Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Scott's Links April 2012

Scott roams the internet far and wide. Because of this, he supplies interesting links to Big Hollywood every day. I've asked Scott to give us a list of the best links he finds each month and a quick synopsis of what's behind each one. Check these out. . . share your thoughts! And away we go. . .

10 ways self-hating fans make genre entertainment worse

I can't disagree with any of this and I'm guilty of some of these myself, especially #9. Why does the geek world have to be full of haters? We're all on the same side here!

"My two husbands was turnips": thoughts on film noir dialogue

I'm not as well-versed with film noir as I'd like but the one thing I love about the genre is its dialogue. And for some bizarre reason, whenever my friends do impressions of me, they invariably sound like Edward G. Robinson saying, "Yeah, see?!" I don't sound like that!

How the American action movie went kablooey

I'd say this is relevant to some of our recent discussions. Plus, how do you reinvent a genre after it sinks to the level of parody?

The ultimate list of movie sound cliches

Sound is 50% of the film experience, yet we often hear the same sound effects in every movie, as well as the same sound mistakes. For instance, why do we always hear the sound of brushing metal when a character takes a knife out of a cloth pocket?

Home video blunders: when studios do it wrong

They're preaching to the choir with this one. Forced trailers, old video transfers, missing extras, a lack of catalog titles, impossible packaging, and crappy artwork. It almost makes me envy laserdisc collectors, from a time when the studios took this sort of thing seriously.

7 ridiculously outdated assumptions every movie makes

I can't disagree with any of these either. It's amazing how much of what we know is influenced by what we see in movies. But what we know, in turn, influences future movie makers, creating a bizarre Möbius strip of cliches.

8 weird creatures that need their own SyFy Original movie

Andrew, this one's for you! Personally, I'd love to see SyFy do a movie about the Golem, a creature from Jewish folklore.

"That's the fact, Jack!" 20 facts about Stripes

This is one of my favorite comedies, from an era that managed to crank out (now-)classic comedies left and right. This reminds me... it's been years since we've had a "Misfits join the Army and save the day" movie. Maybe it's time for a new one...?

The Star Trek Las Vegas attraction that almost came to life in 1992

Two words: life-size Enterprise!! No doubt it would've cost a fortune, not to mention maintenance and upgrades. But man, what could've been...

The raunchiest comedy movie posters (SFW)

Memorable movie posters are, for the most part, another relic of yesteryear. And for whatever reason, it's hard to pull off a successful teen sex comedy. You can't pull back but you can't go too far either. I can safely Zapped is quite insane and Mischief is worth watching for two or three reasons. [cough]

Last night's listening:

I'm taking advantage of a feature in Apple's iTunes Match service: after you upload everything to the cloud, you can then re-download everything, including songs you didn't purchase from iTunes, all at a higher bit rate with no DRM. I decided to re-rip some CDs at a higher bit rate (stuff iTunes doesn't have) and yesterday, as I studied for my Art History final, I decided to listen to the Forrest Gump soundtrack. Believe it or not, I actually have some albums with actual songs that have actual lyrics! [smile] This 2-CD set features Elvis, The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, and The Doors, among many others. Can't go wrong with that!


tryanmax said...

Yay! I love the link lists! You can count on a response later today.

Doc Whoa said...

Scott, Thanks for the links. The assumptions one is interesting. I think a couple of those are a reach, but they make some good points about the others.

I agree about the hater-geeks too. I never had understood the anger there.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, nice list as always! I checked them all out and the one that stands out to me is the Nerd wars thing. I think they raise some really good points and I think the whole attitude is strange that "I'd rather have nothing at all than to have something which isn't exactly what I wanted." Why the hate?

The sound list is funny too. It's interesting when you start thinking about it that animals always make noise (which they don't in real life) and that things like knives being pulled out of cloth make metal on metal sounds. I guess we've been conditioned to not even notice these things now?

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

No worries! We're open 24/7. I look forward to your response.

Anonymous said...

Doc -

Your welcome! Yeah, one or two of the assumptions might be reaching a bit but the one that made me think was the one about adopting kids from an orphanage. It's one of those processes that, if portrayed realistically, would be boring on film: filling out paperwork, etc.

As for the hater-geeks, I don't know. I really try not to be one of those people. There isn't even much out there that I actually hate. But there is a lot to which I am totally indifferent.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

Thanks! I have no answer re: the nerd thing. Volumes have been written about geeks and the relationship they have to their favorite creations as well as the creators.

On one hand, I'd rather have nothing than something done badly. On the other hand, I'd never pretend to be into something. Sadly, there are people out there that will profess to liking something, but only in an "ironic" way. Or people who watch one episode of something and claim to be an expert.

#7 is also interesting re: distinguishing between good junk food and bad junk food. I think this goes back to our conversations about movies in the 80s. There has always been cinematic junk food but it's less healthy today than it used to be. And I for one will always compliment a movie that's good junk food.

By the way, SyFy announced 28 new projects yesterday. One of them is the following:

Fan Girl/Fan Boy Project —From the producer of Jersey Shore comes a docu-series that celebrates the incredibly unique, often misunderstood and infinitely fascinating fan girl and fan boy cultures. Production company: 495 Productions. Executive producer: Sally Ann Salsano.

I assume this is the same project I read about four months ago and, if so, I already submitted my audition video. Yes, I know we bash reality TV and rightfully so but I will happily sell out for money! (I would never ask my family to do it, though.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I've given up on SciFi Channel reality tv. I liked Ghosthunters for a while, but since then it's all just been weak and pointless.

On your Golem, by the way, I'm pretty sure SciFi did such a film, though I haven't looked it up.

On the nerd hate, I don't understand it personally, but there really is a lot of anger in the nerd community. I guess anger goes hand in hand with obsession.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, most of that stuff is, as you say, weak and pointless. The press release is here and SyFy seem to have some interesting scripted dramas in development, including a TV adaptation of The Adjustment Bureau(!). And it's always nice to see Trek vets like Bryan Fuller keeping busy.

Knowing SyFy, I'm sure the Golem movie was titled Golem Attack! or they melded it with another creature, Octo-Golem!.

You sum it up perfectly: anger does go hand in hand with obsession, though I'd say it goes hand in hand with passion, too.

tryanmax said...

I don't know why I do this. I guess I have trouble keeping thoughts to myself. (Always have.) So, here are my point-by-point reactions.

H8Rz gonna H8 – Branching off of the author’ 8th point, I notice some genre fans gravitate toward obscure things which are obscure for good reason, encouraging the production of more sub-par garbage. It’s funny, this phenomenon used to be most closely associated with the music industry, but that seems to have faded. I think it died of absurdity, as surely it will in genre entertainment, as well.

Crackin' wise – Noir is a brilliant example of a maxim I am wholeheartedly devoted to: contstraints breed creativity. Everything in its measure, of course, the Production Code put cinema in a box and noir pressed itself into the corners. Throw in the technological limitations of the age and you get some of the most gripping literature since Sophocles took home "Best Newcomer." Also, THIS.

"No Action" Every product has a life cycle and movie genres have theirs. Give it time and the classic action movie will pop up from time to time the way westerns and musicals do now.

Noises Off! – My biggest audio peeve is screeching tires on dirt roads. I've done a lot of stupid things in cars on dirt roads and I've never gotten the tires to screech. Instant storm after a crack of thunder just seems normal to me.

Stupid Studios – These probably seem like brilliant decisions to the people in the boardroom. Studios'= marketing departments are clearly spending more time selling themselves to their parent companies than they are selling product. It's a common trap for marketing departments to fall into, but it's a trap usually set by the folks at the top.

Living in the past – The one that really gets me is school pranks. Even before Columbine high schoolers couldn't get away with the stuff they do in movies. I can only imagine how much worse it is now.

Monster Mash - With the increasing interest in hoarding as a disorder, the world needs a Domovoi movie. Bonus points if they cast Jaime Pressley.

Stripes - This is the first time I've ever heard of "The National Lampoon Radio Hour." I wonder if/where I can find copies?

Vegas Trek - That is a very cool update. Maybe with the newfound publicity, Goddard's 1:1 model Enterprise could find a second chance? It's truly amazing how the decision came down to one guy, and he whiffed. Unbelievable!

Prurient Posters - There's your vocab word for the day! I miss the days when poster art was really art and not just a photo spun through a couple Photoshop filters. And even with the aid of computers you hardly see anything remotely clever like the Spring Break poster, which predates Photoshop by nearly a decade. I've never heard of Mischeif but that is one excellent poster. I love the Zapped tagline.

Gumptrack - One of my favorite soundtrack albums and a great collection of classics!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Octo-Golem! LOL! Actually, they probably renamed it after the first showing and now it's called something like Spider Swamp Attack. They've gotten really weird with their names.

In any event, I'm pretty sure I saw such a thing. I might even have seen it recently. Something rings a bell about some people in Ohio who move through time and are being hunted by the Golem.

There is a fine line between passion and obsession, and many of these fanboys are well beyond that line and moving on at full speed.

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

I like your style - just keep on keepin' on, as the saying goes!

Nerds: You're absolutely right that some people tend to gravitate towards more obscure stuff, and usually for the wrong reason (the reason being that it is obscure, as if that's always a hallmark of quality). I think we all do it to an extent but you know what? We're human being, we seek out what we like, and we should enjoy it regardless. Right now, I'm working on a review of a Canadian sitcom for the site... obscure? Maybe in this country. But that's not why I like it.

Noir: I liked that SNL sketch (one every month isn't too bad, right?). I think some people who praise the old Production Code tend to forget that many filmmakers did everything they could to circumvent it. However, I will agree with the old rule: creativity thrives on restrictions.

Action: I hope you're right.

Sound: I forgot to mention it earlier but the one that annoys me is the same thunder sound used in every movie! The same owl sound, too.

Studios: From what I understand, there are plenty of hardcore film geeks working at the studios but the decisions are made by the marketing people. A studio could spend the money to restore an old film but the marketing people will say it's not worth it to put on Blu-Ray. Huh?

Assumptions: Yeah, kids always seemed to get away with murder (figuratively!) in movies, which leads me to one of my biggest movie pet peeves: oblivious authority figures. Of course, that's because I'm older. When I was younger, I loved stupid adults in kid movies. Not so much today.

SyFy - I got nothin'! :-)

Stripes - This album is the only thing that I could find. I had heard about the Radio Hour years ago but I've never heard it. My dad still has all the old magazines.

Vegas - I doubt that project will be resurrected but I'm pretty sure they're working on something. The sluggish economy hasn't helped, though.

Posters - I, too, miss the days of actual poster art. Posters, like everything else, are focus grouped and tested to within an inch of their life.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

The Golem, time travel... and Ohio?! I have to do some research on this one.

I've been accused of being obsessed myself, at least when I was younger and just getting into this stuff. And to an extent, I was. In subsequent years, I think I found my happy medium. Not to mention the fact that, as far as geeks go, I'm far from the most obsessive. I don't dress up, I don't do cosplay, I don't build my own ship models... I don't do most of that stuff. I've got my books and my DVDs and my film scores... and all this useless knowledge in my head!!

I just need to find a way to profit from it. :-)

tryanmax said...

Scott, I admit I tend to take more umbrage than I should when the nebulous "marketing" gets blamed for various ills. I forget that folks are not pointing at the creative side, but rather the business side.

I can all but guarantee you that somewhere behind every one of those marketing disasters in the article was a decent promo idea that got the life strangled out of it. People ask, "How could they do something so stupid?" I, unfortunately, am able to answer that question. Death-by-committee is the short answer, but I could go deeper.

tryanmax said...

I just need to find a way to profit from it. You and me both, dude.

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

No worries. Marketing is actually something I've always been interested in. In terms of home video (I believe that's the article to which we're referring), it's very discouraging to see what the studios are doing. One on hand, programs like the Warner Archive are a godsend... on the other hand, the studios only seem to be interested in releasing newer titles and older titles that always sell well (The Wizard of Oz, John Wayne films, etc.) while tons of other films rot away in a vault somewhere.

Sony just announced a deal where they're licensing 250 catalog titles to a small outfit called Mill Creek, who will handle packaging and distribution. Obviously, someone crunched the numbers and decided this would be more cost effective.

But as someone on another forum put it: "Sony, the company that invented Blu-Ray, can't even be bothered to release its own titles on the format anymore?"

DUQ said...

Interesting links Scott. I also am puzzled by the nerd hate? I guess people just like to complain?

I don't think the action film is dead, it just hasn't been as big as the comic book films at the moment. But it will come back once they run out of comic book characters.

LawHawkRFD said...

I agree with Andrew on the nerds link.

As for the sound, if a sock to the jaw ever made the sound it makes in movies and on TV, you'd be knocking someone's head off.

On the SyFy channel, I'm still hooked on Eureka, but their movies are parodies of parodies, with really, really bad CGI to go with the has-been lousy actors.

T-Rav said...

Yeah, I'm pretty much done with SciFi (still refuse to call it by its new name) unless they happen to be showing movies (and I mean non-SciFi movies). The last "original special" I saw advertised was something called "Alien Tornadoes." Which leads me to believe they've stopped trying altogether at this point.

Anonymous said...


They don't appear to be running out of comic book characters any time soon. But all it takes is one film:. if an epic insta-classic action film is released, all of the studios will copy it and the following year, we'll have a dozen films just like it.

Anonymous said...

LawHawk -

I don't bother with their original movies. I think I watched the first episode of Eureka but I never followed up with it. The SyFy show I'd like to see one day is Warehouse 13.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

Yeah, the new one is Alien Tornado and I think Jeff Fahey is in it. I won't be tuning in. :-)

At this point, I imagine they have a huge list of titles and they're simply working their way down till they run out.

rlaWTX said...

Hawk, are you watching this new season of Eureka?

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: I suspect this may be their last season coming up. It seems like they've put together a wild and convoluted plot that will probably tie everything together for the series finale. The lost space crew/virtual reality thing is not the kind of fun the series used to be.

Scott: I thought I was the only one who thought Warehouse 13 was great fun (if totally silly).

rlaWTX said...

Hawk, they have advertised this as the last season since before the last one ended... I'm kinda enjoying this arc... I'm very sad they've decided to end it and keep the ghost shows - blech.

Anonymous said...

LawHawk -

It looks like fun and I've heard nothing but good things. I think it's on Netflix Instant so I'll have to check it out one day.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I'm done with SciFi except for the movies, which I sometimes enjoy. But all the rest of their original programing blows Aleteran Wildebeests.

As for the alien tornado, yeah, that's kind of the level they've sunk to. Sad really.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and tryanmax, There's no way to profit from anything cool unless you're a Russian gangster. :(

T-Rav said...

Speaking of idiocy, has anyone checked out the top story in the sidebar? Apparently a bunch of theater executives are talking up the idea of allowing texting in their theaters during movies, because "teenagers have become used to feeling independent, and preventing them from using their phones goes against that."

Excuse me.

(steps outside for a moment)


(steps back in)

Where was I?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yet another reason to avoid the movie theaters... and buy a bigger television! :)

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

Everyday, I read some piece of news which makes me question my interest in working in the film biz.

This bit of texting news is that story for today.

Is this where we're at as a culture?!?! Forget the film experience for a second. Why are we even considering dumbing ourselves down to that level?

In other words...

tryanmax said...

Scott, T-Rav, Sci/SyFi/Fy will never run out of movies ideas. The darn things write themselves.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Tennessee Jed said...

I liked the one about the cliche's best, Scott. :)

Anonymous said...

tryamax -

Genius! By the way, I just watched a documentary on Roger Corman (Corman's World). I highly recommend it and to think, there was a time when all these movies would've been playing in drive-in theaters!

Anonymous said...

Jed -

I aim to please. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, B is genius! I particularly like how Sharkshark isn't allowed. LOL!

T-Rav said...

Andrew and Scott, I've had my fill of banging my head against the wall already today. It's like the forces of nature are conspiring to drive me nuts.

K said...

Anyone interested in exploring geek culture in Japan should be interested in this:

A bit dated now, but still lots of fun and insightful.

Anonymous said...

K -

I'm not really up on my Japanese animation... but it's very telling that they managed to produce a geek parody movie... in 1991!

I'm really conflicted when it comes to this stuff. On one hand, it's great that geek culture is now "popular" but on the other hand, whenever something is popular, it ends up getting co-opted and that leads to all the geek hate and who's a genuine geek versus who's doing it ironically, etc.

tryanmax said...

I think "geek" is just the latest iteration of "punk" so while the mainstreaming of geek/nerd culture will probably have a lingering effect, it's just another phase before punk continues on its fickle way, leaving real geeks better off for it in overall. When punk meets prep, I will have an aneurgasm.

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with punk but I'll take your word for it. :-)

By the way, if you're still reading this, I came across a funny geek link this morning:

18 geeky protest posters

tryanmax said...

Scott, that is geektastic!

There are still punk punks, of course, but as every iteration of punk becomes quasi-mainstream, those of a punk mindset (bucking cultural norms for the sake of it) must move on to other trappings and affectations.

Hence the broad pantheon of punk movements (in no particular order): Spirit of ‘76ers (i.e. 1976—retroactively applied to original “punks”), proto-punks (precursors to ‘76ers), mods, skin(head)s, rude boys, Oi!s, post-punks, New Wavers, No Wavers, Celtic punks (UK), glam punks (a.k.a. Bowies), hardcores, psychobillies, goths, sk8rs, straight edges, Christian punks, riot grrrlz, emos, college rockers, hipsters, nerds, geeks, etc.

As you can probably guess, punk has already moved on from geek as geek is now too mainstream. But our culture is running out of fringes, so who knows what is next?

rlaWTX said...

try - that's a lotta punk! and those links were awesome...

Kit said...

First, loved the SNL sketch, tyranmax. Zooey Deschanel, one of my top 5 dreamgirls.

On poster art, did not look at the link yet but since some of you have expressed a nostalgic love for old posters here is a Nostalgia Critic video about it.
Warning: May Contain Language(though I cannot remember any in this video)

I love the Critic's use of John Williams music throughout his tribute.
Makes me want to go and watch INDIANA JONES again.

Kit said...

Tires did screech for me once.

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