Tag Archives: entertainment

Battleship Jumps Shark

It seems there’s a new movie called Battleship coming out. Apparently, it’s science fiction. Also apparently, it’s based on the children’s game ‘Battleship’. Also also apparently, it’s bad.

What I find so hilariously wrong with this picture is that in their desperation to make as much money as possible without exposing themselves to any risk, the Mighty Lords of Hollywood have done something very risky that’s likely to lose them boat-loads of cash.

The apparently indisputable movie-business logic goes like this:

  • Only pre-tested brands can be known to make money reliably.
  • Brands that invoke nostalgia have the highest appeal.
  • The optimum demographic for movie viewing is young men, and young men like sci-fi action.

In order to wring ever more dollars out of this tired meta-formula, Hollywood scrapes the barrel of our past looking for things we’ve already bought so that it can sell them to us again. Can anyone else hear the brittle creaking of a strained paradigm here?

In the mean time, my guess is that we can get ready for the following exciting titles.

Mission Impossible–Speak and Spell: Tom Cruise and his buddies have to decrypt spy codes by spelling simple words on a cheerful plastic interface, while dangling on a wire somewhere, in order to save the world.

Simon, The Apocalypse: In order to avert a long-predicted world-shattering apocalypse that makes birds crash a lot, Nicholas Cage has to duel with a psychotic computer that communicates only through patterns of friendly tones and colors.

Hungry Hippos, The Torment Commences: In the first of eight planned films, Daniel Craig leads a ragtag team of survivors through a terrfiying post-apocalyptic wasteland overrun by zombie hippos that eat anyone on sight.

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The Facebook IPO: A Tsunami of Meh

Today the BBC news website made me laugh.

Go to the front page, and the headline is ‘Facebook in stock debut rollercoaster’. Click on the link and you see an article that instead says ‘Facebook shares see modest debut‘.

Why is this funny? First, because everyone expected there to be a rollercoaster, because other tech IPOs have done just that, and there wasn’t one. But more significantly, if everyone expected there to be a rollercoaster, then having one wouldn’t have been news. We were supposed to have witnessed a blandly volatile event but we didn’t get one.

The media has grown quite accustomed, it seems, to taking dull events that have the surface appearance of drama and dressing them up as  narratives for our consumption.

When things don’t go as planned, the cracks in the system appear. The headline written before the event doesn’t get yanked. A much better, and truer title would have been ‘Facebook IPO appalls media world with mild performance’.