stars?
Mila Kunis—I’ve never seen her, but I love her!
Tao Lin’s Apartment: A Review, by Megan Boyle
Last October Tao Lin, my ex-husband, put up a post on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to sublet his studio apartment in Murray Hill while he visited family in Taiwan. I responded and PayPal-ed him the significantly discounted friend-rate. I would be staying around four weeks. I had visited Tao’s apartment maybe four times prior and had seen photos on Instagram—darkly lit areas, occult-looking décor, some Buddhist imagery, Adderall taped to the ceiling as a form of rehab, and curiously frequent “smoothie disasters.” I was excited to live alone in Manhattan. I was also excited to hopefully gain insight into the private life of a person I’ve admired both up close and at a distance for years—the kind of insight that can only come from sleeping in their bed and looking at their things every day for around four weeks when they’re not there. That sounds kind of creepy. Here is my review of Tao Lin’s apartment.
The Hanging Thing
When I moved in the giant structure formerly hanging above Tao’s bed was gone. I’d previously seen it in person twice, at sort-of parties, at which I felt surprised by how little attention it was getting. People seemed to treat it like any other passive obstruction. I don’t have memories of asking what it was or why it was there. I’m guessing its materials (Christmas lights, tinsel, black and white cobwebby stuff) were bought or stolen by Tao and his friend* Katie DeMoss from NutHouse, which is across the street and calls itself “New York’s Only 24-Hour Hardware Store.” Sometimes in conversational lulls at a party this December my eyes would wander around the room and land on the hanging thing. The ease at which I could allow such an overwhelmingly insane-looking thing to blend into my idea of “normal party surroundings” combined with knowing it was among the only other not-talking things in the room seemed funny. I’m not sure I’m glad it was gone when I arrived.
- Only one out of four light switches work.
- Two out of three bulbs in his main lamp are white. One is red.
- There is one light in the bathroom. It is red but glows pink and affects the color of your pee.