Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scott's Links November 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. . .

Creating better villains

Andrew has spoken multiple times about Hollywood's penchant for two-dimensional villains who are evil for the sake of being evil. "The cackling villain in his dark fortress should be shut up and discarded. We are better than this, which means our villains can be too. This also need not mean they’re no longer evil or bad, but their evil and their badness becomes somewhat worse because we understand why they do it. Yes, evil we can’t understand is also horrible – senseless murder, pack rapes, etc. – but we have enough of those in reality." Part 2 of this article continues here.

Indie video stores in the age of Netflix

It's comforting to know that there are still independent video stores out there in this age of streaming wonders. I miss them myself. More than an outlet for movies, video stores were a place to go... if only to briefly hang out with friends whilst perusing the shelves. On one hand, I don't exactly miss going to the store only to find out that the new release I wanted was out of stock. On the other hand, it felt good when I managed to snag the last copy!

The tyranny of cultural choice

I always play the "paradox of choice" card when friends ask me why I order the same two meals at restaurants. This article discusses something slightly different: the author asks "...Does manically devouring as much culture as possible make me a better person or just a better [game show] contestant? I think I know the answer to that one." I've often mentioned how being obligated to see a film or read a book simply makes the process less fun and fulfilling. And as a film school grad, people just assume I like certain movies when the truth is that I like what I like and no one should feel "required" to see something, critical praise be damned.

Why doesn't SyFy have a show like Battlestar Galactica anymore?

It isn't just Galactica, it's any show that takes place predominantly on spaceships. Unfortunately, despite the popularity of comic book movies and the rise of "geek chic," shipboard shows are still considered by some to be just too dang nerdy. And no doubt, budgets play a role, too. "...it's kind of sad that Syfy is never mentioned in the same breath as HBO or AMC as the home of really stab-in-the-gut, thought-provoking programming. Because, after all, science fiction is the genre of big ideas, and it's a genre that allows for huge, sweeping storylines and extreme situations. Syfy really ought to be the channel of television with literary aspirations. So what happened?"

Dawn of the Dad: Fathers are the new videogame superhero

One area in which I am in complete agreement with my conservative friends (uh, I guess that would be you guys!) is the negative portrayal of fathers in pop culture. Thankfully, it would appear, videogames are now starting to feature heroic father figures as protagonists. Perhaps it's due to the aging videogame audience. Or maybe it's because game producers are attempting to bring more meaning to their work. In any case, this is a welcome development.

Why growing up in the 80s and 90s was the best time for cinema

[sigh] Yes, I know I frequently compare today's movies to yesteryear's movies and the rose-tinted glasses accusation is more than appropriate... but one glance at this article brings up some fond memories. You had John Hughes, Steven Spielberg in his prime, kiddie movies that could be legitimately scary, original concepts by Tim Burton, the birth of the action hero, freakin' Christmas movies (!), and another concept that I've had trouble articulating: personality. Even movies that were mediocre or merely okay had personality and memorable moments. You might hate Short Circuit but you remember Johnny 5 and maybe even the Indian guy, too. [smile]

Reasons why you'll always wrongly think your era is the best in cinema

Having said that, maybe it's all bull----. I have to agree with the part about the media: they're incredibly short-sighted (no kidding) and many of today's media personalities grew up in this era so there's an air of generational superiority. And truth be told, the good stuff rises to the top: there were plenty of awful movies made in the 80s but no one remembers them. I must disagree, however, with the author's last point: while we're prone to romanticize the past, there are plenty of "classic" 80s films I saw for the first time in this century but they still worked for me. I watched The Goonies and The Princess Bride in college and they were just as effective as they were 15 years earlier.

10 comedies that tackled serious issues

I hated The Invention of Lying but the rest are pretty spot-on. Comedy is often the best way to explore serious and complex issues. And in the case of truly horrific things like Naziism and fascism, the best way to explore the subject is to simply mock it.

The westerns of Barbara Stanwyck

I love Barbara Stanwyck, specifically circa 1941 when she did The Lady Eve and Ball of Fire. This article focuses on some of her western movies. I vaguely recall Annie Oakley and mainly because Miss Stanwyck couldn't completely hide her New York accent! "Despite living in a post-feminist age, today’s actresses struggle through careers that are erratic and short-lived. They lack an understanding of how a star image works and what it can represent to audiences, especially female viewers. They are subject to the whims of studio execs more interested in the teenage male demographic than in women viewers... By comparison, Stanwyck experienced a career that lasted from the early talkie era to the 1980s."

The worst parts of Prometheus as explained in the original script

I still haven't read Jon Spaihts' original draft of Prometheus so I can't say which was better: his version or Damon Lindelof's revision. One thing is certain: after listening to the audio commentary (with the two writers recorded separately), it's clear both versions had their own unique flaws and many bits that might've explained or motivated certain things were either unfilmed or filmed and left on the cutting-room floor. Consider this article full of spoilers!

Last night's listening:

It's that time of year, then the specialty labels bring out the big guns. Lately, I've been listening to Varese Sarabande's remastered, expanded release of Michael Kamen's action-packed score for Die Hard 2. Not to be outdone, La-La Land Records announced a remastered, expanded release of Kamen's score for Die Hard with a Vengeance, which features one of the best recordings of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" I've ever heard. Just to give you guys a hint of things to come, these two films (and the two that bookend them) are going to get much more attention 'round these parts in the next month or so. It is the holiday season, after all!

47 comments:

K said...

Re: Tyranny of Cultural Choice.
LINK

Re: Prometheus explained - 60s "heavy" art thing. Can't go wrong making the style eye candy bright and shiny with an obscure script studded with unpaid off hooks.

= Blade Runner director's cut.

Is it just me, or are comedies that "tackle serious issues" just not laugh out loud funny?
The humor for "meaningful" plots seems rather heavily weighted to the ironic and smug chuckle rather than the absurdest or silly guffaw. I wonder if "comedy" is even the most appropriate description.

ScottDS said...

K -

After my friends recommended it, I watched two episodes of Portlandia... and then I wanted to blow my brains out. I realize it's a satire but I still found it so very annoying (though the clip you linked to was a good one).

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just out of step with comedy today and, if so, when did that happen? I don't watch Portlandia or It's Always Sunny..., I think Judd Apatow is overrated, and I pretty much hated most of the recent comedies I've seen, with Horrible Bosses and Take Me Home Tonight (which bombed at the box-office) being notable exceptions.

I'll have to disagree with the Blade Runner comparison. That film might raise more questions than it answers (which most good art does) but Prometheus was just half-baked and was filmed with "franchise" in mind. The best online comment I read about it was something to the effect of, "Hey, remember when movies were f---ing self-contained?!"

And you're right... most of those comedies are not laugh-out-loud funny. With satires specifically, I think they operate on more of an intellectual level and they don't work if you're not at least slightly familiar with what's being satirized.

Of the movies on the list, Blazing Saddles is certainly laugh-out-loud funny and Dr. Strangelove has some chuckles in it, though the humor often comes from the situation rather than any specific "jokey" dialogue. In that regard, irony is definitely a tool in the filmmakers' arsenal. And like everything else, when it comes to irony, "moderation in all things!" :-)

T-Rav said...

"Does this mean that Lindelof didn't think through the changes he made? Yes. Yes, that's exactly what it means."

Ha!

In all seriousness, I don't know whether this different version would have made Prometheus a great movie or not. (They probably would have helped, though.) Someone on another site made the following observation: It's only when space travel has become routine and commercial that you're going to see the crew on a ship be a bunch of guys for hire who aren't necessarily the best or highest-motivated. In the early age of exploration, which this would appear to be, you're going to have a much more professional crew, generally military and/or scientists, who are much more dedicated and disciplined.

So a movie like Prometheus would fall into this category, since part of the plot is they're looking for resources and/or signs of intelligent life, and in that case you wouldn't have people rebelling against authority and doing stupid stuff like running into caves alone and all. Makes a lot of sense to me.

ScottDS said...

T-Rav -

I agree, but the characters in Prometheus still act somewhat unprofessional and the reasons why are more often than not unclear. On the commentary, they mention a couple of character motivation scenes that were cut from the film. I turned to my friend and said, "You know, maybe they should've left that in!"

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Thanks for the links! I read the one about the SciFi Channel last night and what struck me most was a comment from a guy who claimed to work for them at one point. He said, their programming is all about finances and not about content. Honestly, I believe that.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I saw that, too. I don't know but I think there are still plenty of relatively cheap things they could be doing, like airing vintage sci-fi shows and films that don't appear anywhere else, you know, instead of airing wrestling! But I guess it's also a question of ratings.

BIG MO said...

Thanks for the link on villains. It helps explain (without mentioning) why The Downfall is the best portrayal of Hitler on film and those who followed him. The Downfall eschews the usual "goose-stepping moron" portrayal of Nazis and Hitler as an impossibly evil and villainous monster who is evil just for the sake of evil.

Instead, actor Bruno Ganz molds an image of Hitler that is all too human -- a man gone over the edge and consumed by hate, anger, fear, revenge, etc., which is all perfectly logical and justifiable to Hitler himself. And we are allowed to see how and why so many people willingly followed him. It’s not that Hitler weaved some sort of spell over them; rather, they were willing participants who had the same goals and allowed themselves to be utterly consumed by their desires, often committing unspeakable crimes to achieve those desires.

In other words, the three-dimensional Hitler is a far more frightening look at man's inhumanity to man than a one-dimensional villain who is evil because he's evil. We understand his reasons even as we recoil in horror from them.

ScottDS said...

BIG MO -

You may have seen it already but I recommend the HBO original movie Conspiracy: "A dramatic recreation of the Wannsee Conference where the Nazi Final Solution phase of the Holocaust was devised."

The same logic applies and it becomes much worse knowing who these people are and why they did what they did.

tryanmax said...

But what's my motivation? This article somehow sucked me into the author's blog. He thinks deep but he doesn't quite get all the way there. I'll use an example from the villain article. He builds his case that villains are much more rich when we are given cause to understand their actions and motives because real life villains don't consider themsleves evil and have understandable motives for what they do. Then he tosses out a dismissive statement that "evil we can't understand is also horrible." It's just an inconsistancy of thought that tweaks me a bit.

Internet Killed the Video Store: Selection is the big issue with the streaming services and kiosks, and wait-time is the issue with DVD-by-mail. I don't think we'll ever see big video chains again but I expect small shops with niche offerings to exist as long as the aforementioned shortcomings remain unaddressed.

Room to think: Yay! I'm ahead of the curve. I've long since held fast to the rule that if the pilot of a show doesn't grab me, I'm done. (Curse you Lost!) The only recent excpetion is Breaking Bad due to a relentless sibling who follows a similar but more lenient "three and done" rule. On the flip side, Michael Crichton conditioned me to get halfway through a book before deciding whether I like it. Still, I do have a number of half-read books.

*sigh* Fie! An article lamenting that SyFy doesn't have shoes like BSG anymore should not also discuss the shows currently on SyFy that are like BSG.

Super Dads: I'm wearing my cynic hat today. It's all marketing. Video games have followed the males of my generation and this is where they are at now. The next wave of games will be those that encourage parent/child co-play, as that is on the increase. (I do have some more thoughts that will come in a later comment.)

I ♥ the 80s (and 90s): I love how Ghostbusters gets its own entry. And BttF. And I love how he snarked on The Goonies in the intro. So sick of that movie.

I ♥ to be wrong: I somewhat disagree with reason #4 "Every Era Has The Same Amount Of Good And Bad." I suppose if you broaden your reach enough (he does say "era") this becomes true no matter what. But if you drill down a bit, you find objectively good and bad eras for this and that. The previous article was specific to growing up in the 80s and 90s. Those decades copiously catered to kids and teens. You want a good musical, though? You'll have to visit the 60s. Gritty action flicks and existential sci-fi. That's the 70s. Let's face it, noir hasn't existed since black and white went away. And, yes, we sure do have our fill of superhero films nowadays and, no, they're not all bad.

10 comedies: I've only seen half the list. I agree, The Invention of Lying is obnoxious and the sad conclusion is that deception is what makes life worth living. What kind of a moral is that?

Stanwyck: I haven't seen many of her films. I did watch Double Idenmity recently, which is a load of fun even if it is particularly dated. Love this dialogue.

Prometheus: I'm just going to address the helmets thing. Anyone writing a sci-fi space script needs to think of a plausible reason to take the helmets off. They just have to, otherwise they'll come off for some stupid reason because the studio isn't paying a bunch of high profile actors just to hide their faces inside a helmet. They're either big-name stars that people want to see or they're hoping to make them that. Either way, the helmet's got to go.

I love it that Christmas is Die Hard season.

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

Re: motivation - Yeah, he's slightly inconsistent but his logic is still sound. I think his point is that, even though there is evil out there that we can't understand, it doesn't necessarily make for a better movie.

Re: video store - The continued existence of small shops with niche offerings would satisfy me, not that I live near any of them! When I was in film school, we used to go to a video store in Winter Park, FL called Stardust - definitely an eclectic selection!

Re: room to think - It's funny you mention TV shows since I rarely try new shows anymore, at least until the end of the season (and most shows don't even last that long). I have a couple of half-read books with a few more in the hopper - I just need to sit down and finish them.

Re: SyFY - To be fair, BSG was often mentioned by critics in the same breath as shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. They no longer have any shows with that kind of "prestige."

Re: dads - I'm not a gamer but I don't disagree with you. Like I said, even the author of the article speculated that it might simply have to do with changing demographics and the aging gamer audience.

Re: 80s - I guess I just haven't seen The Goonies enough times to be sick of it. But Ghostbusters and Back to the Future might as well be holy books for my generation. :-)

Re: wrong - Yeah, I agree, though again, we tend to forget a lot of the bad stuff. And since our attention spans seem to be much shorter nowadays and the culture seems to be in a permanent state of fast-forward, it seems we're forgetting even faster.

Re: comedies - You'll notice my description for that article was shorter than usual. I just didn't have much to offer. I watched The Invention of Lying and 2012 in the same weekend - what a depressing weekend!!!

Re: Stanwyck - I enjoy Double Indemnity but I haven't watched it in years. A friend thinks she looks like a girl I crushed on in school but I disagree. In any case, I much prefer Stanwyck to, say, Hepburn.

Re: Prometheus - In the Blu-Ray extras, they mention that actors and filmmakers HATE helmets and so you're right - any excuse to get rid of them. In this case, the one character that takes his helmet off was supposed to be a bit of a daredevil but that bit of exposition was dropped.

ScottDS said...

I'm off to school... see ya in a few hours!

Kit said...

I grew up in the early 90s but was able to catch enough of the late-80s stuff like Ghostbusters, the Disney Renaissance, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.
Loved Back to the Future.

Heck, those early Tim Burton movies gave me a crush on Winona Ryder.
And it lasted until she pick pocketed me at a Hollywood diner.

BIG MO said...

LOVE Double Indemnity. It's a film that couldn't be made today. (Got a long explanation as to why, but ...)

ScottDS - I might have seen Conspiracy, but I'm not sure. I'll check on it. (One of my lame claims to fame is being able to recall practically every movie I've seen, if not by name then by watching an excerpt. Drives my wife nuts.)

I didn’t leave Sci-Fi Channel, the Sci-Fi Channel left me! Seriously. I stopped watching that channel after the end of BSG, with the exception of Warehouse 13. We watch the various Stargate series on Netflix. Sci-Fi -– ‘scuse me, SyFy -– lost me as a regular viewer with the silly ghost chaser nonsense, the wrestling and the awful, wretched Sci-Fi original movies. Kind of like how Cartoon Network quality and interest took a nosedive around 2004-2005, when they ditched Toonami, their really good in-house cartoons, and spun the classics off to “Boomerang.” And most Adult Swim stuff isn’t even worthy of shredding by Mystery Science Theater 3000.

I think it’s interesting that the two most notable fantasy shows don’t air on the Sci-Fi Channel -– excuse me again, the SyFy channel. Grimm is on NBC and Once Upon a Time is on ABC. My wife and I like both shows; I favor the latter more, though. Both are highly imaginative; Once Upon a Time has a superb cast, excellent writing, great F/X, effectively draws on the rich well of fairy tales, and admirably keeps its continuity intact.

T-Rav said...

Scott, that's what I'm saying. They're not very professional at all, and that goes against what you would expect in this sort of setting.

Incidentally, I have not seen Downfall, but I have seen Conspiracy, and it is highly disturbing on multiple levels. Didn't think I could hate Heydrich more than I already did, but....

Kit said...

Stanwyck is another crush of mine.

On villains, I like what he says. And Big Mo is right about Downfall. Human Hitler is far more frightening than Demon Hitler. The best villains have a reason to their madness.
That's not to say there cannot be exceptions like Ted Bundy.
But even with villains like the Joker in the Dark Knight you see a reason. In the Joker'ss mind there is no reason or logic to the world, everything is a joke. He realized that through some personal trauma (in the comics) and he wants everyone else to see that. So he creates moral dilemmas intended to force humans to realize that he is right.
He isn't just an "Agent of Chaos", he's a missionary.

Ra's Al Ghul wanted to restore balance to an immoral world.

But I would like to add Sauron was a lieutenant of Tolkien's Satan in the world of Middle Earth, Morgoth, who out of pride and arrogance betrayed Eru (a.k.a. God).

Kit said...

"Incidentally, I have not seen Downfall, but I have seen Conspiracy, and it is highly disturbing on multiple levels. Didn't think I could hate Heydrich more than I already did, but...."

Conspiracy and Downfall are both very disturbing movies. I'm glad the British and Czechs killed him.

ScottDS said...

Kit -

I grew up in the late 80s and early 90s and there are entire genres that we got to enjoy that no longer exist, like the aforementioned Christmas movie genre and sports movies. The Sandlot, anybody? :-)

Nice to see a fellow Stanwyck fan.

As for villains, I guess it all depends on the execution. No one wants a scene that stops a movie cold where the characters recite expository dialogue about the villain's motives.

ScottDS said...

BIG MO -

Re: Double Indemnity, feel free to elaborate! I'll be out for a while but I will respond later tonight!

I can probably recite every movie I've seen but it doesn't mean I remember every movie I've seen.

I also stopped watching SyFy after BSG. I WILL have to watch Warehouse 13 one of these days and I'll probably watch Caprica one day, too. I know it was cancelled but it only ran one season - that's short enough for me. Yeah... wrestling. Like I said to Andrew above, there's so much they could be doing that wouldn't cost a lot of money. How many canceled sci-fi shows could they pack into their schedule?! Science Channel got Firefly and now Fringe - why couldn't SyFy get them?

ScottDS said...

T-Rav -

And that, in a nutshell, is why people have problems with Prometheus. :-)

The aforementioned writers commentary is interesting. Jon Spaihts comes off as quite thoughtful while Damon Lindelof comes off as a fanboy.

Re: the helmet scene, Lindelof compares it to Roy Neary taking off his gas mask in Close Encounters proving that there was no gas leak and the military is covering something up at Devils Tower. It was a leap of faith.

Here's the problem. At that point in the movie, we knew Neary. In Prometheus, we had no idea who the hell these people were or why the guy would feel the need to take the same leap!

ScottDS said...

I'm out again... but I WILL be back later. :-)

EricP said...

>>10 comedies that tackled serious issues>>

Amen (sorry) on Dogma! While Smith and I disagree on the female God thing (um, Kev, Jesus isn't also known as the Son of Man for nothing), we're both practicing Catholics with questions about our faith. Watch this movie every Easter season along with The Last Temptation of Christ. Never understood the protestors with these movies, as all they do are pose questions, neither giving definitive answers.

T-Rav said...

Kit, I would be glad they did too, except for the hundreds of civilians the Nazis slaughtered in retaliation. Of course, Heydrich might have killed many times more had he lived. And he did die in an agonizing, drawn-out manner, so there's that.

T-Rav said...

Scott, I only saw part of an episode of Warehouse 13 once, but I wasn't impressed by it. That's not enough to judge it on, I know, but it didn't make me want to watch more.

shawn said...

I've actually read Spaights script Alien: Engineers and found it to be better than Prometheus. That said, it would've still been a mediocre movie.

Battlestar Galactica: the reboot was excellent for its first two years, but after that it became clear that Ron Moore and the rest of the writing team hadn't thought out where they were going with the series. I quit watching SyFy once they cancelled Eureka.

Kit said...

"Kit, I would be glad they did too, except for the hundreds of civilians the Nazis slaughtered in retaliation."

That's the thing about fighting evil. They tend to do their worst.

And the thing is, the Nazis didn't cover it up. They announced it to the world and to the German people.

Apparently the town of Coventry, a British city had over 1,200 killed by German air raids, named a town square after Lidice and in 1954 sent 1,000 roses to be planted in its memorial garden.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I am a big fan of villains having motives. I can see where the occasional villain with no motive can be interesting if (1) he's unique and (2) you know he has one, you just can't figure out it -- like the Joker. Unfortunately, once something is hip, everyone does it until it's a cliche.

I'm not sure there will ever be room for video stores again once streaming improves its quality.

AndrewPrice said...

Big Mo, Boomerang lost me about two years ago when they suddenly switched to Powerpuff Girls from things like Scooby Doo. They used to have 4-5 shows I'd watch and not I don't even check out the channel.

ScottDS said...

Eric -

As a Jew (bordering on agnostic), I wish more people thought like you did, then again they probably do since the media always focuses on the nutjobs like William Donahue of the Catholic League (the main guy who protested Dogma).

I need to see the film again. It's been a while... :-)

ScottDS said...

T-Rav -

We'll see. Not every show is for everyone and maybe I'll like it. Or maybe not. :-)

ScottDS said...

shawn -

I have the pdf of the Engineers script on my desktop but I haven't gotten to it yet. From what I've read online, it would seem that the script is flawed, but so was the revision. And Ridley may not have known exactly what he wanted either.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Streaming must not only improve in quality but also selection and I don't see the studios doing that until they absolutely have to. It's been a rocky road for them in the digital world but I don't think we've arrived at any kind of magic solution just yet. This stuff seems to be evolving by the day.

BIG MO said...

ScottDS -- For anyone who has never seen Double Indemnity, I tell them to watch it once, then watch it again with a practiced eye. They’ll soon come to realize that it’s not about the money. Or the sex.

If the insurance scheme, love affair, murder and alibi were all there were to Double Indemnity, we’d have probably nothing more than a well-acted but forgettable murder movie. But director Billy Wilder chose to concentrate neither on the depicting the murder itself nor the supposed reason for the murder. Instead, Wilder shows us the fallout -- and the real why behind the deed. Roger Ebert (before he lost his marbles) wrote that Phyllis (Stanwyck) and Neff (Fred MacMurray) were drawn together for the deed, as if committing the murder, and not the money or anything else, was what they both wanted. I think he’s right. Closely observe Phyllis and Neff before and after the murder: Are they in love/lust with each other or in lust/love with the deed itself?

What also makes this a great movie is Edward G. Robinson’s performances as Keyes, Neff’s manager. Keyes cares about one thing: the truth. And he gets it by doing one thing repeatedly: asking questions. He’s also the type of boss anyone would love to have, and that is a fair-minded man who sticks up for his employees.

Double Indemnity is heavy on dialogue; there are only two action scenes (the murder and the alibi set-up). Therefore, how each character talks, thinks and behaves is crucial to move the story along.

Those are the main reasons why Double Indemnity couldn't be made today (unless in the hands of a highly talented director who wants to tell a great story). Likely such a remake would focus on sex, the murder and cover-up, with a lot less dialogue/exposition. And we’d see Neff and Phyllis in the sack a la Basic Instinct and probably Neff and Lola (the victim’s daughter) as well. The insurance company would be portrayed as some heartless, soulless company, and Phyllis as the victim of the uncaring and unfeeling CEO of that same company. We'd get a movie that bears little in common with Wilder's film other than the name, instead of a great picture focusing on what’s really interesting: Why.

And that would ruin the film.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The problem I've had with streaming is that they don't offer nearly as much as they could or should, and I mean old things. I understand they may be slow on the newest stuff, but there's no reason someone like Netflix shouldn't be able to offer me 10,000 older films at any time.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I agree, and while I'm often surprised by the number of older films I find, the studios could be doing a lot more with their catalogs.

ScottDS said...

MO -

Interesting analysis. Now I just need to see the film again - it's been too long. And I guess it's saying something that, despite the countless number of "Murder the spouse for the insurance money" movies that have been made, this one is still considered the best.

And yeah, Keyes more or less grounds the movie. I don't dabble in fiction writing as much as I'd like but one common element found in the few ideas I do have is a Keyes-like character - in other words, just a nice normal guy that the audience can identify with and appreciate.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - I had problems with my internet connection that kept me off line for over 24 hours. Just now getting back so I have yet to get a chance to check out your links, but expect, as always, they will be of interest.

Anonymous said...

The tyranny of cultural choice - Great article I too ignore virtually all of the must see/read/listen lists too. As quite often I know that I won't like what they recommend at all.

And I hate being told that I MUST SEE THIS MOVIE or something along the lines. I had a friend who when he found out that I hadn't seen The Godfather that I HAD TO SEE IT RIGHT NOW and went to get the DVD. I didn't feel like watching the movie at the time and if he had of lent me the DVD I would have watched it sooner or later. But he made such a fuss that I told him I WILL NEVER WATCH THE GOD FATHER! It's now a running joke.

I can usually tell within 50 to 100 pages if I'll like a book or not and if I'm not impressed I won't continue. What I read is usually dictated by the Author or the genre. And if I don't like the first episode of a show I won't give it another go unless a friend who's tastes I agree with says it gets a lot better. As someone else mentioned, now days I'm even hesitant to even watch a new show as I don't know how long it will last and I've been burned too often.

Oh and movies were better in the 80s and 90s, but TV is better now then it was then (I mean the best show, there is still plenty of crap).

Scott.

ScottDS said...

Jed -

Thanks! And sorry to hear about the net problems.

ScottDS said...

Anon -

Yeah, I've been burned with TV shows. I watched the first episode of Heroes and didn't like it. Then I was told the rest of the first season was great so I caught up with it before the second season.

Then the show went completely off the rails and I regretted watching it in the first place, my initial instinct having been correct!

I hate stopping books mid-way through but I've been tempted to do it a few times.

As for movies, I learned a long time ago not to pressure anyone like that. Sure, if I'm hanging out with a friend, I might say, "We have to watch this funny YouTube clip!" But The Godfather is a lengthy investment!

Anonymous said...

ScottDS, I have no problem stopping a book half way through as they take a lot more time than just watching a movie and I don't want to waste mine on something I'm not enjoying.

I hear you with Heroes, though I watched it from the start (I liked the concept so I gave it more time), it did end up going overboard.

I'm stubborn, sometimes to the point of idiocy. So I won't watch The Godfather, now half the reason is just to annoy film buffs!

Scott.

ScottDS said...

Anon -

I sympathize but you might want to check it out one day. :-D

I was working at Best Buy 10 years ago and when my supervisor in the home video department found out that I had never seen The Godfather movies, he was shocked. Shocked! Given that I was the "resident film guru," he just assumed I had seen them.

I Netflixed them immediately and reported back to him a week later. :-)

Anonymous said...

ScottDS, I did mention idiocy.

If I watch the movie now then I have sold out what little credibility I ever had, so I will not even under pain of other peoples scorn!

I know its stupid, but its all I have left.

Scott.

ScottDS said...

Ha!

No worries. I dig. :-)

(I don't have much credibility myself.)

K said...

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Titanic.

Didn't see, don't care.

There are some movies I wished I could unsee though. The list is too long to type.

ScottDS said...

K -

To be fair, I've only seen E.T. a grand total of one time and I'm really not interested in seeing it again. But I can think of worse ways to spend two hours (or three, in the case of Titanic).

The way I see it, most movies are worth watching at least once. :-)

Mycroft said...

The best review of Prometheus that I've read is by Larry Correia, author of Monster Hunter International and the Grimnoir Chronicles:
http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/prometheus-captains-log/

ScottDS said...

Mycroft -

Genius! Sadly, that about sums it up. And I find it oddly reassuring that everyone seems to have the same basic problems with the movie. It's nice not to be alone sometimes!

I'm sure we'll all have more to say about the film when Andrew eventually reviews it (though at this point, he may not considering how often I've brought it up). :-)

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