MEME: Business Card Gallery

17 July, 2010 at 1:28 pm (film, webjunk)

One of the great things about the web is the depth to which people will go to catalogue and display seemingly trivial data. To the average person, such websites are neat, but clear evidence that the provider has no life, or has too much time on his hands, etc. I think it’s a pity that these efforts are trivialized in this manner. Inspiration is momentary, and the hard, dedicated slog from idea to fully-fledged execution takes time and commitment (q.v., again, Patton Oswalt’s insightful and vulgar commentary about Death Bed: The Bed That Eats People). It’s easy to look at a finished product and airily dismiss it as a waste of time, but it’s an accomplishment to be in the midst of that use of time and not throw up one’s hands and abandon the project in process once the initial glimmer of the idea has cooled to a faint grey ash.

One of my favorite instances of dedication to the seemingly trivial is Steven Hill’s Movie Title Screens page, wherein he takes screencaps of the appearance of the title in the film itself. Not to be swayed from his own parallel inspiration, Christian Annyas takes caps of the title image, any instance of a “The End” or “Fin” screen, as well as the title logo from trailers of a given film (which, due to marketing, are frequently different than the title within the film itself). And, yes, he has capped Charade. Is it terrible that either of these men has devoted so many hours of time to this project? Particularly when someone is doing essentially the same thing? Not to be hyperbolic, but that seems a little like saying that Samuel Johnson was an idiot, and Noah Webster and James Murray were compounded morons. Who had no lives.

Just to avoid misinterpretation of the above rhetorical: no, it’s not terrible. Reference is a wonderful thing, and it requires meticulous, sustained effort. I realize that I’m a librarian, and therefore biased, but — in a nutshell — it’s only trivial and dismissable if you don’t find it useful. If you do think it’s the most useful thing since a breadknife, then you’re surely not going to say about IMDB or Google or the phone book, etc., that whoever compiled those data had too much time on their collective hands.

None of which probably justifies my own nascent Steven Hill-inspired collection of screencaps. I forget what I was watching, but it occurred to me that practically every shot of a business card in a film is the same shot. They’re probably all second-unit insert shots using a hand double. They’re almost always at a slight tilt, in order to give the card some substance and not to have it rigidly framed by the shape of the film itself (interestingly enough, even Wes Anderson follows this and doesn’t apply his typical hyper-formal use of symmetry). So I started collecting them, just to see how pervasive this was. I figured once I got fifty or so, I’d compile a list and send it out for further contributions, and once I got a hundred, I’d start my own useless, whimsical reference website.

In the interim, though, I tripped over The Dancing Image‘s gallery meme, as mentioned by Glenn Kenny. I like it when Glenn posts a meme contribution, because he doesn’t tag people, he doesn’t forward on the chain letter. I don’t either, mostly because I don’t have any readers, but also because I don’t like the imposition. Be inspired to contribute, or don’t be. In honor of the meme, I present my meagre collection of Business Cards in Cinema:

card - Blues Brothers - Murph and Magictones

card - I Heart Huckabees - Caterine Vauban

card - I Heart Huckabees - Vivian Jaffe

card - Lawrence of Arabia

card - Rushmore Max Fischer

card - The Incredibles - Mirage

card - The Truth About Charlie - Lewis Bartholemew

EDIT(1 Jan. 2011)ed to add:
card - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Meme Rules & Regulations:
1. The gallery images must be screencaps, not production stills.
2. The theme is yours to determine. Mine is clearly “Business and Calling Cards”
3. Galleries must link back to the rules and the host.
4. Please tag five people. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

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4 Comments

  1. casketsalesman said,

    the rushmore one is genius

  2. PICTURESHOW: Pairings, or Very Short Memes « said,

    […] that it seemed like some sort of glaring error that I hadn’t included it in my collection of screen-shown business cards. This was further and quite quickly confirmed by the rapid-fire pullulation of links to this […]

  3. Jim Ricks said,

    American Psycho!

    • Benjamin Russell said,

      Jim, I have a cap of that waiting to be included in a gradually accumulating third post including business cards from The Frighteners, The Simpsons, and Casino Royale. Also you can see a close-up scan of Bateman’s card from Tumblr in the trackback link above your comment.

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