Are we witnessing the “end of days” for the movie industry as we knew it? With the dismanteling of 20th Century Fox and the de-construction of the movie going experience, where are we headed?

These thoughts and others can be found in the letters received on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

 

Is the “movie theater experience” really that important anymore?

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

I’m a little torn about what I am going to say, since I don’t know if it makes me sound elitist, so to speak, or because I can’t put the words together for what I mean, it might not make sense, but here goes.

I know there is a big push from people in the film industry, for having movies be seen in theaters for a great theatrical experience. However, I don’t know whether there really is a great theatrical experience anymore. What I mean is, while I think there are movies which are definitely worth seeing in theaters, I don’t see it as a great experience, so to speak.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, a great theatrical experience should be a transcendent event for somebody to go through, where you feel like you were having an out of body experience since you were seeing something which takes your breath away.

Even if I have a good time seeing a movie in theaters, I don’t feel like it’s a great theatrical experience. For example, I was glad I saw Endgame in theaters, but I didn’t really see it as being a transcendent event when I was in the theater watching it. However, when I watch older movies, I have only ever seen them on either tv or on a computer. But I would have died to see them on a big screen in a theater, as I feel those movies would have made a truly great theatrical experience, and would have been a transcendent event for me to go through.

Movies like the original 1933 King Kong, Errol Flynn’s Adventures Of Robin Hood, 1940’s Thief Of Bagdad, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park, for example. All those movies, with the iconic scenes, would have made me feel like I’m having an out of body experience in a theater, like in A New Hope’s opening with the ship coming over the screen and near the end with the Death Star’s explosion, or Raiders Of The Lost Ark when Harrison Ford steps out of the shadows and the giant rock ball is coming, and then near the end with the melting face.

As I was saying earlier, I don’t know if that makes me sound elitist, or it just does not make sense since I’m having a hard time putting the words together to express what I mean.

Thanks, live long and prosper.

Omar

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Stop apologizing for 60s sci-fi … it still holds up!

I’ve been listening to the co-shows you did with Midnight’s Edge about the Bond Films and your defence of the original Star Trek series in Robservations #575 ; in both cases you resorted to the defence “…well for the sixty’s…”.

I hope I can make you question whether that defence is needed. A while ago I had a revelation when re-watching another show from the sixty’s – Doctor Who. Specifically the episode the Dead Planet which aired 21/12/1963 the year after Doctor No. It’s notorious for its shaky sets and poorly realised petrified monster prop, but by chance when watching it I had the sound up a notch (just a notch) higher than I normally do. The result was I got to properly hear Tristram Cary’s haunting electronic sound track that transforms the experience. I found myself sitting open mouthed at what I was watching as there is nothing else like it on Television.

On the next episode I stopped the DVD and just sat and stared at a camera shot, a young woman wearing contemporary clothes standing in the futuristic Tardis interior while behind her the doors are open showing the storm raging in the forest outside. That’s a terrific shot whatever decade you’re in.

If you went to the BBC today and said “I want to make a 1960s style sci-fi show, all in black and white, using the tools and equipment they had at the time and with the same budget (adjusted for inflation.)” and then six weeks later you turned in The Dead Planet you would be showered with accolades and awards. There is no need to try and put ourselves back in the 60s, it is an extraordinary piece of television now which you probably couldn’t make today even if you wanted to, which makes it all the more important to share and enjoy. I’m sure the same can be said for Doctor No, Star Trek and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

If you or anyone in your audience haven’t seen The Dead Plant or hasn’t really listened to the soundtrack I would politely urge you to do so and turn the sound up, just a little bit higher than usual. The episode’s only 25 minutes long and you can find plenty of Tristram Cary’s music on YouTube. He really does deserve celebrating.

Anyway congratulations on two years of Robservations and keeping hold of your enthusiasm while sharing it with the world.

Regards,
Andrew

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The National Film Registry is a national treasure.

Hi Rob and to the Post Geek Sigularity. In this letter, I am going to discuss the National Film Registry. For those who are not familiar with it, the National Film Registry is under Library of Congress. They are responsible for ensuring the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s film heritage. Every year, they select 25 films to be inducted in the registry. Those films have to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and they have to be at least 10 years old to be eligible.

As of 2020, there are now 800 films in the registry. Some of your favorite classic American films are already in the registry. The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, All About Eve. You name it. Think of a film that is considered as one of the best, it is very likely that it is already in the registry.

The National Film Registry recently announced the 25 films that they are inducting this year. One of them is Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. I don’t think I have to explain why it is worthy to be inducted. The Dark Knight is surely one of the finest films in the modern era and considered as one of the best comic book films of all time. Another new addition is Grease. There’s no doubt that Grease is a popular musical until today. It spawned a sequel, a live TV special that aired on Fox, and an upcoming show that will stream on Paramount+. Also, the songs are still memorable. I’m sure you can all hum a song from Grease right now.

There is also 2001’s Shrek. Shrek is the first film to win the Best Animated Feature Film at the Oscars. It is also the one that put DreamWorks Animation to the spotlight and it spawned a successful franchise. If there’s a hall of fame of animated films, Shrek is definitely part of it. There’s no denial that it is worthy of inclusion. Another one is Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. I can’t believe that the film hasn’t been in the registry before but I’m glad that they finally selected it this year. I don’t think I need to explain why it is worthy for inclusion. And then there is The Blues Brothers. The film has been iconic ever since it was released and it is considered as one of the best comedy films. Also worthy of being included.

Another one is Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. Not just it is a great film, but it led to Bigelow to become the first woman to win Best Director at the Oscars. I don’t think I also need to explain why it is worthy of inclusion. Other films that were also inducted are Lillies of the Field starring Sidney Poitier, The Man with the Golden Arm, The Joy Luck Club, Cabin in the Sky, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, and many more like documentaries, concert films and such. Congratulations to those films that were inducted this year.

There’s more notable films that haven’t been included in the registry yet that I think are worthy of being included. Those films are Aliens, Dirty Dancing, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Reservoir Dogs, Home Alone, Full Metal Jacket, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Caddyshack, Fight Club, Iron Man (which started the MCU), Lord of the Rings, Se7en, When Harry Met Sally, Poltergeist, The Social Network, and many many more. Hopefully they’ll be inducted in years to come.

Given the eligibility that the films should be at least 10 years old to be included, that means 2011 films will be eligible to be inducted next year (2021). If there’s a 2011 film that I think is worthy of inclusion, that is Bridesmaids because of its huge impact to female-led comedy films that is still lasting until today and it has become an iconic comedy film in this modern era.

How about you, Rob? Are there films that are not yet part of the registry that you think are worthy of inclusion? What are the films in the past 10 years that you think are worthy of inclusion someday once they’re eligible? Anyways, that is all my letter for now. Thank you and happy holidays.

Mike F.

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Movie Studio Fandom and then 2oth Century Fox.

Well hello, Rob, and the of the PSG at large.

I hope everyone is quite alive and well.

This little thought of mine is just something which has been swimming around in my brain for a little while, but it surfaced again during a little bit of a spirited debate, not an argument, on Twitter a little earlier on, you may have even been tagged in the tweet, I can’t remember.

I am a long time lurker, going back ages, I just never had the time and/nor the wherewithal to write in on a subject. However, with todays environment being what it is, I feel like this subject is at least a little bit apropos.

While there always existed fandoms, Trek V Wars, DC V Marvel, and one time I even accidentally wandered into a Mr. Brooks VS Dexter message board war on IMDB (I enlisted squarely into the Mr. Brooks camp) on that fateful day.

However, these days, more and more people seem to be joining forces in online campaigns in support of WB, Disney and the like. While I do get a little bit of a kick out of watching the discourse unfold, as an active musician/punk rocker, I really find myself hard pressed to lend support towards any giant, opaque corporation in general. I am just some dude who enjoys the MCU for it’s connective tissue, I got a big kick out of Zack Snyder’s insane, and kind of metal, take on the DC characters, I dig the Mandalorian and TNG is probably one of my favourite non-music things EVER. However, many of my favourite films have been quirky and strange pseudo-indie films, which brings to me to Fox.

Out of all of the studio fighting that occurs, one thing that bums me out by its very absence is the lack of focus on one of the major transgressions of the last several decades, that being the US DOJ allowance of Disney to absorb and subsequently dismantle 2oth Century Fox. This, in my view, is more damaging to creative outlets than Warners pulling shenanigans with HBOMAX, Disney pulling a questionable audible with Disney+ as well as Peacock stashing everything of value behind their goddamn ridiculous paywall…..

In a (favourite of mine) 1999 interview Michael Crichton, wearing a rad turtle neck and channeling his inner Nostradamus, prophetically called each and everything that we are currently living, God love him, including youtube, tiktok, two or three companies running everything, as well as the onslaught of a global pandemic. God damn, do I miss that dude.

The fact that 20th Century Fox no longer exists is an example of corporate anarchy run amok and gone woefully awry. In my wildest dreams, I could not imagine a parent company like Disney greenlighting anything of the likes of Deadpool, X-Men 2000, Logan, Alien, as well as the myriad of stand alone insane movies they made over the years. Also, let me mention that 20th Century Fox probably had the coolest fanfare ever, and I’ll die on that hill. (Even though one of my bands YouTube videos, of a song that I wrote, was copyright stricken because we put a flippantly funny version of 20th’s fanfare before one of our uploads….)

When Disney consumed Fox and subsequently shat its soul out of its corporate tale-pipe, I couldn’t help but feel that something had been lost. I can hardly see Disney making a crazy movie about Fred Mercury or putting one of my bands insane songs on a soundtrack (Fox did both) in the post 2o2o climate.

At the end of the day, I just enjoy good out put, I do not care what corporate entity creates it, however I feel like it’s better if more people are creating content rather than fewer, but that is just me.

Cheers All,
AJ Kelle (King of the Wicker People)

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