Ribbon of Memes

It's been over a century and a quarter since the first moving picture was committed to celluloid - the "ribbon of dreams", as Orson Welles mellifluously intoned.

And so, welcome, one and all, to Ribbon of Memes, a new podcast in which Roger Bell_West and Nick Marsh supply grateful listeners hot takes about films considered masterpieces by critics or filmgoers in general.

The rules: we choose one "masterpiece" from every year from the earliest days of cinema to our dreadful modern dystopia. Do we agree these films are classics? Are we entertained? Did we even understand what the film was trying to say? The questions are endless!*

We start in 1973 (for reasons explained in the first podcast) and progress vaguely chronologically (unless we think of another film that makes an interesting comparison to the one we have just seen, or are otherwise distracted by shiny new things).

Yes, that's right, we decided that what the world really needed was two more uninformed middle-aged white guys telling the world about media largely produced by similar people. Find out whether we were right or not herein!

*Actually, no, that's most of them.

We're also on iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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Never Let Me Go (2010) 24 December 2022

Nick and Roger discuss Never Let Me Go (2010).


  1. Posted by J Michael Cule at 04:10pm on 25 December 2022

    Another one I'm glad you saw for me.

    Unlike Nick, I have enough gloom and misery in my disposition that I don't want extra melancholy in my voluntarily consumed media. And in order to believe the premise of the film I'd have to lower my opinion of human nature to levels that would not be comfortable.

    It's because I'd have to imagine people saying: "Here's this marvellous new technology that is far, far too expensive ever to help anyone who isn't incredibly rich. It involves creating children and then killing them for spare parts. Fine by me!"

    I don't have that problem with Bujold's clone farms on Jackson's Whole. Partly because it's sf and therefor the heroes get to kick the clone farmers hard in their profits by liberatnig whole generations of clonse and partly because it is only a thing on a world controlled by criminal libertatians. Which I don't have the same problem believing.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 04:42pm on 25 December 2022

    I think people would go for it if it were sold the right way, and from what we learn of normal society it has been sold – the clone-children aren't thought of as really human, therefore it doesn't matter. (Though Roger thinks they'd give them disfiguring facial tattoos or something, some obvious way to show everyone that they are other.) Which makes the whole of act 1 a red herring, of course.

  3. Posted by Nick at 12:09am on 26 December 2022

    Despite my fondness for melancholy, I’m with you, Mike; I found the whole premise hard to believe. I know people are capable of dreadful things, but I couldn’t believe it here. At least, not how it was presented here.

  4. Posted by J Michael Cule at 12:19pm on 30 December 2022

    If it were the sort of thing that could be done on the National Health then I could see more people tolerating it because there would be something in it for them. (See I can be cynical too!)

    But the news that the rich people are going to be living even longer than they did before isn't going to be received well.

  5. Posted by RogerBW at 12:26pm on 30 December 2022

    I don't think the film ever specifies how widespread this system is, because we see so little of outside society, but I was getting an implication at least that everyone (except the clones) benefited. Certainly everyone knows that they exist. Thus my harping on about Omelas.

    (Though as Nick points out the number of medical problems that can't be solved by an organ transplant is still really quite large.)

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