Friday, May 6, 2005
Part of the blame, the article suggests, is that there's nothing special about going to the movies these days -- no new innovations since stadium seating and digital sound, both a decade old. In so many ways, the home experience is superior: no commercials, the ability to pause/rewind/fast forward, no screaming kids, availability of commentary tracks, etc. Want to see a trailer? No need to leave the house. And thanks to Netflix, there's no movie so obscure that it can't arrive at your door in a few days.
Which leads me to ask: what can movie theaters do to bring you back? About a decade ago, a dying multiplex near my home tries pairing second-run flics with unlimited popcorn and soda. I liked it, but the business model didn't last.
One thing I'll suggest is to focus on that which is unique to the movie theater: the ability to laugh in public with a large group of people. If I ran a multiplex, I'd reserve a screen or two on weekend nights (and not just at midnight) for the classic comedies of the past few decades -- Animal House, Caddyshack, Revenge of the Nerds, The Big Lebowski . . . you get the idea. Because laughing as a group -- and quoting a movie aloud as a group -- isn't something you can do by yourself. Even with first-run movies, why not have showings where talking back to the screen is encouraged?
One of my favorite places in Chicago was the Brew and View at the Vic -- an old-time theater that let you get drunk while watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with a couple hundred of your instantly closest friends.
Bottom line: to bring the masses back to the movies, make the movies a place where it's more fun to be part of that mass than watching alone at home.
Obvs, I'm quite interested in your take on this.
Yeah, it's looking like it's time to load up the Netflix queue.
The first two episodes of Lucas' second trilogy -- "The Phantom Menace" (1999) and "Attack of the Clones" (2002) -- caused more than a few fans of the original trilogy to wonder whether this prequel was worth it. The answer is a qualified yes. It did take a lot of weighty expositions, stiffly played scenes and less-than-magical creatures to get to "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith." But what a ride Lucas and Co. have in store! . . .
What seems like the biggest drawback to "Episode III" turns out to be its strongest element. Even casual moviegoers know what is in store for the characters, who will wind up at the point where the original "Star Wars" -- now dubbed "Episode IV -- A New Hope" -- began the whole saga nearly 30 years ago. We know how Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker will turn to the dark side of the Force, how his twin children will be separated at birth and how his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi and the tiny Jedi Master Yoda will turn into mortal enemies. Yet watching these fates unfold with such tragic inevitability, watching each piece fall into place, is genuinely thrilling. In fact, knowing that these strong characters cannot and will not escape their fate is what moves us.
All this, and a Tom Stoppard-doctored script?
Adam, as Adam will be happy to note, has stopped its 15 year slide and moved back to 58th place.
"The song in question, 'Reno,' depicts an encounter at a Nevada Dunkin' Donuts, including a reference to its coffee and the line: 'Two dollars straight, two-fifty iced.' "
"Indeed, "Sith" looks likely to follow the commercial pattern of the initial trilogy, wherein the second edition, "Empire," dipped considerably from the first, only to see the third, "Return of the Jedi," bounce back closer to the level of "Star Wars.""
Uhmmm, what? Empire the weakest of the three? Weaker than Jedi? Let us instead talk about how the Wehrmacht was the weakest of the armies at Sedan, France.
Read the rest of the Telegraph article here.
The participants, none of whom was a Roman Catholic, shared meals with the monks, worked in the grounds and joined in the daily office, from early morning Matins to Compline. They were also obliged to follow the monks' rules of silence, obedience and humility.
At the start, the new arrivals were sceptical and discipline did not come easily - two of them were reprimanded for leaving the monastery "looking for virgins and cigarettes".
By the end, they all conceded that the experience had made a profound impression on them.
Sarah: That she is in the arms of Cruise at all makes no sense. He's twice her age, half her height, gay, and in a cult.Thanks, Joanna, for the tip.
Wing Chun: "And so it was that the Girls' Lawsuit Club was founded."
Thursday, May 5, 2005
Back in the States, with no new daily content from Sports Guy Bill Simmons in about a week, you know what that means: the recently-alluded-to-impending Sports Baby has hopefully arrived. He's allowed two sappy columns, then it's back to business.
FYI, Frenchie's back on Broadway.
Three thoughts: (1) Do not google "danny tanner." The first hit is NSFW. (2) I need to be absolutely honest here and say that I occasionally watch and enjoy "America's Funniest Home Videos." Not that it's appointment TV, but if it's on and I'm not doing anything, I just do, okay? I mean, I love a good cat falling off the TV. (3) I'm having a hard time figuring out which of the brothers is shadier -- the guy described above, the guy who spends all of his free time freeloading off Hugh Hefner, or the dirty old man about whom Alanis maybe wrote 'You Oughta Know.'
Also, plenty of talk about shoes.
This it is not to say that the big wedding it is in itself bad, but rather it is to say that for the bride who demands the perfect day of the wedding, to the point of either inciting the hatred of those around them, or to the point of wanting to runaway and leave the poor parents thinking she has been murdered, something it is wrong.
The wedding day it is to be the day of joy, and its approach should be greeted with the gladness and the earnest longing for its arrival. If the planning of the wedding has become the ordeal to be endured one must step back and reconsider the necessity of the fourteen maids of the brides.
But then I read this exchange in this morning's Chicago Tribune with Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith producer Rick McCallum:
Q: Do you think some audiences are going to have a problem with Anakin mowing down a bunch of kids?
A: He has to kill those kids because that's the only way he can get that power to be able to eventually work with Palpatine [the dark lord] to figure out a way to save his wife. He does it for kind of the right reasons, but if you put it in perspective, I always think of it as like watching Ben Affleck and Matt [Damon]. They wrote this thing ["Good Will Hunting"], they have this background together, they grew up together, they're best friends, and they're two totally different human beings right now. One is laid back, cool, does his work, works as best as he can, tries to be a good actor. The other one has taken the Dark Side, the dark route. It's just amazing.
Q: Because Ben Affleck has embraced the whole celebrity aspect?
A: Yeah, the power thing.
Q: He hasn't killed little kids, though.
A: No, but, can we take this out of [real] Ben? Take the hypothetical Ben in three or four years . . . career down the slide . . . and he's given a choice to be able to resurrect his career, which is probably the most important thing to him, the fame aspect of it. Would he do anything? Who knows?
The Key Art Awards are the serious ones, but this week will also mark announcement of Golden Trailer nominees. Discuss your favorite current, recent, or older movie trailers below.
Turns out his fiancee, Alicia Machado, a Venezuelan former Miss Universe, has been appearing on a Latin American reality show called "La Granja" -- basically, Big Brother On A Farm where famous people have to coexist without modern comforts.
Except, it turns out, Alicia found one modern comfort. As translated from the Spanish:
It was in this house, in which the Miss and the Spanish conductor Fernando Perhaps, of 28 years, were filmed making the love.
In the video, Alicia and Acaso appear one upon the other under the sheets, that move at great speed.
The camera did not intimidate to the Machado, that commented out like: "This morning is going to leave just a little bit in all the Television newscasts" or "Dame more". But at night, all the cats are brown, and when it left the sun in the Farm, the gallita regreted, asking excuses publicly its fiancè, the beisbolista Bob Abreu.
Let's hope he takes out his frustration on the plate.
Two categories of note:
The Battle of the News Teams -- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Daryl Hannah vs. Uma Thurman -- Kill Bill Vol. 2
Brad Pitt vs. Eric Bana -- Troy
Ziyi Zhang vs. The Emperor's Guards -- House of Flying Daggers
BEST MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
Jennifer Garner & Mark Ruffalo -- 13 Going On 30 --"Thriller Dance"
Will Ferrell/Paul Rudd/Fred Armisen/Steve Carell -- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy -- "Afternoon Delight"
John Cho &amp; Kal Penn -- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle -- "Hold On"
Jon Heder -- Napoleon Dynamite -- "Election Dance"
The show will be hosted by ALOTT5MA un-fave Jimmy Fallon, who according to the press release, has delivered "memorable impressions of Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and John Lennon" and "laid the groundwork for his transition to movies with supporting roles in the Oscar-Award winning feature film, Almost Famous, HBO's highly anticipated miniseries Band of Brothers, and Woody Allen's comedy, Anything Else."
I blocked out all memory of the last one, and had no idea about the middle one -- tell me he got killed as soon as he landed in Europe, or I'll never rent that DVD.
We don't ask for much here at ALOTT5MA, so why not click on the this link and drop a dollar or two in the hat? And yes, I know three miles is hardly an arduous trek, but when my son begins to complain an eighth of a mile in because my daughter gets to ride in the stroller and he doesn't meaning I have to hoist him on my shoulders for the rest of the walk, well...
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
I hope it's been as enjoyable for you readers as it has been for us. I believe we are fulfilling our mission of expanding beyond "the cultural tastes of overeducated urban liberal males in their early 30s [to] provide the much-needed perspective of groups previously underrepresented in the blogosphere: overeducated urban liberal males in their mid 20s and mid 30s," and to continue to make this a place worth visiting and telling your friends about.
Obviously, this place doesn't work as well as it does without the community that has emerged around it, so thank you for your contributions in the Comments and elsewhere.
By the way, it's official, in case you haven't noticed: we are, in fact, keeping our ridiculously unwieldy intended-to-be-temporary name on a permanent basis. ALOTT5MA today, ALOTT5MA tomorrow, ALOTT5MA forever!
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
(Okay, but I have to add this: I love that in the Istanbul Airport, Rahb and Ambuh were pretty clearly using the not-spending-millions-to-advertise-on-the-show travel website to book their travel. I have no idea as of the time of this posting whether or not it bites them in the ass.)
updated: There ought to be some good debate about the use of the Yield in this episode, since I don't think anyone could have reasonably expected to work out this way. Otherwise, some Darn Good Racing by one team (even if the logic behind it was wrong -- risk-taking is for the last stage only, IMHO), and more whining by Gretchen while Meredith proves himself more admirable.
By the way, any thoughts on this not-going-around-the-world course? Kinda interesting. I had thought in the past about a course that stayed in the Americas -- down through Central America, down the Andes to Tierra del Fuego, then up the Atlantic Coast and through the Caribbean Islands and Maritime Provinces until ending back in States. But this'll be interesting -- does racing in this direction cause more potential for Killer Fatigue?
edited to add: Okay, I watched it. Wasn't terribly moved in any direction. Scott was better than I've ever seen him, but I still don't like him. Carrie's bleating a bit too much. Bo does his thing well, but it's not what (I thought) this competition is about. Federov is twee, and Vonzell is solid, but, I mean, a winner? Bottom line: I miss Constantine.
Everyone else: if Nixon can go to China, then, by God, Bill Clinton can denounce junk food.
"It's as if my character on `The Daily Show' got promoted," Colbert told The Associated Press.
He'll be a "very well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot, not unlike some people who have these shows in the real world," he said.
Besides lampooning O'Reilly, the king of the cable TV opinion shows, he's sending up people such as Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough and Anderson Cooper, he said.
One segment of his show, "Worthy Opponent," will feature Colbert debating Colbert.
Brilliant expansion of the franchise, or Hello, Larry?
Notable advancements over Battlefield 1942 include "[a]n all-new game engine and physics system [that] brings the modern battlefield to life like never before. The new material penetration feature measures weapons' ability to fire through barriers based on their composition and players will need to know the difference between concealment and cover in order to survive."
And they say gaming doesn't teach any valuable life lessons!
- Joe Morgan
- Mario Batali
- Great Outdoor Games
- Per Se
- NASCAR on FOX
- Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
- ABC's NFL Monday Night Football
Anyone care to speculate what it says? All I know is this: if you asked me to guess as to which former American Idol contestant was most likely to advance tawdry rumors about his/her experience on the show in order to resurrect a dismal post-Idol career, Corey Clark would've been my first pick, and I will not be shocked if Matthew Rogers ends up backing up the allegations somehow.
Monday, May 2, 2005
This Saturday, May 7, MIT hosts The (first and only) Time Traveler Convention:
Why do you need my help?
We need you to help PUBLICIZE the event so that future time travelers will know about the convention and attend. This web page is insufficient; in less than a year it will be taken down when I graduate, and futhermore, the World Wide Web is unlikely to remain in its present form permanently. We need volunteers to publish the details of the convention in enduring forms, so that the time travelers of future millennia will be aware of the convention. This convention can never be forgotten! We need publicity in MAJOR outlets, not just Internet news. Think New York Times, Washington Post, books, that sort of thing. If you have any strings, please pull them.
Great idea, I'd love to help! What should I do?
Write the details down on a piece of acid-free paper, and slip them into obscure books in academic libraries! Carve them into a clay tablet! If you write for a newspaper, insert a few details about the convention! Tell your friends, so that word of the convention will be preserved in our oral history! A note: Time travel is a hard problem, and it may not be invented until long after MIT has faded into oblivion. Thus, we ask that you include the latitude/longitude information when you publicize the convention.
Can't the time travelers just hear about it from the attendees, and travel back in time to attend?
Yes, they can! In fact, we think this will happen, and the small number of adventurous time travelers who do attend will go back to their "home times" and tell all their friends to come, causing the convention to become a Woodstock-like event that defines humanity forever.
I'm from the future, and I'd like to attend!
We're not sure how you're emailing us from the future, but we'd love to have you! Come as you are! No dress code whatsoever. We do request that you bring some sort of proof that you do indeed come from the future, and haven't just dressed like you do. We welcome any sort of proof, but things like a cure for AIDS or cancer, a solution for global poverty, or a cold fusion reactor would be particularly convincing as well as greatly appreciated.
I wonder if Audrey Niffenegger will make it there.
Where are the Harvard Law bloggers? Fair Chicago? NYU and Columbia? Can I get a theory?
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Peter: Everybody, I've got bad news. We've been canceled.
Lois: Oh no, Peter, how could they do that?
Peter: Well, unfortunately Lois, there's no more room on the schedule. We've just got to accept the fact that FOX has to make room for terrific shows like 'Dark Angel,' 'Titus,' 'Undeclared,' 'Action,' 'That '80s Show,' 'Wonderfalls,' 'Fastlane,' 'Andy Richter Controls the Universe,' 'Skin,' 'Girls Club,' 'Cracking Up,' 'The Pitts,' 'Firefly,' 'Get Real,' 'Freakylinks,' 'Wanda at Large,' 'Costello,' 'The Lone Gunmen,' 'A Minute with Stan Hooper,' 'Normal, Ohio,' 'Pasadena,' 'Harsh Realm,' 'Keen Eddie,' 'The Street,' 'American Embassy,' 'Cedric the Entertainer,' 'The Tick,' 'Luis' and 'Greg the Bunny'.
Lois: Is there no hope?
Peter: Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes, we might have a shot.
Of course, leave it to the Inquirer's Jonathan ("infantile sleaze-a-thon") Storm to ruin all our fun . . .
DeRo: But U2 never wanted to be a band like Pink Floyd or the Rolling Stones, which basically became massive money-making oldies shows.
Mullen: And we won't! With respect to you and your colleagues, when it's time for U2 to get the bullet in the head, we'll do it ourselves, thank you very much! But we're greedy, and we want to push boundaries. We want to do things that nobody else has done before, and we will do whatever we have to do to achieve that. We're never satisfied. We never feel like we've made our greatest record. We always feel we can do better, we can be better, and that's constant. After every record, we sit down and go, 'OK, what was wrong with that? What was right with it?' And next time around, we fix it. We constantly do that, and that's why U2 survives.
There's a very deep unhappiness in U2, because there's a sense that we achieved great success and became a really big band, but we were never a really great band. There was always that thing that we were given all these accolades, but we didn't really deserve it. We got it because we managed to do very well live, and it was all about being big. Being big means s--- to us. It's being great that we want, and that's what we strive for.
Okay, people, it's May 1, 2005. On what date will U2 perform its last live concert?
According to USA Today, "Wrestlers have death rates about seven times higher than the general U.S. population, says Keith Pinckard, a medical examiner in Dallas who has followed wrestling fatalities. They are 12 times more likely to die from heart disease than other Americans 25 to 44, he adds. And USA TODAY research shows that wrestlers are about 20 times more likely to die before 45 than are pro football players, another profession that's exceptionally hard on the body."