Archive | June, 2013

Lies, but Entertaining Lies

28 Jun

Twelve Hot Entertainment Rumors That You NEED to Read

Can it be true? Probably not.The Internet is at its most powerful when spreading wildly speculative and (often) preposterous stories (aka, “breaking news”). This traffic of tastylicious rumors—especially regarding pop entertainment—has created its own kind of cultural sideroom, where you can sit and wonder at the things somebody has said about media, its personalities, and the world at large.

So, under the guise of a social experiment, we’ve created some potent but ridiculous “media news” to see how far it can travel. We hope our “news” races across the planet, starting an unstoppable chain of spin-off “news” across the length and breadth of the Interwebs. So kick back and dig your teeth into some juicy nonsense, and don’t forget to spread the word.

Movies

  • Contrary to revisionist claims by director Francis Ford Coppola that Apocalypse Now was based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, it actually began as an adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew.
  • Thanks to groundbreaking camera, costume, and lighting tricks, Humphrey Bogart’s song-and-dance scene in Casablanca was actually performed by Fred Astaire, with the vocals dubbed in later. 
  • To prevent unnecessary waste of animal products, Sylvester Stallone’s “egg scene” in Rocky actually employed stunt yolks for every take.
  • While filming the time-jump scenes in Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox claimed to have actually seen the future, and predicted not only the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s but also the future market for flux capacitor–themed t-shirts, cufflinks, and refrigerator magnets. This is why he is a rich man today.
  • During the time fracture event just noted, a part of Michael J. Fox’s soul was sliced off and became Jason Bateman, which explains their eerily similar appearance, film choices (Teen Wolf  1 and 2), and the fact that they have never been professionally successful at the same time.
  • And speaking of Back to the Future, have you ever consider the possibility that Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow was a characterization not of Keith Richards but of Christopher Lloyd’s own Reverend Jim Ignatowski from Taxi.

 

Music

  • After AC/DC’s founding members pass away, their label will release the rejected demo recordings from the band’s “Billy Joel period.”
  • The unreleased Beach Boys album Smile was actually an appalling tapestry of drug-induced sound effects, including high-frequency whines, coughing, and bicycle chain noises set to the the rhythmic beating of animal carcasses. Even categorizing it as “experimental” couldn’t make it marketable, so the label shelved it.
  • Rihanna and Adele and Beyoncé are actually three manifestations of the same personage. That’s why none of them has a last name.
  • Justin Bieber has consulted with a leading plastic surgeon about revolutionary new medical procedures that would make himself look more like Lady Gaga. Alas.
  • The Sugarhill Gang got the bass line for their hit “Rapper’s Delight” from Queen bassist Roger Deacon, who borrowed it from Vanilla Ice, who “adapted” it from Chic’s Nile Rodgers, who stole it from my uncle Phil, who grew up with Nile in a small ranch community south of Provo, Utah. Phil and Nile haven’t spoken since.
  • It’s not that Paul is dead; in fact, he never existed.

 Now it’s your turn to spread the word. Shout a metaphorical, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” from the rooftop that is Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. And feel free to propose your own juicy tidbit. Thanks in advance—Michael J. Fox already told us how well the experiment turns out.

Song of the Week: “Cry” – Suzanina

27 Jun

Liesje Sadonius was among the first of several singers that the Belgian band Hooverphonic has featured during its 15+ years. She provided the vocals on their debut album, A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular, and appeared in the videos for “2Wicky” and “Inhaler.” She left the band soon after, but eventually released a solo EP entitled Heavenly Juice under the name Suzanina. “Cry” fits snugly with the sultry electronica that makes those early Hooverphonic albums so appealing.

Cinema, Simplified

14 Jun

Your guide to movie trailer styles

I love movie trailers because they are efficient. To fulfill their purpose of enticing film viewers, they must promote the best aspects of their source material. This is done by showcasing the highlights—the highest drama, the funniest jokes, the most compelling special effects, the best music—nothing is held back. Brace all these with a mere semblance of plot, and you’ve got the perfect mini-movie, just as entertaining in its brevity as a full-length film.

To promote your enjoyment of this media art form, Maximum Know-How here offers our list of the 12 types of movie trailers:

1. Stable Narrative—This is the standard format. The first half establishes the setting, premise, and characters. The second half is “the collection,” comprising plot points, dialog snippets, and memorable visuals.

Never seen this film, but sure want to. Great trailer.

2. Jagged Narrative—Adapts the Stable Narrative for action, suspense, and horror films by filling  the collection with moments of violence, danger, or swift movement, all cut quickly together. These moments can be taken completely out of context because we’re conveying the visual idiom of the genre, not the plot.

Both trailers for this film are excellent. We learn the players and the premise, and are ready to watch.

3. Give ‘Em What They Want—Used mainly for franchise sequels or adaptations of popular literary works. For the latter, the audience already knows the story and simply wants to see what you’ve done with/to it. For franchise trailers, communicating the plot is less important than letting viewers see familiar characters, themes, or inside jokes.
 
Lightsabers? Check. Laser blasters? Check. Space battles? Check. Weird aliens? Check. Let’s see it!

4. The Assault—A more intense variation of the Jagged Narrative, trailers in Assault mode pummel the viewer with noise and combat spread across the entire running time. The target audience for these films are more focused on eye-candy than plot or characterization, which means they work best for heavily violent action or horror. Pounding techno music increases the tension.

Just about any Jason Statham film should qualify here.

5. Cavalcade—Focused primarily on presenting a large, all-star cast. A great technique for ensemble comedies and war epics.

Look at all these famous people having fun! Don’t you want to see this?

6. Licensed to Sell—Like the movie they advertise, these make it clear that licensing—of music, cars, toys, whatever—is their sole purpose for existence.

In this sense, these trailers kind of serve as public service warnings.

7. Artsy Enigma—Less about plot than creating an emotional connection to the premise or characters, these can work really well. Divided into three subcategories: Esoteric (if you had already seen the movie, then the trailer would feel like a joyous reunion), Spare (franchise teasers), and Ostentatiously Vague (so full of itself that it doesn’t need general audiences to understand the plot).

Sorry, what’s going on?

8. The Giveaway—These are trailers that intentionally give away the entire plot of the film, whether because they think the film is so good that you’ll like it anyway or because the film is so bad they are pretending there’s even more intrigue in store.

Great film, but I was like, “That’s it? I already knew that would happen!”

9. Dramatic Ironicalness—Maybe you’re in on the joke but the actors aren’t, or perhaps the producers break the fourth wall just for the trailer. These attempts are either brilliant or stupid.

This trailer was far, far more entertaining as a unit than the movie was.

10. The Non-Trailer—Video entertainment that has little to nothing to do with the advertised film.

So funny. I watched this over and over again. Never bothered with the movie, though.

11. Deceiver—There’s a (small) difference between marketing and lying: the former portrays the best version of reality; the latter misleads you, knowing but not caring that you’ll be an unhappy customer. These trailers are bad marketing because they’re selling something to the wrong audience.

This movie apparently has stomach-churning violence and gore. Surprise!

12. Fail—Incoherent, boring, or reveals its movie as the piece of rubbish it is.

I haven’t seen this movie, so I’m totally jumping on the insult bandwagon.

Work or Blogging?

12 Jun

Ten reasons blogging is more important than paid employment.Image

Having a job really eats into your day—and can be disastrous to your blog. For months I was posting at least twice weekly until a surge in workload swamped my progress and washed out my SEO value. I don’t know how some of these bloggers manage to pump out quality posts almost daily yet still feed themselves and, presumably, live someplace more comfy than a refrigerator box under the overpass.

To regain my blog-mindedness, I’ve come up with ten reasons to make the big sacrifice.

  1. As with love, you can probably live on blogging alone. (So I’ve heard, anyway.)
  2. Consistent blogging will probably lead to a multimillion-dollar book offer by a leading publishing house. (Just like what’s-her-name, you know… um…..)
  3. The world as a whole will benefit more from your wise and witty literary contributions than your family will benefit from a balanced diet. (Your kids can always apply for free school lunches to make up the gap.)
  4. No matter which career option you choose, you still won’t be able to afford health insurance. (Ha-ha, that’s not even a joke.)
  5. You don’t have to shower, shave, or even get dressed to become a successful blogger. (This is true, even for video bloggers.)
  6. On your deathbed, you won’t wish you had spent more time at work; but the jury is still out on blogging. (Just count it as “family time”—you make them read all your content, right?)
  7. With blogging, you can at least pretend that other people are greatly interested in and appreciative of your opinions. (At least, you can’t see them flip you off.)
  8. You’re just as likely to become famous by spewing derivative content online as by working long years as a “knowledge worker” in a white-collar industry. (Even embezzlers can’t get much press coverage anymore, unless they have access to a social media platform.)
  9. If you promise to post a 10-item list on your blog, but can only think of nine things, there’s no manager around to give you grief about it. (In fact, you might even be able to turn it into a joke for some creative traction.)

Song of the Week: “No Sign of Yesterday” – Men at Work

11 Jun

The Men at Work albums marked the end of my vinyl-only music collection before switching to cassette tapes and eventually CDs. For that reason, I still remember examining the record sleeves in my hands as the music played. I came back to vinyl years later in the form of 12-inch remixes, but I was no longer a child so the sleeve art didn’t hold the same appeal. ANYWAY, I got Cargo and Business as Usual the same year, and gave them both heavy rotation. This is a great album track I’d forgotten about until revisiting the albums last year following the death of Greg Ham.