"Some of these movies aren't half bad." | "Yeah, they're all bad!"
The LA Times put a fascinating article together concerning who, exactly, is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in terms of gender, race and age. Understanding this group should go a long way in understanding who gets nominated and who ultimately wins Hollywood’s top prize.
As it turns out, the data is both revealing and hilarious. (Oh, and you can see the nominees and winners here.)
There are 5,765 people that vote for the Oscars. They are:
A median age of 62? I’m not trying to give the older generation a hard time, but are the filming Ensure commercials over there? And if 62 is the median age, then there must be a ton of old white dudes wandering around the joint to get their median age up that high. Wow. 14% under 50. Wow.
And yeah, dudes. I chose to say ‘dude’ as the Academy is a 3 to 1 sausage fest. 77% male + 94% white = a ton of monocles and several uttering of “Oh my!” followed quickly by, “Well, I never!”
"That's my third monocle this week; I simply must stop being so horrified."
Well maybe, guys, you should.
The academy is primarily a group of working professionals, and nearly 50% of the academy’s actors have appeared on screen in the last two years. But membership is generally for life, and hundreds of academy voters haven’t worked on a movie in decades.
Oh, so the members are not only nearly all from the same gender and racial group – they’re also out of touch with their industry. That’s just great. And just for giggles: 64% of Academy members have never even been nominated for an Oscar, never mind having won the award.
The Times found that some of the academy’s 15 branches are almost exclusively white and male. Caucasians currently make up 90% or more of every academy branch except actors, whose roster is 88% white. The academy’s executive branch is 98% white, as is its writers branch.
Men compose more than 90% of five branches, including cinematography and visual effects. Of the academy’s 43-member board of governors, six are women; public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the sole person of color.
Well, it’s pretty hard to dole out the blanco salami in smaller portions when there’s so much of it.
NOT TO BE outdone, the New York Times published a fascinating story about the Academy Awards broadcast itself with specific regard to its declining ratings.
ABC estimated that this year’s Academy Awards broadcast, with two sparsely seen movies, “The Artist” and “The Iron Lady,” sweeping the top categories, drew about 39.3 million viewers, up 3.7 percent from last year. That’s about 13 percent of the United States population. Among adults 18 to 49, viewership was flat, at 14.9 million.
In the 1990s and shortly afterward, when populist movies like “Forrest Gump” and “Gladiator” won top prizes, the Oscars telecast routinely delivered about 45 million total viewers. The high point came in 1998, when the telecast delivered a peak audience of around 57.3 million.
Why it matters which movies wonthis year in terms of ratings, I don’t understand (I guess people saw Meryl Streep win again and were like, “Fuck this,” and switched the channel), particularly when several of the movies nominated for awards did fine at the box office. Pretty sure that Harry Potter picture did OK. Wasn’t The Help out for the entire summer? Seemed that way. And people were practically knocking each other over to praise Midnight in Paris – so I presume at least half of those people actually saw the movie.
But, the Academy Awards just isn’t the powerhouse it used to be – they want the show to be on the level with the Super Bowl and what not, but it’s just not happening as they’ve seen their overall numbers slip after 1998, but can they really blame us, the viewers? That’s the year Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture. I still can’t believe that happened. World War II vs a silly little period romantic comedy? I was particularly surprised it won since it’s star (the wonderful Gweneth Paltrow) didn’t earn a best actress nomination, but then, there was also the year during which LOTR: Return of the King beat Mystic River, and that was a much bigger disgrace, so… you know, you reap what you sow, as the saying goes.
The Academy is also worried about their ratings with the younger audience, so of course, they ran out and hired Billy Crystal to host this year. Makes sense. I think this was his ninth time hosting… so yeah, I’ve seen his act before and didn’t really need to see it again.
Speaking of things we didn’t see, what the hell happened to Best Song? I know the lazy bastards only got around to nominating 2 songs out of an eligible 30 or so, but there was no time to perform them, so we got a Cirque Du Soleil performance instead? What the shit is that? How acrobats flying around the theater is more relevant than hearing a live performance of “Am I a Man or a Muppet?” I will never understand.
The entire situation has become some strange illogical puzzle. You’ve got a deeply flawed awards show that runs too long, gives awards out seemingly at random (or laziness – as in, “I didn’t see all of the movies, but fuck it – just give it to Meryl Streep, she’s brilliant.”) and doesn’t always show things that have anything to do with movies while the movie industry itself continues to shat out (by and large) an inferior product. There are solutions to their problems, but I guess it’s hard to get around to implementing them when your organization’s median age is 62 and everyone wants to get to the early bird special at Sizzler.
I’ve been reading comic books since… well, since I learned to read. The thing that’s great about comics is they’re the perfect marriage of a book and a movie, and if that doesn’t sound good to you, then I’ll never win you over to comics. For me, it started with Captain America and spread to the occasional issue of Daredevil or The Avengers – fairly swashbuckling, but Daredevil was always grittier. When I got into my teens, Captain America got silly and I took an extended break. (This is where I called it quits. Even as a lifelong comic fan, I just couldn’t believe this was real.) When I got older and had the money to read whatever I wanted, my comic spending got out of hand. I was reading a ton of books: Superman, Batman, Justice League, Green Arrow and a bunch of other crap. Finally, Captain America Volume 4 got so terrible that I just gave up on comic books all together for a second time. (I recently exercised those demons over at ACB.) In the last few years, I’ve come back to the fold, but I’m starting to wonder if another separation is on the horizon.
If you’re not a comic book fan, here’s a handy analogy I can lob at you as to why you might suddenly get turned off from your favorite comics. Imagine you have a favorite spot you like to go to for lunch; let’s say it’s Chinese because I dig Chinese food. Anyway, you go there for lunch all the time, it’s great and you rave to your friends and even when you’re having a shitty morning, you know that come lunch time, it’s on. Then you show up one day, pumped for some vegetable lo mien and KA-BLAMO! “Under New Management!” The food isn’t as good as it used to be. Something’s missing; these people don’t know your name, they don’t know your order and they sure as shit don’t know how to make a quality lo mien with only broccoli. You keep trying, but it’s just not the same and finally, you move on. This sort of thing happens in comics all the time (I guess a better analogy would have been Family Guy from Season 4 to date, but too late now), particularly when the creative team or writer changes. A bad creative team can ruin a comic, and if it’s not an iconic character, possibly forever.
So it goes with comics. Here’s a list of titles I have dropped, might drop soon or think are so great I don’t know if I’ll ever stop reading them.
Here’s a fun game – count the Batman affiliated titles! (Note: Detective Comics is also a Batman book.)
Batman and Robin
Batman: Streets of Gotham
Red Robin – The only thing worse than the title was the uniform. This book wasn’t bad, but like most Batman books, I got tired of the storyline crossing into other Batman books.
Batgirl – this book was one of my favorites until DC rebooted their universe (huh?) and replace the current Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) with the original Batgirl (Babara Gordon… who apparently isn’t in a wheel chair anymore? Yeah, not trying to figure that one out. You’ll need a Bat Specialist for that.)
Batman Incorporated – worst title ever. The idea is to have a Batman in different cities all over the world… why not call it “Order of the Bat?” I think that’s way cooler. “Batman Incorporated” sounds like they sell Batman themed lunch boxes.
Batman: The Dark Knight
Batman Confidential – this was cancelled; I didn’t voluntarily stop reading this book. They made lots of interesting choices here (especially with art) – I miss this book.
Superman/Batman – a book with two of the most famous comic book heroes of all time should be awesome, and I tried for a long time, but I just couldn’t get into it.
Green Arrow – kudos to the creative team for driving this book into the ground before DC’s reboot. I’d never seen a comic book commit suicide – it was inspiring in it’s own way. Then Iron Man 2.0 followed it off the ledge.
Iron Man 2.0 – this was cancelled before I could stop reading it. Marvel beat me by a month, so well done there. The last issue looks like it was finished by whichever interns weren’t busy collating that day.
Wolverine: Weapon X – I liked this book a lot; it got crappy toward the endbut it had some great moments
Wolverine: The Best There Is – this was literally the grossest comic book I’ve ever read. I guess the gore was part of the story, but it got out of hand.
Air – this was cancelled, which sucks because it was totally original.
House of Mystery – this was cancelled. I miss this book a lot; it’s one of my all time favorites. Matthew Sturges is a great writer, but he just couldn’t write it anymore. He went out on top.
Avengers Academy – Comic books are silly and dramatic, but this was a little too Days of Our Lives for me.
Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive – this was cancelled, which sucks because it was great.
Ultimate Captain America – this was cancelled, and deservedly so
Mighty Avengers – this was cancelled, and not a moment too soon
On the chopping block
I’m currently reading these books, but I don’t think I can hold out much longer. I could stop buying them after the very next issue if it’s too crappy.
Secret Avengers – the only reason this book is selling enough to not get cancelled is because it was ‘Avengers’ in the title. Period. Still, there’s potential there. They’ve just done a major shakeup as Captain America has left the book and is being replaced by Hawkeye, so I’m giving it another chance.
Justice League – I just don’t get how they’re managing to screw up a book that has Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in it. Isn’t that the DC Holy Trinity? After this story arc ends, I’m out.
On the fence
The Avengers books are getting stale; they certainly don’t need two separate books about two teams that work a few blocks away from each other in Manhattan that spend most of their time fighting the same bad guys. Something needs to change quickly or they’re going to get demoted to the chopping block
The New Avengers
These are the books I can’t let go of
Captain America – one of these Captain America books probably needs to go; I’m thinking it’s going to be this one.
Captain America and Bucky – Yeah, just don’t need two Cap books. Still, Ed Brubaker is making it work – for now, at least.
X-Factor – Peter David is the man! X-Factor is probably the best mystery series ever.
Iron Man – Matt Fraction really knows how to handle this book and these characters.
Daken: Dark Wolverine – Rob Williams is doing great things with this book. I never know quite where it’s going, but I’m always glad when it gets there.
Winter Soldier – still too early to truly decide, but so far, Winter Soldier is everything I expect from Ed Brubaker.
Shield – this isn’t a monthly book – it’s more like a whenever-the-hell-they-feel-like-it sort of book, but it’s great.
When it comes to reality TV, I have novice level knowledge at best. My girlfriend introduced me to “Celebrity Apprentice,” which I don’t love, but I can watch it. It’s more like a really strange game show where all the contestants are people you’ve heard of but don’t necessarily care about. (I guess it’d be poor marketing to call the show “B List Celebrity Apprentice.”) However, after watching the first episode, I can’t believe the stark contrast in celebrity level between the men and women’s teams.
I don’t recognize this guy by site, but the dude’s name is everywhere – or at least was a few years ago.
Well, I know Mario Andretti, but they made it clear that this guy was his son (apparently, their first choice was Michael’s son, but that didn’t work out), so I can at least guess he’s a race car driver – and he is. Or was.
Probably best known for The Man Show, it took me a few minutes to recognize this guy, but once he starts talking, it’ll hit you over the head
Obviously, everybody knows The Hulk, and if you don’t, I’m sorry for you. But the guy is around; he was in The King of Queens for all those years and did cameo’s in The Incredible Hulk and I Love You Man. Ferrigno has been famous for like 40 years and he’s still jacked like a MoFo.
(Not to be confused with Arsenio Billingham.) Arsenio might be tough to place if you’re more than a few years younger than I am, but I don’t think any talk show burned hotter than the Arsenio Hall Show. I still remember not yet President Clinton making a campaign stop on Arsenio and jamming with the band – that was hardcore.
The most famous carny of all time, Penn & Teller is practically an institution in this country. Nobody entertains in some many different ways at the same time as Penn.
For some reason, it’s impossible to get rid of the Twisted Sister. Like Arsenio, he might be hard to place if you’re younger than I am, but make no mistake, Snider is a famous dude.
Obviously, George Takei played Sulu on Star Trek, the biggest TV show cult phenomenon ever besides also being a successful series of films. To follow that up, Takei was appointed to the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, which planned the Los Angeles subway system, where he served from 1973 to 1984. More recently, Takei has become a voice for Gay Rights.
Paul Teutul, Sr.
If you don’t have cable, you’ll probably never see Paul Teutul’s show, American Chopper, concerning his custom motorcycle building business, which is a reality show that has been on the air since 2003. In any case, the show is wildly popular.
So these are all famous dudes and for the most part, are all household names. Then there’s the women’s team…
Like… you know… Tia Carrere… from the Wayne’s World movies… that were out 20 years ago. Like, uhm, Tia Carrere. Now you remember, right?
She sang, “Electric Youth” back in the day, right? Tried to have a career after 1990… sure, I remember Debbie Gibson. Oh, she wants us to call her Deborah now. I’ll get right on that.
I had to look it up – she’s a realty TV star. Great. That’s just as good as Lou Ferrigno.
Now Lisa Lampanelli I know – it might be only because I live in the New York City area, but Lisa Lampanelli is a well respected stand up who’s been around forever.
She was Miss Universe in 2008. Don’t know how that slipped past me…
Apparently, she’s a ‘pop star.’ Never heard of her.
She’s an actress and model – and by ‘actress,’ I mean she was in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, both of which suck harder than a Suck Machine on Sucking Day.
She’s famous for being John Gotti’s daughter. That’s just great.
I seem to remember her pimping yogurt when I was a kid, and my girlfriend says she used to be a model, so… I guess that’s the case.
Who in the hell cast this season of Celebrity Apprentice? This is horrendously disproportionate! Who let this happen?Doesn’t this show have producers? It just seems like poor planning to cut back and forth between a room of famous men and a room of women I barely recognize from one scene to the next. Oh well; I doubt it interferes with the quality of the show (and I use the term ‘quality’ loosely), but it’s a bit embarrassing to watch.
I know, I know – I’m late to this particular party. But, now that we’ve had plenty of distance from the game and the commercials, I thought this was an opportune time to delve into people spending insane quantities of money to influence us into buying junk.
This was most certainly not one of those Super Bowls where the commercials were the best part of the day – as a Giants fan, I was please to see my team win, and the game was of high quality, too – so win/win!
Hmm… upon further consideration, I would say this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials didn’t do much at all to get my attention. Here’s the ones I can remember.
Go Daddy did their usually insulting lesbian innuendo. Even Geico knew when to stop running those stupid cave man commercials.
Model Adriana Lima was in two spots: one for Teleflora and one for Kia. I still don’t know what Teleflora is and I still don’t care about Kia.
Speaking of celebrates doing commercials for things I don’t care about, there was Deion Sanders in the Bridgestone and Century 21 commercial – come to think of it, Donald Trump was in the latter, too.
Then there was that 2nd Story Software spot, which compared the relief felt when getting a “TaxACT federal return totally free” to the relief felt when urinating in a pool. Who was sitting there watching a child urinate in a pool and said, “Oh, sweet relief – I know what that’s like.”
When it comes to celebrity endorsements, Pepsi didn’t screw around – Pepsi-Cola gave us a confusing commercial with Elton John and Flava Flav while Pepsi Max dragged Regis Philbin away from whichever bank commercials he’s usually doing.
Oh, and there was a Skechers commercial that ended with a cameo by Mark Cuban – apparently, marketing firms believe we still care about Mark Cuban. And I read something somewhere that this ad either directly or indirectly promotes grey hound racing, but I don’t remember anything about that – just that they wanted me to associate their shoes with Mark Cuban, which I think is a mistake. Anyway, let me take a quick time out to remind everyone not to bet or attend dog racing – dog racing is bullshit. If you need to bet on a race, pay your buddies to run around the block and speculate on who will win. (Trust me, this will be much funnier that grey hounds chasing a fake rabbit.)
CareerBuilder, in an effort not to pay writers, brought back its chimpanzees dressed as people – an idea that wasn’t new the first time they did it. Also drawing from the “Hey, what have we done already?” school of advertising was Coca-Cola, who brought back their polar bears, which I like, but doesn’t inspire me to drink more soda. I just like looking at animated polar bears for some reason I can’t explain.
The Skechers spot also raised the hackles of animal activists, who complained that it promoted greyhound racing
Can somebody do something about the etrade baby? Can’t the producers of Look Who’s Talking sue them or something?
Doritos had two different spots: the one where the dog killed the cat and bribed the human witness with Doritos made me sad that a fake cat died, but I’m happy any time a dog talks, so we’ll call this one a draw. However, the old lady and baby vs the kid was just… weird.
Best Buy’s “I created…” series was kinda tiresome after the first few seconds, but any time someone references Alec Baldwin (even if it was that silly Words with Friends incident), I’m on board.
GE’s Clint Eastwood commercial was super controversial; it was the ad everyone was writing about the next day, but it was so… uninteresting that it barely held my attention.
That Honda commercial featuring a passionless Matthew Broderick thatthat recre/parodies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off just made me sad. Why in the hell did he agree to do that?
Oh right, money. He has kind, too.
I felt like Metlife was really trying to get my attention with their 56 characters mash up of Hanna-Barbera, Harvey Comics, Looney Tunes and Peanuts, but no, I didn’t get a policy that day or since.
I guess Toyota’s commercial was supposed to be a nod to the gays? If not, then I have no idea what they were doing. I think it was intentionally unclear so it winked at the gay community but didn’t offend the squares.
Chevy’s 2012/end of the world bit just didn’t do it for me. Can we give the apocalypse a rest?
The award for the weirdest shit of the day goes to VOLKSWAGEN. The dog gets in shape… then the weird Star Wars ending melds the end of that commercial with the spot they released a few weeks ago of the dogs barking “Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” (which was awesome, by the way) with their older Super Bowl spot… I guess. Volkswagen makes me work entirely too hard to understand their marketing.
I guess I’ll have to give the award for the best commercial of the day to ACURA. Their spot concerning Jerry Seinfeld wanting to be the first person to own their new car (Which seemed totally farfetched – what would a multimillionaire like him want with an Acura of all cars? He strikes me as more of a Lamborghini man.) was kinda funny, but they ruined it at the end by having Jay Leno show up.
“I’m not running for President… yet. In three – no, four more years.”
In my view, you don’t want your first and last name to start with the same letter or rhyme, but Chris Christie, who essentially has the same name for both his first and last name takes it to the next level. And for some reason, every time he opens his mouth, all I hear is: “Ha mongo bargon wan chee kospah, ol Jedi. Chone manya weesh asha beecho.”*
If you haven’t already sussed this out for yourself, my opinion of the governor is fairly low. I’m just never going to get along with anyone who takes helicopter rides to little league games, which supposedly don’t cost tax payers any money somehow – oh, because fuel and helicopter maintenance is free and we usually train our guys to fly homeland security missions by visiting children’s sporting events. (I forgot all that!) Of course, his approval rating was at 53% in mid January, and if you’re over 50%, you must be doing something right… I would have thought it’d be lower (it was below 50% during the summer), so what do I know? Apparently, not a damn thing.
Wait, there is one thing I do know! Chris Christie is running for president in 2016. He’s made no announcement, but he’s done two things that are just as good as putting a “Christie 2016” sign on his front lawn.
Christie vetoed NJ’s Gay Marriage bill
Vetoing gay marriage was genius political move for Christie and his Republican presidential nominee aspirations. Now, he can say he vetoed gay marriage in his state to the sect of his party that hates that and he can tell the sect of his party that are big on civil liberties and state’s rights that he turned it over to the people in referendum (which he’s suggested for this November) to decide the best course for the state. It will likely pass, so he can tell gay republicans no harm, no foul. Talk about having your cake and eating it, too.
Christie lowered NJ income tax
Proposing to lower income tax is another brilliant move for pleasing those he’ll need to win over to get the nomination in 2016. Whether it happens or not, he’ll at least be able to say he tried to lowered taxes and ease the burden on New Jersey’s citizens, but frankly, income tax doesn’t mean squat to people who pay them in NJ – it’s property taxes that kills the NJ tax payer, and his budget proposal “provides less money for direct property tax relief than the year before.”
So there you have it – Christie is running for president in 2016 – I guarantee it.
*“There will be no bargain, young Jedi. I shall enjoy watching you die.”
Wow, that was fast. This greatest hits CD is already sitting on cashier counters, ready for impulse buying. I know sales always shoot up after an artist dies, but it seems shady to me when a store that doesn’t normally sell music has a big Whitney Houston display right next to the register – kinda like when the super markets made a big deal out of the release of the last Harry Potter book.
I’ve mentioned before that Disney’s bizarre idea to glorify and market pirates to children irks me. Now, they’ve taken it a step further.
If you’re not familiar with my parrot (who I have co-opted from my girlfriend, which she denies), that’s him up on the masthead of the site. His hobbies include eating (peanuts, carrots, seeds and anything on your plate he feels like helping himself to), singing along with various pop music and of course, watching countless hours of TV. Jake and the Neverland Pirates is the Disney Jr. program that is usually on his TV when I leave the house in the morning, so I often catch a few minutes while I see to his breakfast needs. Our conversations usually go like this:
“Let’s turn on the ol’ TV… ugh, Jake again. This show sucks.”
[he whistles proactively]
“I disagree, sir. There’s no such thing as a “good” pirate. We’ve been over this before.”
“Hey, they’ve got a parrot, too!”
“What is up?”
“I said, they’ve got a parrot, too – on the show.”
“I said, They’ve-”
“Ugh. You want a peanut?”
Of late, it feels as though each and every brake has featured a commercial for the upcoming episode, Jake and the Neverland Pirates: Peter Pan Returns. Although I have not seen it, I have a fundamental problem with this episode.
You know all about Peter Pan, right? He’s the boy who never grows up and flies around in green spandex, waving around a tiny sword while wearing a very masculine hat. Peter flies to London, meets Wendy and her brothers, takes them back to Neverland and they rock out: they fight Captain Hook, exchange thimbles as kisses, clap to keep Tinkerbell from certain death – all that jazz. It might sound like fun and games, but when it comes to Captain Hook and his pirates, Peter Pan means business; in fact, there was this one time when Peter cut off Captain Hook’s hand and fed it to crocodile. Now that is how you put your enemies on notice!
If we were playing some weird word association game where you named a noun, and then I said a noun that had an opposite effect to the first noun, it would probably go like this:
bat – ball
cop – robber
pirate – Peter Pan
Therein lies the problem. Jake and the Neverland Pirates are pirates, but Peter Pan is the anti pirate!(Something I feel he made clear with his pirate dismemberment policy.) These guys can not hang out. I know, I know, Jake and his gang are good pirates, but I think I’ve wasted enough of everyone’s time pointing out that such a concept as “good pirates” is bullshit, but no matter what kind of pirates they are, it doesn’t matter – Peter Pan hangs out with the Lost Boys and fights pirates – he doesn’t chill with them! And yes, I know that the good pirates fight the bad pirates, but I think a ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” concept might be a little too complicated for Disney Jr., so what the hell is going on here?
PETER: “You’re an asshole.”
And the episode is called, “Peter Pan Returns?” Where did he go? London? Wait, was he subletting a flat in SoHo? For how long? Doesn’t he grow up if he leaves Neverland? And isn’t Neverland his home in the first place? Why would he leave? It’s kinda like Superman Returns, I guess – maybe he went looking for his parents… did something like that happen in Hook? (I bet you didn’t know Phil Collins had a cameo in that movie as the police inspector!)
I’m thinking too hard about this, but Disney needs to knock it the hell off. As if Peter Pan wasn’t a violent enough story, now it’s so complex I can’t even follow it. This needs to stop now, and Disney needs to put pirates back on the bad guy side of the line where they belong.
Sometimes you have to get your competing breakfast sides into a fight to the death to decide on taste supremacy.
Let us BATTLE!
Smart Bacon is salty, but as far as I can recall, it does a decent impression of the real thing. Tempeh Smoked Maple Bacon is tasty, but does not look or taste like bacon at all. So if you really want something that tastes like bacon, you go with the former, but if a tasty side is all you require, then the latter is for you.
I’ve never seen a dog toy that was created for both human and dog amusement before, but here it is. I’d like to take this opportunity to both praise and censure the person who put a giant dog tongue on the end of a ball.
Oh, by the way, the toy is called the Moody Pet Humunga Tongue Ball. She loves it.