Sony Entertainment is Building a $1.8 Billion Movie Studio in Las Vegas

Makes perfect sense.  Compare all the ways that Nevada is cheaper to work in than California.  I can only imagine how the exodus of non-acting talent will rejoice to escape from the high cost of living and low quality of life in California.

$1.8B Sony movie studio backed by Mark Wahlberg approved for Summerlin

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if other studios follow suit.  What also wouldn’t surprise me is if SONY begins dropping the ridiculous representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires for Oscars eligibility in the Best Picture category.  After all, outside of California those standards might be considered racial discrimination.

But either way, whatever hastens the death of the Hollywood monopoly on cinema is a good thing in my book.

Now of course the hard-core Wokesters will bewail this abandonment of beloved Los Angeles but a lot of actors haven’t been getting those multimillion dollar paydays lately and secretly might consider moving to a cheaper locale a pretty good idea.

Well, baby steps.

16MAR2024 – And Now for a Message from Our Sponsor

Saturday dawns sunny and brisk.  Very refreshing.  So much so that I resent sitting here to write.  But yesterday was a clamorous and dreary day of work.  So as Bob Cratchit observed, “I am behind my time.”  So here I am and I will take the time to provide cogent analysis on whatever it is that demands comment.  But “demands” is a stretch here.  I refuse to write further on Trump’s many legal battles.  When and if they reach a critical juncture, meaning, when they actually drag him off to the gulag, then I shall say my piece.

As for the latest political polls; yes, yes, we all know Trump’s winning.  Even a Democrat shill like Nate Silver is openly admitting that Biden is losing significant minority voters along with other important components of the Democrat coalition like the young and women.  But that’s all been said.  Sure, I’ll mention it in passing if it seems especially pointed.  But we are months and months away from even the conventions and by then, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny may be the Democrat candidate.  So, no, let’s put that aside for now.

I’ve already spoken about cannibal migrants this week.  Check.

Camera Girl has complained about the ruinous price of food including the corned beef for her birthday celebration this weekend.  Check.

Russians killing Ukrainians and Ukrainians killing Russians.  Check.  Check.

So, what, what, what?

Well, truth be told, I don’t feel like talking about any of that crap right now.  It’s been said and we can take a break from saying the same things again.

If you notice I’ve been putting up some stuff from movies and books.  I find this stuff makes me feel better.  And I’m looking for more of it.  This kind of stuff makes the day better and reinforces the things I think are good and healthy to think about.  And I openly encourage anyone who has anything that they want to share with the rest of the readers to link it and I’ll put it up.  Even Weird Al Yankovic (within reason of course).

Inevitably because I’m old and because a lot of what’s new stinks, the things I’ll point to will be old.  And the amount of high definition will be limited.  I hope my younger readers will forgive this.  But honestly watching some black and white footage won’t hurt any of them too badly.

I was thinking the other day that Shakespear died more than four hundred years ago and yet his English is still ninety percent understandable by even average readers.  Newness isn’t really a very good selection criterion for entertainment or really much of anything outside of technology.  Humans are still humans.  What needs to be done is to attempt to reintroduce the younger audience with their cultural heritage.  Whether it’s Shakespeare or the Marx Brothers, the human condition is pretty constant.  Iron Man and Odysseus are similar characters with similar problems.  Thor is just Achilles with CGI added in.

So, I apologize in advance if I stop banging away quite as often on how the end of Western Civilization is approaching and instead put-up examples of why we should care if Western Civilization is saved.  I’ll try to strike the right balance of outrage and fond remembrance so that your experience here is stimulating.

On with the show.

Untruth as Fiction

Camera Girl loves reading crime fiction and things like crime fiction.  Harry Bosch is one of the characters in her books and lately we started watching some tv series about him.  So today we sat down to an episode and in this story one of Bosch’s associates, a cyber security professional/hacker is being investigated by the FBI to try and get him to become a confidential informant against Bosch.  The FBI uses a woman who is a rising star in hacker circles to entrap this Bosch associate.

So, Camera Girl sees this woman working for the FBI and says, “She’s working for the FBI and trying to entrap him.  That’s awful.”  And I started laughing.  I said, “Hon, if only that were the extent of what they actually do.”  And I was about to go into a diatribe about J6 and the “plot” to kidnap the Michigan governor.  But then I thought, why should I make her depressed about how our country is really run?  It’s bad enough I have to know.  So, I just let it go.

The old saying is that truth is stranger than fiction.  And that’s absolutely true now.  I mean if you think about it, since 1945 our military arsenal contains devices that were the stuff of science fiction right up till Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  And in 1968 when “2001: A Space Odyssey” reached the theaters, artificial intelligence was a homicidal computer named HAL that was obviously an impossibility.  And now we have AI stealing our jobs and insulting us in the comments sections.  And just three years ago we probably saw the first large-scale event featuring a bio-weapon.  Granted, it was a pathetic one but it caused a lot of damage to the world economy and destroyed most people’s faith in the honesty of the WHO and the American government.

So, stranger than fiction isn’t really surprising.  What is surprising is how wrong fiction gets it.  When Hollywood scripts the United States being threatened with a military coup it was always a crazy general who wanted to go to war with the Russians and blow up the world.  But he was always a right-wing religious zealot played by Burt Lancaster.  Instead, we get General Milley who wants to conquer Russia with drag queen special forces.  And now there is this Civil War movie and currently they’re keeping the plot details under wraps but it’s pretty obvious that the president who is serving his third term will be a dead-ringer for Donald Trump.  So once again they’ll trot out the old right-wing president who becomes new Hitler.  That one was already old when Heinlein had the “Prophet” seize control of the United States and turn it into a Christian theocracy.  And a while ago there was “The Handmaid’s Tale” which once again was an America as dystopian theocracy but added in the ever-popular sexual subjugation of the last few fertile females in the world.  Sheesh, those feminists really do worry an awful lot about being forced to have sex.  Just from a cursory analysis I think their problem tends to run in the opposite direction.  Sexual offers seem to be few and far between for most of those gals.

Well, all this is leading up to a question.  Does anyone think there will ever be a motion picture that accurately portrays the political and social dynamic that actually exists in the modern world?  To make it interesting, I think it should be a dark comedy but with a redemptive ending.  Lots of people are always saying that there is a large market for entertainment that doesn’t have a social bias.  But I’m advocating for a right-leaning bias.  I’d love to see characters that I can sympathize with.  I remember when Tim Allen’s show “Last Man Standing” first came out.  It was obvious that his character was a right-wing individual and it was very enjoyable and very funny.  But then Disney put a stop to that and neutered the character and the show.  Well, there’s a proof of concept.  All anyone has to do is copy what was done in that show.  They could even hire Tim Allen to star in it and as long as the writing is funny it would make money hand over fist.

And finally, how about a civil war movie where we win?  The outcome is we let them live the way they want to and we live the way we want.  We could have a postscript where we get to see what the two Americas look like in 2124.  Blue America would look like Idiocracy with broken down wind generators and disheveled poor people dressed in rags and eating crickets.  Red America would have nuclear power plants providing almost limitless energy, a thriving society based on meritocracy and well-maintained borders complete with 100-foot-tall fences.

Catering to the Twenty Percent

Capitalism is all about finding an unfulfilled need and then providing that need at a profit.  Well right now there is an unfulfilled need out there that’s dying to be fulfilled and anyone who provides it will make money hand over fist.  What the Right needs is someone smart who wants to capture our entertainment business.  Look at what the Left has been doing.  They’ve talked corporate America into backing their brand.  Professional sports leagues; the NFL, Major League Baseball even the NHL have kowtowed to BLM, the rainbow mafia and now men in sundresses.  Bud Light, the epitome of normal American consumerism has put the face of a TikTok crossdresser on their beer cans.  Taking the creepiest, most off-putting representatives of the Left and demanding that America embrace them is the standard operating procedure for the Leftist-Industrial complex.

Surely providing people with an alternative to this should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.  And it’s not like we have to win over the whole country.  We don’t even have to be the majority.  We just want someone to harness the natural market that exists for normal, healthy entertainment.

Think about it.  Without a doubt, there is easily 20% of the total population of the United States who, while they’re trying to relax and be entertained, would pay good money to forget about sexual deviants, BLM, girl bosses or any of the other depraved things that the Left bombards them with.  That’s an enormous market and it’s a motivated one.  Think of all the things you could sell them.  Sporting events, music shows, movies, books, video games, news services, tourist services, conference services, dating services, wedding services, branded apparel, beer and on and on and on.  And all that’s really required is to develop a marketing campaign that captures the imagination of the target population (us) and then delivers the promised services.

But so far no one has attempted this trick.  And that’s probably for a variety of reasons.  You see, none of the existing entertainment companies want to antagonize their leftist friends so they wouldn’t dream of providing services that appeal to normal people.  And those who are interested in doing it don’t have the deep pockets and independence needed to buck the multitude of roadblocks that the government and the woke corporations would throw in their way.

Now interestingly, someone like Elon Musk might just be the perfect combination of entrepreneur, multi-billionaire and contrarian to accomplish something like this.  And the way he would accomplish it would be somewhat different.  Instead of catering specifically to the Right he might try to provide an à la carte approach that allows people of different persuasions to purchase specifically the services and entertainment they prefer.

For instance, imagine if there were a streaming service that provided all the movies and shows that can’t or won’t be made by Netflix or Amazon.  And imagine if all the commercials on that channel were completely devoid of sexual deviancy, anti-whiteness and, in general, left-leaning causes.  Now wouldn’t that be worth more than a couple of bucks a month?  There’s nothing I would enjoy more than to take the money I currently have to hand over to my hated cable provider and instead give it to someone who could arrange that kind of service.

And that’s the point.  If instead of supporting the leftists at Amazon and the other studios and media companies, we could deprive them of all our business and instead reward someone who wants us to have our choices it would impoverish these terrible people.  Think of what would happen if suddenly we stopped sending monthly checks to Amazon and Netflix and ESPN and Disney.  The twenty percent (or more) of the country that would be shutting them out is the difference between those companies thriving and struggling.  In fact, without that group a lot of the worst offenders like Disney and the NFL might just go out of business.  Or possibly they’d have to give up their infuriating behavior and try to lure that 20% back again.

So far no one has jumped into the breach.  The closest that anyone has come to this is Fox News.  And basically, it’s Tucker Carlson that makes up the only mainstream content that speaks to the 20%.  And even Fox is full of leftist content and doesn’t provide much in the way of choice.  But at some point, there will be someone who decides that there is a lot of money being left on the table and picking it up is as easy as saying out loud that men and women are different and that it’s alright to be white.  Now that’s not so hard.

What’s Really Wrong With the Oscars?

I don’t know why I would read an article in Vox magazine entitled “This is the most populist Oscars in a long time.  So why doesn’t it feel like it?   I guess it’s because sometimes I wonder what Hollywood thinks about its own destruction.  I really should stop wondering.  But anyway.

This article is centered around a recent Saturday Night Live skit about how no one can name any movies in the last five years.

“This is an interesting problem for me, a film critic, to think about. I watch more movies in a year than some people watch in a lifetime, and hear about hundreds more. The situation is different for most ordinary folks. In the SNL sketch, Yang asks Pascal to “name three movies from the past five years.” Stunned by the challenge, Pascal ventures, “Oh, wow. Three? Okay.” He contemplates, and comes up with Top Gun. Then he tries another: “The Hangover?”

“That was 20 years ago,” Yang says.

“The Night … Man,” Pascal says.

“Sounds like you’re just saying words. Come on, all you need is one,” Yang coaxes. “Can’t you just name one more movie?”

“Nope,” Pascal says, resigned.

“That’s right!” Yang crows, jubilantly. “Nope! You won the speed round!””

So, this is supposed to be funny but it’s just reality.  Hollywood can no longer make a good movie.  At this point if one happens it’s an accident.  All we’re left with are sequels and superheroes.  When they stray away from those mainstays we end up with a dreary story about tortured people that have some affliction like transgenderism or Tourette’s syndrome who we’re supposed to cheer on as they bravely struggle to force the world to struggle along with them.  Or maybe it’s a genre film; science fiction or film noir where the protagonists are transgender or have Tourette’s syndrome and the people who aren’t transgender or don’t have Tourette’s syndrome are the evil villains.  Or it’s a story about lesbian or gay love.  Or it’s a documentary about a woman who was being kept down by “the man” but now she’s the head of a multi-national non-profit that makes bean bag furniture for everyday people.  Or it’s a documentary about a mostly peaceful riot during the Summer of George Floyd.  Or best of all, maybe it’ll be another story about slavery in the antebellum South.  What a joy that would be!

But, no!  The authoress then reveals the real problem, it’s just poor marketing!  So, get that.  In a world in which you are bombarded with ads on every device you can possibly own, on every site you enter, giant media companies aren’t able to tell you they have a movie coming out.

“The abundance of options and possibilities tend to strip the context and intentionality away from the viewing experience; you didn’t have to talk to your friends about what movie you wanted to see, buy a ticket, and create an experience out of it. Now it all just flows toward you, content in an endless stream.”

This is gibberish.  I suspect this woman was dropped on her head at some point in the past and never recovered her wits.  Or maybe she thinks we were.  Of course, people heard about movies from friends.  The problem is all the movies are now unwatchable so our friends don’t have anything to tell us.  It’s like what happened to broadcast television.  The profit model changed so they stopped making things that were good and filled up the time with reality shows and police procedurals where the police are all young women who have really nice hair and clothes and only arrest straight white men who are keeping the BIPoCs, LGBTQ and women “down.”

There are no good movies to see.  Even the superhero movies have become infested with woke characters and plots.  And that why Top Gun made a bazillion dollars last year.  It was an old-fashioned movie with a plot and likeable characters and it didn’t show you anything weird that you had to make believe you liked.

“It’s okay if you haven’t seen most of the Oscar nominees, or even heard of them. In 2023, that probably means you live a normal, well-balanced life, one full of going outside to toss around a softball and maybe, I don’t know, reading books and whatever normal people do. But if you find yourself wondering why you can’t name three movies that came out in the past five years, remember, it’s not just the movies’ fault — and it’s a fixable problem, with a little effort.”

It’s not a fixable problem because Hollywood cannot be fixed.  It has been in a death spiral and that’s now approaching impact.  When it splats it will leave a lot of stupid emotional people without jobs.  Good.

It can only be replaced by something willing to provide entertainment that people are willing to pay for and willing to watch.  And that is why no one with half a brain will be watching the Oscars this year or any other year.  Pass the popcorn.

 

 

Contractions in the Media World

I saw a couple of articles about companies off-loading media properties.  ABC is trying to sell Nate Silver’s 538 site.  And it’s rumored that Jeff Bezos needs to sell off the Washington Post as part of a deal to buy a football team.

These are smaller parts of a bigger story.  ABC is trying to shed costs because Disney is looking to sell ABC and ESPN and wants to make them look less like money-losing properties than they are.

And this same loss of profitability is a general situation.  CNN is tanking and its competitors; MSNBC and Fox are also suffering ratings slumps.  Even streaming giant Netflix is feeling the pinch.  And Amazon is seeing red ink in various entertainment departments.

And how is any of this surprising?  These media companies don’t provide valuable products either as journalism or entertainment.  They despise their customers and provide content that is poorly done and rarely helpful to its consumers.  Watching what passes for network news is painful and rarely rises to the level of professional journalism or even honest reporting of the facts.

And what Hollywood tries to pass off as entertainment is an outrage.  Except for a very small proportion of the cable shows everything is hopelessly derivative and completely lacking in interest.  The network television shows, the police procedurals and situation comedies have fallen below the level of high school theatrical productions.  The scripts are worse than hack work.  The actors are uninspired and amateurish.  The only thing that keeps the whole thing from completely imploding is the low expectations of the Millennial viewers and the desperation of the sponsors who need some outlet for their commercials.

Back in the 1960s they called television the “great wasteland.”  If those culture critics could have foreseen what passes for television to day they would have begged the forgiveness of the network executives who provided a product that was at least geared to people of average intelligence.  Their modern day successors have crafted a product that even marching morons would run screaming from.

And that’s why I buy DVDs.  If I find a good show I buy it and add it to the Noah’s Ark of entertainment that I maintain.  Re-watching a one or ten or eighty year old movie is infinitely preferable to suffering through some new piece of tripe that will insult my intelligence and my morals.  And that’s why I’m so grateful for conservative critics who can pass along news of that rarest of unicorns, something new that’s worth watching.

So let ABC and the rest of the alphabet soup go out of business.  Let Disney’s next fifty gay rom-com cartoons crash and burn on the runway.  There’s plenty of old entertainment to watch and there will be some good things made by someone, somehow.

The big problem is finding reliable news.  The truth is not something that corporate America allows.  For that you have to go to small venues and the rare big media exception like Tucker Carlson.

But you always have OCF (Orion’s cold Fire).  What could be better than that?

What Kind of Movies Would You Pay to See?

I was reading an article on how the Juilliard School (and the American theater industry in general) have allowed themselves to be dictated to by the BLM trained students in their midst to such an extent that there is real fear that no one will go to any of the plays currently being produced on Broadway or elsewhere in the country because the effects of equity, inclusion and diversity have made the plays too awful to enjoy.  That got me thinking about Hollywood.

We all know just how terrified Hollywood was of the BLM blackmailers.  Back when the rioters were burning down the big cities during the “Summer of George,” Hollywood wrote up new hiring rules that ensure that no new straight white male will be hired in Hollywood ever again.  That includes actors, directors, writers, editors, carpenters, electricians or anything else.  And now the gay white men are next.  Pretty soon the only white people in Hollywood will be the owners of the studios.  And now with the LGBTQ agenda taking center stage in most movies it’s hard to see how they’ll stay afloat.

And I think it’s great.  Pretty soon this brilliant business strategy will finish off the last ten percent of Hollywood movies that people still watch.  That ten percent is made up of mostly super hero movies and cartoons.  Disney has signaled that they are going to cut their ties with their “Eurocentric” and “hetero-normative” roots and embark on a brave new world of BIPOC and LGBTQ story lines and characters that is sure to frighten away their remaining customers.

I said that I think this turn of events is great because losing their audience is the best thing that can happen to Hollywood for us.  Now that China has rejected Hollywood’s cultural programming, profitability is becoming difficult.  If the industry continues to shed its audience there will come a point where some combination of creative types and venture capitalists will see an opportunity to make movies that people want to see.  Whoever it is will have to defy the gatekeepers that dictate what can and can’t be shown.  But nature abhors a vacuum.  Demand will create the opportunity for a new industry.

Think about it.  Disney and the other studios have made it their mission to take old fairy tales and children’s stories and refashion them into LGBTQ struggle sessions.  Who is the target audience for these movies?  Well, Millennials and Zoomers don’t even go to the movies anymore.  They just stream junk they can get on their phones.  The audience is children and their parents.  But recent events have shown that even the most tolerant parents will draw the line when their children are being groomed for acceptance of unnatural and dangerous lifestyles and points of view.  These Millennial parents are looking for something safe for their kids.  The time is ripe for someone to provide that.  And with the copyrights on the old Disney films ending starting in the next decade or so, even these old chestnuts will find a new life in the hands of people who want to give parents something safe and wholesome.

The Left has no one to blame for all this but themselves.  Non-white actors and entertainers have been popular and welcome in America for many decades.  What isn’t welcome is a quota system on who we get to see and stories that aren’t entertaining.  Look, if someone wants to cast Eddie Murphy as the Nutty Professor, then fine!  If he’s funny, chances are lots of people will go to see it.  But if you provide only movies that pound the audience in the head about what a rotten country this is and how the only good people are either black or queer then maybe, just maybe people will decide to stay home.  Do this for long enough and someone will see an opportunity to fill a need.

Lately there have been start ups trying to make non-Leftist movies.  I think the Daily Wire (of all places!) has gotten some funding to start making movies.  To me that doesn’t sound like the place where it will happen.  If I were going to guess how it will work Netflix will decide to fund a production company that specializes in non-Leftist fare.  What they’ve recently done with their comedy specials by Chapelle and Gervais give a hint that profitability is becoming more important than virtue signaling.  And if they don’t then maybe Elon Musk or Peter Thiel will put together a consortium of billionaires who want to make some cash.  But however, it happens the certainty is that it will happen.  The current output from Hollywood now resembles the films made under Stalin in the heyday of the Soviet Union.  Americans usually don’t like to clap on command.