Local L.A. Newscaster Or Porn Star?

If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles and turned on the TV at noon, 6, or 11pm, you might’ve noticed something “different” about the people delivering you the local news, sports, and weather.  Their lips are plumper. Their bods are buffer. Their boobs are much, much, larger. They frequently look like the porn version of what a local newscaster should look like.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a quiz for you:

Continue reading “Local L.A. Newscaster Or Porn Star?”

Searching for John Connor…

80sCharacters

Marty McFly. John McClane. Sarah Connor. Axel Foley. Riggs & Murtaugh. All are 80s movie characters that quickly became household names. Rambo and Indiana Jones became so iconic so fast, the sequels to First Blood and Raiders of the Lost Ark bore their names. Even 80s movies that weren’t box office champs produced characters with names still recognizable today. Snake Plissken. Lloyd Dobbler. Spicoli.

Plenty iconic character names from the 90s jump off the top of my head, too. Neo. Tyler Durden. Hannibal Lector. Keyser Soze. Sidney Prescott. Ethan Hunt.*

But from after 2000? I’m drawing a blank.

Continue reading “Searching for John Connor…”

No More Origin Stories

Henceforth, the following well-established characters no longer need to be shown how they become who they are:

  • Spider-Man
  • Batman
  • Superman
  • Green Lantern
  • Green Arrow
  • The Fantastic Four
  • All the X-Men
  • The Lone Ranger
  • The Phantom
  • Captain America
  • Thor
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Giant
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Anakin Skywalker
  • James T. Kirk
  • Spock
  • Willy Wonka
  • Indiana Jones
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Babe Ruth
  • Charles Foster Kane
  • Bane 
  • Harvey Dent
  • Catwoman
  • Pretty Woman
  • Jack Ryan
  • The Hulk
  • Hulk Hogan
  • Rocky
  • Rambo
  • Bambi
  • Godzilla
  • Scooby Doo
  • Yogi Bear
  • Bruce Lee
  • Bruce Almighty
  • Evan Almighty
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin
  • The Seventh Seal
  • Bill
  • Ted
  • Steve Jobs
  • JFK
  • RFK
  • FDR
  • ALF
  • Hal 9000
  • The Watchmen
  • The Wedding Crashers
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Hobbit
  • Hitler
  • Black Hitler
  • Madea
  • Big Momma
  • Freddy Krueger
  • Jason
  • Michael Myers
  • Austin Powers
  • Dorothy
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The inmates of Oz
  • Franklin
  • Bash
  • James Bond
  • Jaws
  • Jesus
  • Underdog
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter
  • Boba Fett
  • Willy Wonka
  • Sarah Palin
  • Any fictional president who’s really just a veiled take on Bill Clinton
  • That guy who sawed off his own arm
  • The Punisher
  • The Terminator
  • John Connor
  • Sarah Connor
  • The Transformers
  • Mad Max
  • Maxwell Smart
  • E.T.
  • Nemo (the fish)
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Oskar Schindler
  • Helen Keller
  • Mr. Magoo
  • The Alien from Alien
  • The Aliens from Aliens
  • Ellen Ripley
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Jason Bourne
  • Ethan Hunt
  • Rain Man
  • The Graduate
  • The Godfather
  • Robin Hood
  • King Arthur
  • Merlin
  • Houdini
  • Harry Potter
  • Burt Wonderstone
  • Snow White
  • The Fly
  • Marty McFly
  • Stuart Little
  • Robocop
  • Axel Foley
  • The Ghostbusters
  • Neo
  • Mulder
  • Scully
  • Josh Baskin
  • The Rocketeer
  • The family from Parenthood (the movie and both television shows)
  • The Odd Couple
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • The Mob Doctor
  • Darkman
  • Donnie Darko
  • William Shakespeare
  • Mozart
  • Beethoven (the dog)
  • Richard Nixon
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Blade
  • Dracula
  • Frankenstein
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Ben Stein
  • Bella
  • Edward
  • Jacob
  • Derek Zoolander
  • Paul Blart
  • Gumby
  • Judge Dredd
  • Swamp Thing
  • Tomb Raider
  • Sgt. Bilko
  • The A-Team
  • Katniss Everdeen
  • Frank Abagnale, Jr.
  • The guy from the The Terminal
  • Anyone from G.I. Joe
  • Norman Bates
  • Dexter
  • Ebenezer Scrooge
  • Scrooge McDuck
  • Howard the Duck
  • Howard Hughes
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Supergirl
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Liberace
  • Mark Zuckerberg

The following characters haven’t really had their origins explored on screen yet… but that’s okay.  Embrace the mystery.  Skip the origin story for them, too:

  • Han Solo
  • Hugh Hefner
  • Jack Bauer
  • John McClane
  • John McCain
  • Propeller guy from Titanic
  • The Fonz
  • The Golden Girls
  • Rapping Granny
  • Captain Hook
  • Grumpy Smurf
  • MacGuyver
  • Mary Poppins

The following is the entire list of pre-existing characters for whom it’s completely okay to retell their origin story:

  • Mighty Mouse

Sifting through the remnants of Twitter past…

Twitter recently celebrated it’s 7th birthday.  It’s easy to forget just how old that is in internet years, until you try to find a good user handle and see that all the good ones are not only taken, but also very, very dead.

Case in point: @TVExec

For a project I’m working on, I wanted to find a handle that could be used for a fictional TV executive.  I figured @TVExec  would be taken, and probably even abandoned by now, but I was still surprised to see just how dead it was.

6 tweets. Two followers. Following just one person. Hasn’t been touched in two years.

TVExecTwitter1

It’s also readily apparent that this account was created for one purpose and one purpose only: scoring with a porn star.

TVExecTwitter2

Assuming he really works in TV in some capacity (hence the Idol and So You Think Can Dance drops), I’m guessing he thought his connection to mainstream media might actually be attractive to her.

First I was upset that this great handle was being wasted… but then I was intrigued.   Is he really a TV exec?  Did the porn star agree to go out with him?  Did she take his money and leave his dead carcass on the bed at a Motel 6 and that’s why he never tweeted again!??!

With concern for his safety on my mind, I now had reasonable cause to dig a little deeper.

All it has for a name is “T. Williams.”  Sadly, the picture is not of Treat Williams.  But if this guy really did want to score with a porn star, I’m guessing he used a real photo. After all, his attempt to sleep with her might be shameless, but it wasn’t dishonest.  The last thing he’d want is for his perfect night to be ruined when she discovers the anonymous twitter troll she agreed to meet isn’t the one she pictured.

A quick Google Image search revealed that the same picture was used on a second, more legit-looking twitter account.

RealTwitterer

It’s a pretty normal twitter account for guy, mostly tweets aimed at sports writers and whatnot.  Not a proposal to a porn star to be found.  And, as it happens, this guy does appear to have a connection to major TV network.  Interesting…

And this is when I got kinda freaked out.  He roots for the same sports teams I do: the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Bucs.  He must be from Tampa.  I’m from Tampa.  Heck, he might’ve even gone to the same high school I went to (if not with me, then with one of my older siblings).  Okay.  This is hitting too close to home.

So I ended my search.  “Mr. TV Exec” if you’re reading this, I hope you and your porn star found true love and she didn’t kill you.  I also hope that one day you may relinquish that awesome twitter handle to someone who might actually use it.

There are some other good, dead handles I’ve come across that are worth a blog post, too. I’ll follow up with them at some point. In the meantime, what are some abandoned Twitter handles you’ve come across that you wish you could use?

UPDATE (6/18/13):  Per the comments below, you’ll see that the real Twitterer has reached out.  He also emailed me.  He seems like a nice guy, so I’ve gone through the post, removing details that could identify him.  It’s also worth noting that as of today, The “@TVExec” Twitter account no longer exists.

Could this have been the very first parody of The Mindy Project? From over 10 years ago?

Also discovered in an old Dartmouth Jack-o-Lantern: this parody of a comic strip in the campus newspaper circa the year 2000.  The actual strip was called “Badly Drawn Girl,” written and drawn by a student named Mindy Chokalingam. I wonder whatever happened to her…

Sort of Funny Girl

UPDATE: Point of clarification, the above was NOT written or drawn by Mindy. Sadly, I can’t remember which staff member came up with it…  I just thought it was interesting that her college comic strip (as characterized in this parody) bears some similarity to an excellent show currently airing on Fox…  Hmm…

UPDATE 2: Someone has created a tumblr featuring some of the original comic strips parodied here.

Where’d the tech stuff go?

Just a heads up that I’ve moved all my tech-related posts to my very tech-centric blog at TechGuyEric.com. A few of my tech posts that might be interesting to a broader audience are still here, but stuff like product reviews will only be found there from now on.

For example, if you’re looking for my review of the Martin Logan Motion Vision Soundbar, you can find it here.

People who say “Hollywood has run out of ideas” aren’t being very original

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 12.12.03 PM
Just a typical day in the comment section of almost any film-centric website…

I always cringe a little when I hear people say anything to effect of “Hollywood has run out of ideas” or “there’s no originality in Hollywood anymore.”  Not just because they’re lazy criticisms typically uttered with disdain, detachment, and smugness (and by someone who acts like they’re the first person to say it), but because it’s not even true.  The film industry has never been about original ideas, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The main formula of “Hollywood” has always been 4 parts something familiar plus 1 part something different (to give you a reason to pay for it again).  That’s the way it’s been for over a century.

Case in point:  1939

When I first started writing this blog post, I wanted to examine “the greatest year in the history of American cinema.”  Two years kept coming up over and over again in my searches.  The first is 1939, because a startling number of films produced that year have truly stood the test of time.  Here are the ten movies nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards that year:  Gone with the Wind – Stagecoach – Wuthering Heights – Dark Victory – Love Affair – Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Ninotchka – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Of Mice and Men – and The Wizard of Oz.

Though Dark Victory (with Bette Davis, Bogart, and Reagan) and Ninotchka (a Lubitsch/Billy Wilder collaboration) have failed to leave an indilible mark on the cinematic consciousness of America, the others easily rank amongst all-time classics — movies that are constantly referenced as high points of their genre.

Now, you might say: “Exactly, Hollywood has tried to imitate those eight other films to death!  So I’m right. Hollywood is unoriginal.”

Except, of course, for the fact there’s a stunning dearth of “originality” on that list.

1. Gone with the Wind – based on a novel.

2. Stagecoach – Both a genre film and an adaptation of a short story “The Stage to Lordsburg”

3. Wuthering Heights – Novel.

4. Dark Victory – Based on a play.

5.  Love Affair – Look, an original story for the screen!

6. Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Novel (though it should be noted this movie wasn’t made by “Hollywood” — it’s British)

7. Ninotchka – An original screen story.

8.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Based on an unpublished story.

9. Of Mice and Men – Novel.

10. The Wizard of Oz – Novel.

So of the best picture nominees from one of the most historical years in movies, 8 were adaptions of preexisting material.  But you know what?  I’ll knock it down to 7,  since the original story for Mr. Smith was never published.  So there you go.  7 out of 10, and no one has ever called Gone With The Wind or The Wizard of Oz unnecessary adaptations.  And as for Love Affair… It may be a classic, and it may be original, but you know what’s considered even more of a classic?  The 1957 remake:  An Affair to Remember.

Also noteworthy about Love Affair, its success led to two more films starring the same leads (Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer) being produced soon thereafter.  Hollywood did that a lot in the pre-home video era.  To satisfy the audience’s desire to see certain actors together again, when they couldn’t make a sequel they’d just pair them up again and again in other (very similar) films.  In other words, the golden age of movies was filled with a lot more You’ve Got Mail’s than Sleepless in Seattle‘s.

If Hollywood had as much of a habit of doing that today as they did back then, what would the internet call them?  Faux-quels?

Continue reading “People who say “Hollywood has run out of ideas” aren’t being very original”