Category Archives: Media

How journalism can survive

“This company, indeed, this industry, must invest more in solid, relevant journalism. We must integrate the speed and agility of the Internet with the news judgment and editorial values of the newsroom, values that are more important than ever as the hunger for news continues to surge and gossip pollutes the information atmosphere. Even in hard times, wise investment — not retraction – is the long-term answer to the industry’s troubles.”

Jim O’Shea gets it, and for that he was fired.

Hollwood is for (movie) lovers

Despite my ongoing love-hate relationship with this town (where “love” means “feel indifferent”), I will confess that this is a great town for movie lovers, even if you’re not interested in making movies but just enjoy watching them. The studios and the major film archives are right here, so rare or recently restored prints are common. Studios unveil works in progress or otherwise-unreleased films on a regular basis. There are tons of theaters dedicated to showing films for film lovers and not just the latest blockbuster.

Case(s) in point: on Tuesday night I took in the nerdtacular double feature of Tron and The Last Starfighter at the New Beverly, a single-screen theater that doesn’t seem like it’s changed much since those movies were in their first runs. It was great fun, laughing at the ridiculously cheesy parts of those films (“Greetings, programs!”) while reliving some of the excitement we felt when we first watched them. (Unsurprisingly, the male-to-female ratio at this screening was unbelievably high.) Then last night we ventured to the Aero for a sold-out screening of Hotel Chevalier and The Darjeeling Limitedfollowed by a chat with Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Wally Wolodarsky. There have been two advance screenings of Control, the Ian Curtis biopic, in the last week. Earlier this year we saw Brand Upon the Brain, Guy Madden’s latest film, accompanied by a live orchestra and live foley artists. These kinds of things are so rare in SF, and yet down here screenings of rare prints, in-person appearances, and other activities for film lovers are rather commonplace.

Dear CBS:

Your Tour de France coverage sucks. Every year I sit down to watch the video coverage of this huge event, and every year I see less and less actual cycling. Instead I’m treated to aerial shots of the landscape, nary a cyclist in sight, while some “reporter” dishes up acres and acres of purple prose, stretching metaphors to their extreme. How about SHOWING ME THE RIDERS instead of telling me that the riders suffer for their sport? I know it’s a challenge to cover a week’s worth of racing in one hour, but the answer is not to turn in a non-narrative sequence of clips with poor commentary and hope no one notices.

Idiocracy

I found out about this movie from friends in San Francisco who were upset that it wasn’t being released in their city. So of course I had to go see it; here was something you could do in LA that you couldn’t do in SF! Idiocracy is pretty funny, especially when you realize how adeptly it dishes up the very potty humor and lowbrow entertainment that it is simultaneously skewering. But what was so offensive that Fox decided not to back the movie’s release? Someonegreenlighted the project, so why not try to recover some money from it after it’s been made? Or could it be the limited release was a way to garner attention and build up demand for a film that would otherwise float under the radar?