Cinema

The Reason Why

Detail of BuzzFeed "More News" sidebar, 23 February 2015, 07:28 PST.Only twenty-seven?

Your number of the day. We did not bother reading the article. No, really, if there are twenty-seven “important moments” from the Oscars, well, where does that fall in the range? Is it a mean? That would make 2,349 important moments from eighty-seven Academy Awards ceremonies, but that projection is probably unfair since our age of mass media means we can increase the number of important things per second.

Still, though, where are we going to fit in all those important things? Arts education is already woeful in these United States, and nobody really seems to like history despite it being both one of the easier courses on the curriculum and also one of the most important a person can learn. Maybe if we cram it into a business education sequence.

Because that, more than whatever twenty-seven things, is the important lesson to learn: Growing the brand. It is why we teach kids math, not so they can grow up to take pretty pictures of the sky. Pretty pictures are pretty and all, but they don’t put food on the table.

And don’t give us any of that excremental hippie line about math and science saving lives. You can’t save lives if you don’t grow the brand.

Priorities, people.

That’s why twenty-seven.

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Image note: Detail of BuzzFeed “More News” sidebar, 23 February 2015, 07:28 PST.

The Best Blurb Ever

Detail of cartoon by Brian McFadden, 24 December 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.Okay, not really, but, you know, we needed an excuse.

The image is a detail from Brian McFadden’s look at holiday cinema, via Daily Kos Comics.

Sony, in Disgrace

Score another one for terror:

Sony Pictures decided to pull its upcoming comedy “The Interview” from distribution Wednesday amid security concerns and news that the five largest movie theater chains in the U.S. had decided to hold off on screening the film.

“In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film ‘The Interview,’ we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” Sony said in a statement to NBC News.

(Howard)

Question: Why does terrorism work?

Answer: Because people allow themselves to be terrorized.

Look, there is a big difference between Daa’ish riding down the street and whatever the hell Sony Pictures has managed to trip over. The executives owe their resignations; not because the emails were embarrassing or racist or whatever, or even simply because they managed to get hacked and apparently left everything from finished films to forthcoming scripts to everyday chatter there for the taking. They should step down because they just caved.

Nothing about this ridiculous tale sounds quite right to start with. And now this. True, I expected it to go over about as well as Team America, which says whatever it says. True, I really had no intention of wasting the ticket price or viewing time. But Sony has pulled release?

Why do I hear Bill Paxton, whining, somewhere in the dusty halls of memory?

Oh, right. Wrong studio. Still, though.

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Howard, Adam. “Sony pulls ‘The Interview’ from theaters amid security concerns”. msnbc. 17 December 2014.

Overstated, Obviously

Detail of 'Mary Death' by Matt Tarpley, 9 December 2014.It is a famous song: “Thank Heaven for little girls”, though for my rock and roll generation it’s a bit warped, since Pete and Dave appended, in 1985, “and some of the other sizes, too”. And, besides, it’s a fucking twisted songα. No, really, what kind of sick monster sings something like that?β

Still, though, the younger generation, regardless of chromosomal disposition, has much to offer their elders in terms of basic wisdom. Sometimes it’s just about terrifying, ravenous monsters smashing up the city, and that’s all there is to it.

And, you know, every once in a while we ought to pay attention.

Still, though, kaiju pajamas. Fun. Pacific Rim might have been a terrible film better left unmade, but we can pretend that Mary is smart enough to have skipped it and instead, like the geek we know she will grow into—well, barring awful plot twists or one of those weird things where after fifteen years we wonder why she hadn’t grown a day—she has plenty of other reasons to adore (dai-)kaiju in general. And, hey, that way her parents don’t have to explain just who “Slattern” is, or why the writers chose that name.

Or, perhaps, it really is just about terrifying, ravenous monsters smashing up the city, and we really ought not waste our time fretting that Mary has somehow wasted a couple hours of her life on that film.

On a thoroughly unrelated note, I have no idea what to make of the idea that Death can overthink things like that.

You know, just like the rest of us.

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α “Thank Heaven for little girls, for little girls get bigger every day! Thank Heaven for little girls, they grow up in the most delightful way! Those little eyes so helpless and appealing, one day will flash and send you crashing through the ceiling. Thank Heaven for little girls! Thank Heaven for them all! No matter where, no matter who, for without them what would little boys do? Thank Heaven for little girls!”

β Maurice Chevalier wasn’t alone; Perry Como performed the song, too.

Tarpley, Matt. “Pajama Party”. Mary Death. 9 December 2014.

An Example There Being No Such Thing as Bad News

Detail of 'Mary Death' by Matt Tarpley, 2 December 2014.

One might note that it is getting to the point that one needs no longer watch the actual advert in order to know how the movie goes.

Or is that joke too obscure by a generation?

(Detail of Mary Death by Matt Tarpley, 2 December 2014.)

Not Surprising

Screengrab of BET.com, 28 October 2014, showing something about the odd contrast between grave news and pop-culture advertising.

Sometimes, well, it just isn’t surprising. To wit, we are not surprised

• … that a small-time Republican state legislator in New Hampshire plagiarized a speech against marriage equality two years ago.

• … that a small-time Republican state legislator now running for Secretary of State is a Birther, and now she doesn’t want to talk about it.

The lovable Jennifer Rubin just hates  President Obama.• … Jennifer Rubin will take the word of the Iranian government if it means she can criticize President Obama by doing so.

• … the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was “leaked”.

• … that more people are dead after another shooting.

• … or that Seattle has nothing on Chicago when it comes to deadly violence.

And we might also mention that we are not in the least surprised at the amount of unrelated various video websites want us to watch when we click in to read a news story. What’s that? An important news story? Here, we’ll autoplay “Chris Spencer’s Top 5”. Obviously, we’re out of the loop: Who is Chris Spencer? (Wait, wait, don’t tell me. Please.) Why do I care? (Again, I don’t.) And you’re seriously telling me there’s a show called Real Husbands of Hollywood? (Just stop already.) And, no, we’re not really singling out BET; this just happened to be the stark contrast at hand.

To the other, neither will we be surprised if we don’t try a “Not Surprising” list again in the future. These things just should not be thrown together on a moment’s notice.

An Exorcism: I Read It, So You Must, Too

Something about the hair ....

To the one, trivia can be fun.

To the other, it is occasionally a bit unsettling that, well, right. I mean, somebody had to write it down.

Consider it this way: Todd Van Luling’s HuffPo article about “5 Plot Holes You Never Noticed In ‘Star Wars'” is, in its own way, kind of fascinating. Sure, it’s pedantically snobby, and presumes Star Wars viewers are complete morons, but it is not an endeavor without merit. The amount of work it takes to fill the column inches trying to make this sort of stuff sound intellectual complicated should not be understated.

Or perhaps that isn’t fair; those of us who have had the whole thirty-seven years to watch and dream about these films until we’re sick of them are accustomed to this sort of trivial addiction. You know, like that one kid we all knew who collected everything Star Wars, and then used his collection to pay for college. Oh, wait, actually that was kind of smart. Never mind.

But for the youngest generation, who arrived after the prequel trilogy, this stuff might be news. After all, they weren’t there to hear everyone grumbling about the lack of continuity between the two episode blocs as they walked back to their cars after the show.

Then again, in this economy, with a jobless recovery, who can blame a guy for taking what work he can get?

Again, that is probably unfair. But articles like these always recall a curious episode from over a decade ago, before CNN Headline News became the HLN monstrosity you find playing on the flatscreens in a bourgeois McDonald’s. Late autumn, 2003 or so. There’s a war on. The phrase, “I died a little inside”, had not yet risen to fashionable heights. Or maybe it had. A new young reporter gets his first big shot on the air, and he’s stuck doing a report on which sweaters will look best on your small dog during the Christmas season. Which, in turn, is enough to inspire a recollection of the old Wayne Cotter joke about masturbating a fish.α

We should probably take it easy on Van Luling. To the one, it’s a job. To the other, yeah, it’s also just a bit creepy. Flip a coin.

Our apologies, though, Mr. Van Luling. And, honestly? If you can explain to me why anyone in the Universe would wear their hair like Leia’s, that would be a piece of trivia worth more than a Claven on a barstool.β

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α What, you want trivia? Find that joke. It’s sublime.

β It’s called mixing metaphors, an exercise that, as this example shows, should be undertaken with great caution, and only under extremely necessary circumstances. Otherwise it ends up looking like that.

Van Luling, Todd. “5 Plot Holes You Never Noticed In ‘Star Wars'”. The Huffington Post. 21 October 2014.

Stupid

Pinterest, via Facebook.

Something, something, something, Dark Side.

I would be disappointed in my friends, but this is Facebook, and that’s not allowed. We’re only allowed to “Like”.

Then again, it’s a great reminder. That is, perhaps I need new friends, but they’re just Facebook friends. So, you know. Whatever.

Still, though, Tommy Shaw keeps coming to mind. I wonder why?

Then again, I suppose it’s better than the twenty jokes from Tickld. No, really, why would anyone torture their “friends” with this excrement?