Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scott's Links May 2012

Scott roams the internet far and wide to ply his trade as a link dealer. Fortunately, Scott provides links free to us. Check these out. . . share your thoughts! And away we go. . .

Top 10 conservative Daily Show segments

One of my favorite segments (from when I used to watch the show) features correspondent Rob Riggle covering Berkeley's response to the opening of a Marine recruitment center. One protestor mentions his Constitutional right to free speech and Riggle - a Marine Corps Reserve officer - asks, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if there was a group of people whose job it was to protect that right?"

One of the best analyses of a movie I've ever read

The movie... Ghostbusters. The writer... a film school grad not much older than myself who also enjoys 80s pop culture. Like many people who write in-depth pieces on movies, this guy reaches a bit here and there but he makes some good points. He refers to the film as not "anti-government" but "anti-institution." (I don't expect any comments about this one - it takes a while to read!)

Are we being too hard on movie trailers?

A great movie trailer is a work of art in and of itself. On the other hand, too many trailers give out important plot points and I hate this new trend of teasers for new trailers. Has anyone seen one of these? "Coming this Friday... the trailer!" I am content to wait till Friday; I don't need the fanfare.

The two ways science fiction is slowly destroying itself

In short, too much time travel and too much dystopia. I don't have a problem with either but, to paraphrase Captain Kirk, "Too much of anything isn't necessarily a good thing!" Even Popular Mechanics has gotten into the dystopia issue, stating that we need big, bold (and optimistic!) science fiction to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

When good movies are bad news

The author makes a good point: thanks to endless sequels, spinoffs, etc. actors like Robert Downey Jr. are tied up for years. If he wasn't Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, one wonders what other movies he might've done instead.

The classic origins of today's Hollywood design

While I'm no expert, I'm a big fan of "retrofuturism" which is a design aesthetic that pays homage to pre-1960 visions of the future. Thanks to films like Captain America and Men in Black 3, we're seeing more of this influence on the big screen and I think that's a good thing.

Drug doubles: what actors actually toke, smoke, and snort on camera

Interesting. The idea of snorting anything, even if it's fake, disgusts me. Incidentally, on the Scarface DVD documentary, Al Pacino refuses to say what he actually snorted. "Don't get high on your own supply" indeed!

Revisiting the legendary flop Ishtar

I've never seen the film and a DVD/Blu-Ray release was announced and then delayed. Surely it can't be as bad as its reputation suggests? Writer/director Elaine May (along with her old partner Mike Nichols) might be too, uh, intellectual for me at times but I enjoyed her in Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks.

A father's plea: stop supporting bad films "for the children"

Amen! Parents, please stop taking your kids to see crappy movies just because they're "for kids." It has nothing to do with objectionable content and everything to do with the bar being set too low. And the more money these movies make, the faster the studios will rush out the sequels.

The definitive history of Animaniacs

I watched this show as a kid. I had actually forgotten how risque some of the material was. But I will always remember Yakko singing the countries of the world. And who doesn't love Pinky and the Brain?!

What we've learned from audio commentaries

I've sent these articles to Big Hollywood individually over the months but here they are in one shot. A good commentary can be like film school and the guys at Film School Rejects have taken the best bits and presented them for all to see.

What I learned about pregnancy from the movies

"When you’re pregnant, you won’t know until some hilarious or uncomfortable thing alerts you to the fact." Yeah, sounds about right!

Last night's listening:

Danny Elfman's score for Batman Returns, Tim Burton's 1992 follow-up to the enormously successful Batman. I don't care what anyone says... I love this movie. Is it faithful to the comics? No, but I'm not a fanatic when it comes to that stuff. To lure Burton back into the fold, Warner Bros. basically told him, "Forget Batman. Make a Tim Burton movie!" Needless to say, he did. La-La Land Records released the complete, remastered score for the film in 2010 and it sounds great. You get all the usual Burton/Elfman ideas: clown music, a chorus, etc. It's all very Gothic.


AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Thanks for the links. I'll check them out and comment in a bit.

Anonymous said...

Your welcome! Truth be told, I don't expect tons of replies this time around.

I have school later and a dinner to go to but I'll chime in when I can. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

A banquet at the Sizzler? ;)

Anonymous said...

Tijuana Flats, actually. I'm meeting my brother and his girlfriend (now fiance) to discuss their impending nuptials. For some reason, she's put me in charge of all photo/video work even though I own no equipment and I have no interest in "working" that night. We'll think of something.

(Considering how much I'm planning to drink, it would be funny to see the photos gradually get worse!) :-)

K said...

Scott, love the links. I really like the "Instapundit" format which allows you to pick and choose but with some direction from the "editor".

tryanmax said...

The movie trailer link is broken.

AndrewPrice said...

Fixed. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Animaniacs! How many shows could work "Eisenhower, Mamie" into its theme song?

Also agreed about sci fi: too much focus on a sucky future and not enough on just the sheer excitement of, er, going where no man has gone before. I think Sarah Hoyt is among the writers calling for more "wonder" and exploration in the wider genre.

-- Big Mo

T-Rav said...

Cool stuff, Scott.

Looking back, it's amazing to me how much of the stuff we watched as kids, such as Animaniacs, was really risque and went completely over our heads. Or at least it went over mine. I remember watching Hocus Pocus when I was six or seven, and while I knew some of the dialogue in it concerned "grown-up" topics, I didn't understand it until much later and thought, "You know...that's kinda inappropriate."

NightcrawlerER said...

A conservative Daily Show segment? Must have been an accident.

Anonymous said...

K -

Thanks! I enjoyed sending links to Big Hollywood (when they did the daily bulletin) but the one thing I didn't like was that they were usually presented in a random list with no comment.

I enjoy writing the little editorials. :-)

Anonymous said...

Anon -

Here's a link to the Popular Mechanics article which you might enjoy. I'm not familiar with Sarah Hoyt but I have a big backlog of classic sci-fi I need to read one of these days.

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

Sorry about the bad link and I'm glad to see Andrew fixed it in my absence. I hope you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

A friend of mine told me about an Animaniacs gag where Yakko tells Dot to get someone's "fingerprints" and Dot says, "Finger Prince?" I didn't believe it till I saw the clip for myself!

When it comes to cartoons and kids' movies, I think there's a fine line between a gag that is obviously inappropriate and one that's a little more subtle with a wink and a nod. Of course, the people who complain about that sort of thing will no doubt complain either way.

Anonymous said...

Nightcrawler -

Yeah, they've been known to throw conservatives a bone now and then. :-)

rlaWTX said...

Animaniacs was after my time. We had Smurfs - does that count? The best cartoons were the old Bugs and friends - "kill de wabbit, Kill de wabbit", "I'll love him and squeeze him and call him George", "zzzzzzzzzoom" & "kaboom" (Roadrunner & Wile E. Coyote). I miss those - I can't find them on TV now!

Dystopian futures: I get the downerness of that, but there are some good stories (Hunger Games). And Battleship was way less dystopian and way more "Go, USA!" I fully admit that I'm not nearly the critic y'all are, but I don't see how someone couldn't enjoy the "Mighty Mo", and vets, and the kicking ET's tail... (and the geek "acquiring courage", and the real Army Colonel (ret) playing the injured Army vet, and the good guy having to grow up and take charge, ... did I mention I enjoyed it a bit?)

T-Rav said...

rla, since you brought it up, I started reading Hunger Games Monday night (my mom bought all three a while back), and I'm currently about two-thirds of the way through the second book. They're page turners, I have to say.

rlaWTX said...

I lent mine to my uncle - which means I can't re-read them to discuss them with people who just read them - AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! ;)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav and rlaWTX, My mother just finished the series and it's not at all the sort of thing she normally reads. She loved it.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The "What I learned about pregnancy" article is really funny: “Silly lady, you’re pregnant! By the way, did you have sex recently? That probably did it.”

T-Rav said...

rla, I almost breezed through the first one since I already saw the movie. The second one is taking longer, since I'm new to it.

It's pretty good so far, though I can definitely notice where the deviations came in. Which might not be a bad thing. If the scene with the "mutts" at the end of the movie had been played exactly as it goes in the book....well, I don't think that would have gone over well.

Anonymous said...

rlaWTX -

I am well aware of The Smurfs and they totally count! I was born in the early 80s so I came in at the tail end of a lot of those cartoons. And my parents are thankful I grew up just in time to avoid Barney the Dinosaur!

I love a good dystopia but I agree that the "We're doomed!" trope can be overused and abused.

I haven't seen Battleship but I'm sure I'll Netflix it later. It's nice that it's patriotic and all but... it still looks stupid. :-) As I told Andrew the other day, I think audiences know when they're being sold a bill of goods and a movie based on a boardgame reeks of desperation.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav, et al -

I haven't read any of The Hunger Games books but I look forward to Netflixing the movie. In the meantime, I find myself with a huge crush on Jennifer Lawrence. Seriously, how could you not love a girl who goes on TV and demonstrates this?! :-)

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

The article is funny because it's accurate. (Well, movie-accurate, not real life-accurate.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, So you won't be seeing "Checkers" the movie? ;)

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I'm just waiting for them to start making foods into movies. Give me Hot Pocket: The Movie!

Having said that, Ridley Scott was developing a Monopoly movie but I haven't heard about it in months. And Universal was developing a Ouija board movie but they might be having second thoughts about it now.

rlaWTX said...

There is a "game-like" part in the battle that was actually kind of neat...
But we established long ago that I am more willing to "suspend disbelief" than most on here... ;)

mmmm hot pockets...

T-Rav said...

Scott, a bit raunchy in the commentary for my tastes, but I like it.

And yes, I fully agree about having a crush on Jennifer Lawrence. Even more than that, though, it's nice to see someone in Hollywood of her age bracket who a) is unapologetically flyover-country in her makeup and b) can actually act, unlike a lot of the spoiled hacks on the screen nowadays.

Anonymous said...

rlaWTX -

No worries! There are plenty of movies where I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief... more so than usual. If a movie is good, then it could do whatever it wants as long as there's some kind of internal logic at work.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

I apologize... are you saying I was to raunchy in my commentary above or are you referring to something at one of the links?

Please clarify so I know for the future! :-)

Tennessee Jed said...

well Scot, sorry to be late checking in today. We've had some health issues going on with my mother-in-law so schedule has been up down and sideways. Some great links, btw. I agree with just about all of them, but particularly the sci-fi destruction piece, and the retro classic Hollywood design. As far as Ishtar--relative to the "it can't be as bad as they say" thought, you may be surprised. It can, and it is, but that is just my own opinion. I am finding some great audio commentaries, and even better, some educational extra documentaries.

Tennessee Jed said...

Oh, and Elfman-- I'm a definite fan, but for some strange reason, have been less able to share the love for Tim Burton. I honestly can't tell you why.

T-Rav said...

Scott, I was referring to the latter. If I ever think you're getting too raunchy, I shall be very direct about it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

No problem. As soon as I posted the comment, I looked back at the Jennifer Lawrence article and I assume you were referring to the intro. Well, it is one of those websites. I won't make a habit out of linking to that stuff. :-)

tryanmax said...

You know I love the link lists, but you picked some long ones this time, buddy boy. No way I could read them all on my lunch *ahem* hour, let alone respond.

Magic Moments Jon Stewart may be an unabashed liberal, but I think there is at least some hope for him and his ilk.

"He Slimed Me" The guy certainly takes his time in making a point. Every subheading could be reduced to a single paragraph. I didn’t make it past the introduction because he talks too much about himself and failed to actually introduce whatever was intended to follow. He may have some interesting ideas, but he should have mined them out before putting them on display.

Such a Tease All that criticism of movie trailers tells me is that the present technique has gotten tired. Remember the old promos with the giant words flashing across the screen and the voice over guy reading what amounts to a dust-jacket synopsis? From today’s perspective, it’s hard to believe those ever worked. I predict that the drawn-out campaigns will give way to short, pre-release blitzes in the near future. The long campaigns aren’t generating the buzz they used to and actually cause people to stop paying attention as release date nears. Buzz will start in the trades, as it always has and the trailers will become mere teasers once again.

One idea that I’m surprised has never been tried (to my knowledge) is to use the trailer as a prologue. That mean, whatever is in the trailer isn’t actually in the movie, but it leads into the movie. In a book, a good prologue excites the reader enough to plow through those first few chapters where the characters and plot get established, but the excitement level is generally quite low. Obviously, that wouldn’t work with everything, but it would surely work with something.

DESTROY!!! This is a very good explanation for how one can love sci-fi but like so little of it. I think the draw to sci-fi and fantasy both should be the head-scratching aspect of it. It should get you thinking, spawn conversations you’ve never had. It’s depressing how many times I’ve found myself in the “how are you preparing for the apocalypse?” conversations. Really?

Now, maybe I’m in denial because my supply of ammunition and MREs is approximately nil. Or maybe I just figure I’ll be up against the wall when the revolution comes--problem solved. In either case, the author makes a good point that sci-fi used to be about brighter futures. Now it’s largely about nostalgia for brighter pasts while dreading the future.

I do take issue with slighting The Time Traveler’s Wife which I thought was an imaginative and truly sci-fi film.

"Ya take the good, ya take the bad…" For what it’s worth, the whole concept is a bit of marketing genius. We can say that because it pulled off. It basically takes the concepts of sequels, prequels, crossovers, and franchises and mashes them all together. (Hey, if none of those things worked, there wouldn’t be so many to complain about.)

My only riff is that there was not and is no planned Hawkeye movie. (I could ask for a Black Widow movie, too, but that might be too thin a veil for what it is I really want…) I know all about the various studios holding rights to Marvel properties, so I’m not even going to go into legally impossible crossovers.

***spoiler alert***I’m going to take the opportunity to offer a tiny bit of criticism for The Avengers movie. Hopefully it’s not too soon. In one critical scene (I won’t spoil too much), Agent Coulson tells Loki that he will lose because he "lacks conviction." However, we never see that come to bear later in the film. In fact, when Thor makes a final appeal to his brother to end his scheme, Loki seems utterly convicted to continue. In the end, Loki loses because he is simply outmatched.

(to be continued...)

tryanmax said...

(...Electric Boogaloo)

Retro Futures It makes a lot of sense for MIB III to nod at those early, campy sci-fi films. Not only is the MIB franchise camp in its own right, but it humorously ret-cons the past to pardon some of those goofy alien designs by suggesting that, for all their weirdness, they were actually based on real aliens by those "in the know. " Bravo!

As for the article overall, aren’t we already in the midst of a comeback of some of those sleek mid-20 c. designs?

Drug of Choice In my acting experience, I’ve never had to simulate taking drugs, though I have had to smoke more unfiltered Lucky’s than I ever cared to. Blech! Alcohol, on the other hand, also has its doubles, as on-stage inebriation is a no-no. For my part, some dye in water can get you almost anything, but there are some directors who insist on iced tea for bourbon. Whatevs. Ginger ale is a poor substitute for sparkling wine in my estimation. It costs more, but for authenticity use sparkling juice. Still, either way it’s no skin off my nose. Just stop slipping bitters in the bottle. I’m an actor, remember? I can pretend to react to the flavor, even when it’s not there. Grrr!

Ishtared and Feathered I haven’t seen the movie, so that lousy pun is all I’ve got.

Fathers’ Rights I’ve said it before, anyone claiming they want to do something for the children is really out to screw the adults. And it couldn’t be truer than it is in the movie industry. My little girl is autistic, so we only do the sensory-friendly films as a family. Personally, I think autistic children have more sophisticated tastes. They won’t sit through anything remotely boring. Flash and dazzle doesn’t do it for these kiddos (obviously), so it all comes down to colorful characters, engaging story, and originality. There’s no age limit on those.

Hello, Nurse! I’m a little stunned myself that they got away with all those Jessica Rabbit-esque cartoon females.

Some people never learn I guess audio commentaries just aren’t my bag. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever listened to one and I keep coming up, "no."

Expect the unexpected One item missing from the list: Emergency C-section? What’s that? Don’t all breech babies miraculously flip at the last second? Okay, one other missing thing: newborns aren’t cute until after the first couple of minutes. Until then, they are just purple.

Hollywood does have one thing right, however, though it doesn’t come up except in the occasional comedy: placentas are weird and gross.

Batman As far as I am concerned, the mournful French horn sounding a minor arpeggio followed by the one-note major decentis the Batman theme. As fun as the 60s surf rock theme is, it has been supplanted. And whatever that is that Hans Zimmer is doing just isn’t going to upset it. Elfman’s music has always been the perfect accompaniment to Tim Burton’s rather jaundiced take on 20th c. Americana. The modern mythos of the superhero is not beyond the duo’s reach, and one can certainly appreciate Elfman’s heroic yet somehow off-kilter take on the vigilante detective. In other words, it’s impossible to imagine a more fitting musical theme for the morally ambiguous crime fighter who may only be a hair saner than his foes.

Anonymous said...

Jed -

No worries. Family first!

Re: Ishtar, it's never on TV and as I said, a DVD was announced, then delayed. I might have to download it one day just to see for myself. There's nothing like a good trainwreck!

Re: commentaries, Andrew and I have discussed it before and you might even remember I wrote about it but a good commentary can be an invaluable source of information. (And some are pretty funny, too.) I also love a good documentary but for a variety of reasons ($$$), the studios don't like paying for long in-depth programs. Instead, we'll get a bunch of shorter featurettes.

Re: Elfman, I'm a huge fan and he's one of the first film composers whose name I could easily identify in the credits. I've also been a life-long Burton fan but I'm the first to admit he's not for everyone. I haven't even seen Dark Shadows yet.

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

I picked a few more this time around since BH no longer does the daily bulletins. I rarely pay attention to article length (the Ghostbusters piece is an exception). :-)

Re: Magic Moments - I don't have a dog in that fight. I think Stewart's producers know good material when they see it but I'd love to be a fly on the wall during one of those pitch meetings.

Re: "He Slimed Me" - I suppose there's a right way and a wrong way to write these things. I've never done one myself but I suppose if it were a movie I grew up with and loved, I'd be compelled to write about how I became a fan.

Re: Such a Tease - I agree with everything you said. That the trailers are now Big Events almost detracts from the final product. In my lifetime, one of the best teasers is still the one for Independence Day with the White House blowing up.

Re: DESTROY!!! - As I mentioned above, all things in moderation. :-) I suppose it's all a cycle and in a way, reflective of our times. Watch any sci-fi documentary and they'll talk about the serials of the 30s and 40s followed by all the horror movies in the 50s, Cold War analogies, fear of the bomb, etc. I suppose the obsession with the apocalypse (and by extension, zombies) is simply a reflection of our fears today.

Re: "Ya take the good, ya take the bad..." - I agree that it's brilliant from a marketing standpoint but I think the one thing that bothers me is simply the level of saturation. Superhero movies are now cranked out like so many assembly line cars that each one is rendered a little less special. They used to be Event Movies and some still are (The Avengers, The Dark Knight, etc.) but if you miss one, there's always another one coming 'round the corner.

Re: Electric Boogaloo - I for one love the MIB "1939 World's Fair" aesthetic. Whether we're nostalgic for a "simpler time" or we just love good architecture, I don't know. But I'm a fan. And like many of these things, I can't quite articulate why. I just know what I like when I sees it. :-)

Re: Drug of Choice - I was once an extra during a wedding scene for some corny cable movie and they used ginger ale for wine. I drank a lot of ginger ale that day!

Re: Ishtared and Feathered - It was worth it for the pun! :-)

Re: Hello, Nurse! - I'm sure if I watched the show now, I'd be surprised by all the things they got away with, too. I guess when you have Spielberg's name on your project, you get a certain amount of leeway.

Re: commentaries - No worries. Some people like 'em, some don't. But there are many that are just downright fun and entertaining to listen to.

Re: Expect the unexpected - Yeah, movies always cut to the cute baby and not the slimy purple blob!

Re: Batman - you obviously know music better than I do but the one thing I wish Nolan's films had were better scores. I realize he's not making that "type" of film and huge symphonic scores aren't really in vogue nowadays but is a hummable theme too much to ask?

tryanmax said...

Ah, Independence Day! One of the earliest films to adopt a less-than-sensible promotional abbreviation, in this case ID4. That concept was way ahead of it's time, only finally finding usefulness in the Twitterverse. That was a well-promoted movie, and all you knew going in was that the aliens come and blow famous $#!+ up. That was bold and new at the time. By the time 2012 came out...*yawn*

All I can say is that at least they've maintained a high bar on the Marvel Universe films. And you can't beat using product to sell more product. I just don't understand how it took so long for the "collect them all" approach to come to cinema?

I still wouldn't mind if Fox did an X-Men/Fantastic 4 crossover, though it's probably well past time to strike that iron. I will still suggest a promotional abbreviation, though: XMF4

LOL! I meant "Electric Boogaloo" to indicate part II of my post. The MIB section was supposed to be Retro Futures but I italicized by mistake.

I'm sure most eyes aren't as careful as mine and ginger ale would look enough like champagne to pass. Still, if you're going to do something...

I totally feel you on the need for a hummable theme, especially when it comes to super heroes. I mean, why call in a symphony at all if you're not even laying down a melody? May as well be all techno drum loops otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have fond memories of ID4 fever and I wish I knew what movie I was watching where I first saw that teaser. Hmm... 1996. Fox movies. Age-appropriate. Dunston Checks In? Down Periscope? We'll never know.

Ah, I got my section titles wrong. I guess that proves "Electric Boogaloo" can be used to describe many things. :-)

As for superheros, hell, it took years just to get a Batman movie and it only took four movies to completely ruin it. And after years of seeing their properties treated poorly, I guess Marvel and DC finally decided to take film production into their own hands.

I'm sure there's a complicated history here but I'm not a big comic book guy so I am only aware of it as a film-goer.

tryanmax said...

Scott, it's an amazingly simple story considering Marvel thrives on convoluted ones. In the late 90s, Marvel went bankrupt. They sold the movie rights to several characters. Buyers included Fox, Sony, and Universal. (After Ang Lee shat all over the Hulk, Marvel bought him back.)

The DC side is simpler: Warner owns DC.

Well, one thing is not quite so simple. You see, DC only owns parts of Superman. The Siegel estate owns the other parts. The dissection is kinda weird, as the Siegels own Supe's origin story and costume, but DC owns things like his ability to fly and all of the villains.

This is why near-perpetual copyrights need to go, people!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a big mess.

You want to hear another tale? I'm a little cloudy on this but, from what I understand, a few years ago, Viacom separated into two companies, with Paramount remaining the same but the TV library being folded into a new entity: CBS Productions.

This means the Star Trek films are technically owned by one company but the TV shows are owned by another company. (And ironically, the show didn't even air on CBS!)

tryanmax said...

That actually doesn't surprise me.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It's always a great day when you get an Electric Boogaloo reference! :)

Nice discussion of the list. I see you're enjoying the link articles very much.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. As I've written before, I hate the incredibly long copyrights. They need to go. The life of the artist or some fix period of years should be enough.

Kit said...

Loved one of the comments at the "Science Fiction is ruining itself".
This one about America:

"America (in particular, I know this is elsewhere but I can't speak for all other countries) tends to go through phases of disillusionment and despair ("Mankind has never been this badly off, our rich are as bad as Hitler and our country is spiralling into the dark ages", a time of fire-and-brimstone preachers) followed by waves of optimism and somewhat equally unrealistic expectations of a bright future ("This bubble will never end! Why not take out a massive loan I can never pay back?", etc)."

And this:
"Too, Hollywood and the publishing industry have long histories of taking a successful story/theme/character pairing, etc (usually successful due to high-quality writing and production values), and beating it into the ground with shoddy remakes and knockoffs, none of which are as revolutionary, interesting, or successful as the original."

Kit said...

Good Night Everybody - The Ultimate Innuendos and Adult Jokes of Animaniacs


tryanmax said...

Scott, I was thinking about Stewart and Colbert some more after watching the Daily Show clips yesterday and here is what I concluded. First of all, they are very clever. Not just the segments themselves, but obviously the minds that set them up. What makes their interviews so funny is how they allow the interviewee to twist him/her self into knots with very little prompting. I don't know how much of that is achieved in the editing, but the point is they can get these people to contradict themselves on camera.

Contrast that against conservative hosts like O'Reilly and Hannity who try to do the same thing, but simply end up browbeating somebody who is clearly not their intellectual equal.

"Coming up, I take on an eight-year-old who thinks that schools should have more recess. We'll see what she has to say after this..."

"...and, welcome back. My guest is Allissa Baker, a third-grader who believes there should be more recess during school. Allissa! What's your problem?"

"Well, Bill, I like recess, and it's fun, and I like to go outside, and I think we should have more recess."

"But it's school. If you don't go to school to learn, you'll just be keep being stupid."

"It's not nice to call people 'stupid.'"

"Oh, what's the matter? Did I hurt your little feelings?"

"Stop picking on me."

(getting louder) "This is what you liberals always do! It's all about feelings, isn't it?"

(whimpers) "No."

(yelling) "I don't feel like studying, so I should just get more recess. Is that it!?"

(crying) "Stop it!"

"Oh, you want me to stop!? You're the one who wants to stop going to school. Maybe we should all just stop what we're doing and go to the playground! How does that sound!?"

"I want my mommy!"

"See, that just proves my point. You liberal pinheads are all just a bunch of whiny children begging for someone to take care of you. It's sad. You know, in a way, I almost feel sorry for you."

(sobbing) "No--you--d-d-don't!"

"Well, we're just going to have to leave it at that because we're out of time. Tune in tomorrow when I take on a puppy who has spent his whole life sucking at the teat. And get this, he claims he can't open his eyes! We'll just see about that. Until next time, goodnight."

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Isn't that the truth. Hollywood seems to work on the theory that if one is good and two is better, then 1000 would be even better, and if people will buy 1000, then quality doesn't matter so just throw it together. Arg.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think there are several reasons for that.

First, I don't think O'Reilly or Hannity actually have that firm of a grasp on the issues that they can trip people up.

Plus, they are dealing with people who are generally more knowledgeable. By comparison, the comedians are picking out idiots and messing with them.

It's the same thing like a lawyer v. an average person compared to a lawyer v. a lawyer. The lawyer can easily make the average person look like a fool, but it's a lot harder with the lawyer.

Secondly, I don't think O'Reilly or Hannity have a single funny instinct in their bodies, so they lack the sense of humor it takes to "play with people."

Finally, if you take them at face value, O'Reilly and Hannity are handicapped by needing to "stay honest" to some degree. By comparison, the comedians can take contradictory positions or no position and can twist things as they want to trip the person up.

All of that makes a huge difference.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Science fiction dystopia....

When the time get bad the arts get pessimistic. That's kind of like saying 1970s films are too gritty. Considering crime was at an all-time high as was urban plight following LBJ's socialist "Great Society" -- those 1970s urban nightmares were a reflection of a large part of the mood of the times (and ditto some of the sci-fi of the times also from Soylent Green to Escape From New York in terms of film anyway.

When unemployment lessens and thew global conflict situation stabilizes sci-fi will get rosier again.

And no love for our Star Wars radio play link? :-)

Floyd R. Turbo said...

that should be urban "blight" though I guess "plight" works too.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, my only point of disagreement with you is that the Hannity/O'Reilly types are taking on more knowledgeable people. My dialogue is an exaggeration, of course, but they do sometimes take on people clearly out of their league with no sense of tounge-in-cheek.

As to the comedians, among the clips Scott shared, the comedians take on an official union rep, a well-known editorialist, and a SF Councilman. Okay, arguably those are low-fruit, but I think that's more of an "our circle" thing. They snag idiots, too, like the OWS people. Overall, I'd say both groups take on about the same mix.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, That's true, art reflects the mood of the country at the time and bad times produce pessimism.

Still, there really has been a near complete lack of happy-science fiction for a long time now.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's true, they don't only take on idiots.

The thing is though, when you take on someone who goes on television to talk for a living, they are a much harder target to twist around than someone who doesn't do that and isn't familiar with the pressure.

That's why you will never out-talk a lawyer in a deposition, because the lawyer's done it so much it's easy for them. By comparison, most normal people will never be deposed or only once. So they have no skill for it.

Plus, it's also likely that Colbert/Stewart are just mentally quicker than Hannity or O'Reilly. You can't count that out either. I've never thought of either Hannity or O'Reilly as particularly bright.

rlaWTX said...

There's also a difference between playing a topic for a laugh and proving your dogmatism correct / another's dogmatism wrong. Even if those playing a situation/topic for laughs have an ideological perspective, their highest purpose isn't (generally) protecting that perspective. I figure (without having seen it - just going by commentary) that when Colbert/Stewart etc start hanging onto their perspective too hard, they lose the laughs.

Anonymous said...

Kit -

I mentioned it above but when it comes to sci-fi, the first commenter is more or less in the ballpark (not so much with the Hitler reference!): we do go through these happiness/malaise cycles and our science fiction seems to reflect that. And unfortunately, Hollywood does have a bad habit if finding something it likes and, as the years go by, overdoing it to the point of ruin.

It's just a phase and in five years when Commentarama is in 3-D or holographic or something, I'll be posting another link complaining about something else. :-)

Anonymous said...

Floyd -

I commented on your Star Wars radio play link! I thought the best part was John DiMaggio doing Paul Lynde as the cantina alien and Maurice LaMarche doing Inspector Gadget as Obi-Wan. (LaMarche more or less started doing Gadget when Don Adams no longer could; he voiced the character on some direct-to-video movies.)

tryanmax said...

rlaWTX, You are right on the money. I haven't watched either show for awhile (or the Fox ones for that matter), but the funny goes away quick when things get dogmatic. Usually, though, it's a guest who gets that way and Stewart or Colbert manages to turn it back. For being a comedy show, it's amazing how few of the guests appear to understand that.

But, yeah, in contrast the guys on Fox are not trying to be funny, just trying to be right. I really wish we had more comics on the right. The fodder is there.

Even if you don't watch any of the rest, you have to watch the one about San Francisco's Happy Meal ban.

tryanmax said...

On Star Trek, my fav was Vincent Price as Princess Leia. I can't get that out of my head.

rlaWTX said...

3-D holographic Commentarama!!! Now there's a future to look forward to!!!

AndrewPrice said...

CommentaramaLabs is working on 3-D holographic... and Smell-O-Vision! :)

Kit said...

Kit is currently trying to imagine Vincent Price calling someone a "stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder."

And he is quite literally ROTFLing

Kit said...


Floyd R. Turbo said...

@Scott DS... I know... I'm just bustin' your chops... forgot the smiley face.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav, I know exactly what you are saying about Animaniacs, but more specifically, Pinky and the Brain, especially when I was older and it clicked in my head that the whole series was designed to parody politicians, including then-president Bill Clinton, I decided to watch them all over again!

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