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Tag Archives: Retro

Why I Hate Instagram Pictures

It’s strange how something can go from unawareness to loathing with enough saturation. I was never a fan of filters but I can see why people liked Instagram. It was an easy way to give photos a classic retro feel with warm tones and richer shadows. Some photos filtered through it are nice. But the sum effect of seeing every 10th image run through Instagram is feeling like I just took a time machine back to the 80’s and not in a good way.


Not only is running photos taken on a megapixel camera built into an iPhone through filters that make them look like Florida vacation snapshots from 1979 stupid, but collectively it’s ugly.

Making the occasional music video look like it was shot on an 80’s video camera and then played with a bad signal over an old television is cool. Making every video look that way is ugly and a technoaesthetic breakdown that kills everything that has been accomplished since then.

The occasional 8 bit pixel tribute is cool, but not when every game is an 8 bit pixel tribute. Because 8 bit is limited and so is Instagram. Older technologies limit your range of color and the trueness of the image. It’s one thing to stylize the occasional image that way, but when you stylize every image, it’s not styling anymore, it’s the default look. It’s like everyone getting big hair, not as an ironic affectation, but because the affectation has become the style.

You can still get away with black and white photos because our black and white can do everything it’s supposed to. But Instagram everywhere turns photos into smears of color that date back to a look when image fidelity was problematic.

Imagine 20 years from now everyone is running their 100 megapixel 3D hologram photos through a filter that makes them look like oversaturated noisy iPhone photos from 2012. Wouldn’t that be ugly and stupid?

End of the Road for 80’s Nostalgia Movies?

What did Take Me Home Tonight and Hot Tub Time Machine have in common? They were both 80’s nostalgia movies that bombed badly. Take Me Home Tonight opened in 11th place even though it was in over 2000 theaters and had the lowest per theater average of any movie in the top 15, (not counting Drive Angry which alienated moviegoers so badly that it scored under a 1000 per theater), so what went wrong?

This video of the Take Me Home Tonight cast hanging out in a trendy club surrounded by the MTV idea of hip kids while they recreate 80’s movie scenes telegraphed the problem. Its coolness becomes lameness, because it’s completely unreal. Like the Rolling Stones bringing out teenage girls to stand in the front row so they can pretend they still appeal to the kids. 80’s nostalgia doesn’t appeal to that audience and 80’s kids are still not ready to give in and get nostalgic. Topher Grace, the star and producer of Take Me Home Tonight, of That 70’s Show should have known it wasn’t a good idea, when That 70’s Show’s producers tried to create That 80’s Show, a decent enough sitcom that nobody watched. 80’s nostalgia just doesn’t sell.

The Wedding Singer gave some studios the bad idea that this would work, but the Wedding Singer didn’t work because of the 80’s nostalgia, but because audiences liked the story and the characters and the music. But the nostalgia wasn’t the selling point. But try to imagine Take Me Home Tonight or Hot Tub Time Machine without the nostalgia and what do you get? Nothing.

Studios shouldn’t despair. The time will come when the 80’s kids will be ready for a heavy dose of nostalgia. Give it another 10 years when they’re losing their hair and packing paunches. They’ll come around. Just like the Boomers did.

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