Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some random thoughts on movies and their previews, which I'm too lazy to weave into any kind of coherent narrative: 

Clash of the Titans. Iron Man 2. Prince of Persia. Robin Hood. The Losers. The Expendables.

These are all movies I'm interested in seeing (with the exception of CotT, which I've already seen).

And the method of promoting these movies invariably leaves me feeling underwhelmed at the finished product.

Nowadays most hardcore fans know about movies long before they've even begun shooting. They've seen preproduction art. They know the casting and who was in the running for various parts and why they were chosen (or else they've had it all explained to them by their fanboy friends). They've formed opinions on who would be better or worse. They have a stake in the product, usually because the movies are based on comics, or tv shows, or other movies, or video games, or books (The Losers and The Expendables being two notable exceptions to the above list). If you care enough to find out, there are no surprises, and the powers that be couldn't keep a secret if they wanted to. And lately it doesn't seem like they want to.

The trailers are released with much fanfare, to much anticipation. They are slick affairs and often complete little movies in themselves. They do their job very well. Soon they release more trailers that are mostly the same but might have a new scene or two. Then they release a series of film clips to the internet, often seven or more, and before you know it you've seen at least part of every major scene in the movie. You know the plot and you probably know how it ends. You walk out of the theatre, not so much evaluating the product on its own merits, but evaluating how well it lived up to your expectations.

What to do about all this? I'm not sure. I write as someone who enjoys the anticipation a great deal. I check out moviebox at least once a day, along with ain't it cool and the like. How much the studios can or should control the amount of information that makes it to the public is a tricky subject. I would, however, make the following three observations:

• "You can't stop the signal". If people want to know, they can find out. The best the studios can do is try to manage the information flow.

• There's such a thing as too much information. Previews are supposed to be the free appetizer that whets your appetite for the main course. if you give away everything of value before the movie even comes out, why should I pay to see it?

• As long as hollywood continues to mine derivative sources, this problem will exist.

Plus, a brief rant: Those trailers that they show on the internet? Those are commercials. When you attach commercials to commercials you tick people off. If you make me sit through a 30 second spot on Glade Plug-Ins® just to watch a 30 second spot on Iron Man, well the only thing you've accomplished is firming my resolve to not buy Glade Plug-In products.

One Term 

(and that term is 'Buckethead' (I kid, I kid.))

John Hinderaker at Powerline has a post about Arizona's immigration legislation wherein he makes this observation towards the end:

"Evidently Obama doesn't think he has a chance of carrying Arizona in 2012--assuming that he intends to run for re-election, which I am starting to doubt."

Mr. Hinderaker was being facetious and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if Obama faced a primary challenge from, say, Hillary Clinton, but I hadn't really considered the idea that he might just walk away. I still don't think it'll happen but the more I think about it the less outrageous it seems.

We should be so lucky.

Update: Like I said.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Follow Up 

I've been wondering why I was so rankled by the tea party criticism. How was this any worse than what's been going on for years? In my gut I knew it was different but I wasn't sure why. Then I realized: for as long I can remember having conservative opinions I've been living with the criticism but it was never technically directed at me.

From 2000 to 2008 it was open season on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, the war on terror, you name it. I was effectively insulted, ridiculed, and vilified by proxy. When someone knows that I (mostly) support Bush and then says "Bush is an evil fascist!" that's an indirect swipe at me. But the operative word is 'indirect'. They may have thought I was evil or (more likely) misguided but their venom wasn't aimed at me.

Things have been taken up a notch now. The tea party is a popular, mainstream, growing movement of people who are genuinely scared and angry. And we are being attacked. Not just our beliefs. Not just the politicians we support. Us. Directly.

Stupid movie stars say stupid things all the time now, but when Janeane Garofalo said that tea partiers were motivated by nothing other than simple racism she was talking about me. When she was given the opportunity to take back or even clarify her comments, she doubled down. It's personal now.

The contempt that the Left has for the people who oppose their policies is on open display. If nothing else I suppose this has the benefit of clarity.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mean Things 

Recently an extended family member had a facebook post with a link to a parody of an interview with the head of a 'tea party'. It was an April Fools prank and it was so ridiculous and over-the-top that it was obvious that it was a parody within the first couple of minutes. Her take, however, seemed to be that it was so "spot-on", you'd think it was real.

Now this person wouldn't have known that I'd been to three different tea party events. I've made it a point not to bring it up (the family is overwhelmingly liberal). She knows I'm politically conservative and we leave it at that. But every so often the mask slips and I'm just astounded. Not so much at what they think of people like me, that cuts both ways. More at what people are willing to say. Not as a slip of the tongue. Not in the heat of the moment. But very matter-of-fact. I've always thought of facebook as a metaphorical living room. Your friends are the people you invite into your house, and the things you post are the things you'd say to them if they were standing right next to you. ("But then why are you posting all this partisan stuff? Huh? Huh?!?") One reason: No One Reads This Blog. This is my catharsis.

Anywho, that wasn't really my point. When I commented that the parody wasn't very convincing unless you already thought tea partiers were like that anyway, one of her friends commented that it seemed accurate to her because that's what they see: coo coos and weirdos and whatnot. Never mind that the demographics are about as mainstream as you can get.

No, my real point (finally!) was that this was a good excuse for another link bomb. This time it's about Mean Things. Nasty rhetoric, incitements to violence and actual violence from the Left. To feel the hate, go here, here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here (okay I'm starting to get tired now). Still think that the tea party is scary and the Left is the bastion of reasoned discourse? Then spend some time at Zombietime's hall of shame.

This small list, a random collection of bookmarks over the last couple years, leaves out most minor instances of political vandalism, and most of the stuff pertaining to Sarah Palin (which would basically triple the length of the post).

Update: Ain't that always the way? No sooner do you put up a post and Bam! out comes some more stuff that's too good to pass up.

Who're the hateful extremists? This guy? Or the people who did this?

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