Category: Entertainment Media

You Can’t Run An Entertainment Blog And Not Mention Taylor Swift’s Face Is On UPS Trucks

You Can’t Run An Entertainment Blog And Not Mention Taylor Swift’s Face Is On UPS Trucks

When I started this entertainment blog, if you would’ve told me I’d be posting an ad for UPS on it in 2017, I would’ve told you that you were cray-cray.  (Actually, I would never use that word in real life conversation, but it seemed appropriate considering the subject of the next sentence.)  However, ever since yesterday, TayTay (see what I did there?) has her face in medium close-up all over the side of UPS trucks.

SPOT.  SNAP.  SHARE.

Taylor Swift wants you to spot one of these trucks, snap a picture of the Swift-faced UPS truck (at a safe distance, she adds) then tag @UPS and share the hashtag #TaylorSwiftDelivery because then you might win “an improved opportunity to buy Swift concert tickets.”   I don’t know what the means, largely because I can’t imagine how anyone could improve upon the opportunity to buy a concert ticket — but if anyone can, Taylor swift can.

CREEPY?  HER?

When the new UPS ad rolled starring Swift some entertainment reporters went agog over Taylor Swift’s “creepy” smirk.  Really?  Sly, perhaps — but there’s nothing on Taylor Swifts unblemished visage that even comes close to creepy.  Nonetheless, here’s the ad if you want to judge for yourself:

I’d love to see you COMMENT in the COMMENTs below and explain to me, how anyone could deem that “creepy.”  Anyone?

TAYLOR SWIFT DOES GIVE A DANG ABOUT HER BAD REPUTATION

Woke internet folks routinely bash Taylor for her Swiftian brand of Nu-Feminism, claiming her Intentional Victim Barbie persona wears thin compared to “true feminists,” such as _____________________ (these bloggers gladly insert their own names here).  If it’s true (and I contend it is not) that Swift’s positions only help herself and not ALL women, tell me exactly how does _________________ (again “true feminist” bloggers gladly insert themselves here) bashing Taylor Swift help the cause?  Okay, now tell me again, because I didn’t get it the first time.

The truth is Taylor Swift doesn’t need me to defend her.  Equally true is the fact that Swift’s detractors have a motivated feminist base that also do a good job furthering the cause; and, they don’t need me to defend them either.   And neither camp needs me mansplaining about anything.

Finally, whether you like this song (I do) or not, it will be a hit.  Taylor Swift calls her own shots, and is modeling a canny business acumen at which millions of other young women will take notice.

The actual video for Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” will be released tonight at the MTV Video Awards.  Until then, I leave you last week’s lyric video (which also garnered controversy which I won’t go into here.

 

UPDATE:

TAYLOR SWIFT IS TOO SEXY FOR HER AGENCY

Sure the chorus reminds you of 1992 and Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt,” but that’s on purpose, right?  And sure, the song is infinitely better than the video, right?  However, nonetheless, as mentioned yesterday, Taylor Swift released the actual official video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” last night on MTV’s VMAs.   And it underscores “in red underlined” my point I made yesterday:  Who are YOU to tell Taylor Swift what kind of feminist she needs to be?  Who are any of us to tell her anything?  How is one feminist telling another feminist how to present not counterintuitive and counterproductive to the movement?

SPOILER ALERT:  Though as I mentioned, the song is better than this video, the final forty seconds are the best final moments in a music video since David Bowie got all clever-clever after he just met a girl named Blue Jean…

You can pre-order Taylor Swift’s new album “Reputation,” to be released November 10, 2017, here:  http://amzn.to/2vjmqEX

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

BONUS:   Bowie’s unedited full-length “Jazzin’ For Blue Jean.” (1984)

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
NUTS & MORE NUTS

NUTS & MORE NUTS

PunchFarm is a group of friends who love movies, tacos and beer. I recently heard them for the first time (Thanks, Rebekah Fieschi!), and thought, these fun people could be my friends.

They love moves.  I love movies.  They love tacos.  I love tacos.  They love beer.  I love movies.

Each week they watch a movie together and then record their thoughts and opinions about the film. They also discuss anything and everything. Horror movies, comic books and tacos are just a few of the topics they geek out on. They talk to filmmakers such as the aforementioned Rebekah Fieschi and P.J. Starks (a friend of my friend Amber Langton, a fine filmmaker in her own right).  Other recent guests have included Josh Hasty, director of In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn, and Dynamo Marz, lead singer of The Deadites.

As many of you know, I always like to take a position on one of the topics discussed in each week’s podcast I review.  This week, I will be featuring Episode 39, the one which not coincidentally featured Rebekah Fieschi.

Rebekah on Punch Farm

In addition to the interview with Rebekah, the gang brings up several other topics, as usual.

So the position I want to take in this post, is a response to one of those other topics, and also is my answer to this question:

If you’re the Camera Operator, and one of the actors trips in a gopher hole, do you set down the camera and go help the actor — or do you keep the camera rolling, get the shot, and let someone else worry about him? At the one hour (01:00:00) mark, of Episode 39, our gang discuss that very happening during the shooting of their short film Chompy: Attack of the Fishman. 

My answer is this:

I contend you set down the camera.  Especially if you can run and warn him before he hit the ground, you set down the camera.  Sure the safety meeting is the job of the 1AD — but everybody is responsible to keep their eyes open for safety concerns on the set.

Triggered by this discussion, I emailed a former film professor of mine, and asked him the same question.  He said “I don’t know if I would stop filming, but I would definitely say something before they stepped in it.”  I had another discussion with a peer, who took it one step (pun intended) further.  He asked “Can a Camera Op really stop filming at all if the director never yells ‘Cut’?”  Good question.

Anyway, thanks PunchFarm Podcast for spurring on this discussion!  Before I went to press with this blog post, I shot off an email to Mark Scheetz because I wondered from where the PunchFarm name originated.  Mark replied immediately:  “Years ago we made a few short films and thought it would be fun to have our own “production company” so we just made that name up. That silly name worked well with the silly shorts we made. One short was about a misunderstood fish-man, Chompy. And “Chompy” is part of our podcast logo.”

Way to bring the gopher hole story and the name origin story full-circle, Mark!  I couldn’t have done it better myself.

ADDENDUM:  Here’s a quick glimpse at the PunchFarm gang…

PunchFarmTeam

“Be The Person You Are, Not The Diagnosis.”

“Be The Person You Are, Not The Diagnosis.”

 

In Episode 273 of John August’s Scriptnotes podcast with Craig Mazin, a listener with autism, named Thomas, writes in to the hosts.  Thomas writes in to further encourage Matthew, a listener/screenwriter also with autism spectrum disorder, who had written in himself with a letter that was read in Episode 271.  (That’s right.  This week we are going back to 2016.)

Thomas mentions that none-other-than Steven Spielberg had succeeded despite self-diagnosing himself with mild autism.  What the what?!?  I had never heard that, so I googled it.  Low and behold, it is true. Or at least true enough.  It seems that Steven Spielberg has discussed extensively his dyslexia.  True, dyslexia is not actually on the autism spectrum — but dyslexia is a co-morbid disorder associated with autism.  So it’s still a hidden disability, making Thomas’ point still valid.  The title of this blog post is Thomas’ advice to Matthew.

My position is that this episode also, interestingly enough, underscores the two-edged sword of celebrity embracement of people with disabilities causes.  Sure, they can bring much-needed awareness to a cause — but they also can be a source of, or an impetus for, loads of misinformation.  My google search not only turned up the truth about Spielberg, it also turned up scores of blogs and YouTube videos misreporting half-truths and outright falsehoods.  Several sources stated that Spielberg has Asperger’s Syndrome with no evidence whatsoever.

Let me add here that none of this is Spielberg’s fault.  He discussed his dyslexia.  No harm in that.  It was others, coming along later, many well-intentioned, that misquoted him (or repeated someone else misquoting him).

SpielbergSeinfeld

On the other hand, there’s another hand.  When a celebrity does come out with their autism, it can hit all the major news media — USA Today and NBC News, for example — as it did when Jerry Seinfeld confessed his suspicion that he could be placed along the autism spectrum.  Yes, it made the news, but more importantly — definitions of what autism is, and the effects it has on people in general — also made the news.  See the last half of this article here.

Lastly, getting back to celebrities-in-their-own-right John and Craig, John then tells us that another listener wrote in with a great blog post which explains that the autism spectrum isn’t really like a numerical scale from 1 to 100, but it is more like a color wheel.  Then, before moving onto the next topic, John mentions one last listener points out that the Writer’s Guild does have a Writers with Disabilities Committee now, and they include autism among the disabilities they address.

 

WHY DARK BETTY SHINING A LIGHT ON MENTAL ILLNESS MATTERS

WHY DARK BETTY SHINING A LIGHT ON MENTAL ILLNESS MATTERS

In the CW hit Riverdale, we are introduced to a deeper and fuller characterization of Archie and his gang.   Yes, that Archie.  Archie Andrews from the comics.

In a recent interview, Lili Reinhart, the actress who plays Betty Cooper on Riverdale, opened up about her own invisible disability of depression.  Depression can be both an illness or a symptom of another illness (such as fibromyalgia). which is why it is important to talk about it.  On Riverdale, there’s been a struggle between Betty and Dark Betty (who dons a black wig which makes it easy to confuse her with Veronica at times) — and when the other characters confront Betty the day after, Betty’s denials or misremembrances, experts say are portrayed quite realistically.

Click here to read the article Riverdale Cast Member Reveals Her Struggles With Mental Illnesses.  If you struggle with depression, there are also some links in that article on where/how to get help.

Click here to watch the Lili Reinhart interview.

There are also some hints that Betty’s older sister, Polly, may also be suffering from a mental illness issue.  I will be watching closely and reporting back here on that, as events unfold.

Craig Remembers Betty And Veronica

Craig Remembers Betty And Veronica

One of things I enjoy about Scriptnotes with John August and Craig Mazin is when John stumps Craig about current events.  Episode 288, however, had an example of not only stumping in that direction, but then a reverse stumping of John by Craig.

John points out that Luke Perry plays Archie Andrews’ dad on the CW hit Riverdale.  Craig appears to be completely unaware of the existence of the show.  HOWEVER, Craig is very much an expert of the world of Archie Comics from his sister’s childhood bathroom collection of the many diverse titles.  John admits he has never even picked up an Archie Comic in his entire life.

As someone who not only read Archie Comics growing up (I actually sold them as well, but that’s another story), but who is also a fan of Riverdale on the CW, I can’t help but mention the changes through which the characters have gone.  Archie is pretty much the same Archie (although the CW Archie was having an affair with Miss Grundy — who is no longer an older woman with her white hair in a bun, and we will leave it at that).  Jughead isn’t lazy anymore, and today he is a good detective/reporter.  Josie and The Pussycats (and possibly Reggie) have somehow changed their race.  But most tellingly about the current reiteration, Betty now has a dark side.  In fact, Betty vs. Dark Betty has opened up a healthy discussion about the portrayal of mental health issues and invisible disabilities in the media.

Craig’s remembrances of the old Riverdale brought back nostalgic sweet memories, but I’m more excited about the awareness of causes being furthered in the new Riverdale.  Without being heavy-handed and preachy, and while still being wholly entertaining, Riverdale takes on some of today’s hard issues.  I agree with that approach.

 

Dick Guttman, Sidney Falco, and a Cookie Full Of Arsenic

Dick Guttman, Sidney Falco, and a Cookie Full Of Arsenic

I will get back to talking about Scriptnotes soon enough, but this week I want to focus on  the legendary publicist Dick Guttman — who was a guest this week on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast.

I recently read Roger Ebert’s review of Sweet Smell Of Success (Mackendrick, 1957), which I watched last Wednesday for the first time.  The film stars Tony Curtis as PR shark, Sidney Falco, and Burt Lancaster as egotistical columnist with a God-complex, J.J. Hunsecker.  Ironically, Guttman (not a shark) handled the PR for Tony Curtis during that shoot and through the film’s release.  Guttman says he never met anyone as bad as Sidney Falco.  Sure, “…there were connivers…,” Guttman says.

Connivers.

What an interesting word choice Guttman makes.  According to The Free Dictionary online, a conniver is one who is determined:

1. to cooperate secretly; conspire.

2. to give aid to wrongdoing by forbearing to act or speak (usu. fol. by at).

3. to be indulgent toward something others oppose or criticize (usu. fol. by at). [1595–1605; (< French conniver) < Latin co(n)nīvēre to close the eyes in sleep, turn a blind eye]

In Sweet Smell Of Success, Falco does all three.  Repeatedly.   It’s also interesting because Guttman appears to be one of the least conniving individuals in his profession.  Tale after tale is told with complete honesty and respect for the stars Dick Guttman has repped.

I agree with Guttman’s approach.  Niceness matters.

dickguttman

 

(PHOTO CREDIT, Guttman:  New York Social Diary)

(PHOTO CREDIT, Gilbert Header:  Adapted from Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast.com)

RICHARD SCHICKEL: DEAD AT 84…  RACISM:  DEAD AT ???

RICHARD SCHICKEL: DEAD AT 84… RACISM: DEAD AT ???

I was talking with my artist friend, Ginnie Assenza, earlier today when we discovered we had something in common:  We both grew up without racism.  We also just so happened to talk about Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (Kramer, 1967) — but we were talking about the film in terms of its comedic elements, and not once did racism even come up.

A few hours later, I saw Time film critic Richard Schickel’s obituary posted online.  Saddened, I was, of course, as he was one of the greats; however, I couldn’t help but notice that his obit contained this excerpt from his review for Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner:

“Where to begin discussing the ineptitude with which the nightmare is realized on screen.  …Kramer is earnestly preaching away on matters that have long since ceased to be true issues.”

Can you imagine making such a statement today?  These are the days of #BlackLivesMatter, #OscarsSoWhite, and other #RacialJustice hashtags.  Heck, if Schickel were alive today to write that same review, he’d be told his opinions would have to be discounted due to his #whiteprivilege.

Was Schickel wrong back in 1967, or have racial issues worsened over the past fifty years?  If they have worsened, what accounts for the backsliding?  Well, when Ginnie and I were talking, both of us remembered the circumstances in which we first became aware of race.  For both of us, it wasn’t even until we were adults.  Furthermore, for both of us, the source of this awareness was the same:  Others.

Other people in our lives pointed out that we were anomalies.  It wasn’t that we were blissfully ignorant of the issue; it was that we literally didn’t see an issue.  What was there to see?

Personally, looking back, I now see that my white Polish grandfather owned a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood in NW Indiana.  That’s how they’d describe it today.  However, back then, we just said my grandpa owned a grocery store.  It just was.  It was normal.  It was a grocery store; it was not a racial statement.  Why would it be?

We were both in our late 20s when Ginnie and I were told that race was supposed to be an issue.  Up until that point, neither of even noticed a person’s race at all.  Not once.  We now both feel robbed that the “Others” have told us how to remember our childhoods.  I want to go back to when I didn’t know there was an issue.  I want to go back to when there was no difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(PHOTO CREDIT:  Los Angeles Times)