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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (June 2020)

Yes, there are still summer movies. Nowhere near as many as usual, since the COVID-19 virus scared off most of the herd into later this year or next. But director Christopher Nolan fully intends to open Tenet, his $200 million time-bending epic, in more than 3,500 theaters in July. Ditto Disney, as the company plans to counter with its live-action Mulan that same month. And in August, Warner Bros. will go in on Wonder Woman 1984. All three potential blockbusters are big-money gambles. In order to make a profit or just break even, they’ll need us to put on masks, submit to temperature checks, and make sure we sit six feet apart when we finally push into theaters operating at 30 to 50 percent capacity to maintain social distancing.


Sunday, May 03, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (May 2020)

The shutdown has lasted for less than two months, but in that short time the fallout from the pandemic has brought the film, television, music and theater businesses to their knees. It’s the greatest economic calamity to ever hit Hollywood, Broadway and other entertainment business hubs, dwarfing the wreckage left by such recent catastrophes as 9/11 and the Great Recession. And it’s being felt most acutely by production designers, camera operators, makeup artists, grips, stagehands, ticket takers, casting directors and character actors, whose names may not adorn cinema marquees but whose work forms the backbone of the business.

In February, the Motion Picture Assn. estimated that the film and TV industry directly employs 892,000 people. It’s not yet known how many of those jobs have been lost, but it’s possible to make a rough guess. According to federal data, about 125,000 of those employees are movie theater ushers and concessionaires — nearly all of whom have been furloughed or laid off. Another 170,000 work as actors, directors, camera operators, lighting technicians, set designers and other production workers — a large percentage of whom are also not working.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

‘Major League’ a hit with mix of antics, believable action

The door to the bullpen swings open, a reliever emerges and a familiar song comes blasting through the stadium’s PA system, energizing the crowd.

Before Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman took the mound with this type of fanfare, there was Ricky Vaughn, the fictitious bad-boy pitcher who entered the climactic game of the movie “Major League” with the song “Wild Thing” announcing his presence.

“I was listening to the recording of ‘Wild Thing’ — not the original one by the Troggs, but the one by X, and it was such a big sound, it sounded like a thousand people were singing it,” said David S. Ward, the movie’s director. “I thought, this would be really interesting if people got so into this kid, this pitcher, that when he came into the game, they would stand up and sing ‘Wild Thing.’”

“Major League” didn’t invent the idea of an entrance song for a reliever, but the 1989 film was certainly onto something when Vaughn, played by Charlie Sheen, strode to the mound to help the Cleveland Indians out of a jam in the ninth inning against the Yankees. It’s a scene that has aged particularly well — and one that exemplifies why the movie remains so endearing.

Something for those who wish to argue about baseball movies- or, that failing, the songs players enter games and have at-bats to.

 

QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: major league, movies

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Why we watch: Sports movies’ emotional connections resonate

Jumping ahead to the meat of this:

With all of that in mind, The Associated Press is presenting a one-of-its-kind Top 25 of sports movies, a suggestion of what to put on the screen while stuck at home. This is, of course, what we do at the AP: We rank things. So 70 writers and editors around the world voted on the best in the history of sports cinema.

The AP Top 25—actually, 26 films made the cut, because there was a three-way tie at No. 24—was released Friday, with “Hoosiers” at No. 1, narrowly ahead of “Rocky” and “Bull Durham,” which shared the No. 2 spot. “Caddyshack” and “Slap Shot” were next, followed by “Field of Dreams,” “Raging Bull,” “Major League,” “The Natural” and “A League of Their Own.”

These, and the rest of the rankings, represent movies that we love—and that explain our love of sports.

Each Friday until May 22, starting with “A League of Their Own,” we will present stories examining the Top 10 from unique perspectives.

So, what do you all make of the list, either in terms of the list as a whole or just the baseball-related films on it?

 

QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:54 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: movies

Friday, April 03, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (April 2020)

The 2019-20 TV season has been shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down all production, cut short current seasons and delayed new ones. Mandated to remain indoors, a larger-than-usual viewing public is turning to the small screen for entertainment and escapism amid the health crisis.

For those waiting for something new on those screens, here’s our annual list of spring premiere dates for new and returning series. It covers more than 150 broadcast, cable and streaming programs debuting between April 1 and May 31 in all dayparts. It does not include movies or specials.

Shows whose premieres have been delayed amid the COVID-19 crisis are compiled at the bottom of the post along with their original premiere dates, if they had been announced.


Baseball Question of the Day: What’s your favorite baseball movie?

This is some low-hanging fruit, I’ll admit. It’s Thursday during a pandemic and I’ve never been able to get the hang of Thursdays during a pandemic.

Everyone has opinions about this one. It comes up a lot. And of course half of you degenerates think that one of the worst movies of any genre to come out in the past 35 years is the best, so I don’t even know why I’m bothering here, but like I said: it’s Thursday during a pandemic.

I’ve been over this territory in the past, but I’ll observe once again that “Bull Durham” is my favorite baseball movie. Mostly because it is one of the few baseball movies — one of the few sports movies in general, in fact — which eschews the whole “Big Game” thing.

Indeed, that’s what its writer and director Ron Shelton has said on many occasions is what he was specifically trying to avoid in making the movie. The Big Game which, in almost every other movie, causes the characters to forget almost everything they did over the previous two hours of movie time in service of a big sporty climax that, invariably, feels contrived.

There are some folk here who I know should have selections for this that aren’t that obvious…..

 

QLE Posted: April 03, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: movies, questions

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

13 Essential Baseball Movies and Books to Get Your MLB Fix

A sample of the commentary offered:

Nine Innings by Daniel Okrent: Yes, we realize “a single random game from June 1982” doesn’t sound like the most compelling premise for a book to read in 2020. But it’s worth it. Okrent does an incredible job of using that one game to communicate so much more about the sport, and, perhaps particularly notable now, he captures the rhythm of baseball as beautifully as any written word ever could. (We’d link you the boxscore—Orioles-Brewers, June 10, 1982—but why would you want to spoil the ending?)

So, what would all of you nominate as books to read and movies to watch?

QLE Posted: March 17, 2020 at 12:56 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: books, movies

Sunday, March 08, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza ([most of] March 2020)

After weighing the pros and cons of keeping a scheduled April 10 bow for its main action tentpole amid the coronavirus outbreak, MGM opted for a cautious route by pushing the upcoming James Bond outing No Time to Die to November. But how much will the move, prompted by growing disruptions due to the epidemic, cost the studio that fully financed the film?


Saturday, February 01, 2020

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (February 2020)

With half a decade in the rearview mirror since Pono’s arrival, however, there may be another, more valuable take on its creator to consider.

Neil Young’s insistence that hardcore music fans would be willing to pay extra for a high-definition digital music experience looks less outmoded in 2020 than it did in 2015, now that Amazon has put an HD-quality up-sell at the center of its multi-tiered music streaming offering. Particularly so because Amazon Music, according to Midia Research, now looks set to overtake Apple Music in global subscriber volume terms this year.

...

Allow me, then, to lead you toward an alternate retrospective tale; one which vanquishes any suggestion of Neil Young as a myopic fuddy-duddy, scrabbling to deal with the realities of the Spotify age — and instead views him as someone provably ahead of the curve of music-technological trends (albeit not always with the most rip-roaring tech at his disposal).


 

 

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