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Bloviating Zeppelin: Hollywood and Media Sinking

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hollywood and Media Sinking

I wrote about this in the comments section of another blog and thought: this warrants a post in and of itself. So. . .

Brokeback Mountain has already been given 7 Golden Globe nominations -- it also garnered awards from Critics Choice and other areas. Any publicity it acquires helps its box office. Some kids in the Sacratomato Valley area have already been exposed to trailers for this movie. There is the given "hukk" factor from many males. These are two guys who are cheating on their wives, married to two beautiful women. They go hunting and fishing several times a year with each other -- making, perhaps, women at home now wondering what's happening when "their men" take off.

This is a movie about gay Wyoming cowboys with a Chinese director and two stars, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who want greater "exposure" so to speak. Gyllenhaal already "tanked" in the deceptive Jarhead which went afar from the book.

But you know what? Nobody's going to see Brokeback. The only alternative is to make the most of whatever publicity the movie generates.

But, of course, there's more: soon coming is a movie about two gay baseball players, further expanding the "hukk" factor for most men.

"Hukk," by the way, is the noise one makes, deep in the throat, before one blows chow.

Hollywood is experiencing the biggest drop in attendance in 20 years.

So is the major media.

But this post is primarily about Hollywood -- so what factors are responsible for the diminishment of box office revenues -- at the same time that motion picture producers are taking many of their companies and shoots away from Fornicalia and into areas NOT anchored to huge union costs and oppressive union rules?

Let's look:

1. Quality of Films
Just hitting the high points of films I've watched in the past year or so (either in the theatre or rented on DVD), some positive examples come to mind:
- Criminal
- Serenity
- Crash
- Lord of the Rings trilogy
- Wedding Crashers (I kinda like Vince Vaughn)
- March of the Penguins (a French documentary fer Christ's sake!)

The only movie I've walked out of for at least 25 years:
- The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (what a listless waste of celluloid!)

That's about it.

Some positives from television (only on "cable"):
- Empire Falls
- Deadwood
- Rome

I've seen a buttload of movies this year and most were eminently forgettable.

Coming up as trailers as I anticipated seeing Walk the Line: remakes of The Poseidon Adventure and Miami Vice. As expressed by a young man, rather loudly after the trailer for Miami Vice: "Show of hands for those who think this is a bad idea?" Most everyone in the theatre raised their hand.

I usually see, on average, one new movie a week. Sometimes I'll not see anything for a week or two -- depends on circumstances. Cutting to the chase: I am a Hollywood-friendly person who wants to see movies. And even I'm hitting the alternatives.

The remakes suck. There is little originality. And the more you cater to the fringes in, for example, the homsexual community, the more I'll see movies at home and more carefully pick and choose.

2. Ticket Prices
In Sacratomato, Fornicalia, most tickets cost $9.50. Make it an even ten bucks. In Auburn, where I go to see many of my films, ticket prices are $6.50 during the day -- which is when I attend. I try not to see films in so-called "major cities" because $10 for a movie is a waste -- particulary considering the tripe most movies turn out to be.

3. Concession Prices
Even in Auburn, a little (but expanding) foothills bedroom community: $6.00 for a large bucket of popcorn, $4.25 for a "medium" Coke. Total: $10.25.

So to see one movie away from a major theatre city, I've spent $16.75 for one person -- the better part of a $20 bill.

In Sacratomato, a smaller bag of popcorn, still called "large" but not containing nearly as much popcorn as Auburn, costs $6.50. A drink, smaller (but still called medium) costs the same.

4. Advertisements
Get there early, so you can catch "The Twenty!" Wrong. I get to most Regal Theatres late so I don't have to catch that crap. At least Century Theatres don't have ads. Guess what folks? More ads are coming! Why? To make up for lost revenues!

5. Rude Assholes In the Audience
Plenty of them in major cities. Cell phone yakkers and loud talkers and kids talking and talking and parents bringing their stupid damned crying babies. Here's a clue: parents, give us a break. I don't pay to eat in a restaurant or sit in a movie to hear your piece of s*!t kid cry, talk, bawl or throw a tantrum. Take the damned kid out and pitch him or her into the nearest dumpster. One parent recently had enough class to actually say, in a loud voice to their child: "That's enough!" and they were marched out of the theatre. There was actual applause. Myself included. That parent was the exception and not the rule.

6. DVD Pricing and Watching At Home
So here are my options:
- I can park in a packed lot with all the other groundlings
- I can hope my car doesn't get broken into whilst I'm gone
- I can pay $10 per ticket
- I can pay $7 for popcorn that costs 20-cents to make
- I can get served by a listless tweener with nose piercing, bad nails, surly attitude, wearing pants barely containing her ass and roll of body fat with green teeth who can only produce change because the machine tells her what to give back
- I am subjected to ads prior to even the trailers
- I can hope I've chosen a spot furthest away from the pack of teenaged kids or bawling baby
- I can hope the movie doesn't both suck and blow
- I can hope the bathroom, after the movie, has paper towels and warm water -- or not


- I can watch what I want, when I want, pause for breaks, on my new 36" Toshiba flatscreen
- I can see how various movies were made in the "extra" section of each DVD
- I can lay on my leather couch, pull a fleece blankie over me, drink a Diet Pepsi instead of a stupid Diet Coke
- Or another Adult Beverage
- No one cries in my house, talks on the phone, or irritates me
- I just purchased two wonderful, classic movies on DVD for $9.95 each through Three Days of the Condor and Marthon Man -- for the price of a ticket for a bad movie
- And I get to keep the movies!
- And they play as well the 100th time as the first!


Earth to Hollywood?

Are you listening?


Blogger Gayle said...

I gave up on going to movies years ago. I absolutely hate the audience most of the time, the seats aren't really comfortable anyway, and even though the daytime theatres are cheaper, the crowd is usually noiser because of all the kids. So I do exactly what you do.

And recently I started renting my DVD's on line. For 17 dollars a month I can rent as many movies as I can watch. I won't tell you from where unless you ask, as I don't want anyone thinking I'm one of those paid bloggers. But it really beats going to the movie rental place (as I live in the country) and most of the time they don't have the movies I want anyway.

Even at that, most of the movies I rent are a disappointment. Hollywood has gone to the dogs!

Merry Christmas!

Sat Dec 17, 07:07:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

BloZep, I am totally disappointed in you, almost to the point of ANGER...

Your rude and insensitive remarks are almost more than I can bear...


You have got SOME NERVE...

Hiding behind your keyboard and calling Diet Coke *STUPID*??

That's it, I thought you were a man of quality, NOW, I am seriously reconsidering my opinion...

Diet Coke is NOT stupid... And Pepsi was supported by Michael Jackson, so THERE...

Stupid?? Indeed...


Sat Dec 17, 07:38:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Gayle: there's a lot to be said for DVDs. I have quite an exquisite set of DVDs -- not yet rivaling my collection of vinyl and music CDs -- but getting kinda closer.

Hollywood wants to know what the problem is? All they haveta to is read my blog.

Think they will?

Or even acknowledge its veracity?

Nah. They'll continue bleeding their homo, defeatist, Leftist movies, catering to a smaller and smaller audience.

Which is why I say: look for Hollywood, in the not too terribly distant future, to actually LOOK TO THE GOVERNMENT for some form of additional funding. Not unlike Canada does now.

You think I'm fulla crap? Check out the credits for movies made in Canada and look closely at the "boards" approving and funding the movie.

What movies are made in Canada? Those American films requiring vast expanses of natural sites exhibiting waving grain, miles of prairie, mountainous backgrounds.

And oh. The union strictures are NOT quite so onerous -- though close. But the Canadian dollar as compared to the American dollar?

You do the math.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you as well, Gayle!!

Sat Dec 17, 07:39:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Texas Fred:

I must clearly make an act of contrition here.

I therefore do subsequently and completely apologize for the racist, sexist, ageist and Cola-ist remarks made in my previous post.

Clearly the vision of Michael Jackson enveloping himself in flames fanned by the developers of
Diet Pekki have scarred and warped your psyche to the point where you require serious intervention.

But wait!

Sue me not!

There are mitigations to be found, Mr. Texas Fred!

Please go to:

and be exonerated, sir!

Sat Dec 17, 07:46:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

LMFAO... You are not *all there*... And THAT is a good thing..

Sat Dec 17, 07:59:00 PM PST  
Blogger Fish said...

I attended a movie two weeks ago. "I walk the line". My daughter wanted to treat us. The last movie in a theater prior to that was about 1986. I thought "I walk the line" was really handled quite well.

I read a quip in the paper a while back about Hollywood's worries about lagging attendance, etc. I think you pretty well covered a lot of it but I could make my own suggestions.

The first and biggest would be to reduce the prices to see and snack at theaters. The two best ways to do that would be to stop paying the actors tens of millions of dollars for three months work at playing pretend. I don't object to them making a decent salary since like sports stars, many of them will not have a forty year career, but something in the neighborhood of a hundred grand for three months seems way more than adequate to me. Of course they will refuse and the simple answer to that is hire one of the really great aspiring actors/actresses. If all studios started doing that it would not take a year before everyone stopped looking for star name only when trying to select a movie. The world is full of great star material if they just had a chance.

The second thing would be to reduce the number of people required to be on the payroll just to make a film. When the credits run longer than the film you know you're out of balance on that.

I watched a car commercial being filmed a few years ago. It required a driver for the car, a driver for the film truck and someone running the camera. There were eight people on the camera truck, five RVs, three limos, a half dozen other cars at the location site, and probably sixty or seventy people milling around. The movies require many times that many "milling around" people in today's standards. It's no wonder it costs a few million just to produce a movie.

Sat Dec 17, 08:12:00 PM PST  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Yah, the DVD thing is so much easier, nicer and cheaper. My husband & I go to the movies for a date every once in awhile. I sometimes go with friends for girls' nights out and I take my kids to movies once in awhile. But for the most part its too expensive and too much trouble. One of our family Thanksgiving traditions is my husband & I and our 4 kids go to a kid movie together. But if we go during the day it still costs us over $30 for our family to go to a movie. And we usually don't buy snacks or buy something big to share. It's unbelievable how expensive it is.

Sat Dec 17, 09:21:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Fish: all of what you say is true.

Everything else is ruled by unions. Period.

When my former ex tried to take her wares to an exhibition in San Francisco, she found the various unions held sway over who did what and when with whom.

No one set up tables. No one set up chairs or booths. She could not touch her booth or its chairs until all members were present. God forbid some of them were absent. Or taking breaks.

Same thing for the film industry.

Clapper loaders. Greensmen. Foley editors. 30 PAs. Drivers. Honey Wagon (shitter) providers. Caterers. You name it.

That's the way it is. And you wonder why they want to escape union talons?

Sat Dec 17, 09:31:00 PM PST  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

Like I said before, it amazes me what they spew from the town that Gene Autry built.

Sat Dec 17, 11:15:00 PM PST  
Blogger echotig said...

I had no idea you had such disdain for children. Although I agree taking little kids to a movie in a theater is stupid. But hey, the little kid didn't choose that. The Idiot Parent did.

I'm not sure how one should go about teaching a child to behave in public without taking the child in public.

Sun Dec 18, 12:13:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

echotig said...
"I'm not sure how one should go about teaching a child to behave in public without taking the child in public."

By teaching them how to behave at HOME 1st maybe??

Sun Dec 18, 03:08:00 PM PST  
Blogger echotig said...

Texas Fred: Well DUH!!

Sun Dec 18, 09:53:00 PM PST  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

Alright. There are some things I need to say.

BloZep: Don't refer to children as manure or garbage in the future. It pisses parents off. If you would have been in Texas, Echotig would have hunted you down and deposited a leather suppository.

All: Echo and I are proud parents of an autistic boy who embarrasses us in public sometimes. We take him to restaurants during hopefully slow times of day. He makes a scene but this is necessary to do. He has to go in public to learn how to act in public. The restaurants we frequent try to get us in a private area. Neither our son nor we will be imprisoned in our home. Sometimes other patrons get upset. I’m sorry for them. I try to help. Sometimes that help includes a boot leather suppository. Most patrons encourage us and appreciate that he has to be taught. We are in Texas so we get more hugs than trouble. Yes we tip well.

Babies do not belong in a theatre. Misbehaving children with no parents present should be removed from theatres. Misbehaving children with parents should be walked into the corridor, spanked and returned to their seat. This process should be repeated until this child no longer misbehaves in a theatre.

I will now apologize to all of you for changing the subject matter a little. I’m sorry. It had to be done.

Mon Dec 19, 10:40:00 AM PST  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I empathize with Echotig & BWH also. I have 4 kids close in age. I am not an excessive disciplinarian but am not permissive either. But you simply cannot force 4 small children to be perfectly behaved at all times. And sometimes I get worn out trying. We usually do not go to sit down restaurants because #1 they can't sit still that long and #2 we can't afford it. And if I can avoid taking my kids shopping I do. And I never took my kids to a movie theater when they were babies. But all that to say extend a little mercy and grace to us parents who have a hard enough job as it is.

Mon Dec 19, 03:50:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

BWH and Echotig: I guess here's where we'll simply agree to disagree. And it feels a little like a personal slap in the face though, taken in the context of what you're experiencing and some concomitant sensitivity I can understand it -- though I'll tell you up front, and I suspect you know this -- my post has nothing to do with autistic children.

Let me divert for a moment right now. This last weekend, for example, I saw King Kong. A line of eight Downs Syndrome kids with their accompanying adults entered my theatre and, I'll admit, I wondered: how will this go?

They chatted loudly during the ads and then the movie started. Silence. And I can respect the heck outta that.

But those comments have NOTHING to do with autistic or Downs kids -- oh no. It has EVERYTHING to do with the predominantly overpampered, overindulged, undisciplined children AND those parents who find it imperative to foist their bawling infants on the entire population of a theatre.

I did NOT pay $10 per ticket plus concessions to listen to what parents consider to be the center of their world cry, talk loudly, complain about the length of the movie, say they have to pee at the top of their voice or give high-pitched curdling screeches. No one in the theatre paid for that.

And that these inconsiderate blockheads consider it important that they bring their unbridled infants or kids into this public venue is the issue -- rude behavior is rude behavior no matter how one attempts to quantify or mitigate it.

Echotig: if you take that as a disdain for children then, okay, I can live with that. So be it. But I support what you say insofar as it's, in terms of infants, about the PARENTS.

But: "I'm not sure how one should go about teaching a child to behave in public without taking the child in public."

Yes. Takes the child into public. Socialize the child. But the parent is the parent and should act like it. When the child moves into the realm when it is clear that their noises, movements, etc. infringe upon the calm of the theatre, restaurant, etc., the parent makes a simple decision: remove the child.

BWH: "Babies do not belong in a theatre. Misbehaving children with no parents present should be removed from theatres. Misbehaving children with parents should be walked into the corridor, spanked and returned to their seat. This process should be repeated until this child no longer misbehaves in a theatre."

Precisely my point. We don't disagree here. I'm not pointing out autistic, Downs or other kids. Your children are, quite frankly, a very small percentile of the population. And I was NOT ADDRESSING this segment.

Everyone here is expressing common sense. And that's all I'm about because, quite frankly, there is so LITTLE of it in the public domain.

But I insist: I still get DAMNED TIRED of wailing kids (and c'mon folks, you can CLEARLY tell the difference between an "I'm hurt" or "soiled diapers" cry and the "I'm spoiled" cry) in public.

And that is only one aspect of the overall theatre experience.

Which is what this post was about in the first place.

Mon Dec 19, 05:20:00 PM PST  
Blogger echotig said...

Obviously everyone agrees that obnoxious parents and bratty kids aren't welcome anywhere. I agree with your point and all, I was just shocked at the venom directed at children. And that has nothing to do with my son being Autistic or otherwise. I'm not defending bad parents in any way. There is no excuse for all that.

I just cringed at the way you called them pieces of s@!t and advocated throwing them in dumpsters. In a society that DOES throw babies in dumpsters, and frequently equates children with dogs...well...I just cringe at the general attitude.

Mon Dec 19, 06:03:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Okay, so now it's just you and me talking. That's great. I went over the top with the dumpster thing and I know from whence your sensitivity on that comes -- and I hadn't thought of that.

I think we're still in the same ballpark. What about you? Shake?

Mon Dec 19, 06:26:00 PM PST  
Blogger echotig said...


Now about that Pepsi remark....

Tue Dec 20, 04:11:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Hey, I got a Pepsi bottling company in Sacratomato, so I just gotta go with Pekki. . .


Tue Dec 20, 10:14:00 AM PST  

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