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Saturday
Jan232010

Hope for Haiti Now

George Clooney and a bunch of celebrities did a terrific job tonight spreading the word and gathering donations. There were positive messages and songs, and heartbreaking moments during the two hour telethon. I thought it was great that these celebrities and musicians donated money, time and energy with this telethon and the people have responded with donations and positive energy for the people in Haiti. 

Please donate now. There is a lot of work to be done in Haiti and the more we all pitch in the more lives we will save. 100% of the proceeds go towards relief efforts and there are no backend costs or fees whatsoever. It's all to help Haiti through this terrible situation. 

Click here to visit HOPE FOR HAITI NOW and Donate as much as you can. 

This is also very neat, a map featuring all the Tweets and people spreading the word around the globe.

 

Friday
Jan222010

The Coco Situation

The Conan O'Brien vs. NBC dispute appears to have come to an end. Coco will leave the network and take a bit over $30 million, plus another $10 million paid to his staff, most of them who relocated from New York to Los Angeles to do the show seven months ago. It has been an entertaining couple of weeks for the rest of us, and like every other thing in America there has been a ridiculously amount of coverage and over exposure. 

Jay Leno will be back as host of The Tonight Show in about a month, and we will see how audiences respond. I imagine that it will be be good for him despite what people may say. Whoever hates him with watch first because they want to see what he is going to do, and then people will simply forget the whole thing ever happened. He will probably be #1 again before the end of the year. 

And Coco? Well, he most likely will have a new show on Fox. He will get decent ratings but trail both Leno and Letterman, at least for now. I would love if he does something new and better and wins the ratings but I doubt it. Besides, it is still not clear if he will be able to take his famous characters and bits to the new show ("Triumph, the insult comic dog" and "In the year 3000" are my favorites).

This was definitely a difficult situation for NBC, who has been dealing with difficult situations over the past decade since Seinfeld went off the year, followed by Frasier and Friends. They have not been able to find a winning strategy against CBS or American Idol and now they are really struggling. This is why as public as this situation became, I think most people are ignorant and simply jump to conclusions instead of trying to understand why NBC made this decisions. 

Now, I'm not defending NBC or their management. I would have never done it this way. I just appreciate the fact that they tried something new. They already had struggling high-budget dramas at 10pm and the investment to keep producing pilots and betting on shows each season is huge. They also had a contract with Conan to take over The Tonight Show in 2009, so what could be done with Leno? To be honest, I would have given him a two hour show on Sunday nights (but NBC has Football on Sunday nights). I would have picked another day of the week, or maybe twice a week like American Idol, but an entire week of Jay in Primetime is too much, especially considering that The Tonight Show continues to be there later on, followed by Jimmy Fallon and Carson Daly (lol). 

I think NBC did some bold moves that did not pay off financially but that I personally respect. Friday Night Lights is an example of a struggling show that is excellent, perhaps the best show on television. It could have been easily cancelled mid way through it's first season for lack of viewers, but here we are now in the midst of the fourth season and with a guaranteed fifth on the way. To make that happen NBC had to partner up with DIRECTV to co-produce and co-air the episodes. Not ideal but smart enough to keep the show on the air, and the few million who do watch it appreciate it and continue to be loyal to NBC because of it.

Another example is 30 Rock, a show that has won a gazillion prizes but does not find the massive audience that shows like The Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men have found. 30 Rock is excellent and most people who watch it say so, but truth is not many people do watch it. NBC has stayed behind the show for years now and although it did not pay off in terms of audience for their Thursday lineup, they have won a number of Emmys and Golden Globes because of it.

I imagine that the Conan O'Brien decision has not been an easy one. His Tonight Show deal lasted only seven months and its costing them dozens of millions of dollars, but let's not forget that Conan has been with the network for almost two decades since he started Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Leaving NBC is hard for him as well, and as much as he is enjoying the creative NBC bashing on the show these past few weeks I'm sure he appreciates everything that NBC has done for his career over the years.

Conclusion? Sometimes a business does not work. We cannot blame one side or the other. Conan had amazing ratings these past few weeks, but his ratings during the previous couple of months were not that great. NBC took a risk and it did not work with Leno in Primetime so they had to fix it somehow. Jay Leno changed his mind about retiring and there is obviously a lot of people who still care about his show. Shit happens. This is a business and everyone tries to make the best decisions possible, and I applaud NBC for taking the risk.

There is a lot of trash on television, and like in the movie business, executives are taking less risks and making more of the same. This experiment did not work for everyone but it did have an upside financially for some and it shows that for once it was the audience that was not ready for the change. We have seen with the digital music revolution, online video and gaming how the big corporations were not ready to adapt their models to the consumer changes, but television is changing too and sooner or later audiences will demand that the networks make bold moves and take risks like the one NBC took with Leno. 

Monday
Jan182010

Avatar

I should have written about this a long time ago. I've been absent from the blog, and I thought this was the most appropriate article to come back to it. I write about lots of movies, but my whole interest in films revolves around unique things like this one that revolutionize the industry in multiple ways.

Imagine in twenty years when kids talk about Avatar like we talk about Star Wars today. These things seem less impressive as we go along, especially with the budget and time it took, but truth is that Avatar is as impressive as Star Wars in one aspect particularly: originality.  

In my opinion, today, originality and creativity is more important than any other aspect when it comes to filmmaking. In a world of remakes, adaptations, reboots and sequels, James Cameron once again proved that you can be creative and original, make a ton of money, win awards, and reinvent yourself all at once. 

The biggest achievement he could get credit for is for Avatar to restart the curiosity and belief in original material. Studios need to take risks and bet on new things. It makes me sick that everything is the same, and now everything is 3-D, and then as soon as something else is successful they either reboot or remake or copy the shit out of something else. There is no strategy other than throwing a lot of money at the wall and if it sticks they keep throwing it to the same spot. Yes, this is a business and they are trying to be successful, but nobody has been able to be as successful as Jim Cameron and he can teach them all a lesson. 

The film itself is excellent. The basis of the story is nothing new. People have compared with 'Dances with Wolves' and yes, the premise is very similar. That doesn't make it less original. If you can take something we can all understand and relate to and adapt it to a different set of characters and pretty much a different universe, I think it's great. 

The visuals are unbelievable, and not just because of Cameron's expensive new cameras. Someone had to come up with those ideas and illustrate them. I would love to know who doesn't want to move to that planet immediately after seeing the movie. Which brings me to probably the most important message of the film and what I loved the most. We are all connected. 

Most people don't realize how powerful that message is. We may not have that funny looking tail to connect with other people, with nature, with animals, but that does not mean we are not constantly exchanging energy with them and affecting everyone around us with our actions and our feelings. The message is not just about the environment, which is what a lot of people have said, but how what we do to the environment and each other affects us because everything in our planet is connected. 

And the last thing I have to mention is Box Office. Wow. I love how some people said this movie was going to lose money. It shows how little they know. And yes, it could have happened, but nobody really believed it. No other film has come even close of matching Titanic's numbers, and this one is almost there in a month. No reboot, no sequel, no remake and no adaptation. Fox did a great job at making sure Avatar is everywhere without really overloading us. There are films that make you sick after some time of seeing their marketing campaigns, but this was not one of them. 

If you have not seen it at this point I think you are the only one. You should go. 

Tuesday
Nov102009

Microsoft is Retarded

Seriously. If Windows 7 was the idea of all these idiots, why the hell would I buy it? They should have gotten Steve Jobs on the commercial and say that Windows 7 is his idea. That might work. 

Microsoft continues to be out of touch with the customers. They have annoying, ineffective and plain stupid marketing campaigns to compliment their lackluster lineup of products. 

And something else. If I remember correctly we had Windows 3.0, 3.1, 3.11 etc. Then Windows 95 came out. Then Windows 98 came out. Then? Windows XP (if we don't count Windows 2000 as it as Enterprise Edition). Then the magnificient Windows Vista. So shouldn't this be WINDOWS EIGHT instead of Windows 7? Do these people even know how to count?

PLEASE. Bring Bill Gates back. Spend money on research & development and not in stupid marketing. THINK. BE SMART. I don't want to hate Microsoft but you people are making it impossible not to. Thanks. 

Monday
Nov092009

Jim Carrey Online

So Jim Carrey finally launched his official website and it looks amazing. It may be a litle hard to navigate, but the visuals are incredible and it definitely looks like something out of his crazy and innovative mind. I may not plan to see "A Christmas Carol", but I still enjoy at most of his movies. If you haven't seen "Yes Man", you should. He never gets the credit on how good an actor he is, but as ridiculously hilarious he can be sometimes, he's also done an amazing job in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "The Truman Show". 

Check out his site by clicking here

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