Thursday, 28 May 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #293: Miscellaneous Musings


The Time Warner mega-conglomerate spat out its one-time dominant partner AOL after about 9 years of slowly sinking so it can become an independent publicly traded company.

When the merger happened all the self-proclaimed "experts" were saying that it was the greatest thing the business world had ever seen, and dropping lame buzzwords like "synergy" in all directions like a monkey hurling feces. Now myself, who is not an expert, figured that it was probably going to be an even bigger business blunder than New Coke.

Guess who turned out to be right?

That's because companies are a lot like people. They can grow, but once they hit a certain line they stop getting big and start getting fat, and then have a big corporate coronary.

At the time of the merger both companies had hit the extent of their growth, and decided to do the corporate equivalent of cleaning out an all you can eat buffet solo.

This was the peak of the dot-com bubble, so AOL was extremely overvalued, and when the bubble burst, it ended up with a lot of debt and a business that can be described as stagnant at best.

But that wasn't the only thing that didn't pass the smell test with me when I first heard about it.

You see, in business, companies have a comfort zone, and both Time Warner and AOL were going way past their comfort zones, simply because the dot-com bubble was making promises that no industry could keep. It was a merger based not on sound business principles, but on financial hysteria, like tulip growers merging in 16th century Holland, it just couldn't work in the real world.

But what do I know, I'm not an expert.


An anti-smoking group is going around Hollywood with this vehicle: (ht- Nikki Finke)
Now I know that movies have the power to sell, that's a given.

However, and I don't mean to sound brutal, but I think a case can be argued that any kid who willingly takes dried leaves bathed in toxic chemicals and wrapped in paper, sets it on fire, and then puts it in their mouth in order to inhale the known toxic gases it emits, for the transient yet addictive joys of nicotine and pretty much inevitable death by lung cancer, just because they saw Hugh Jackman puff a cigar in Wolverine, is not really a tragedy, but natural selection at work.

I mean we've had 30+ years of anti-smoking education, and anyone choosing to smoke these days, should probably puff themselves into oblivion before dipping their toe into the gene pool.

Yes, movies can sell things, history is loaded with examples, but can the "bad-ass" attitude of Wolverine really compete with a human lung riddled with tumors, slowly oozing black slime, and reeking of tar, medical preservatives, and a subtle whiff of putrefaction shown at a school presentation? Because people still have free will, and if it is their will to choose tumor tar lung, then that's their choice and they will have to live with the consequences.

Besides smoking is expensive, inconvenient, and really limp making in a sexual sense to me. If I see a woman smoking a cigarette, no matter how hot she may look, she's automatically deleted from my fantasy file. I'm afraid it's because my imagination is a little too vivid, and there's nothing like the memory of tobacco breath to act like anti-viagra.


Okay, I just caught a preview of Werner Herzog's "re-imagining" of Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, and it raises the question: What does this film have to do with the original?

I mean it looks like it has a different plot, location, themes, and leading character. In fact, the only similarity I can see is that both films feature police lieutenants with drug and corruption problems.

So why didn't they just give the film a different title and avoid the remake controversy altogether?

I mean I'm used to some strange logic in film-making, but this makes less sense than usual.

1 comment:

  1. So why didn't they just give the film a different title and avoid the remake controversy altogether?
    I've asked myself that, in various permutations, about so many movies I've lost count.

    For the sake of starting an argument I'll mention Starship Troopers
    But it's not the only one.