Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Photos you post for businesses on Google...or really, one in particular that I posted...347K views

Several years ago, I posted a photo of a lunch that others from my work and I enjoyed at a rare find in New England: an actual Chinese restaurant (as opposed to "authentic" or "real" ones that are easy to find and even more easily disappoint).  The restaurant in question is Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica, Massachusetts (of all places).  The food was great.

Typically in New England, when you are given a food rating of spiciness, hot is actually medium. medium is actually mild, and mild somehow even more mild.  At Sichuan Gourmet, spicy dishes were actually spicy!  Hot was hot!  In fact, hot was very hot!

So, what's so special about the photo I posted from this restaurant?  For some reason, over 347,000 other people thought it was significant enough to view it.  This is surprizing for a few reasons.  First, it's amazing that Sichuan Gourmet is being searched and found on Google by hundreds of thousands of people in a place like Billerica.  Second, it's amazing that my photo is being found in a sea of dozens of other photos at this location.  Third, it's amazing that the number of people choosing my photo to view is 347,000+.



Since I don't know how to see view numbers for the other photos from this location, and I don't know if this is actually a lot for this location.  I have many other photos on Google for arguably much more popular places that only received a few views.  Some of my photos have 11K+, 22K+, 60K+, and even 73K+ views for a photo of perfume at a Banana Republic (which also baffles me).  From the rarity of these high counts, my guess is that even these numbers are fairly extraordinary, even at popular places.

Side note, Billerica is not pronounced bil-LER-i-cah, bil-LAIR-ri-cah or bil-le-RI-cah.  It's pronounced BIL-ric-a, with a bit of bitterness infused into each of the three syllables. This video should help.  (Yes, this is really a really thing.)
  

#Lunch today, courtesy @tojotickie, is marinated #shrimp and #snowpeas over #whiterice.


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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 Oscar Nominations for best motion picture aren't the best of the best

2018 Oscar Noms seem to be heavily focused on movies that make obvious political statements rather than actual film greatness.

"Call Me by Your Name”

“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Of these, in my opinion based on seeing some of these films and also RT users' ratings, "Get Out", "The Post", "Phantom Thread" and "Darkest Hour" don't belong. Meanwhile, better movies get snubbed, like "Logan", "Blade Runner 2049" or "Baby Driver" (not withstanding Kevin Spacey's fall from grace).

"Get Out" is a good movie, but it's way overrated in the current environment. It's a by-the-numbers horror story that happens to include obvious social commentary. The movie isn't going to age well with time.

The fact that the horror genre is getting a pass this year at Oscars, while comic hero genre again gets a snub is particularly telling. "Logan" is a superior film to "Get Out" in most aspects. "Logan" also addresses racism, but it does so more cleverly (perhaps too subtly) than "Get Out" by a mile. Where "Get Out" is basically about cultural appropriation and first world problems, "Logan" addresses actual issues with the effects of institutionalized racism. "Logan" also has better acting, script, and overall direction. Additionally, "Logan" actually earns its ending, where "Get Out" just kinda ends. Even the alternate-ending for "Get Out" isn't great (but moderately better than the theatrical ending). About the only area where "Get Out" might be a bit better is with scene composition for *some* of the scenes. That's not enough to include it on the final list of ten instead of several other better films.

That said, "Wonder Woman", "ThorRagnarok", "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2" and other comic hero movies in 2017 aren't cinematic greats; not worthy of Oscar Noms for best motion picture. They are enjoyable and entertaining, but don't really stand above anything other than being slightly better than other films within their own theatrical universes.


Now that female characters are getting more attention in comic hero movies, I think some might be surprized to see me say "Wonder Woman" isn't a great overall movie. It's not. As far as comic hero origin movies go, it's average. It's great to see from where Wonder Woman comes, and her character does have a well-developed story arc. However, the villain is very weakly conceived; on par with the underdeveloped Marvel Cinematic Universe villains. Man of Steel and Batman V Superman primary villains are far more developed and central to the plot and story of their respective movies. Man of Steel is a better movie than Woman Women. (Batman V Superman, was also a good but not great movie which really would've been better served if broken up into a trilogy of three separate movies).


Another issue with the movies nominated for best motion picture is that most of them just aren't that popular. "Call Me by Your Name", "Darkest Hour", "Lady Bird", "Phantom Thread", "The Post", "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" are not going to earn even $50 million at the box office, with several of them unlikely to ever see $25 million. The whole idea of expanding the list of best motion picture nominations to possible ten was to include more popular movies in the most important category in order to help the Oscars attract more interest from potential viewers. It looks like they've given up on that idea in favor of other agendas. Oscars are irrelevant.