TDOS Cabin by the Lake Movie Draft - DRAFT COMPLETED

For my final selection I had to go back and pick Sunset Boulevard 1950.
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1950’s Sunset Boulevard is a masterpiece that demarcates the end of Hollywood’s Golden era and the beginning of a darker deeper time for the silver screen. Billy Wilder chose the genera of Film Noir as a vehicle with which to explore the moral decay of the film industry. Wilder offers a mystery that begins with the victim/narrator floating face down in a pool. As writer Joe Gillis (William Holden) tells his story in flashback form we the audience know from the start how the story ends. The mystery of who killed him and why remains but we know where this story is going from the beginning.
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Although William Holden was brilliant it is Gloria Swanson as retired silent film star Nora Desmond. Once a huge star she now sits in the dark watching her old movies in a decaying mansion that serves as a metaphor not only for Nora, but Hollywood itself. Joe finds himself hiding out form creditors inn Nora’s house becoming a kept man who is put to work by Desmond writing a scrip for a film that she believes will be her path to a return to the business. She is attended by her driver/butler Max who has twisted secrets of his own, the casting is brilliant; Wilder cast director Erich Von Stroheim as Max and brings Cecil B. DeMille, Heda Hopper and Buster Keaton as themselves giving the film an insider feel
The story continues to drill into the life of Nora and her madness. It is easy to see Nora as insane and victim of her own delusions, but a deeper reading might see her as symptomatic (symbolic?) of the nature of Hollywood as an industry that creates illusions that overtime can become delusions that trap the mind.
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The cinematography was brilliantly handled by a John Seitz who brought in a full crew of German craftsmen who helped define the look of the Noir genera drawing upon the expressionism that flourished in Germany in the years between WWI and WWII. The film’s hallmarks are the tall shadows, symbolic of a darkness that looms larger than life in the film. Experimental camera angles grab the viewer from the opening scene of Holden looking up at him from under water as he floats in the pool.
Nora sums up her view of a film industry that had moved on from the world that had made her a star when
Joe says: "You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big." To which she replies "I am big. It's the pictures that got small."
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I honestly expected to wrap up the game with a different film but I seems a sin to let this landmark film fall off my list just because no one else picked it up. I said earlier I could play this game to 100 easily of just settle in to one genera. I am now sadden by the films I had to leave out.
 
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VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
It was profound and meaningful like every journey into the wilderness is. I learned a lot about myself, I made some new friends, and I grew a pretty solid beard! I also sprained my ankle so I'm ready to take it easy for awhile and watch a lot of movies. :p
What part of the Sierras were you in?
 
Apologies for my slowness. I live, work, and sleep in Australia. I'm also hosting someone at the moment so less free time.

Note. I chose a movie that was suggested to be inappropriate. I have since changed this selection.

Control. 2007.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421082/


Film about Joy Division. Stylish. Painful. Good soundtrack (obv). I first watched it at my mothers place, who has had a strong influence on my musical taste.

Msg sent.
Don't know which movie got vetoed but your last 3 picks have been home runs for me. I absolutely loved The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Control. I have kindof an adventure movie theme going on with my picks so Motorcycle Diaries was almost one of my picks actually.
 
Kindof a broad swath. I was hiking the John Muir Trail for the second time. So that would be Horseshoe Meadow (about 30 miles South of Mt. Whitney) to Yosemite Valley. I stopped at Tuolumne Meadows though because the Valley itself is basically on fire right now.
One of my favorite stops on that backpack are the hot springs next to Muir Trail Ranch back behind Florence Lake. The Ranch is great supply drop and the hot springs are a welcomed relief!
 
With my next pick, I'd like to once again introduce some of you to another great film from the Asian cinema:

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
View attachment 8127
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0374546/


Will be back for a description...
This is a brilliant movie! Slow, contemplative, and tranquil like sitting in a Japanese garden and packed with profound lessons about the cycle of life and death. I remember half way through watching this I actually got off the couch and sat on the floor in front of the TV because I just wanted to be closer to it. I wish I could live inside this movie. :)
 
This is a brilliant movie! Slow, contemplative, and tranquil like sitting in a Japanese garden and packed with profound lessons about the cycle of life and death. I remember half way through watching this I actually got off the couch and sat on the floor in front of the TV because I just wanted to be closer to it. I wish I could live inside this movie. :)
You should go visit the actual temple in Korea. It's quite an experience.

https://www.legendarytrips.com/trip/spring-summer-fall-winter-filming-locations-korea-2003/
 
And with my last pick, I gotta go back to the source..

Psycho (1960)
psycho.JPG
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054215/

“Psycho” is so embedded in the culture that it’s hard to imagine how radical and strange it was 58 years ago. It was as though Steven Spielberg had gone indie rogue, breaking every rule in the canon as he went. In the opening shot, the camera as voyeur swoops into a hotel room to watch a half-naked Janet Leigh trysting with a married man. We trustingly follow Marion as she steals money, buys a car and checks into the Bates Motel, where we and taxidermist Norman Bates watch through a keyhole as Marion undresses. Hitchcock’s go-to composer Bernard Herrmann reaches new heights of screeching terror in the ultimate quick-cutting murder sequence to be forever known as The Shower Scene, as our leading lady is killed off before the film’s halfway mark. Hitchcock manipulated time, space and the viewer, and critics didn’t know what to make of it. Of all the imitative horror films that have followed, none have topped “Psycho.”
 
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This is a brilliant movie! Slow, contemplative, and tranquil like sitting in a Japanese garden and packed with profound lessons about the cycle of life and death. I remember half way through watching this I actually got off the couch and sat on the floor in front of the TV because I just wanted to be closer to it. I wish I could live inside this movie. :)
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One of my favorite stops on that backpack are the hot springs next to Muir Trail Ranch back behind Florence Lake. The Ranch is great supply drop and the hot springs are a welcomed relief!
Somehow in two trips I still haven't been to Muir Trail Ranch or Florence Lake. I've had a great time at Vermillion Resort and Red's Meadows though.
 
With the 10th selection for the Joker pick I choose The Far Country (1954), one of my favorite westerns. Starring James Stewart, ruth Romin, Walter Brennan, John McIntire, Henry Morgan and directed by Anthony Mann.

Stewart plays Jeff Webster, a cattle man from Wyoming who takes his cattle to skagway, Alaska, and then over a pass into Dawson during a gold rush in1896. He plays a kind of anti-hero who is only concerned with himself and his partner Ben Tatum (Brennan). The antagonist is the law in Skagway, Mr. Gannon.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048055/
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Oh, I haven't seen this one but I'll watch anything with Jimmy Stewart. Going on my watch list. Thanks! :)
 
And with my last pick, I gotta go back to the source..

Psycho (1960)
View attachment 8210
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054215/

“Psycho” is so embedded in the culture that it’s hard to imagine how radical and strange it was 58 years ago. It was as though Steven Spielberg had gone indie rogue, breaking every rule in the canon as he went. In the opening shot, the camera as voyeur swoops into a hotel room to watch a half-naked Janet Leigh trysting with a married man. We trustingly follow Marion as she steals money, buys a car and checks into the Bates Motel, where we and taxidermist Norman Bates watch through a keyhole as Marion undresses. Hitchcock’s go-to composer Bernard Herrmann reaches new heights of screeching terror in the ultimate quick-cutting murder sequence to be forever known as The Shower Scene, as our leading lady is killed off before the film’s halfway mark. Hitchcock manipulated time, space and the viewer, and critics didn’t know what to make of it. Of all the imitative horror films that have followed, none have topped “Psycho.”
I couldn't believe, how come this one was not picked already!?!
 
Somehow in two trips I still haven't been to Muir Trail Ranch or Florence Lake. I've had a great time at Vermillion Resort and Red's Meadows though.
If you want to try an interesting short backpack for 5 days you can come in at Florence Lake and go out near Bishop or vice versa. Back in my youth we used to do a car key swap with some guys going the other direction. I will say though the Eastern Sierra are an acquired taste.
 
The panic in needle park.

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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067549/

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/movie-week-panic-needle-park

There are films from the 70's that I have enjoyed watching (a few chosen by others). Although, at this moment in my life, I find them fairly unappealing. Having said that. Not too long ago I saw a recent movie that has been described/ proclaimed to be one of the better love stories of X genre. And it wasn't all that good. Despite ticking all the boxes. This film can't tick all the boxes. It doesn't even have music. But it's better. There is a simple story of love and dependence.

A few quick points:
- Sacramento native Joan Didion contributed to the screenplay (I've never been to Sacramento. I support the Kings cause I had family there and they sent me a J Will t shirt when I was a teenager).
- Middle finger to 'heroin chic' or any romantic depiction of a life on drugs.

If this is the end of the film thread for me it has been fun. If it is extended a few rounds I can manage.
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
By the end of the draft, you must have at least one movie from each of the following decades: 60s and earlier, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s.
Just as a quick reminder, Sluggah is the only drafter who has not (yet) fulfilled this requirement. Everybody else (including the joker pick) is in the clear.
 
Final pick!

Incredibles 2 - 2018

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt3606756/?ref_=m_tttr_qt

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With so many amazing movies still up for grabs I had to go with my heart on this one, and pick one that is recent and connects to my life.

I left a full time job at the local college to pursue a career in teaching and working with kids. Naturally, I am saving a ton on day-care as I work 18 hours a week and be Mr. Mom.

The Incredibles 2 does a superb job of capturing what this life is like, and I have to admit Mr. Incredible is a hero of mine after this film...my favorite line:

[Violet and Dash demand to know why Bob hasn't told Helen about Jack-Jack's powers]

Bob Parr: Because I'm formulating, okay! I'm taking in information! I'm processing! I'm doing the math, I'm fixing the boyfriend, and keeping the baby from turning into a flaming monster! How do I do it? By rolling with the punches, baby! I eat thunder and crap lightening, okay? Because I'm Mr. Incredible! Not "Mr. So-So" or "Mr. Mediocre Guy"! Mr. Incredible!

Just an incredible movie, and my all-time favorite Pixar film.

It has been a great draft, thanks all!
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PM sent to Hrd, welcome back Hrd!
 
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With the 7th pick of the twelfth round (183rd overall)...

Days of Heaven (1978) -- Terrence Malick / Drama


https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077405/

___Something slow and contemplative for a lazy sun-soaked afternoon indoors, Terrence Malick's masterpiece of rural Americana is quite literally soaked in the sun -- most of the film was shot in 30 minute a day bursts at magic hour and boy does it live up to the name! The actors, including a young Richard Gere and Sam Shepard, are dwarfed by the majesty of these landscapes as the story takes a meandering course through petty crime, itinerant day labor, disasters both natural and man-made, even a literal flying circus! Lingering glances that say more than 10 lines of dialogue could, a standout performance from 15 year old first-time actress Linda Manz, and unfailingly beautiful photography from beginning to end add up to a magical viewing experience that sticks with you long after the credits roll. What could easily have been a cut-rate sub-Shakespearean farce in the wrong hands is elevated by Malick's inimitable sense of visual poetry into a profound statement about the human spirit and an idyllic meditation on the fragile beauty of the natural world.

Musical Choice: Ennio Morricone -- Harvest and Days of Heaven Theme





[whitechocolate is now on the clock.... and PM has been sent]
 
Dog Star Man (1964), Stan Brakhage

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I knew from the beginning of this draft that this film was going to be my last pick. One, because I knew it would still be available, but also because I wanted to end the draft with something special. Dog Star Man is extraordinary and beautiful. It's both a feast for the eyes and a feast for the mind. On one level the movie the movie acts as a living painting that can be appreciated for its aesthetic beauty. On another level the film acts as a mirror allowing viewers to use their experiences and philosophies to interpret it.

Stan Brakhage utilizes experimental techniques like scratching film, applying paint to film, and superimposing many layers of film together to create a masterpiece that almost completely ignores the traditional ways a film should look and be structured. Also there is no sound or subtitles. The movie's story is told solely via visuals. I am hesitant to describe the movie because I think it should be up to the viewer to decide what it means, and I don't want to bias any of you who decide to watch it. If you want to watch it blind, ignore the next paragraph.

I wouldn't call Dog Star Man abstract so much as it creates visual representations of abstract concepts. I believe the movie is about persevering through life's struggles and the obstacles we encounter. I see the movie as largely being told from the perspective of the id before the conscious mind filters and sorts a chaotic collection of information, memories, and desires. The movie seems to create a picture of the subconscious. In doing so, the film embraces the abstract nature of our existence. The movie does portray matter of fact events, but it also provides the context of our place in the universe, our innermost selves, and even our physical nature.

I sincerely hope you guys watch this film. It may be different than what you're accustomed to, so go in with an open mind. I recommend turning off all lights and anything that makes noise.
 
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Just as a quick reminder, Sluggah is the only drafter who has not (yet) fulfilled this requirement. Everybody else (including the joker pick) is in the clear.
Oh, I’m hyper aware of this fact, especially considering hndsmcelt just took the only movie left that I actually liked and fulfills the requirement. FUN!
 
Oh, I’m hyper aware of this fact, especially considering hndsmcelt just took the only movie left that I actually liked and fulfills the requirement. FUN!
You know it's the 1960s or earlier right? Based on your picks it seems like we like a lot of the same movies. I can PM you a long list of possible choices if you like. Let me know. :)
 
Schindler's List (1993), Steven Spielberg

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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108052/

Many great films still await on my list. I had to select one I just cannot see go undrafted.

Schindler's List is described as a film about the Holocaust, but the film is really two parallel character studies - one of a con man, the other of a psychopath. Oskar Schindler, who swindles the Third Reich, and Amon Goeth, who represents its pure evil, are men created by the opportunities of war. In telling their stories, Steven Spielberg found a way to approach the Holocaust, a subject too vast and tragic to be encompassed in any reasonable way by fiction. The film has been a target for those who find Spielberg's approach too "commercial," but the medium of film does not exist unless there is an audience between the projector and the screen, and Spielberg's unique ability is to join artistry with popularity: he says what he wants to say in a way that millions of people want to hear.

Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) is a man who never, until almost the end, admits to anyone what he is really doing. Schindler leaves it to ''his'' Jew, Itzhak Stern (played by Sir Ben Kingsley), to understand the unsayable: that the factory is used as a con game to cheat the Nazis of the lives of his workers. As Schindler leaves it to Stern, Spielberg leaves it to us.

The movie is a rare case of a man doing the opposite of what he seems to be doing, and a director letting the audience figure it out itself.
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Michel Gondry

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338013/




I'll start by saying that I'm terribly saddened to be picking my 12th movie, because that means it's the last one, and I could keep going for quite a while before I ran out of films I truly wanted to have at my cabin. That said, I'm pretty happy to be able to pick this film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in the final round. In point of fact, I esteem it more highly than many of the films that I've taken earlier, and I didn't let it slip so far in the draft simply because I thought it would last (I really didn't think it would last this long) but rather because the 2000s are, for me, the decade that holds so many of my favorite films. When I was planning ahead for this draft, I made a short list of films, separated out by decade, that were at the front of the line for my selections, and the 2000s quickly reached 10 films (6 of which are still untaken, even with me selecting two off my list). I knew that for that decade, at least, I could hold off, knowing that I'd get a film that I loved in the end, even if it weren't my top choice. This was basically tied for my top choice, so I guess it worked out.

Michel Gondry did a fantastic job of directing Eternal Sunshine, but I think a lot of the credit also has to go to screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who is almost certainly the most interesting screenwriter alive - and Eternal Sunshine is in my opinion his best among several amazing scripts. The premise is, as it always happens with Kaufman, a simple one that allows us to probe deeply into human nature. Following a nasty breakup, Joel Barish learns that his ex Clementine has had a novel medical procedure to have all of her memories of him erased, and he decides to do the same. But something goes wrong during the procedure and Joel becomes conscious of the process, and as he watches his memories of Clementine slip away he repents of his decision.

To be honest, for the most part (as Tolkien would put it) I cordially dislike Jim Carrey but his performance in Eternal Sunshine is nothing short of career worthy, with Winslet as her usual stellar self and good supporting parts from Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo as well. I really can't say enough good tings about this movie, but unfortunately I don't really have the critic's touch that Padrino does, so I'll stop here and pass the baton to him...
 
With my final pick, the 187th of the TDOS Cabin by the Lake draft, I select...

Annihilation (2018):



Director: Alex Garland
Dir. of Photography: Rob Hardy
Writer(s): Alex Garland, Jeff VanderMeer (based on the novel by)
Score: Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac
Genre(s): Science fiction, horror, drama
Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes

IMDb Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/?ref_=nv_sr_1

I began this draft by picking my favorite film of 2017, and I shall end it by picking my favorite film of 2018 thus far. In the write-up for my previous selection, I also mentioned that my final selection would likely come from yet another director already on my list. Alex Garland's Ex Machina was a stunning directorial debut that suggested a brilliant visionary at work behind the camera, and it was a privilege to select it with my 5th pick. Garland's follow-up to Ex Machina certainly doesn't disappoint, and it feels like the appropriate film on which to close my draft, as well.

Annihilation was adapted from a 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer that I greatly admire. It was thought to be "unfilmable," given that the novel traffics so heavily in that which cannot be understood by the human senses. It concerns itself not just with the unknown, but with the truly unknowable. For this reason, it was always going to be a challenge to bring it to life for moviegoers to appreciate, and though Garland's adaptation departs from the source material—significantly, in some ways—I consider it a masterful success in achieving the thematic spirit of the novel, if not many of the specific circumstances that the novel depicts.

VanderMeer's Annihilation is actually just the first part of a series that he refers to as his Southern Reach trilogy. But that first novel stands up extraordinarily well as a singular work, and while its sequels are strong efforts in their own right, I don’t consider them to be as essential as Annihilation. Likewise, Garland's adaptation was constructed to be a singular work, free from the burdens of franchise-level expectation. It's an astonishingly complete artistic statement at a moment in film history when it seems as if every movie must end on an ellipsis, leading the audience forever down a rabbit hole without a clear destination in sight.

As for the film itself, Annihilation features a rather simple plot. Area X is a government facility on the southern coast of the United States where a strange geographic anomaly has begun to spread. Dubbed "the Shimmer," scientists have been carefully breaching this anomaly in an attempt to discern its nature. Prior expeditions into the Shimmer have resulted in failure, with none returning. Enter the primary cast of the film, who are represented by characters belonging to particular fields of scientific study, and who will be the next group passing into the Shimmer: a biologist, a psychologist, a physicist, a geomorphologist, and a paramedic. They're all women, as they are in the novel.

To discuss further details in specific would be to undermine the film's intentions. Personally, I think viewers are far too spoilerphobic in 2018, but Annihilation absolutely deserves to be taken on its own terms, with as little foreknowledge as possible. It's not the twists and turns of Annihilation's plot that I fear to spoil, though; it's the experience of taking in a film that wants to get you drunk on its strangeness. Like Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Annihilation actually isn't all that concerned with the machinations of plot. It's much more intent on evoking feelings that we don't always know quite how to feel. It's slightly askew, a little unsettling, kinda blurry, not-quite-right, like a lucid dream, like walking through an abstract painting that moves the viewer for indefinable reasons.

Annihilation suggests that to confront the unknowable is to confront ourselves. It is to reckon with our own limitations, our own intellectual faults, our own emotional failings. Though each of the primary cast of Annihilation first appears defined by the scope of their respective professions, they do not represent archetypes. There is no trope through which to understand any of these women. As the layers are slowly peeled back on each of them, all that's left to face is the yawning abyss of their greatest fears. Accordingly, Annihilation is a meditation on self-destruction, grief, depression, and the clawing and scraping of our psychological existence.

For all of its visual splendor (and there are no shortage of mouth-agape moments here), it's a dauntingly quiet film, consumed by a needling sense of dread. There's a distinctly Lovecraftian sensibility at play here, a participation in the tradition of cosmic terror, with a splash of Cronenbergian body horror to further underline the dislocation the film is meant to inspire in the audience. You can think of Annihilation a bit like a psychedelic, kaleidoscopic cross between John Carpenter's The Thing and Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris. It's horrifying, sumptuous, hypnotic, and intoxicating in equal measure, with a beautifully haunting score composed by Ex Machina collaborators Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow (of Portishead/Beak>). I can think of few films in recent memory that have wedded their scores so compellingly and completely to the visual elements and thematic concerns on screen. It's Oscar-worthy work (though it likely won't be honored as such).

Annihilation also joins many of the other films on my list that struggled to reach theaters unscathed. Alex Garland retained final cut of the film, so the theatrical cut of Annihilation is, without question, also the "director’s cut." But due to a poorly-received test screening, executives at Paramount were concerned that Annihilation was "too intellectual" and "too complicated," and they demanded changes to make it appeal to a wider audience. Producer Scott Rudin ultimately sided with Garland, who did not want to alter the film. In the end, Paramount's notes were roundly rejected, and this doomed Annihilation to a brief theatrical run in the US, and a Netflix-only distribution deal overseas.

"Dumpuary," as it's referred to by Hollywood insiders, is the release window that encompasses the early months of the calendar year, when films are no longer being considered for Oscars, and before the summer movie season begins. In other words, if you're a movie studio stuck with a film that you don't know what to do with, you "dump" it to January/February and pray to the gods of celluloid that you make a bit of your money back. As you might imagine, few films of note are released during this time of the year, but Annihilation was one such film. Sadly, it was underloved by the studio releasing it, and it was underseen as a result. This is unfortunate, as it's a visual spectacle that deserves to be witnessed on the largest screen possible.

But, like many ambitious, cerebral films consigned to box office failure, Annihilation will surely find its audience over time, as curious film lovers approach it from the comfort of their own homes. If you've not yet seen it, I consider it my sworn duty to convince you that it's worth your time, and I hope that I've managed to do so. If you've seen it already but were not moved by its majesty the first time around, then I consider it my job to convince you that it's worth a re-watch, and I hope that you'll give it a second chance.

On a personal note, I'm leaving the country on Tuesday for three-and-a-half weeks. My wife and I will be traveling abroad, first in London, then in Amsterdam, then in Dublin and Galway. I will have only occasional internet access, and I've prepared no further selections for this draft. Should the draft be extended, I will likely have to drop out (or, alternatively, another poster could continue in my stead, using the aesthetic and thematic resonance of my existing picks as a guideline of sorts).

In any case, I wanted to say that this has been a blast! What a great draft, filled with interesting and personal selections, and equally interesting and personal write-ups. Thank you for the great reading and conversation, everybody.

To close this out, I shall leave you with a seduction of sorts. Take a walk through the Shimmer:





















PM sent to @Sluggah.