Weekend Reader – April 4ish (The Spoiler-Free Steve Rogers Edition)

Has anyone else just had the worst week?

Well, it would have been the worst week, except I got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So it was the best worst week.

Did you know Cap has his own froyo? So many flavours. Including Cheesecake! I wouldn’t think he’d be into that, considering how long he was on ice. Insensitive? Anyway…

My only Cap-related complaint is that’s it’s really hard to find non-3D screenings. That’s the definition of first world problems right there. Like I said, anyway…

If you read the header of this post, you know what I’ve been reading this week. And you don’t need me to tell you how good this movie is. I’m sure there are lots of reviews you can read. But, if you’re looking for your Avengers news fix, you are in the right place:

An interview iffy in quality from The Guardian

THR had SO MANY THINGS

 

A WARNING: this link is a bit misleading… Someone cut together scenes from different movies and used the word naked in the title… But, really, he’s wearing pants. Mostly.

(And go see Snowpiercer as soon as you have a chance)

As for the other Avengers…

And…

 

The Weekend Reader – January 17ish

Sooooooo late… But I guess better late than never? Anyhow…

More soon!

The Weekend Reader – January 3, 2014

A new thing for the new year. Every Friday (give or take), I’ll post a list of recent reading from around the interwebs that might be of interest to y’all. As always, if there’s any interesting news/discussion you think I’ve missed, send it along!

Enjoy and keep writing!

Major 2013 Film Themes from The Guardian

4 Things Writers Should Stop Expecting from Bang 2 Write

Hollywood Movies With Strong Female Role Models Make More Money from Vocativ

Jeff Willis Breaks Down A Script Option Deal from The Black Board

101 Deadliest films by body count (Infographic) from Randal S. Olson (via The Black Board)

Casting Call: Hollywood Needs More Women from NPR (via The Black Board)

The 10 Most Sexist Female Characters on TV from Role Reboot

‘Her’ is a Futuristic Tale With 21st Century Sexism from Policy Mic

Ricky Gervais on what’s made him so successful from Time.com

WGA Award Nominees from Variety

REMINDER: Download tons of award season scripts from Go Into The Story (So much to learn! DO IT.)

What The What oh That Thing About Sarah Silverman

Does this headline tell you anything?

Sarah Silverman’s Bad Career Move: Being as Dirty as the Guys

Sigh. It’s not going away, is it? Subtle discrimination and lowered expectations are alive and well, as illustrated in Variety this very morning. Witness this quote regarding Sarah Silverman:

“Despite all manner of career-friendly gifts – from her looks to solid acting chops – she’s limited herself by appearing determined to prove she can be as dirty and distasteful as the boys …”

The article goes on to ask why she’s making fun of rape and make a wish kids and the Seaward – which are all valid questions. After all, comedians are doing their job when they best hold up a mirror to society and make us question thoughts, actions and behaviours. If that’s what a comedian is doing, whether I approve of their message or not, it’s all good to me. It’s fair to question these things.

So… Let’s take a moment and go back to the comment above. Remember a while back when the whole rape joke thing came out against Tosh.0 or whatever that guy is called? (Full disclosure- neither of these folks are my favourite comedians, so feel free to correct me on anything that doesn’t seem right…) I read a lot about the incident, and I don’t recall one reference to whether or not Tosh was handsome/smarmy/smarmsome. He was a guy doing a job, and people either agreed with him or they didn’t.

When male comedians get written up, there’s often a reference to whatever funny looking traits the men have, but it’s generally not the second sentence of the article. And the writeups generally aren’t as condescending as this one is. I think the “Aww sweetie, leave that to the boys” tone is maybe not entirely intentional, but that’s how it reads. So, um, not sure why that’s OK to publish in a legit publication…?

Regardless, I wish all the luck to Sarah Silverman with her new special. She’s gonna need it, as it’s obvious that talent isn’t quite enough for you to make it if you’re just a lady in the business of funny…

The More Things Change

Another day, another remake/reboot/sequel/prequel gets the green light.

For example, at 10:22 am on November 18th, Variety’s Jon Weisman takes the stance that originals are still outpacing remakes and that work gets remade for stage often, so why not in film and TV? A fairly short, but level insight into the process, cleverly titled In Defense of the Offense of Remakes

… Of course, that balance all comes crashing down just about an hour later, when Variety also exclusively reports that someone somewhere is producing a sequel to It’s A Wonderful Life.

Kaboom.

In fact, a lot of the remakes/reboots/sequels/prequels that people buzz about seem to be things no one has ever asked for. For example, I’ve never heard a single person say “I really think someone should remake Point Break!” Why? Because Point Break is a perfect movie. Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze? Perfect. Bank robbing presidents? Done. Running and jumping and surfing and skydiving? Totally. Nothing anyone could do to it could possibly make it better.*

(*Except maybe Edgar Wright. He made Point Break the slightest shade of different-as-better and called it Hot Fuzz. But, apparently, that’s still not good enough…)

The argument could be made that, when a great filmmaker has an interesting take on existing work, why shouldn’t they take a shot at putting their own stamp on it?

As for the Wonderful Life sequel, there was what appears to be a trailer released for this project (found on The Film Stage) where the voiceover (after the part about it being in 3D) includes this nugget:

“…George Bailey’s grandson is forever changed (when) his Aunt Zuzu comes back as an angel and shows him how much better the world would have been had he never been born…”

Now… now wait just a minute… Is this some dark take on the angel tale? Is someone planning to take the Bailey clan down the dark path the great Frank Capra himself traveled in post-war america? Will probing questions about HUAC shape the narrative? Or will this be an exploration of Capra’s own disillusionment about films and the commercial interests that he rallied against?

Or was that just an error in the voiceover?

Either way, surely there will be more depressing remake/reboot/sequel/prequel again tomorrow. Le sigh.

Announcing The Death of the Album.. Blah Blah Groan

…  I have no other words for this.

First, some points of fact: I’m not defending Katy Perry. I don’t care about Katy Perry’s music. I haven’t heard the album in question.

But, a better point is that I don’t know who Bob Lefsetz is. Judging by his picture, he didn’t grow out of the ground just yesterday, but rather he gives hard-hitting analysis of the music industry.

Um, sir? May I point out that you are part of the problem you outline above?

Because, even though music has been around forever, the “music industry” is relatively new – maybe a century old? And whole chunks of the industry exist only because people want to make money off the backs of talent instead of getting a real job. Let’s be upfront about that.

For example, there’s no art in the business of iTunes- just nerds who figured out how to skim off the backs of the people who are doing the work at the lowest possible price where they make the most possible profit. Yeah, I said it. Am I wrong?

I know from experience there are people in and around the industry who are passionate and who care about music and spreading the word of newly-discovered musical genius. But, I also know I’m not a fucking idiot. Those people brimming with passion are few and far between. There’s also a whole class of… let’s call them “people”, for the sake of this point, who want only to keep sucking at their music-funded money teet. Not surprisingly, those teets, they are-a-changin.

What has not changed is that the “music business” has always been a singles business. Even though our collective attention spans seemed to be tiny compared to days we remember only from magazine adverts and Mad Men, we have been more culturally in-tune with the 3 1/2 minute pop single than just about anything musical for the whole of the last 100 years.

But, keep in mind, that for many music is something that kids listen to, or that others enjoy, or that you put on while doing the dishes. A PASSIVE consumption of music is taken by the vast majority of people who are living, and have lived, on earth over the past century. The album was only ever treasured and collected and coveted and prized and ACTIVELY SOUGHT by the smallest segment of people on earth. That has been true since the album existed. A million apologies if album sales are not making “people” rich like they did in the 70s (if then).

So, just because someone is dumb enough to pay you to write a “grumpy old man says get off my lawn” column about music, please don’t start sounding the alarm as if the album has been THE gold standard for the age and is now endangered. The era you think you remember never happened in popular culture. It happened in your record store. It happened in Almost Famous. It happened in your mind. Mostly.

And, hey, I’m not picking on your ancient-ness. I’m old. So old, in fact, that if this were Roman times, I’d certainly have been dead a while. The last new songs I enjoyed were by Eminem (Rick Rubin!) and Arcade Fire (David Bowie!) (Ahem).

Of course, all artists now sell fewer albums because people steal more music than ever before in history. We’re now on the second generation of people who thinks artists don’t deserve a living from their work. (Napster kids now have kids. Yup, keep chewing your knuckles.) I’m going to guess their thievery digs much further into the bottom line more than single sales do. Or anything else.

Are there future rock stars? No, probably not. The era is probably as close to over as it has ever been. But it also means some of the leeches will wither up and die. In short, albums don’t work anymore because they never really did. Circle of life, man… So at least we know Elton John is still getting paid.

Women In Comedy – Let’s Be Awful

From the pages of Variety:

Women in Comedy: ‘Let’s Be Awful,’ Says Screenwriter Dana Fox

The awfulness in question here, of course, is basically code for “Women can be three-dimentional too!” Which should, of course, be shouted from rooftops. Often.

I don’t know about you, but it felt like a panel of unicorns sitting around discussing rainbows. It’s awesome to witness.

Fox had a pretty simple message that applies to a lot of writers:

“Nobody’s getting jobs anymore, you have to support each other”

I think Dana Fox is my new hero. Watch. And enjoy.