Saturday, May 31, 2014

Static and Noise: The Wild, Wild West Edition

iNews: I'm a big proponent of social media, as everyone should know at this point, but even I am a little distressed. It's a perfect marketing tool, it's a great way to get information to the people who want it, and it's democratizing so many institutions and organizations. Sadly, this isn't always the best thing. I've noticed an alarming trend (which, to be fair, has been happening for years) where news outlets are effectively outsourcing their content to people. The safety valve for Vox Populi has always been the legendary Letter to the Editor, but now everyone's Letter is sent in 140 logic-defying characters, and it's free, and there are millions of them, and about 95% of them are wrong. I am all for cracking up the media and making it looser, but your drunk Uncle Dave who posts about how the Jews are taking over the world via the metric system really shouldn't be replacing actual journalists.

Sterling's Gold: As much as I would like this to be about a completely different topic, it's really about stupid owners of stupid sports franchises acting stupid. While what Donald Sterling said was indefensible and I'm OK with a private organization (in this case, the NBA) forcing him out for said comments, I can't help but feel a little irritated when players who do a lot worse things that are actual crimes are still in the game. Speaking of incredibly sensitive topics about ball-swatting entertainment matches--For the record, I think it's time for the Redskins to change their name; not only because it's a stupid name and has horrible connotations, but also because it's a perfect marketing opportunity. I certainly don't think the government really needs to spend any time on it, though.

A Million Ways To Review: This is sort of a mini-review of A Million Ways To Die In The West. I didn't want to make a full review of it because there really isn't all that much to say. My wife and I went to see it this weekend. I'm generally a fan of Seth McFarlane (He's a little too bro-frat for me, but he mixes it with enough genuine cleverness and smart humor that I don't really mind. And I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I'm too good for fart jokes) so I was looking forward to it. Plus I love westerns and think that there aren't enough western-comedies out there (you know, besides Blazing Saddles.) It was s decent enough movie; enough jokes to last the entire movie, a good and reasonably believable plot, and some solid acting all around. (Charlize Theron gets major props for this; she effectively carried the movie.) Sadly this may also be the movie where my Neil Patrick Harris threshold is passed--I like the guy (I do!) but he's everywhere and this just seemed like the Same Old Stuff and he phoned it in. Still, the gross-joke ratio was too high (Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi's situation--she's a whore in a whorehouse, he's alarmingly casual about her profession--was set up and executed almost perfectly, only to be ruined by pushing it just a few too many times too far) and the drug-induced dream sequence tried a little too hard. Clocking in at over two hours, this is a movie that could have had about 20 minutes to a half hour chopped off and be made much better. Still, it was a good enough movie and I'm glad I saw it; if you're OK with horseshit jokes and dumb beej laughs, it's actually a decent movie.

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