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fun type

A Talledega night and a real type-cast film

Last evening, my bride and I had a date night, which included a viewing of Will Ferrell’s Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Two enthusiastic thumbs-up, a Retrophisch™ Recommends.
I laughed so hard at certain points, I cried. The out takes/”alternative scenes” at the end were worth the price of admission alone. My wife was right; the movie is so ridiculous, it’s funny. Too often, comedy films are just outright ridiculous, and you’re lucky to let loose with a few chuckles. Pure ridiculousness will only get you so far with the movie-viewing public. Pure ridiculousness in the hands of a master like Ferrell, however, will garner you big laughs. Such is the case with Talledega Nights, which even includes an exceptionally brief homage to the late Dale Earnhardt. (If you blink, you’ll miss it; it’s that fast. Fittingly appropriate, given the subject matter.)
There’s a lot to worry about in our world: Israel under attack in the Middle East; Iran and North Korea with nuclear power; Islamofascist terrorism; oil prices still way too high; our jobs; our families. Sometimes, we just need a good laugh, to forget about all the troubles for a couple of hours, and Talledega Nights fills the bill. Go see it.

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In what may be the ultimate example of type-casting, there is a documentary under way about Helvetica. (It’s a font, for those of you who don’t know. Microsoft’s Arial is a blatant rip-off wanna-be of it.) I am very tempted to nab a shirt.
Director Gary Hustwit:

Why make a film about a typeface, let alone a feature documentary film about Helvetica? Because it’s all around us. You’ve probably already seen Helvetica several times today. It might have told you which subway platform you needed, or tried to sell you investment services or vacation getaways in the ads in your morning paper. Maybe it gave you the latest headlines on television, or let you know whether to ‘push’ or ‘pull’ to open your office door.

Since millions of people see and use Helvetica every day, I guess I just wondered, “Why?” How did a typeface drawn by a little-known Swiss designer in 1957 become one of the most popular ways for us to communicate our words fifty years later? And what are the repercussions of that popularity, has it resulted in the globalization of our visual culture? Does a storefront today look the same in Minneapolis, Melbourne and Munich? How do we interact with type on a daily basis? And what about the effects of technology on type and graphic design, and the ways we consume it?
Look for the film in 2007.
[Via the Iconfactory.]