Monday, November 15, 2004

Screenings Are Dumb

Living in L.A. one of the few perks I assumed would be seeing movies either: A. early or B. that no one else gets to see. The latter has proven to be untrue (unless you count movies I watch for my Art of the Cinema class) and the only movies that are unique are a bunch of Anti-Bush documentaries that are playing at some 3rd class theater near Santa Monica. No thanks.

However, last week I was stoked as I got to see a movie 6-7 months before you will get to. It was called Chaos, and although I'm not allowed to review it (the consensus among the people I went with was: mediocre), I'm going to tell you about the screening process because quite frankly it's the dumbest thing I've seen yet.

After you sit and wait outside in a line you are moved to theater. Then, you sit and wait for about 30 minutes in the theater so that the suits who are running the process can fill the theater to the brim. After the theater is filled (and I mean every seat), a lady walks to the front and gives you a litany of excuses as to why you might not like the film: the sound isn't finished, the color isn't finished, the actors were drunk etc. etc.

Finally, the movie starts. When the lights go up you are assaulted with movie minions with pencils who hand you a survey that asks the WORST questions. Not questions like, "Was the story interesting?" "Was the acting subpar?" "Were there character issues?"

No instead you get questions that scream, "We don't really care about your opinion, now fill out this survey so we can edit down the film to an hour and a half." Questions include, "Was the beginning slow? Was the middle slow? What was the main reason you came tonight? Which actor was hottest etc. etc."

Now, I will relate my experience as a member of the "focus group" that gave opinions about the film after the main audience had left. Twenty of us sat in the first two rows as the "focus group leader" asked us the same questions we had already answered on our worksheets. I was frustrated. Additionally, they picked other audience members with lobotomies- one man when asked what he would title the movie as said, "Batman and Robin." At first I thought, wow, what a god-awful joke, I need to wash my ears out. But no, he had rationalized in his mind why the movie should be called Batman and Robin. I was moments away from cutting my ear when he finally finished. The only reason I didn't leave was because I wanted my free movie ticket, guaranteed if I sat through this horrible exercise.

I can't tell you what I told the focus group lady was because I had to sign a sheet saying I wouldn't. However, interestingly, I will tell you what disqualifies you from being in a focus group: if you study film you aren't allowed in, if you work in the entertainment business you aren't allowed in, if you work for media you aren't allowed in, if you know anyone involved in the production you aren't allowed in. (When I asked about why they didn't let film students in, the lady said it was because they had "Too sophisticated answers.")

Dear God I hope I don't have to go through this crap when I am on the other end of the lens.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A Little Backup

Quite the interesting picture Americans painted this election. A lot of people have asked me why I think Americans are NOT liberal.

What you are looking at is a county by county summation of who voted for John Kerry (blue) and who voted for George Bush (red).

Since George Bush isn't a spectacular candidate by any measurable standards (with perhaps the caveat being his determination in the pursuit of terrorists), clearly more people were voting "against Kerry." This again reinforces my idea that the libertarian party clearly could have made some gains in this election had the resources of a George Soros.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

An Interesting Result

A little forewarning- this is election analysis is perhaps not my most original work, so if you're tired of politics, you may want to visit my other site or kick, back and RELAX. The world is not going to end.

I was dead wrong in predicting the election for Kerry, when in fact George W. Bush did quite well in securing the necessary electoral and popular votes as well. What does this mean?

Fundamentally, it means what I have said all along- George W. Bush is not a great conservative President- he could have easily been defeated if the challenger, Kerry, posessed just one grain of original or interesting thought. That is not to say that I personally am dissapointed. In the long run I would prefer a President closer to my views (libertarian), than those of Kerry (who knows what his views are, the voters sure did not).

On a broader national and congressional level, certain things are quite apparent. Interestingly the American people are becoming less and less willing to deal with "far left" candidates. Even when the Republicans have a weak showing, (i.e. Bush) voters are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and will refuse to elect leaders who want to increase government spending, government handouts and raise taxes.

I find this refreshing. It is perhaps time for the Democratic Party, as a whole, to re-think what exactly its party platforms are. It is also time for some 3rd Party candidates to capitalize on the Democrats poor efforts. Particularly, I would like to see the Libertarians get some support, as they actually ran numerous candidates in numerous states. While they had little or nothing to show for it, getting on the ballot is a step in the right direction. The Green Party could certainly make a stand in the next election as well.

Contrary to Michael Moore's (who I think is responsible for a LOT of swing voters actually voting FOR Bush) beliefs, most Americans will usually side with Republicans on core issues. Americans traditionally do not like government intervention in their life, do not like higher taxes, and do not support socialistic ideals. The Democratic Party needs to come up with new issues, and new ideas. Simply offering up a "WE AREN'T REPUBLICAN" candidate isn't going to cut it anymore.

Changing gears- A lot of the post election reaction I have found very disturbing. Everywhere I look someone is running around yelling "BUSH IS A WHORE," "FUCK BUSH, LIFE IS OVER." I somehow doubt the reaction would be as violent or juevenille had the election results been reversed. In reality, little has or would have changed in the every day lives of American citizens had the election result gone either way. I find the partisan rhetoric as stupid as those who espouse it. Those people running around today screaming how depressed they are to whoever will listen aren't doing anything to help this country.

Yet there is certainly a silver lining in this cloud of divisiveness. Amid the partisan ridiculousness and imaturity, I find that those who truly know their politics, know what they stand for and truly love this country- no matter where they fall individually on the political spectrum, are willing to give Bush a chance. And although I didn't vote for him, I'm going to give him a chance as well. He is the new legitimate leader of my country and I wish him all the best.

In the words of someone who cares,

"Let us rally behind our re-elected president as we attempt to reconcile the threads of a nation torn apart by anger and division. I do not like George W. Bush, but he has proven himself as an American leader by succeeding in our test of legitimacy---national elections."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Election Prediction: Kerry in '04

It saddens me to predict that the next President of the United States will be John F. Kerry. I think the Democrats have done a sufficient enough job of scaring both young people and seniors into voting for Kerry. I'm not exactly horrified at the prospect of Kerry winning because basically Kerry will do whatever the polls tell him to. Plus a Republican Senate and House will ensure a lame-duck Presidency. I'm a little worried about the possibility of Kerry appointing a bunch of Socialist judges, but again perhaps the Republican Senate will stall those appointments.

What worries me is the way in which Kerry co-opted so many people. The way in which far left groups characterized Bush as "Hitler." For better or for worse Bush was a man of strong convictions, a man whose sole goal became to defend this nation. He should not have had to put up with this sort of juevenille demonization. Democrats should be ashamed. I would mention Swift Boat Vets in the same breath, but I only hesitate because these Vets were in Vietnam and I wasn't.

What also makes me upset is the level of kiss-ass the media plays with Kerry. Look at Rolling Stone, an extremely popular entertainment magazine. Please pardon my French, but the level of interaction between the magazine and the Kerry campaign borders on fellatio. Consistently, for the last 5 or 6 months the magazine has published hit pieces on the President and gooey love stories about Kerry. If I buy a Rolling Stone tell me about the next album from Coldplay, not whether or not Kerry likes dogs or cats. This sort of thing borders on propaganda. I'm not even going to start on Michael Moore.

So an advance congratulations to the American people for electing Kerry. Good work. Make sure to vote in a lot of polls, maybe something will get done.

UPDATE: I was wrong. New Post Later Today.