Theory - raising mainstream tastes - Current State of Movies

I'm not sure that mainstream audiences are dumb.

They do, however, appear to be dumb to the movie industry.

The problem is that studios have to get the audience's attention in order to sell a movie. The ideas are dumb and loud because that's what gets attention, that's how you get someone to turn their head, by being dumb and loud. Not because that is what the audience really wants to experience (although in some cases admittedly this is true.)

The audience wants to see something good. However, they see the (entire night out) experience as more than just the movie. To them, it's an outing, a social event, similar to poker night or a PTA meeting or even church to other types (non movie-mainstream) of audiences. It's ritualistic and therefore the quality automatically goes out the door since it has less bearing on the general experience of the event.

Anyway, I'm rambling but the final point is that it might be possible to market a smart and good movie in a dumb and loud fashion in order to get the attention of mainstream audiences, have a huge opening weekend, and then introduce nearly everyone to a really good movie.


Good. You can follow my Twitter which I promise will never be serious nor meaningful, but maybe a little bit funny. Look me up using my real name or "Inconsolable" which I think is my Twitter name.

Weed Eater 12-Inch 3.7-AMP Electric String Trimmer #RT112 on Amazon

Perfect for Brooklyn Yards

My yard in Brooklyn has two patches of grass among the various landscaping, trash, pigeons, rats, hypodermic needles and beer bottles. This thing works like a charm to quickly and easily trim up small yards with no messy gas and it also works as a club to remove unsightly bums who may have passed-out in your yard. Get a move on, buddy, I've got to cut the grass! It's also very safe for this type of product (I accidentally ran it over my bare feet the other day, not even a bruise. FYI this is NOT RECOMMENDED but I thought I'd let you know. Okay, look, just don't use it on yourself, even if you're into that sort of thing. Geez, now this will probably be deleted.) Easy to use, easy to store, great for small patches of grass.

Old but somewhat useful

This was run somewhere else but I'm putting it here as well.

Super Bowl Ad Creative in ’09? I’m Not Buying It.

Plenty of Animals, Babies, Sex, and Violence but no Heart, Head, or Humor.


I had high hopes for the 2009 Super Bowl ads, I really did. I thought that maybe with the economy in the tank, corporations would open their eyes to what really makes a good ad. I hoped that agencies would realize that you don’t need expensive CGI or star power to get consumers to take notice. I prayed that everyone involved would come around to the idea that a simple and effective, scaled-down approach would be a refreshing change from last year’s dismal lineup. I was wrong.


What Makes a Good Super Bowl Ad?

In order to adequately complain about Super Bowl ads, I must first understand what makes an entry notable. I looked around the internet and found that there were three, nearly consensus choices for best Super Bowl ad of all time. They also fit neatly into the three, fairly distinct categories that seem to work best in the genre.



Coca-Cola: Mean Joe Green

This ad is all about the fantastic set-up. Mean Joe shuffles down the corridor after a tough game. He’s clearly injured and most likely defeated and certainly isn’t in the mood to deal with the adoration of some random kid. However, the persistent tot softens him up by offering Mean Joe his Coca-Cola. Joe uncharacteristically lowers his gruff façade and takes the drink from the kid, only to down it and continue down the path to the locker room. The dejected kid turns to walk back out into the stands and that’s when the magic happens. Joe says “Hey kid, catch” and throws him his no doubt priceless game-worn jersey. There you have it, three words. One of the greatest lines ever written in the history of advertising. This ad has been repeated with various sports stars in countries across the globe. It’s sheer genius.



Reebok: Terry Tate Office Linebacker

Laughing at pain and violence is perhaps the oldest form of comedy and has been used in advertising since the beginning. However, no spot has ever handled this old chestnut with such a deft and hilarious touch. Tate’s been hired by Felcher industries to straighten-out the staff. It’s sort of an HR position that utilizes Tate’s inimitable talents destroying his adversaries both physically and verbally on the football field. The dry tone of the Feltcher CEO contrasts perfectly with the high-energy antics of Tate. Truly, violence has never been funnier in a Super Bowl ad.



Apple: 1984

This might be the ad that started it all. This was the first true “event” ad to air in the Super Bowl, and it’s not a stretch to say that this was the spot that really brought Super Bowl ads into the public spotlight. It was a jaw dropping concept when it originally aired, and even now when you go back and look at it, this Orwellian spot stands out from the pack. This ad immediately looked different, with extremely high production values, and a thoughtful theme that was anything but dumbed-down. The execution may be complex, but the premise is simple. Apple is different. The mantra still stands.


What do all three have in common? They were unexpected. Who knew that Mean Joe Green had a softer side that went completely against his image? We’d seen violence in commercials before, but not on the scale that the lovably scary Terry Tate was prepared to deliver. And the Apple 1984 ad? We haven’t seen anything like it before or since.


That’s it. The key to success for a Super Bowl ad is to give the audience something unexpected. Of course, the three ads above had a lot more than just that going for them. They had humor, production values, good concepts, and excellent writing. However, the element of surprise is what really sold each of the concepts.


What Was Good in ‘09:

“Good” is a strong word to describe any ad this year, but there were a few that drew a somewhat positive response.


Bud Light - Swedish Bowl/55727/super-bowl-xliii-ads-bud-light-swedish#s-p2-sf-i0

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the night’s first somewhat funny commercial. I like how Conan shoves his agent into the cab. It adheres to what I call the Terry Tate Law of Super Bowl Advertising. Violence works. The European ad itself was also entertaining. Tips Bowl/55633/super-bowl-xliii-ads-careerbuildercom-tips

The “Oh dear” and the “it’s gold” lines were amusing. I thought the editing was interesting but borderline annoying in its repetition. I have to admit punching the Koala resulting in the sloshed tea made me laugh.


Bridgestone – Taters Bowl/55725/super-bowl-xliii-ads-firestone-taters

This one works pretty well. It’s short and sweet, and it does a good job selling the time-honored gag of men hating to listen to women talk. The mouth falling off works as do the replacement angry eyes. It was slightly sexist but also engaging.



Coke: Heist Bowl/55737/super-bowl-xliii-ads-coke-heist#s-p10-sf-i0

The insect animation was really nice in this one, as was the photography. I liked the horned beetle/can opener gag, as well as the bit where the guy reaches for his coke bottle and it’s just a bunch of butterflies that flutter away.


Denny’s: Thugs Bowl/55608/super-bowl-xliii-ads-dennys-thugs

This didn’t have the effect that it could have since most people had already seen the previous, weaker spots for their “Isn’t it time for a serious breakfast?” campaign, but it was actually funny. Also, they’re giving away a free grand slam. However, I do find it odd that this is the same company that offers the Moons Over My Hammy® plate.


Hulu: Alec in Huluwood Bowl/55719/super-bowl-xliii-ads-hulu-alec-in-huluwood#s-p1-sr-i0

This was very much in the style of Baldwin’s brilliant turn in the well-written NBC sitcom 30 Rock. It gets outrageous and confusing with the alien theme towards the end, but overall it’s funny and has good energy. This was one of the more delightfully unexpected ads of the bunch.



Honorable Mention:


Pepsi – Refresh Anthem Bowl/55614/super-bowl-xliii-ads-pepsi-refresh-anthem

Well produced, but if this generation’s Bob Dylan is Will.I.Am, then this generation is in trouble.


Doritos - Crystal Ball Bowl/55646/super-bowl-xliii-ads-doritos-crystal-ball

Derivative, but a desperate shot to the groin will always appeal to a certain demographic. David Abernathy Bowl/55627/super-bowl-xliii-ads-carscom-david-abernathy

This was a straight-up rip-off of The Royal Tannenbaums intro scene right down to the style of narration. At least it was executed well.


Audi: Chase Bowl/55643/super-bowl-xliii-ads-audi-chase

Nice use of Rockford Files and Magnum P.I. style music and visuals to denote period car chases. Things get confusing in the end as too many concepts (retro, car chases, moving through time, inferiority of non-Audi getaway cars, Jason Stratham, etc.) get confusing. It was an interesting idea though.


Coke Zero: Mean Troy Bowl/55628/super-bowl-xliii-ads-coke-zero-mean-troy#s-p2-sr-i0

I thought this ad was going to be a travesty since they were going for a parody of the Mean Joe Green classic spot I mention above. However, the spot warmed up toward the end and came out surprisingly well. Part of this has to be due to the excellent choice of the Steelers’ Troy Palomalu. Also of note: This is the first Coke Zero commercial ever that hasn’t made me cringe.



What Was Bad in ‘09:

None of us have time to fully examine all the ads that went wrong (believe me, I tried) but these stood out as particularly reprehensible. Shower Bowl/55738/super-bowl-xliii-ads-godaddycom-shower

Apparently customers are primarily teenaged loser porn enthusiasts/entrepreneurs who have no trouble breaking myriad privacy laws in order to record Danica Patrick taking a shower with the “German woman from the Dean’s office.” The other commercial (a continuation of their courtroom concept) is just as bad but not worth linking to.


Bud Light: Drinkability Bowl/55634/super-bowl-xliii-ads-bud-light-drinkability

A guy has the unexplained ability to draw solid lines into reality (the lines look like sports analysts drawing on a television screen to illustrate their point.) He most likely kills a skier and then shows up with his arms in casts, also unexplained. This is one seriously lazy execution of a concept that still remains a mystery to me.


Sobe Lizard Lake 3-D Bowl/55648/super-bowl-xliii-ads-sobe-lizard-lake-3d

You often hear about ad agencies throwing a lot of ideas against the wall to see what sticks. Well, in the case of the Sobe campaign, they take all the ideas that don’t stick and shove them roughly into a single spot. This ad features the following concepts: pro football players performing Swan Lake, pratfall-based physical humor, CG lizards, zombie CG lizards, football players morphing into CG lizards, characters from the upcoming DreamWorks Animation movie Monsters vs. Aliens. Oh, and it’s in 3-D.


Teleflora: Talking Flowers Bowl/55645/super-bowl-xliii-ads-teleflora-talking-flowers

I enjoy my share of insult comic humor (Don Rickles and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog come to mind) but this box of flowers takes it way too far. This is another in a surprising number of ads this year that directly attack women.


Doritos: Power of the Crunch Bowl/55728/super-bowl-xliii-ads-doritos-power-of-the-crunch

This is the second ad of the night where someone uses the product directly to disrobe a woman. The product is also used to turn a cop into a monkey. It’s not as interesting as it sounds.



Dishonorable Mention:


Toyota: Killer Heat Bowl/55649/super-bowl-xliii-ads-toyota-killer-heat

What does driving up a spiral metal ramp while engulfed in flames have to do with day-to-day transmission performance, or anything, for that matter?


Hyundai: Contract Bowl/55733/super-bowl-xliii-ads-hyundai-contract

Hyundai lets you return your car if you lose your job. I understand their point, but this is one sad commercial.



Trailers and Promos:

Another sad aspect of this year’s crop of ads is that they were summarily outshined by NBC network promos and movie trailers. Have we ever seen more station promos in a Super Bowl? This is no doubt due to ad budget constraints and underselling the time slots this year. The NBC: Heroes Football injected some life into a series that could definitely use it and The Alec Baldwin in Huluwood ad mentioned above was basically an NBC promotion as they’re both owned by the same company. The LMAO spot featuring audience members literally losing their posteriors due to the humorous shenanigans of NBC’s Thursday night lineup deserves mention as well.


Trailers for movies like G.I. Joe, Transformers 2, and Fast and Furious managed to engage viewers far more than any of the umpteenth Clydesdale attempts by previous industry juggernaut Bud Light.


Does this mean that traditional advertising agencies have lost their edge to in-house creative groups and Movie Trailer editing boutiques? I don’t think that’s entirely true, but it’s a scary thought.



In Conclusion:

Last year the ads were so bad it literally made me angry to review them. This year? They just make me sad. By and large the ads in ’09 were safe, derivative, uninspired, and in a few cases, downright insulting. It’s time the entire industry was called-out for dropping the ball two years in a row. It’s pathetic that station promos and trailers are taking attention from the biggest spotlight event ads that the industry will put out this year. Something must change before next year’s Super Bowl. My advice? Go back to basics, and give the audience something unexpected.



A Few Additional Notes:


Worst use of Kiefer Sutherland in an ad:

Universal Studio Parks – Inner Hero Bowl/55623/super-bowl-xliii-ads-universal-studio-parks-inner-hero


Most obscure pitch man: Bling and Boozer Bowl/55716/super-bowl-xliii-ads-overstockcom-bling-and-boozer

Quick, which team does Carlos Boozer play for? Okay, which professional sport does he play? Still don’t know? Hint, it’s not football.

Amazon Santuko knife review

Very nice inexpensive santuko knife,
I bought one of these because many of my friends who take cooking seriously were raving about Santukos. They collectively wouldn't shut up about Santuko knives, even as I spat in their faces and told them no self-respecting cook would ever even consider using such a knife. They further staked out around my apartment, accosting me as I came in and out, pushing Santuko knives in my face, practically forcing me to try one.

I held my ground, stood steadfast, refused, turned my nose up, had security remove them from my estate, but to no avail. My so-called friends kept coming for me, demanding I try a Santuko knife. They would not take no for an answer.

So, finally, I caved. I ordered one, mainly to have the box as evidence to prove that I played along with their insipid game. It was cheap and I trust Calphalon, so I chose this one.

It wasn't all that sharp when I got it, but I took care of that myself with a pull-through sharpener and a steel. I picked it up. The weight and balance weren't all that bad. I actually liked the angle and it felt comfortable to handle. The scalloping actually worked well to clear food away. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror, holding the knife. I hissed like a vampire burned by the sun and turned away, but I did not drop the knife, rather, I held it close.

At that point, I lowered my shades and turned the lights down. I sat in my chair for a long while, just holding the knife in my hand, thinking to myself what would real chefs think of me using a Santuko? How do I now face my friends? I decided on a compromise.

I would tell my friends that I took one look at the knife and hurled it, disgusted, out into the alley. However, the truth would be different. I decided I would only use it, secretly, under the cover of darkness. Yes! That's how I would avoid facing-up to my friends, who were right about the Santuko. But, they would never know!

Soon, I found myself waking up later and later in the day in order to only cook in the wee hours of the morning. I started telecommuting to work, doing all of my tasks ahead of time and having them automatically sent to my colleagues at rational business hours. I became a creature of the night.

On some dark nights, if you walk by my apartment at the witching hour and have a keen ear, you may hear me chopping ... chopping... chopping with my Calphelon Santuko knife into the night...

See more reviews here.

The Strangler's Gloves

DeadPanWalking: I have your glove
WelcomeBackOtter: nice!
WelcomeBackOtter: I was wondering about that
DeadPanWalking: it's a rather dainty black leather glove, such as a murderous fop would wear to strangle his adversary.
WelcomeBackOtter: note the excessive wear from, well, all the strangling
WelcomeBackOtter: I've been strangling with one hand these past weeks, which ha sbeen bad news for the schoolgirls and midgets of my boro
DeadPanWalking: ha, I bet

Enrage Magazine Concept

DeadPanWalking: I like the idea of a magazine being wholly inspired by rage

DeadPanWalking: it would have to be online, quick to publish, before the vitriol dies down

DeadPanWalking: I guess that's too close to talk radio though

ScatFanShooby: I'd call it "Signal right, turn left magazine"

DeadPanWalking: ha, that's a good name

DeadPanWalking: that's classic rage-inspiration

ScatFanShooby: mostly when you get it, you just rip out some pages, spit on it, and stomp whats left

ScatFanShooby: maybe we could get malcolm gladwell to write a column

DeadPanWalking: he seems kind of calm

DeadPanWalking: I was thinking maybe the mad money guy

ScatFanShooby: the mad money guy doesn't MAKE anyone mad

DeadPanWalking: gladwell will require some poking with a stick or something

DeadPanWalking: oh, right

DeadPanWalking: I get it

DeadPanWalking: the editor will be a guy talking on a mobile phone while riding rollerblades in traffic

DeadPanWalking: the price will be entirely tax

DeadPanWalking: no actual price, but heavily taxed

ScatFanShooby: yeah, we can have the greenpeace street fundraiser issue

ScatFanShooby: I like it

DeadPanWalking: delivery trucks must double-park while filling the street boxes

DeadPanWalking: haha

DeadPanWalking: greenpeace

ScatFanShooby: double park? I'd say triple park, they must always deliver in pairs

DeadPanWalking: first issue lovingly memorializes the Bush years


Not that it really means anything to anyone who cares, but The Wire once again was not nominated for a best dramatic series Emmy. That, my friends, is disgusting.

What was nominated (COMEDY):

Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Office
30 Rock
Two and a Half Men

What should have been nominated:

Curb Your Enthusiasm
30 Rock
Always Sunny in Philadelphia
How I Met Your Mom
Pushing Daisies

My Winner: 30 Rock by an apocalyptic-level landslide.

What was nominated (DRAMA):

Boston Legal
Mad Men

What should have been nominated:

Mad Men
Breaking Bad
The Wire
Battlestar Galactica

My Winner: The Wire by the largest margin ever recorded in any competition.

Here's an incomplete list of who I think should win:

Animated program: The Venture  Bros.
Art direction: The Tudors
Comedy: 30 Rock
Commercial: The one where the wolf and the birds are singing in the SUV
Costumes: The Tudors
Drama: The Wire
Comedy Actor: Alec Baldwin
Comedy Actress: Jane Krackowski
Drama Actor: Hugh Laurie
Drama Actress: Kevin Bacon's wife
Supporting Actor Drama: Omar from The Wire
Supporting Actress Drama: Christina Hendricks of Mad Men (insert wolf whistle and steam coming out of collar here)
Supporting Actor Comedy: TIE Tracy Morgan and Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock
Supporting Actress Comedy: Kaitlin Olsen of Always Sunny
Reality competition program: Pet Star
Variety: Colbert Report
Lead Actor Special/Mini-series: Ricky Gervaise in the extras christmas special
Supporting actor Special/Mini-series: The great David Morse playing General Washington in John Adams
Lead Actress Special/Mini - Laura Linney in John Adams
Supporting Actress Special/Mini - Ashley Jenson Extras Christmas special
Best Writing: Drama: Duh, The Wire
Best Writing: Comedy: Duh, 30 Rock
Writing: Variety: Colbert
Writing: Mini: John Adams

More bio-writing

Once again, if you need me to write a bio for you, expect something like this:

Jean Paul T_________ is a grizzled veteran of both the content development and production industries, having worked with the likes of AOL, MTV, and However, his greatest achievement by far was his #2 status in Cage aux Folles magazine’s special 17-page pull-out section ranking 2006’s hottest birdcage collectors.

He will stop at nothing to become #1.

I miss That '80's Show

1. How old were you in 1980?

2. How old were you in 1989?

3. Were you a Toys R' Us kid?
No, I was vaguely aware of it, but I didn't live anywhere near a store until I was too old to appreciate such childish things.

4. Did you watch Transformers?
I had no interest in Transformers and frankly didn't understand everyone else's infatuation. I suppose my main issue was that some of the characters (specifically the tapes and boom box) were depicted at times to be life size and at others to be nearly as large as their contemporaries who transformed into much larger things like Mack trucks and jets. The size disparity annoyed my logic center.

5. Did you see E.T. on the big screen?
Yes. I recall being quite frightened by the poster, but very impressed by the movie.

6. Did you own a Lite Bright?
I was a light bright addict. I still can't be allowed in the same room with one.

7. Who is your Favorite Golden Girl?
I'm going to have to go with Blanche. Tough question.

8. When someone says " Who you gonna call? " You think?
A team of paranormal exterminators who (sic) "Ain't afraid of no ghost."

9.What was your favorite toy?

10. Did you have a Pogo Ball?
No, but I gave one a spin once. I was disappointed when I realized I could probably jump higher without it.

11. Did you listen to New Kids on the Block?
It would have been impossible not to. NKOTB, as reprehensible as they seemed at the time, actually gave me and my friends endless comedy material, so I can't complain too much. My Donnie Wahlberg (the bad boy) impersonation regularly brought the house down.

12. What New Kid did you have a crush on?
Tough call. I guess I perceived Jordan as being the best looking one, but the girls seemed to all have various opinions. I ended up meeting Jordan later in life, he's a really nice guy if a bit of a mess (but who isn't?)

13. Did you play M.A.S.H?
Ha, I used to make these incredibly detailed mash apparatuses that would go into specifics about the players future economic status and lifestyle, all way over the top. For instance, you could end up married to the Sultan of Dubai or, alternately, to Jim Varney  of "Ernest goes to ..." fame or some other such bumpkin. You're future dwelling could be anything from a hidden government bunker in the desert to a Sandanistan refugee camp in Nicaragua.

14. Did you watch The Care Bears?
Oh, I watched them. I watched them closely with darting eyes and furrowed brow. I knew they were up to something.

15. Did you have Jelly bracelets?
I didn't wear any jewelry as it could potentially be caught in a basketball net or rim and therein rip my arm/fingers off.

16. Did you ever own a slap bracelet?
See above.

17. The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles?
Definitely The Breakfast Club. I had high hopes for Judd Nelson's acting career.

18. Did you have a crazy hair style?
I believe it was like assymetrical bangs down to my chin. It changed a lot.

19. What was your first bike?

20. Name one thing you still own from your childhood?
Charles Schultz's Peanuts Encyclopedias (4th edition.)

21. Did you have a Cabbage Patch Kid?
No, I was more of a garbage pail kid type of guy.

22. Rainbow Brite or Strawberry Shortcake?
Hahaha, I remember this girl I knew having a large sack of all her Strawberry Shortcake dolls in varying scents. Keeping them all together made them all smell the same, and really really grotesque.

23. Did you watch Miami Vice?
I didn't watch, but I was heavily influenced by their style. I wore nothing but pastels for years.

24. Did you own a Trapper Keeper?
Mine was blue. It's interesting, I remember a friend of mine having the same one. He ended up losing his and I joked that I had purloined it (since mine was the same model and in roughly the same shape.) Four office visits later I vowed never to jokingly state that I'd stolen something at a school with metal detectors.

25. Atari or Nintendo?
Atari. We were always strapped for cash, so I was about 4 or so years behind on game systems. I've been able to cut about 2 years off of that as an adult, but I'm still rocking the PS2.

26. Did you play Pac-Man?
I could draw the maze with my eyes closed in less than a minute.

27. Which was better: Jem and The Holograms or Barbie and The Rockers?
I was a Misfits fan (I live in Williamsburg, remember?)

28. He-Man or She-Ra?
I'd have to go with She-Ra on this one. She was sort of attractive to be so crudely animated.

29. What movie scared you the most?
It wasn't a movie it was a TV show. Specifically, an episode of Tales From the Dark Side directed by horror stalwart Tom Savini called "Inside the Closet" concerning (from Wikipedia) "A young woman taking up board in an elderly man's house insists that there is something lurking inside of the small, locked closet in her bedroom." Turns out it a monster and a nasty one at that. Apparently the old man had tried some sort of experiment on his daughter that misfired completely.

30. Did you try to dance like Michael Jackson?
I could do all that stuff way before he could.

31. What Is The First Thing That Comes To Mind When You Hear "flux copassitor"
My favorite actor, none other than Crispin Glover. "Get your damn hands off of her!" and so forth.

32. What other colors did Pepsi come in?
Nobody in the South drinks Pepsi, it's not considered fit for consumption.

33. Roger Rabbit Or Howard The Duck?
Roger Rabbit by a long shot.

34. Did you ever beg your parents to have your school picture taken with the 'LASER' background?
No, I always tried to get out of having my picture taken. Still do. I prefer my legacy to be passed on in story-form.

35. Do you know what the Ninja Rap is?
Never heard of it.

36. Do you know why people cringe when they hear the word BUCKNER?
This interview is over.