‘The Path,’ Ugandan Action Films, and Getting Stoned in VR: Today’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. Today, we have a meditation on the languid pace of streaming television shows, a report on how virtual reality could enhance that age-old tradition of getting high and losing yourself in the music, a profile on a film studio making action films in Uganda, and a depressing story about WebMD.

Hazlitt profiled Wakaliwood, the booming Ugandan film studio that can make an action movie for less than $200.

Wakaliwood budgets are notorious tiny—Nabwana told me his very first feature cost the price of a bag of blood from the butcher and one bottle of beer (to replace one they broke). But for the most recent slate of films: Tebaatusasula: EBOLA, Eaten Alive in Uganda, and Operation Kakongoliro! The Ugandan Expendables, the budgets have gone up considerably. An end of 2015 message at the Wakaliwood & Ramon Film Productions Action-Packed Fanpage read: “Because of the support of our Supa Fans, Wakaliwood’s been able to raise the budget of the films 10x, from $200 to over $2000. PLUS we’ll be producing THREE Supa Movies in 2016, not just the one planned in our Kickstarter.”

At its readers’ request, Vox laid out how WebMD exploits its readers’ worst fears for the sake of pharmaceutical companies.

The site’s popular symptom checker, which allows users to insert basic information about their age, sex, and symptoms, is a hypochondriac’s worst nightmare. A search for bloating in the lower abdomen suggested one could have anything from menstrual cramps to ovarian or colon cancers. A query on back pain spit out this terrifying list of potential possibilities: gas pains, shingles, ovarian cancer, acute kidney failure, and tick bites. No context — just a list of scary diagnoses.

Versions, Kill Screen’s new virtual reality spin-off site, looked at Harmonix Music VR, a virtual reality visualizer made by the makers of the video game series Rock Band.

If you make the admittedly enormous leap, though, that VR will create within the user a sense of “presence,” Music VR’s possibilities are the techno-utopian hippie ideals realized. I’ve had glorious experiences listening to music with enormous crowds of people on handfuls of questionable drugs, and, while I would not recommend that exact process to anyone, Music VR promises a means of democratizing it.

The Atlantic‘s David Sims considers how binge-watching has led to a wave of “prestige dramas,” such as Hulu’s new cult-centric show The Path, which take a full season to do what truly great shows do in an episode or two.

There’s a strange loyalty demanded by a show like BoJack [Horseman] (which is outright bad for its first few episodes before gathering steam) or The Path. Sure, nothing much happens for the first six or seven hours, but the viewer has to be trusting enough to know that their patience will be rewarded. “Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, has said he considers the first season of a series, not the first episode, to be the ‘pilot,’” Poniewozik noted. It’s an insidiously clever approach: You need a whole season to decide whether or not you like a show, and by the time you’ve watched all that, you’re in too deep to turn back.