Jun 28

We get what we deserve

Grown ups
used to blame Hollywood producers, directors and actors for causing the dumbing
down of America. But, after reading Stephen Holden's scathing review of the
latest, mindless movie from Adam Sandler, I realize we have no
one to blame but ourselves. We get what we deserve.

discussing the dreadful content of 'Grown Ups,' Holden opines, 'The movie is
symptomatic of a social attitude that might be called the security of incompetence.
There's something reassuring about a bad movie that doesn't ask you to think or
feel or even pay attention; we can all be happy D-minus students huddled
together in communal self-disgust in a D-minus world.' That, my friends, is an
A-plus observation.

pabulum served up by the likes of Sandler, Stiller and their ilk is atrocious.
But, the great, unwashed masses pay to see it, so why shouldn't they continue
churning out one tired wretch of a movie after another?

feel the exact same way about Howard Stern and his T&A/flatulent-obsessed,
shock jock peers. My business partner, Ed, will sometimes liken my caustic
comments to Stern, but I prefer to see myself taking the higher, satiric road
of, say, a Johnny Carson or Don Imus. Their wit carries a rapier-like message
with it. Stern's content, on the other hand, is exactly like Sandler's flicks:
one doesn't need to think or feel or even pay attention to it.

so, the ongoing dumbing down of America continues. There are myriad reasons why
our country is on an increasingly steep downside of greatness. One can argue a
lack of political leadership, a loss of confidence in business & industry
and a complete betrayal by the church. But, one should not overlook the
contributions made by the entertainment industry.

There's a reason moronic comedians such as Adam Sandler have become multi-millionaires.
And, that reason is staring right back at you in the mirror.

fault lies not in our stars (Hollywood, or otherwise), but in ourselves.

Aug 10

Tommy’s last picture show

I'm not a big moviegoer. Never have been. Never will be. I'm content to wait and see a movie when it finds its way onto Comcast's fairly miserable listing of 'new releases.'

Thomas J Photo My friend Tommy (pictured), aka ‘Thos,’ is the exact opposite. The man constantly goes to see new movies and will often fire off reviews of the latest Hollywood offering. Tommy's quite the entertainment maven, so I take his critiques seriously and file them away for future consideration.

But, Tommy's gone dark of late. I wasn't consciously aware of this new, information void in my life until Thos brought the subject up at a recent reunion. He said he hadn't gone to see a movie in months! I was taken aback. Mouth agape, I asked why.

Tommy said he'd abandoned theater-going to become part of Netflix Nation. Chris "RepMan, Jr' Cody is another Netflix member, as are my dad and brother.

It seems to me that losing a 'Tommy' should be a huge red flag to the Cineplex Odeons of the world. Just think of the lost annual revenue from this man alone.

I didn't ask Tommy what mix of incentives would put his ample posterior back into a movie seat, but I have to believe it would involve a mix of discounts and extra amounts of Diet Pepsi, popcorn and cotton candy. The big guy loves his cotton candy.

Hollywood studio heads may be happy with the late summer performances of 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra' and 'Julie & Julia,' but, in my mind, if they've lost Tommy, somebody needs to shout, 'Cut!' and go back to the drawing board.

Tommy's last picture show is undoubtedly an early indicator that the curtain's gone down on classic movie-going.

Jul 07

Aston Martin’s move is (Money) penny wise and pound foolish

Aston Martin’s decision to offer a new mini-Aston based on Toyota’s iQ baby hatchback must be making secret agent 007, as well as M, Q, Moneypenny, and the whole gang on Her Majesty’s Secret Service hopping mad.

July 7 - bond

Long associated as the Bond car (before BMW and product placement took control of the Bond series, that is), the Aston Martin perfectly accentuated the Sean Connery coolness of the lead character. The silver sports car became synonymous with uber sophistication, along with ordering a vodka martini, shaken not stirred and introducing oneself as, ‘Bond. James Bond.’

Specially equipped with ejector seats, machine guns, smoke screen exhaust pipes and god knows what else, the Aston Martin would whisk Bond to and from assignments and enable him to barely escape a seemingly impossible tight squeeze. Now, though, the only tight squeeze will be the one caused by the new, smaller and cheaper Aston, called the Cygnet (Ugh. What a horrible name. What secret service agent worth his 9mm Glock would want to ride around in a baby swan?).

Driven by the desperation of a horrible economy, Aston is making the same branding mistake committed by General Motors and other luxury brands. They’re marginalizing their high-end brand equity in order to make a quick buck (or, Pound Sterling, in Aston’s case).

Trust me. As surely as 007 always gets the girl and vanquishes the bad guy in the end, Aston’s move will backfire. True sports car enthusiasts will abandon the brand when good times return and Aston will end up with a confused marketplace image. On the plus side, though, Aston’s demise will most assuredly put a smile on the faces of Blofeld and Odd Job.

Thanks to Carl Foster for the tip on this entry.

Jun 19

Football’s version of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield

June 19 - requiem-for-a-heavyweight-anthony-quinn-jackie-gleason-mickey-rooney Professional boxers are notorious for not knowing when to say when. The list of once great pugilists fighting way past their primes is endless and includes everyone from Oscar de la Hoya and Mike Tyson to Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Robinson. The definitive movie on the subject is Rod Serling's 'Requiem for a Heavyweight.' I highly recommend renting it from Netflix.

Boxers stick around for a variety of reasons. Many rose from the ranks of poverty and, once flush with the sweet smell of success, squander their winnings on fast cars, loose women and an exorbitant lifestyle. Faced with mounting bills and lightened wallets, the battered boxers step back into the ring against younger, faster and stronger opponents. Some survive. Others, like Ali, pay a heavy price.

Another big reason for fighting past one's prime is the uber rush that comes from performing in front of adoring fans. Adulation is the meth amphetamine of professional athletes. Which has to be the reason why Brett Favre is still bouncing around on the gridiron.

Favre was clearly past his prime in his final season with the Green Bay Packers. One could argue that he single-handedly lost the NFC title game to the Giants that season. And, his performance with the Jets last year should have convinced everyone, including Favre, that he was done.

Besides the physical risks associated with playing past one's prime, these ill-considered moves do significant damage to the athlete's image and reputation.

I'll always remember the 40-something Willie Mays stumbling and falling in a vain attempt to catch a fly ball in the 1973 World Series. Mays' legs were shot, but he couldn't face retirement. So, he embarrassed himself.

Favre needs to hang up his spikes. The longer he sticks around, the more damage he'll do to his image and reputation.