There is a gross sense of entitlement in this country that really aggravates me. Our current first world problem is that DVD and Web streaming service Netflix increased their prices. THE HORROR!
First of all, they only raised prices on the combination plans that include both DVDs and streaming. You can still have the $9/month rate if you choose one or the other. While the combo plans now start at a whopping $16/month, an apparent 60% increase, the backlash it is generating is just plain silly.Â $16 a month for hundreds, maybe thousands of movies and TV shows? Really? You’re going to complain and freak out about that?
Am I wealthy? No. Do I have boatloads of college loan debt? Yep. Can I afford $16 a month for Netflix? Yeah, I can.
Let’s put it into perspective: My first job was at Blockbuster Video. To rent a single movie it was about $4 (and I’m rounding down here). So if your month movie budget was $16 a month, you could rent 4 movies, or one a week if you wanted to evenly break it up. Now that’s just the movie rental. This does not include gas to get there or, heaven forbid you returned you movie late, late fees. Movies were either rented for 2 days for new releases or 5 days for older titles so you didn’t even get the entire week to watch it.
Netflix single handedly killed the video store business. Now movies either arrive in your mailbox or on your computer. You pay a standard monthly fee and can keep your DVDs as long as you want without any late charges. And we’re spoiled by it. There have been articles and blog posts saying “Oh Netflix doesn’t need the money, their just being selfish!”. Well just because profits are up, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t raise prices. Do you think it’s cheap to license all those titles? To build a cloud based system (with a super back up in case that fails) so your service is always available?
Part of the reason is to drive more customers away from DVDs and to the streaming service.Â In my opinion, this makes sense. Mailing DVDs is expensive. DVDs get damaged and have to be replaced and Netflix has to stock multiple copies of popular titles.
Even now, you can’t even purchase a single, non special edition DVD for less than $5. And how much do you pay for cable? I’m willing to bet it is a lot more than you pay for Netflix and that’s without any movie channels like HBO.
We just want it all. We want to pay less than $10/month for movies we could ever watch in a lifetime, delivered the second we want them AND delivered to our doorstep. We don’t appreciate how convenient Netflix has made movie viewing or how cheap. I leave you with this clip from Louis CK that I always watch during times like this:
I feel like because of my lifestyle choice (straightedge) I should weigh in on the tragic death of Ryan Dunn.
I’ve been following the story since it broke yesterday. I’m a fan of the CKY videos, Haggard, etc so I am familiar with Dunn’s body of work. What really gets to me are the comments that either insinuate or flat our say that he kind of had it coming. Not just because he tweeted a picture of him drinking prior to the accident, but because of his daredevil lifestyle/career.
It was Dunn’s willingness to put himself in harm’s way for the sake of our entertainment that made us like him and watch shows like “Jackass”. And regardless of the type of crazy life he led, his death is still a tragedy.Â This whole “it was only a matter of time” attitude is pretty disgusting. He wasn’t just an entertainer put here for your amusement; he was a person with friends and family that loved him. Being a risk taker does in no way mean that you deserve it should the unthinkable happen, it just makes it more likely. That’s why they call it a risk.
And anyway, he didn’t die doing a stunt. He died in a fiery car wreck. Show some sympathy.
Same thing happened when Steve Irwin died from a stingray barb to the chest. Are we really that heartless to say “Oh, well he shouldn’t have been messing around with wild animals”? Are the people we see on TV and in movies really that one dimensional to us?
Even if Dunn was drinking, it is still a terrible terrible thing to have happened. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone his actions. Drunk driving is a horrible, stupid decision. But at the same time, people make mistakes and this one cost him his life and that of his friend Zachary Hartwell, who was also in the car.
Speaking of Hartwell, would you say that it was” only a matter of time” because he did three tours in Iraq and was a stunt car driver? I’d consider those huge risks, for different reasons. No, going to Iraq is not the same thing as performing stunts. Hartwell put himself in harm’s way for our protection not entertainment, but both things come with a high probability of injury or even death. Does that make his death more tragic or more likely?
Who are we to criticize at this point? Dunn’s decision (if he was driving drunk) cost him his life, waving a finger in disapproval means nothing. We need to get off our collective high horse and remember that people are people, even if they live for the extreme and in the public eye.
Rest in peace Ryan Dunn and Zachary Hartwell.
UPDATE 6/22/11: The toxicology report was released and Ryan Dunn was in fact drunk at the time of the accident. I still stand by my previous statements.
I am a HUGE fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ve watched all the extended editions multiple times and I’m about 16 hours into all the documentary footage. I’m fascinated and inspired by the WETA Workshop and all that goes into creating these films.
It comes as no surprise that I’m one of those who has been eagerly awaiting the release of The Hobbit (which I’m actually just reading). Well Peter, Jackson just made my day. I hope he continues his video blogs of the process as the filming progresses.
It’s been too long since I’ve seen The Shire.
Well, maybe not a knockout, but better.
To follow up from my previous post, it was everything I expected. A friend asked if it was as bad as everyone has been saying and all I could tell him was that it made love to my eyes, insulted my brain and ignored my heart – the best way I can combine of thoughts from both friends and critics.
However, I was entertained.
My biggest problem with Sucker Punch is that with some editing and rearranging, it could have been a much better movie. Rather than rip it apart like most have been doing, I have some ideas of how the movie can be salvaged:
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
1. Start with the brothel
That’s right, ditch the whole beginning. The movie should have started when Babydoll shows up at the brothel with Blue and the priest. I would have preferred badass call girls turned heroes rather than mental patients turned badass call girls turned heroes. And though it has been done before, I would have rather found out she was actually in an asylum at the end.
As for her back-story, it could have been told as a flashback or a series of them. Speaking of backstories…
2. Tell the other girls’ stories!
Why was Babydoll the only one who got any sort of backstory? I found Rocket and Sweet Pea’s story to be much more interesting. What happened with their family? Why did Sweet Pea follow Rocket? I want to know how they ended up there. I wanted to know how they ALL ended up there. To me, Babydoll, despite being the mastermind behind the plan, was so ho-hum about everything, even in her fight sequences! I think it should have been less about her and more about the 5 of them coming together to break free.
I don’t even know if the other girls’ stories exist. Judging by the dialogue, the script was probably no longer than an Entertainment Weekly. But if I had my way, they’d release their backstories- Rocket and Sweet Pea, Blondie, Amber and Madam Gorski — in a series of webisodes and on the DVD.
3. Put some fighting spirit into Madam Gorski
Madam Gorski was an interesting character that didn’t get the chance to shine that she deserved. Â I really wanted her to stick it to Blue. Yes she did by having him arrested in the “real world”, he mercilessly executed Amber and Blondie in less than 10 seconds, I wanted her to just lose it on him. She didn’t seem weak when we first meet her, but by the end she seemed unexplainably broken. Something was missing there.
4. Being taken away by Jon Hamm? Sound pretty awesome to me!
If you’re going to have a character that is supposed to represent The Big Evil, don’t cast Jon Hamm as that character. Babydoll spent 5 days trying to escape before being given to Jon Hamm’s High Roller. I feel like if she knew whom she was trying to escape from, maybe she would have felt differently. Someone get her the first few seasons on Mad Men on DVD ASAP.
Are you listening Mr. Snyder? There is still hope!
Why can’t some movies just be for fun?
I see more and more movies I enjoyed getting torn to shreds by critics. It’s not because I have bad taste in film; it’s just that I set my expectations accordingly. Is it so bad to occasionally just want to sit back and not have to really think about what’s going on on screen?
Why does a film have to be visual stunning, expertly cast, and executed to perfection with a completely engaging and original plot for us to consider it a “good movie”? Why can’t it just have one of those things done well?
This by no means means I am content with mediocrity. I’m just saying not everything has to be “OMG AMAZINGLY SUPER WICKED EPIC!” Things can be just “good” or “fun” and that is OK.
What brought this on was Sucker Punch, a film I plan on seeing tomorrow getting panned. The reviews I’ve been reading add to the questions above. What did the critics expect? From the trailer, you can tell that plot is not the shining star of this film, in fact, I’m not even entirely sure what the movie is about. What I am sure of is director Zack Snyder’s ability to create a multi genre mash-up infused with his signature slow-motion action sequence style. And that there will be an abundance of gorgeous starlets with big BIG guns. To the best of my knowledge – I will confirm tomorrow – that is what you get. My eyes can feast upon the screen and my brain can just chill for a bit. It’s been a long week anyway.
I’m not expecting to have my mind blown with thought provoking questions I will dwell on long after the credits have rolled. I simply intend to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
To be continued…
Is it just me or have puppets been slowly creeping their way into the mainstream lately? I originally wrote this in late January, but at the time, no one else saw the pattern. Well, today, Ford has announced a new “spokespuppet” for their new Focus campaign! Do you believe me now?
Puppets have been used in movies, TV and advertising for decades. Let’s not forget the Pets.com sock puppet dog (voiced by none other than Michael Ian Black) or for you history buffs, Danny O’Day and his dog Farfel in commercials for Nestles back in the 1950s.
Don’t get me wrong; puppets never really left the public eye. Sesame Street has been on for 41 seasons. But with anything in pop culture, their popularity ebbs and flows. Lately I’ve noticed a resurgence of more and more felt-covered friends.
Now, a brief history of puppets over the last decade. It all started with Comedy Central’s prank calling show “Crank Yankers” which debuted in 2002. The brainchild of Adam Carolla, Daniel Kellison and Jimmy Kimmel, the show featured the comedic talent of Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman and Kevin Nealon. And then there was Weezer’s music video for their song “Keep Fishin’” featuring the most famous puppets of all: The Muppets. Shortly after, the smash hit Avenue Q made the jump to Broadway. Then in 2006, a comedian by the name of Jeff Dunham came onto the scene with ventriloquist skills and a variety of characters. Again, puppet loving Comedy Central would not only air his specials but for a brief time, gave his own TV show.
Advertising hasn’t been sitting out on this trend either. First Zappos decided to use puppets to portray their dedicated customer service representatives in ads last year. Recently, Band-Aid and Neosporin teamed up for the “Squeeze and Stick” campaign. The commercial and corresponding website feature five- cute-as-can-be characters that represent the 5 signs of healing. There is even a song, complete with a demo karaoke style so you can sing along too.
I am going to place the influx of puppets in mainstream media on one man: Jason Segel. 2008′s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” introduced us to “Dracula: The Musical” and from then on Jason Segel and puppets became synonymous. Segel took it to the next level and decided to go big: doing another Muppets movie. The stakes and the excitement are high. Entertainment Weekly recently proclaimed, “The new Muppets movie can’t come out soon enough”.
But why puppets? We can do so much with digital animation; don’t puppets seem a little dated? To answer my own question, absolutely not! Puppets bring back memories from the days before CGI rained supreme, when characters seemed more “real”. Their creation was an art form all in itself. Think of the master of all things puppet, the late Mr. Jim Henson. Where would be without his skill, his art, and his iconic characters that have stood test of time? Honestly, which Yoda do you prefer: Empire Strikes Back Yoda or Yoda from Episode I?
In a world full of CGI, 3D and animation, it is nice to have something tangible to hold on to.
I wrote this for my cousin, who was going to see Eclipse, without having seen the first two movies. I should note that this synopsis is no where near as good as The Oatmeal’s.
Bella, a sad grumpy clumsy girl moves to Forks, WA. Continues to be awkward, meets some people, sees The Cullens. Oooooo… dreamy.
She smells good or something so when Edward is assigned her lab partner, he freaks out. Blah blah “why do you hate me?” Edward says no it isn’t that blah blah OMG he is a vampire but whatevs, Bella is down.
Bella gets hassled by some homies and Edward saves her with his reckless driving. Love love love. Welcome to the family. Oh no, something is eating people. Enter trio of other vampires. One wants to snack on Bella at a baseball game.
Long story short, other vampire tries to eat Bella but the super Cullens break him into pieces. Something about venom being sucked out, Bella lives. Dead vampire’s lady girlfriend vampire buddy is pissed.
Blah blah “I love you Edward but I’m clumsy and I bleed in front of you and cause fights in your house of vampires.” Edward leaves. Bella takes a nap in the woods. Then she gets all depressed for months. Jacob gets hot and they become friends. but OMG he’s a wolf! Whatevs, Bella’s into it….
Somewhere in here, lady vampire from the previous movie wants to eat Bella….
Bella sees Edward when she does stupid shit that will get her killed so she does it all the time. Edward things she’s actually dead one of these times so she has to go Italy… where old vamps eat tourist… before he kills himself. Jacob is mad. More reckless driving. Old vamps are cool with Bella and do not try to eat her. Bella saves the day. Edward doesn’t die. They come back and he asks her to marry him. Jacob is mad and OMG he’s a wolf. End.