We’re all guilty of it to a certain degree. However, I find it most perplexing when fans become defensive about their favorite medium. One person’s viewpoint will never utterly shatter the window in which said fans view others from. This means, if a Juggalo or any counterpart thereof, reads this, it probably won’t change his mind about I.C.P.
Let me just start by saying that this is not my intention. After Caleb Lalinsky posted the link to American Juggalo, a short film that neither praises nor condemns its players, I began to dig deeper into the mindset of someone who would throw normal social mores in the trash in order to associate with others of the same faith, so to speak. Read more
As a numbers guy, to me the beauty of Moneyball doesn’t reside solely in its statistical and analysis cradle that makes it compelling to watch (and would put others to sleep), but rather the handicapped ideology it shows to the viewers before completely lopping its head off. Imagine doing the same job function for decades and coming to a hard realization that everything you know about it, is wrong. Completely and flat out wrong. How do you justify continuing in the same course?
Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane dares to answer that question as the Oakland Athletics General Manager at odds with his owner, his manager, his scouts, and the rest of the league as his team is being parted out for its best hands; grabbed up by organizations with bottomless pockets. Falling into lockstep with Beane is Jonah Hill’s Peter Brand, who feels that there are incredibly undervalued players within anyone’s budget to be snapped up but go unnoticed due to baseball’s long standing scouting traditions based almost solely on good looks and home run averages.
Watching Beane put together a solid team based on the numbers seems like poetic justice. As a young man, Beane forsook a full-scholarship to Standford to sign with the New York Mets by having his head filled with the undulating praise of older and wiser gentlemen who described him as the game’s “perfect five-tool player.” But after a disastrous career in the majors, Beane segues into a job as a scout. Several years later, as his team put together by sabermetrics accomplishes one of its colossal goals of 20-straight wins in the American League, a mix of satisfaction and disbelief engulfs Beane as he watches from an empty clubhouse weight room.
Here, in essence, is the power of this film. No one cares that the Oakland A’s are the superhero underdog team at the center of a two-hour attention span. What really matters, is giving meaning to something that matters to you. This is a story about a man in love with baseball. Who endures getting abused by the sweet nothings of higher ups as a youth and his own lack of developing talent as an adult; yet refuses to tell the girl goodnight because he loves her more than anything in the world.
The movie, tempered with its sole function of producing a team, that well, needs to produce, is its heart. Pitt’s Beane shines as an unflappable and adamant believer in his work, even when he doubts it. His relationship with his daughter, despite being divorced from her mother, is as strong as ever and provides him with the extra encouragement he needs to wake up everyday. There’s even a rather touching sentiment towards the end of the film where Brand explains to Beane that the importance of what you do accomplish infinitely outweighs what you don’t.
As you would expect, the film takes liberties with real facts, such as leaving out that Beane had continued the sabermetric work with the A’s by former General Manager Sandy Alderson. But that’s neither here nor there. Real life isn’t as nearly as entertaining as the movies, which is specifically why we go. In the end, one must realize that the screenwriters took what is essentially a math book, narrated by a habitual loser of baseball games and turned it into a spectacular biopic of a man who defied the uncontested rules and accepted “logic” of what makes a good ballplayer great.
Sports fans take a lot of flak for being portrayed as mindless slack-jawed morons who don’t understand anything other than a win and a loss, seeking constant justification for their obsession. This film destroys that notion. Because a true sports fan already knows you don’t have justify or explain yourself to people that don’t understand. And neither does this movie.
Moneyball. Directed by Bennett Miller. With Brad Pitt (Billy Beane), Jonah Hill (Peter Brand), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Art Howe), Chris Pratt (Scott Hatteberg), Robin Wright (Sharon), Kerris Dorsey (Casey Beane) and Stephen Bishop (David Justice). Released September 23, 2011 by Columbia Pictures.
I was perfectly okay this evening. Chillin’ with my girl, watching pennant chase baseball, and sucking down a Mint Oreo Blizzard from DQ. (So good, it’s ridqulous.) This is what you would call “An Awesome Night.” Lo and behold, my evening was ruined by an email. And email I got from an ex. An ex I thought I got rid of long ago.
After thinking I was done with this service after it had attempted to rape my pocketbook, I received the most disingenuous piece of tripe I’ve ever read coming from the CEO of a company. If you are (or more importantly were) a Netflix customer, no doubt you received this as well. And it turns out I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out what this dude sent:
It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.
For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us). So we moved quickly into streaming, but I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby increasing prices. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.
So here is what we are doing and why.
Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.
I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolves, without maintaining compatibility with our DVD by mail service.
So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.
It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”. We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.
Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to. It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies. One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, but now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. Other improvements will follow. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.
There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). If you subscribe to both services you will have two entries on your credit card statement, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as your current charges. We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready.
For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you.
I want to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.
Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.
-Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix
p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a video posted on our blog, where you can also post comments.
Can I call you “Reed”? I hope that’s okay since you used my first name, I guess that puts us on a first name basis, even though you or I have never met. I thoroughly read your “apology” letter and have come to the most coherent conclusion that you have never had to apologize for anything in your life.
You run a business. I am a consumer. You made a bad business decision. I responded by leaving. I don’t need an apology. You want me back as a customer? Stop making stupid decisions. Evidently, you thought that sending out a mass email/blog post was going to somehow rebuild a bridge you burned as soon as Blockbuster went belly up and you figured you could violate customer trust. Your reaction to your stock price dropping is the only reason you sent this sad excuse to my mailbox.
Let’s take a quick look at all the dumb things you’ve done while in charge, shall we? I mean, after all, we’re friends right? And as friends we should be honest with each other.
First you wanted to get rid of DVD’s by mail. We hated it. Then you wanted to jack up the rates after your competetion ceased to exist. We hated it. Now, instead of simply going back to the original price (or maybe jack it to a flat rate of $10 bucks AND include Blu-ray and videogames), you decided to rebrand the DVD-by-mail as “Quikster” and keep the streaming site as “Netflix.” WE HATE IT. In addition you kept the rate structure. So what exactly are you apologizing about? So far it seems that if we were married, you wouldn’t be sorry that you cheated on me, but sorry that I didn’t find out sooner. Well guess what. I packed up and left. And already in a relationship with Hulu.
I don’t know who’s whispering these ideas in your ear, but whoever headlines your boardroom brainstorming sessions needs to get a clue. How you operate a business on the Internet and have absolutely no self-awareness when it comes to your broad consumer base is completely mind-boggling. So, in conclusion, I’m going to give you a lesson on how business works:
Because of what you have done (and continue to do on an utterly moronic basis), I no longer have any brand loyalty towards your product. It lacks depth, selection, and simplicity. As a consumer, unless you fix the broken headed manbaby that is your company, stop sending me emails feigning apologies, and instead do your job by making something people want again. Other than that, get lost.
P.S. We’re not friends.
Any company that feels the need that they have to submit an apology instead of an appropriate business plan that rectifies the problem deserves the scorn of the consumer they’re trying to woo. Or maybe they just shouldn’t be a skank and bother me while I’m chillin’ with my woman, my baseball, and my DQ Blizzard.
At the risk of taking a machete and hacking the Uwe Boll pinata to pieces, I’d like to point out that this is not the focus of the article, despite Uwe Boll giving the video game industry a reason to reject his ideas like a transplant recipient.
Movie-goers at the very least are perverse voyeurs who slip ten bucks into the slot of a peep show booth on the weekends. All the dizzying, mesmerizing sights that are on display are strictly from the “look but don’t touch” department simply because watching chaos and disorder that can never affect us in any physical way is by far the most safest means to enjoy such a journey.
Video games have obliterated that fourth wall to a point where you not only control the pace and flow of a story; you are directly responsible for the virtual life in your hands. Much like a general who commands far from a battlefield through a plethora of television monitors, barking out orders and watching them come to fruition. Sure, you’ll lose some men. Don’t worry there’s more coming. There’s always more coming.
The causality of decision making reaches far beyond the next save point. It means what you decide to do today could have exponential repercussions, quite literally, years from now, depending on how long the franchise stays alive and how many evolutionary systems it appears on. All of those breakfast McGriddles suddenly don’t sound like such a good idea, do they?
Video games are the skin movies have tried to live in but never could and vice versa. The translation of content between these two mediums has been broken and jarred at best, much in the same way a book is almost never turned into a great movie. And seriously, when was the last time you read the novelization of any film and thought “Pulitzer. All the way.” Come to think of it, what novelization followed the movie exactly, if at all? And what would possess someone to read what they’ve seen as if to prove to themselves it’s the same? It’s like eating pizza in Italy and getting pissed it doesn’t taste like Domino’s.
But I digress to make this point. When you spend millions of dollars for casting directors, scriptwriters, foley artists, landscape and design, musical scores; essentially all of the bone and sinew that becomes the basis for a movie, but produce an interactive technology, why on Earth would you reproduce it as a movie? What idea could you possibly introduce into such a confined space that would work better inside of a box, rather in an impossible environment and one I could enjoy on my own time.
This “remake” disease that has infected the landscape of cinema is little more than the next outbreak of “let’s do non-stop superhero movies” that has left most intelligent writers in quarantine and others emaciated and working for The Asylum. The fact is, a character that I have built a rapport with over a dozen hours by making he or she narrowly escape a death trap is a feeling of accomplishment I will never get from a ninety-minute cardboard look alike.
Hollywood needs to wake up to what everyone else in the video game industry has been saying since the last decade. Our medium is not your medium. Your medium can never be our medium. It’s time to stop trying to stuff the video game dough into the stringent movie house mold and put the debate to rest. With money as a sole justification to turn a video game into a movie removes the heart of the original project and simply tells all those hard working people at “Company Studios” that they didn’t do a good enough job the first time around.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And Uwe Boll should have never.
It is said that “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” Despite any real world consequences this gives, in movies, this formula ceases to come to fruition unless said film is an indie flick. Romantic comedies are soulless machines, engineered to make you discard the obvious truth of reality. The idea that there is “someone for everyone” is an outright falsehood and Hollywood’s attempt to keep jackbooting this premise only cements its worth as tripe. I’ll state my case by discussing the most unrepentantly evil woman in the history of movies.
I have the fortunate ability to disregard ripped source material for the sake of a movie’s own merit, in that way I will have zero expectation when I watch it. It’s better to recognize that movies are not books and vice-versa and should be watched (read), enjoyed (survived), and reviewed (destroyed) to their own deserved credit. Now, I enjoyed Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I thought it was a nice, dumb little movie. But I hate Ramona Flowers.
Now, I can’t fault Scott for finding the girl of his dreams (who is actually the girl of his dreams: hurr, hurr), but dating her comes at a price. Of course, in order to date her, he must fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends. A cavalcade of hearts she’s broken in the most Urkel-like of ways.
Here’s my beef with Miss Flowers. Ramona is basically every airheaded female on the planet. In every conversation with Scott regarding her past flings, it’s always a half-assed story about how she hooks up with any number of males or females, grows bored after said significant other refuses to fight back physically and emotionally, and then leaves them an emaciated shell of a human being before moving onto the next poor soul. In short, Ramona is a malignant tumor and Scott Pilgrim is the willing host.
If the girl I’m dating just “happens” to be a whore, that’s one thing. With dating, I have the (assured) assumption of exclusivity and as long we both get tested, nothing is gonna rot off. But as soon as her client list catches feelings and I’m her psuedo-White Knight, you can cancel the showdown, amigo. You can have her.
Because if there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s the notion that you have to take the bad with the good, even if the bad can be buried and forgotten. Nevermind the fact that Ramona’s evil exes are assembled by her current jealous ex so that no one can have her. Ramona never confronts her own idiocy and walks the path of self-righteousness by passive-aggressively breaking up with Scott at the end of the movie only to have Scott’s other ex-current girlfriend suddenly be totally okay with his cheating ways and encourages him to run after Ramona. I can’t even describe the dimension of complete disbelief I collapsed into.
How Ramona can have no redeeming qualities whatsoever other than being height and weight proportionate with Joseph’s technicolor hairdo is insulting. It’s not so much that Ramona is written as an example that she is Scott’s future self, who’s doing a good job leaping chicks like tall buildings on his own. It’s the fact that he earnestly wants to be with someone with a freighter full of drama and then complains about said drama.
To put it bluntly, Hollywood is in love with the idea of being in love and therefore, all characters who do not have an immediate love interest, need one at the end of ninety minutes, regardless of compatibility or cohesion. It doesn’t matter who hooks up with who, just as long as they do, and in many ways reveals the nature of the filmmakers own personal anxieties that bleed through. No one wants to be alone, but you shouldn’t be with people that don’t want to be with you or make you feel you have to earn their love like a commodity.
Bottom line: If a key opens a lot of locks, then it’s called a master key. But if a lock is opened by lots of keys, then it’s Ramona Flowers.