MEMEopedia: Supercuts
Know Your Meme's Internet scientist Forest gets ready to deconstruct a meme.
February 3rd, 2012
06:00 PM ET

MEMEopedia: Supercuts

Editor's note: Know Your Meme is a research lab from the Cheezburger Network that documents the history of Internet memes and culture. Once a week they invite CNN's Geek Out! to go on a very deep dive with them, into the stories behind the memes they profile. Together we'll learn how memes become the cultural expression of nerds.

Supercut is a fast-paced video montage centered around a specific element commonly found in films or TV shows. An emerging subgenre within the digital remix culture, the hypnotic repetition of a single-focused imagery or a cliché expression has become a popular aesthetic among mashup artists on YouTube. For a brief introduction, please read our entry or watch our episode starring Internet scientist Forest.

The early history of Supercuts

Although the term was coined in 2008 by blogger Andy Baio (who thoroughly documented the "Star Wars" Kid meme in 2004), Supercut aesthetics isn’t entirely a brand new concept, as film critic Tom McCormack points out in his documentation of proto-Supercuts in the world of art cinema. Some of the earliest works have been attributed to experimental video artist Bruce Conner’s found-footage film "A Movie" (1958) and Dara Birnbaum’s "Wonder Woman" (1978), while Hollywood employed similar techniques for various training sequences in martial arts films and sports dramas like "Rocky" (1976). But the quintessential formula of stitching repetitive, fast cuts didn’t arrive until the turn of the century with experimental shorts like Christian Marclay’s "Telephones" (1995), Jennifer & Kevin McCoy’s "Every Anvil" (2001) and Chuck Jones’ "Buffies" (2002).

From art cinema to pop culture fandom

This all changed in the late 2000s with the advents of YouTube, BitTorrent and affordable editing software, providing the viewers with resources to map out a tried-and-true cliché throughout the history of modern cinema. In addition, contextual resources and reference sites like Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDB) and TV Tropes also fueled the creativity behind the rise of Supercuts.

Most early examples found on YouTube were centered around pop culture fandoms, like the montage of David Carusoe’s cheesy one-liners in "CSI: Miami" (2006) or a back-to-back reel of couples’ kiss scenes (2007). The original example of Supercut put forth by Andy Baio himself was also a fan-made montage of every “what?” said in the TV series "LOST" (2008).

From 2008 to 2011, hundreds of Supercuts were uploaded by various users on YouTube, opening up a new era of multimedia discourse in film criticism. There are genre-specific ones ("mirror scenes" in thrillers, “turn in your badge and gun” in police dramas, “no signal” dillema in horrors), actor-specfic (Brad Pitt eating things in movies, Shia Labeouf’s frantic “no no no”) and even director-specific Supercuts (Michael Bay’s epic spinning shots or Steven Spielberg’s signature face). FULL POST

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Debate rages over 'Before Watchmen'
The cover for "Dr. Manhattan."
February 3rd, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Debate rages over 'Before Watchmen'

It was the second earthquake for the comic book world in as many years.

On the heels of this past May's announcement (and launch in August) of renumbered DC Comics titles, the company (which is owned by Time Warner, also owner of CNN) announced Wednesday a miniseries of books falling under the banner "Before Watchmen."

"After 25 years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original," DC Entertainment co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee said.

Debate erupted on Twitter, other social networks and message boards over this development.

The project, to be written and drawn by big names such as J. Michael Straczynski, Brian Azzarello and Darwyn Cooke, is a prequel to one of the most highly regarded comic book miniseries of all time. FULL POST

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Horror with the heart of a nerd
From left: Mac, Anna, Paul, Neil and Sarah battle uncertainty and fate in "The Fades."
February 3rd, 2012
10:48 AM ET

Horror with the heart of a nerd

Seventeen-year-old high school outcast Paul thinks the only author who could accurately capture the misery of his life would be a mix of Terry Pratchett’s wit, Alan Moore’s soul and Susan Cooper’s plotting.

His friend Mac thinks Tolkien’s slightly twisted sexuality and Lewis’ heroism need to be added to the mix.

Paul is one of the leading characters on BBC America’s “The Fades,” a six-episode series penned by Jack Thorne to fill the spot left vacant by “Doctor Who” on “Supernatural Saturdays.” He and Mac might be the nerdiest characters on the whole British export network.

One more thing: Paul sees dead people, and they're coming after him for all of the wrong reasons.

The show follows Paul and a cast of diverse and intriguing characters as they navigate a world where ghosts, known as Fades, are breaking through to reclaim life by feasting on flesh and becoming corporeal. Paul is one of the few who can see the Fades. Now, he just has to keep them from eating people and destroying his world.

Although largely known as a writer of social realism, like the TV series, “Skins,” Thorne is a fantasy nerd who grew up reading Susan Cooper and Neil Gaiman. Their imaginative landscapes are what he loves, and they're what he wanted to replicate in "The Fades," he said.

Paul’s socially awkward, emotionally burdened but brilliant eyes are the windows to this frightening, magical world. The Fades, at first, are as much of a mystery to him as they are to viewers. But it is his relationship with fellow nerd and best friend, Mac, that creates a true connection for viewers.

“I was a bit of a lonely high school nerd,” Thorne said. “I didn’t have a best friend, and I always wanted one. I consider the central theme of the show this ‘love story’ between the two boys - a totally chaste love of course, but they really need each other. They’re the only two that have ever been in each other’s lives.” FULL POST

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