Blog Archives

You Can’t Stream the Movie Theater Experience

Image result for jaws movie theater

Netflix and Oscars Update:

In concert with yesterday’s article here on Jimmy’s Daily Planet that focused on Steven Spielberg’s thoughts regarding the necessity for all Oscar-eligible films to remain within the traditional parameters of a traditional theatrical release, the Academy of Motion Picture and Arts and Sciences has determined that Rule Two — which involves a film’s eligibility for winning — will favor streaming services moving forward in so many words.

The Academy’s Board of Governors voted to maintain Rule Two, Eligibility for the 92nd Oscars. The rule states that to be eligible for awards consideration, a film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission. Motion pictures released in nontheatrical media on or after the first day of their Los Angeles County theatrical qualifying run remain eligible.

That’s a major win for streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Take ‘Roma’ by director Alfonso Cuarón that streamed on Netflix that won three Oscars at this year’s ceremony:

  • Best Director
  • Best Foreign Language Film
  • Best Cinematography

The argument is not about quality — which ‘Roma’ has — but more about quality of experience. I am a fan of Netflix. It’s a great service for TV and film. But let’s face facts that most people multi-task (or are at least tempted to) with convenient streaming services like Netflix that very easily takes away from the pure movie watching experience. It’s also crucial that Hollywood ensures that all eligible films are having to play by the same rules for the same grand, life-changing prize. As Mr. Spielberg noted yesterday in the New York Times, the theatrical experience must be maintained for the biggest movies of the year. He is 100% right. The Academy’s progressive move towards the “future of TV” is a slippery slope that will exert pain on movie theaters in big cities and small towns alike in the short and long term.

Academy President John Bailey expressed sympathy for the theatrical experience yet fell short with a sanitized non-answer answer for his conclusion.

“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions. Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues.”

–Academy President John Bailey

In other words, Mr. Bailey supports counting the dollar bills from streaming services.

There is nothing wrong with movie studios and the Academy making lots of money. That’s a good thing if they put out a good product that people want to buy. However, the problem is refusing to take the right, principled stand of where we sit for the best films being released in the future:

Are we on our couch watching a summer blockbuster on our TV or cell phone or laptop? Or are we in a dark, crowded movie theater with strangers for an unforgettable movie experience that simultaneously defines our lives and popular culture with cinematic game-changers like ‘Jaws,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Inception’?

It costs a lot of money to invest, produce and ultimately release a major motion picture. Creating short cuts in this process will cut short what movies mean for us and movie studios moving forward.

Netflix contributed to the downfall of the Blockbuster movie store chain early in the 21st century, transforming the origin of the movie watching experience at home from an excitingly extroverted in-store search and interaction to the introverted in-house mail service. Now it seems the Academy and streaming services like Netflix have its eyes on revolutionizing the summer blockbuster by way of the information superhighway.

When it comes to the Academy of Motion Picture and Arts and Sciences debating issues like Rule Two, movie theaters are gonna need a bigger vote.

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Happy Monday

Spring is known as the season of rebirth. Monday, therefore, could be defined as the day of the week for rebirth.

In other words, Mondays seem like a perfect occurrence to hit an internal reset button from the now past week and weekend. To put a finer tip on it, each Monday provides us the unique opportunity to be something we weren’t during the prior days that we wish we were…that we wish we could be.

However, before we make any drastic changes to our lives, it’s important to rediscover our origin story, of sorts. What is our true character? Purpose? Drive? This way, we may better understand the place(s) we really want to go, literally and metaphorically.

Here’s an origin story for the ages that should inspire grand adventures as large as a house perfectly located on the banks of West Egg.

The source of J. Gatsby’s money aside (we all know that side of the story), the relentless ambition of one of the most famous literary characters is undeniable.

And admirable.

Perhaps, admirable extraordinary…?

(Bonus points for those who remember that 2013 cinematic reference)

Have a Better Week Than Last Week.

Arrr You For Real?

Few places on Earth can bring movie magic to life like Disneyland.

Exhibit A: Johnny Depp Captain Jack Sparrow.

That Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland with the always imaginative character actor Johnny Depp was an unforgettable experience sparked by an idea that’s nothing short of genius. And it’s genuinely refreshing when an actor embraces his fantastical character as much as the fans.

In three words: Cinematic marketing gold.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales premieres in theaters on May 26, 2017.

The Virtual Reality of Our Dreams

How different is virtual reality from dreaming?

Expanding on yesterday’s blog post (“What Will Be Your Spinning Top?”), a primary rationale for trying virtual reality is escapism. The same goes for movies, TV, music, art, vacationing, etc. Escapism is powerful. Escapism is an amazing thing. In realizing so, virtual reality (VR) can take this universal dreamlike pursuit and characteristic of virtually everybody in the world and capitalize on this frequent need and want to explore and immerse ourselves into all sorts of places, real and imagined. It’s not far-fetched to speculate the world we live in today, on planet Earth day-to-day, could become just the ground level of myriad worlds and realities, customized by the individual.

One of the connections made in “What Will Be Your Spinning Top?” was between VR and the movie Inception. While I am in no way predicting a shot-for-shot vision of the film for the evolving technology of VR, I do believe there is an argument to be made that VR will feel more like an indistinguishable dream than a static experience standing in the middle of a Best Buy aisle.

With a headset, of course.

Take a visual ride into what I’m talking about.

Accomplishing something in five minutes that usually takes an hour? Not such a bad reality.

Or dream-like world?

Or reality…?