Showing posts with label Pop Cultural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pop Cultural. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stereotypes from the early aughties (2000-2004) in America

  • No one had beards, unless they were from cultures that requirement them.
  • Cell phones only had digital readouts, and only had actual numeric 10-key pads. Although Treos come out in 2003 with full Internet, full QWERTY keypad, color touch screens, (pretty much iPhone 5's without the fancy hi-res screen; yes, Treo 300 in 2003 out featured iPhones being released in 2010). 
  • Terrorism was the boogie man for everything.  (Still is, actually.)
  • Texting was done with a special kind of pager with a QWERTY keypad or very clumsily on 10-key pad phones that happened to have texting function built-in. Traditional pagers still existed, but mostly used by drug dealers and doctors by this point.
  • No plaid, unless you lived in the mountains. No flashy patterns, either.
  • Low-rise jeans.
  • eBay was a thing back then.
  • Blockbuster stores were very popular...this is a few years before Netflix's first golden age.
  • There were still different types of gaming stores before Game Stop bought them all out.
  • Gearing up for war with Iraq. Blind patriotism was still rampant.
  • Simpsons reruns played in 1.5hr blocks on network TV.
  • Trend of kids bring dropped off and picked up at school every day by their parents had just started.
  • You had an option between Borders, Walden Books and Barnes & Noble for well stocked chain book stores.
  • Laptops were still kinda luxury items.
  • Kids enjoying Green Day had no idea that Green Day was a 90's band.

What do you remember?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Radioactive, radioactive radio edit controversy


There's a bit of a controversy about a popular song right now called Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.  There's a lot of complaints by fans who bought the album about how the song quality on the album is inferior to what's been playing on the radio and in trailers for movies and on commercials for new TV series.  (Seriously, this song is everywhere right now.)  The complaints are pretty consistent by fans, not even haters.

Distortion was noticeable on digital format as well as CD. Very poor quality on car stereo really drives home the point.
Somehow, producer Alex da Kid thought that intentionally introducing that awful, cheap sounding distortion (several tracks, most notably beginning on 'Radioactive'), was somehow "artistic". What a stupid idea.
What's this about distortion?  The bass in the song Radioactive has been distorted to sound like subwoofers maxed out.  It's a rough and gravelly sound that doesn't sound good on good stereo systems (such as the stereo systems in the average car these days).  I got the CD, and I agree with the criticism.  It's OK, but not good.

Theres something called the radio edit version of the song, which I like, but it also seems like it's distorted too much too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Failed predictions by Sylvia Browne


Sylvia Browne makes a lot of predictions. Every once in awhile, she claims this or that successful prediction. In her book The Other Side and Back, Browne even boosts,

I could fill a separate book with my predictions that have come true...

She doesn't talk about her unsuccessful predictions very often, from what I've seen. I imagine she has many, indeed. I'm not going to get all high and mighty about failed predictions. I'm just going to list a few.

In the book mentioned above, Sylvia has a list of predictions for the year 2000 that did not end up happening or that where so basic that they really don't count (whether right or wrong).

Predictions:
  • Three major hurricanes, with hits in Florida and Carolinas (among other regions). Fail. According to USA Today, "no hurricanes hit the USA" in 2000.
  • Notable earthquake hits Niagara Falls in 2000. Fail. The last notable quake in that area occurred in 1897.
  • Bill Bradley won the presidential election and there was "close competition from the Reform Party". Fail and Fail. Though that election may have been stolen with the wrong outcome, Bradley and the Reform Party were no where in sight.
  • David Letterman quits his nightly show at the end of 2000. Fail. Even after the scandals of 2009, he's still running strong.
  • Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston marry. Success! But is this really a prediction or something that was rather obvious? She also predicted they wouldn't last long. They didn't last, but they did last longer than many Hollywood marriages.
  • In 2000, there would be a new flu strain that would start in the Eastern U.S. Asian immigrants coming into the U.S. would "help quell this flu virus". Fail. Although a new flu strain popped up in 2005 called Avian Flu, and that was actually blamed on an Asian source. So, I count this as a double and triple fail.
  • In the year 2010, aliens will be seen on Earth and act as observers. She also predictions they will teach humans about the anti-gravity technology. I'll make a counter prediction. No aliens. No anti-gravity devices.
There are many other unsuccessful predictions, though the point seems to be made fully.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Astronaut declares government is hiding evidence of aliens

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, a member of the 1971 Apollo 14 moon mission, has recently declared last year that the U.S. and other governments are concealing evidence of aliens and UFOs. Mankind has long wondered if we're "alone in the universe. ...only in our period do we really have evidence. No, we're not alone," Mitchell said.

He bases this conclusion because he grew up in Roswell, NM and have had individuals come forward to him that admitted to see some of what was going on with the infamous Roswell crash. When even insiders are coming forward, it is hard to ignore the questions regarding aliens.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Toyota "They did not have any respect for our laws."

I've long been suspicious of Toyota as a company. Of course, I don't trust any corporation. However, foreign companies whose lies result in the death of Americans leave a particularly bad taste in my mouth. Recent comments by a former Toyota top attorney, Dimitri Biller, really brings the point home. Biller and Toyota are now suing each other. Why is Toyota suing Biller? Because he decided break his silence, the very same silence that they apparently thought they purchased from him for $3.9 million in 2007.

Biller has stated, "you have to understand that Toyota in Japan does not have any respect for our legal system." He also stated, "they did not have any respect for our laws," and that "[Toyota had] a culture of hypocrisy and deception." If this doesn't scare people, I don't know what will.

In a ridiculous effort to discredit Biller, Toyota claimed that Biller was a disgruntled former employee who is angry he lost his job. Yeah, I'd be pissed if my company paid me $3.9 million too. Toyota also claimed that Biller did not handle acceleration cases while he worked there. Biller disputed that statement, noting that he worked as the managing attorney for Toyota on a sudden acceleration Lexus case in 2005.