The perils of the information age

It used to be that screenwriters had to worry about questions like “why don’t they just go to the police?” or “why doesn’t he just tell her the truth?” Now, of course, “why they don’t just try Googling him?” is right up there. This bit of tomfoolery from College Humor — via /film — imagines the impact of easy web access on hits of the past.

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

By the way, the College Humor guys got themselves into the movie news today via some apparent uncomfortable similarities between their “Inception” parody and one that recently appeared on “South Park.” It seems Matt Stone and Trey Parker needed to closely mimic the film’s dialogue and weren’t actually able to see the movie again or get a hold of a screener, so they relied on online parodies to remind themselves of the actual dialogue from the film, accidentally copying the parody dialogue instead. The pair have apologized to College Humor, which is fair enough. Shortcuts have hazards, however.

  

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Friday movie news dump: the first Salinger movie, the Sundance beat goes on, etc.

Hey folks. I’ve got a relatively limited amount of time today and, just to add to the drama, the usually excellent free wi-fi at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf slowed down today to a relative crawl for a time while I was researching this. Let’s see how much I can cover.

* Just as I was ready to wrap things up, we have a breaking story. As I sorta alluded to yesterday regarding J.D. Salinger, it’s inevitable his death will pave the way for some new films. It turns out I was, if anything, way behind the curve. Working screenwriter Shane Salerno — whose work, like the planned James Cameron-produced “Fantastic Voyage” remake, bends toward the geek — has been working on a documentary about the writer who became almost as famous for his escape from the public eye as for his actual work, and it’s apparently nearly completed. Mike Fleming has not only broken the news of the formerly under-wraps project, he’s seen most of the movie

* Of course, Sundance continues slogging away, and word of acquisitions by film distributors have been making their way round the usual spots. Indiewire’s Eugene Hernandez has news on the well-regarded “Blue Valentine” with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. He also gives a quick nod to such other highish profile films as “The Tilman Story” (a documentary about the late Pat Tilman), “The Kids Are Alright” (not to be confused with the old rock-doc about the Who) and “Hesher,” a not very appealing sounding film that nevertheless has Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead. The “Valentine” sale is of particular interesting as it was the troubled Weinstein Company that picked it up. Coincidentally, the company named for Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s parents, Mira and Max, has gone on the block.

miramax

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TV/media in the 2000s: 10 (or so) key voices in left/right political media

Politically speaking, the aughts have been one long, strange trip. Just think about what we’ve seen this decade: a disputed presidential election in 2000, the largest terrorist attack in world history occurring on U.S. soil in 2001, followed by two wars, the partial erasure of New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, a congressional changing of the guard, the election of the first African-American president as well as the first with a foreign-sounding name, and the probable passage of a health care package which, depending on your point of view, is either historic, a mystery, a bit of a sham, or the first step on the road to a Stalinist U.S. of A.

Bubbling beneath all of this has been a series of remarkable changes in the world of media — television, movies, radio, and this thing we call the Internet — that have had a fairly profound impact on politics and, therefore, on real life. What follows are my choices for the ten most interesting and/or influential figures in the realm of political media. To try and slightly compensate for my obvious liberal bias (my side is far more facty, I tell ya!), I’ve got five spots each for conservative and liberal media figures respectively and I’ll be alternating and counting down from the bottom.

#5 Conservative

Trey Parker and Matt Stone — It’s possible that most regular viewers of “South Park” have little idea that Parker and Stone are self-described Republicans and I’m sure most of you don’t think of it as that much of a political show, even though rather subtle and often quite penetrating and/or infuriating thoughts about politics run through many, if not most, episodes. That’s because, like all great satirists, they are just as good at poking holes in the pretensions of their own side as that of the opposition, and their social liberalism puts them so at odds with the increasingly extremist faction that now controls much of the Republican party that some could easily mistake them for liberals. Actually, right now it’s easy to imagine them ditching the party indefinitely, along with any number of smart fellow conservatives who have already done so publicly.

parker-stone

Still, conservative and/or anti-liberal messages are often found on episodes of “South Park,” including attacks on such personal friends of the pair as George Clooney. Indeed, as early as 2001, famed blogger Andrew Sullivan described himself as a “South Park Republican.” (Sullivan is now one of those smart conservative ex-Republicans I mentioned above.) And, of course, there was no stronger, and certainly no funnier, attack on the antiwar efforts of the American left than “Team America: World Police” which had marionette versions of Michael Moore, Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, and Janeane Garofalo working in tandem with North Korean madman Kim Jong-il in his plans to destroy Western civilization.

Since the film’s release in 2004, more doctrinaire conservatives have tried to follow suit with such liberal-bashing comedies as “An American Carol” and “The 1/2 Hour News Hour,” a truly wretched attempt to craft a conservative alternative to “The Daily Show,” but only Parker and Stone have been able to bash liberals and their ideas and make targets like Alec Baldwin love it.

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TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: “How’s Your News?”

MTV’s “How’s Your News?” would seem to be a real tightrope-walk of a series. On one hand, it’s about a group of people with disabilities who have put together a news team…and if that sounds like the makings of a really good documentary, you’re right: the show sprang forth from the film of the same name. On the other hand, it’s produced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker of “South Park” fame, and once you’ve heard that, you immediately find yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop, figuring that, sooner or later, they’re gonna make fun of these people.

Except they don’t.

We were shown clips from the show, with the news team visiting various locations and interviews celebrities; their enthusiasm was downright contagious throughout the footage, and any concerns we might’ve had about these folks being treated inappropriately were quickly dismissed by their parents, who gushed about how much their kids are getting out of the experience. So, yes, it’s funny, but it’s also sweet and touching. I still think MTV is just about the worst possible place for the series, since I just can’t imagine the network’s typical demographic doing anything but mocking what they’re seeing on the screen, but, hey, it might actually get me to watch MTV for a change.

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