|Penny in a pot is always popular it seems.|
|Penny in a pot is always popular it seems.|
|Ivory, Kathy, and Katie had everything work out for them in June.|
WATCHING THE WATCHERS
Many years ago, while I was still on Yahoo Groups, someone posted about a video that was going viral on Youtube. It was about the movie Avatar but, given the slant of my material, I think the poster was more interested in the captive babe in the narrator's basement. Still, I had been fairly critical of Avatar and wanted to see what this person had to say on the matter. Mister Plinkett was the fictional serial killer with a movie fetish and he was hysterical. He also did some reviews of many scifi films, including the Star Wars prequels and the Trek Generation films. Mike Stoklasa, the voice of Plinkett, was not just reviewing these old films but, deconstructing them in some very insightful ways. Some of his reviews were longer than the actual movies and, in a few cases, even more entertaining. I became an instant fan.
What Mike also did was to create an entirely new genre for Youtube and, he accidentally altered the movie industry as well. He followed up the Plinkett reviews with a more regular show format called Half In the Bag, that reviews new releases. He was also copied. Many of those have faded away while others have done him one better. Red Letter Media, Mike's company, was not entirely responsible for this explosion but, without him, I doubt it would be what it is now. At the same time, there were some more professional outfits that adopted his content, movies and pop culture, while hammering out a format for Youtube web shows, or vlogs, that has lasted till this day. Some, such as Cracked, put a little too much faith in the commercial viability of Youtube, over extended, and went belly up when they couldn't generate a revenue stream to pay their high production costs. Even so, many have found a way to make a living on Youtube by doing Siskel and Ebert, one better.
I had the notion to write about this some time ago. For one reason or another, I never got around to it. I am glad I waited because this thing has grown, evolved, and become a very interesting battleground on many fronts. It is no longer just fan boys in their basement, prattling on about their favorite films, although many still look it. Many of their shorts, their live streams, and even some documentaries have moved well beyond movies. You can shrug them off all you want but, they have become a force in their own right, and many of them mix social and political commentary with their film reviews. Many of them have left the film parts behind and are drawing more hits than most mainstream news pages. They're also impacting the business they started out reviewing, and this has led to some very serious developments for all of us. Some of these could very well determine what you see on my pages.
The Youtube guys flexed their muscle a few times and, at first, people wondered if they were responsible for some of the box office bombs. The first major test was with Ghostbusters 2016. It was a generally horrible movie and Sony Film has been caught doing some pretty dubious and underhanded PR in the past. When the film tanked, nobody in the industry paid much attention to the fact that the Youtube guys had all but declared war on Sony, over the matter. By the time of The Last Jedi, it was no longer an amusing side show. The Vloggers did not really effect that movie but, they hated it so much that they began attacking Lucasfilms, and the studio head, Kathleen Kennedy. Then the next film in the franchise, Solo, bombed. Now, it did make money (with some creative accounting) but, for a Star Wars film, it was a complete wash. Disney took a bath.
I heard many people asking what happened with Solo. They did not quite understand it and said, it was not that bad of a movie. I thought it was so so, entertaining, certainly better than Last Jedi but, not great. No one at Disney was asking this question, they had been following the Youtube offensive for some time. They also realized they were going to have to deal with these guys. Last year the controversy over Kathleen Kennedy exploded, with a series of press releases from Disney. The Vloggers smelled blood and went after her even harder. It looked as if she was going to be removed but, in the end, she was silent but, still in place. Enter Marvel, with a new captain, stage left.
Now I have to admit something at this point. I got to see some of the earlier concept pitches for Captain Marvel. The movie that was released this weekend has changed considerably from some of the original ideas. This is not uncommon and, in fact, it's pretty normal but, you have to also consider why, some of the changes. For one thing, this movie has been thumped as a feminist movie. Originally it was just a mention and the closer the release got, the more spotlight shifted to this particular aspect of the film. The Vloggers saw this as a challenge and direct insult to them. I see it a little differently. I think Black Panther had more to do with it than anything else. While it is clear Disney is following the damage control plan, laid out by Hollywood, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein disaster, it is also clear that Black Panther showed them a way to make mega bucks. If you look at the marketing of both Panther and Marvel, they're identical. You have two minor Marvel characters being released just before a big Avengers film, in order to capitalize on the bigger properties. Then Panther went and exceeded their wildest dreams and Disney is not stupid, they knew why. The minority angle worked in their favor so, why not repeat it?
This created a problem with the Vloggers. One of their main complaints with Star Wars was Kennedy's admitted feminist agenda. As far as that goes, I do admit that it definitely had a negative impact on many of the characters and even the story. Many of their criticisms were quite valid but, it is also irrelevant. Disney could not afford to let them take out another major franchise in the same way they did Star Wars. So, the Mouse Empire has definitely struck back. Last month, the critic site, Rotten Tomatoes, removed the “want to see” button from the Captain Marvel page. The score was low so they just axed it. When the movie came out they began deleting poor reviews to up the viewer score from the low 30's to the mid 50's. They're still doing it. How do we know? They not only did a press release but they were proud of doing it. It has not stopped there.
Youtube altered it's algorithm to change the search results you get for typing in Brie Larson. Again, we know this because Google (the owners of Youtube) not only announced it to the press but, yet again, were acting proud about it. They stated that a search would now only yield “authoritative” sources. They also went as far as calling their own customers “internet trolls.” Again (I have to keep using this word) this is not something that is new. Google has been leaning on these guys for a while, and mainly because Google doesn't like their politics. This latest opportunity to squeeze them seems to be perfectly in character for Google. Now some might say, this is a freedom of speech issue but, that is the real problem. No one can decide.
You might first consider that the internet has handed society a technology that has let a bunch of average guys take on some of the biggest corporations on the planet, and even win some rounds. Naturally those corporations are going to fight back and, in the case of Disney, it is somewhat understandable in that they're simply trying to protect their product. Sure you can bring up the entire feminist angle but, do you really believe that Disney cares about anything beyond the bottom line here? Politics makes strange bedfellows and this is certainly a good example. The real problem that has been thrust to the forefront, once again, is at Google and it has nothing to do with any of the current tropes flying around the political tweets.
Social media owners have already been before congress on this matter. You have companies like Google who claim that they are simply a platform. They provide a web page and are not responsible for what people say. Because of this, they say, they should not fall under FCC regulations which moderate public communications forums, such as television, radio, and even film. The problem is, Google wants it's cake and eat it too. They have an agenda that goes beyond providing a service. They've said it. They do editorialize and they do have political leanings that they unfairly enforce. That was the issue that congress had with them and, unfortunately, this issue is a lot more complicated than it sounds on the surface. What it does have is serious ramifications for all of us and what we enjoy on the internet. Which way is better, I can't honestly say. What I can say is, if you aren't familiar with this issue you need to be.
Welcome to Bmovievillain's Cliffhangers on Deviant Art. This is where I display most of my works that relate to really bad movies with villains, hero's, and damsels in distress. Everything here is original as this is more a homage to the genre than any specific film. The pictures you see here are called renders. I create them using computer programs, such as Poser, Daz, and a few others. They are not manipulations or photoshops. I create virtual 3 Dimensional models out of wire frame polygons, paint them, and then "snap a picture" of the scene I have created in the virtual computer world. That's what a render is. The models you see here are mostly of real people that I have recreated virtually by free hand and a good old fashioned eye ball.
This page is not for the faint of heart. If you are a minor, are offended by nudity, violence, or computer art then don't bother. If you think that danger and adventure are fun and sexy, then this is page is most likely for you. You can also find a variety of stories here. Most fit into the B Movie genre although a few do not. There is always new material here along with many of my classic pictures from my yahoo days. There is an extensive library so, I hope you enjoy!