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Hollywood Must Be Stopped (Or, why SNL should be laid to rest) - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
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Hollywood Must Be Stopped (Or, why SNL should be laid to rest)


Baaa....baaaaaa....baaaa....The building my employer is located in (the Oakbrook Terrace Tower, for those of you playing the home game) has 31 floors. It is equipped with three elevator banks, with four cars per bank, and each bank services a discreet range of floors. Every day when I arrive for work I ride the elevator up to my office on the seventh floor. Each day when I go to lunch I ride the elevator back down to the lobby, or up to the 9th floor where we have a breakroom. When the break is over it's back on the elevator I go like a good little drone, riding it to the seventh floor again. At the end of my workday, you guessed it -- I'm on the elevator and jumping up and down like a rabbit hopped up on crystal meth in a desperate attempt to aid the descent. No matter how fast we are plunging towards the ground it's never fast enough for me at the end of my workday; I want nothing more than to disembark at the lobby so I can hit the road and get home as quickly as possible.

None of this is particularly remarkable when you think about it -- millions if not billions of people around the world do the exact same thing every day. I do it every morning because I'm really too lazy to lug my laptop bag up seven flights of stairs. I ride the elevator down to the lobby in the evenings because it gets me out of the office that much faster. I have an intense dislike for our elevators despite how easy they make my life. I despise them for a number of reasons, but there's one thing that really pushes me of the edge. No, it's not the fact that the doors try to close on you (one of these days I'll let them, my arm will get broken and I can go home on disability) and it isn't the cramped space that people feel compelled to cram themselves into. No, I hate our elevators for a much different reason: they have little flat-screen LCD monitors in them. These monitors are run by a company aptly named Captivate, a corporation that works out deals with various office complex companies throughout the US. Captivate comes in, installs these screens and then pushes content to them in order to "entertain" the masses that ride the elevators all day long. Snippets of local weather, national/international news and stock updates are flashed on the screen amidst animated commercials and "viewer polls." I personally find these things offensive to the extreme -- isn't it bad enough that my DVDs are full of trailers and commercials, the billboards along the highway are always hawking some new product and the radio has three minutes of music for every two minutes of commercials? Isn't our society already cluttered enough by commercialism? I'm surrounded by advertising already and now it has to invade my office as well just because some suit in the leasing office wants an extra $1,000 a month in kickbacks for his P and L sheets! Why don't they just have some pop-up ads appear every time I start working on my queue of tickets in the helpdesk application? There's nothing more that I'd like to do while resolving an OSPF topology failure than have a banner start flashing in an attempt to get me to try to "punch the monkey and win."

Of course it somehow stands to reason that for all my hatred of these screens a number of my coworkers think they are the greatest thing to grace us since sliced bread. The only reason I can imagine they feel this way is because it must help distract them from thinking about the horror of their dull, meaningless job during the thirty or fifty seconds it takes to go from the lobby to their floor.

It's funny because they're different, you know.So yeah, I hate these screens because they take my eyeballs and rape them with commercials for things I don't want (like a Rolex) or can't afford (like a Corvette). It doesn't matter where you stand in the elevator, your gaze is drawn to these damnable devices by the flashing, capering animations and vague promises of actual useful information (like the weather forecast). On the ride down this evening I naturally found myself staring, slack-jawed and drooling, at the screen as it teased me for a moment with news about the ban on partial-birth abortion that president Bush just signed into effect. As I was trying desperately to read the story's summary it was ripped away and replaced with an advertisement (shock and surprise) for a new movie that will be arriving "just in time for the holidays." The movie in question is a little number titled Elf, starring Saturday Night Live castmember Will Ferrell. I bet you can guess what major religious holiday it's targeted for! That's right kids, if you guessed "Christmas" you get a cookie! The most depressing part about this was the summary beneath the promo, which read "A normal man raised on the North Pole as an elf goes to New York City to search for his family."

What I want to know is this: who told this man he was funny? Who actually came up with the cash to let this prat make yet another god-awful movie!?! Who allowed this happen? WHO? Do they honestly hate us that much? I mean seriously! This dude has no accomplishments to his name that are worth anything once you get past his days with Saturday Night Live. Want proof? Then let us take a moment to briefly review some of his recent filmography:

  • "Untitled Will Ferrell Soccer Comedy," announced for 2005 (Joy, another "comedy" from this man)
  • "A Confederacy of Dunces," in pre-production for 2004 (I just bet he plays a dunce! What do you think?)
  • "Elf," scheduled for release in November 2003 (He plays a 6'3" man surrounded by elves... who never realized he's not an elf! Pure comedic gold, that.)
  • "Old School," summer of 2003 (a regrettable attempt at a comedy "blockbuster")
  • "Zoolander," 2001 (another attempt to showcase his "talent" in a comedy that was anything but funny)

    Yeah, there's a lot to be proud of there.

    I could go on about the multitude of flops he has starred in, but why bother? My entire point is pretty well recognized, I think. This guy is about as deep as a mud puddle in the Mohave Desert. It's not that he's being cast into bad roles, oh no... this goes far deeper than that. To put it simply: this man is completely and utterly out of his element on the big screen. He tries too hard, and his style of comedy only barely worked on Saturday Night Live -- he had this hybrid mixture of physical comedy (The "Oh look, a cute, innocent woodland creature people normally think of as harmless has just made a lunge for my throat" gag that has been replayed over and over and over in every single one of his films) that was only half-complimented by the doofus, wanna-fit-in characters he played. In a way Will reminds me a lot of those pathetic 40-somethings you sometimes see hanging around with kids in college, desperately trying to fit in. "Look at me, gang, I'm still the life of the party! I'm still cool, I'm still cool!" In fact he plays those roles a lot (the summary for Old School is "three men are disenchanted with life and try to recapture their college days") so there's a certain sort of symmetry to things. In a way it feels right that he is practically living out the characters he has portrayed so often. Is this a case of art parodying life, or vice versa?

    After being forced to watch the
    [Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319343/trailers">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

    <lj-cut text="A rant on movies...">

    <img src="http://feren.black-panther.us/ljpics/captivate-image1.jpg" width="260" height="260" border="0" alt="Baaa....baaaaaa....baaaa...." align=right>The building my employer is located in (the <a href="http://www.equityoffice.com/properties_space/building.aspx?buildingId=1870">Oakbrook Terrace Tower</a>, for those of you playing the home game) has 31 floors. It is equipped with three elevator banks, with four cars per bank, and each bank services a discreet range of floors. Every day when I arrive for work I ride the elevator up to my office on the seventh floor. Each day when I go to lunch I ride the elevator back down to the lobby, or up to the 9th floor where we have a breakroom. When the break is over it's back on the elevator I go like a good little drone, riding it to the seventh floor again. At the end of my workday, you guessed it -- I'm on the elevator and jumping up and down like a rabbit hopped up on crystal meth in a desperate attempt to aid the descent. No matter how fast we are plunging towards the ground it's never fast enough for me at the end of my workday; I want nothing more than to disembark at the lobby so I can hit the road and get home as quickly as possible.

    None of this is particularly remarkable when you think about it -- millions if not billions of people around the world do the exact same thing every day. I do it every morning because I'm really too lazy to lug my laptop bag up seven flights of stairs. I ride the elevator down to the lobby in the evenings because it gets me out of the office that much faster. I have an intense dislike for our elevators despite how easy they make my life. I despise them for a number of reasons, but there's one thing that really pushes me of the edge. No, it's not the fact that the doors try to close on you (one of these days I'll let them, my arm will get broken and I can go home on disability) and it isn't the cramped space that people feel compelled to cram themselves into. No, I hate our elevators for a much different reason: they have little flat-screen LCD monitors in them. These monitors are run by a company aptly named <a href="http://www.captivate.com/home.asp">Captivate</a>, a corporation that works out deals with various office complex companies throughout the US. Captivate comes in, installs these screens and then pushes content to them in order to "entertain" the masses that ride the elevators all day long. Snippets of local weather, national/international news and stock updates are flashed on the screen amidst animated commercials and "viewer polls." I personally find these things offensive to the extreme -- isn't it bad enough that my DVDs are full of trailers and commercials, the billboards along the highway are always hawking some new product and the radio has three minutes of music for every two minutes of commercials? Isn't our society already cluttered enough by commercialism? I'm surrounded by advertising already and now it has to invade my office as well just because some suit in the leasing office wants an extra $1,000 a month in kickbacks for his P and L sheets! Why don't they just have some pop-up ads appear every time I start working on my queue of tickets in the helpdesk application? There's nothing more that I'd like to do while resolving an OSPF topology failure than have a banner start flashing in an attempt to get me to try to "punch the monkey and win."

    Of course it somehow stands to reason that for all my hatred of these screens a number of my coworkers think they are the greatest thing to grace us since sliced bread. The only reason I can imagine they feel this way is because it must help distract them from thinking about the horror of their dull, meaningless job during the thirty or fifty seconds it takes to go from the lobby to their floor.

    <img src="http://feren.black-panther.us/ljpics/elf_promo1.jpg" width="485" height="323" alt="It's funny because they're different, you know." align=left border=1>So yeah, I hate these screens because they take my eyeballs and rape them with commercials for things I don't want (like a Rolex) or can't afford (like a Corvette). It doesn't matter where you stand in the elevator, your gaze is <b>drawn</b> to these damnable devices by the flashing, capering animations and vague promises of actual useful information (like the weather forecast). On the ride down this evening I naturally found myself staring, slack-jawed and drooling, at the screen as it teased me for a moment with news about the ban on partial-birth abortion that president Bush just signed into effect. As I was trying desperately to read the story's summary it was ripped away and replaced with an advertisement (shock and surprise) for a new movie that will be arriving "just in time for the holidays." The movie in question is a little number titled <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319343/"><i>Elf</i></a>, starring Saturday Night Live castmember <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002071/">Will Ferrell</a>. I bet you can guess what major religious holiday it's targeted for! That's right kids, if you guessed "Christmas" you get a cookie! The most depressing part about this was the summary beneath the promo, which read "A normal man raised on the North Pole as an elf goes to New York City to search for his family."

    What I want to know is this: who told this man he was funny? Who actually <b>came up with the cash</b> to let this prat make <b>yet another</b> god-awful movie!?! Who allowed this happen? <i>WHO?</i> Do they honestly hate us that much? I mean seriously! This dude has no accomplishments to his name that are worth anything once you get past his days with Saturday Night Live. Want proof? Then let us take a moment to briefly review some of his recent filmography:

    <li>"Untitled Will Ferrell Soccer Comedy," announced for 2005 (Joy, another "comedy" from this man)
    <li>"A Confederacy of Dunces," in pre-production for 2004 (I just bet he plays a dunce! What do you think?)
    <li>"Elf," scheduled for release in November 2003 (He plays a 6'3" man surrounded by elves... who never realized he's not an elf! Pure comedic gold, that.)
    <li>"Old School," summer of 2003 (a regrettable attempt at a comedy "blockbuster")
    <li>"Zoolander," 2001 (another attempt to showcase his "talent" in a comedy that was anything but funny)

    Yeah, there's a lot to be proud of there.

    I could go on about the multitude of flops he has starred in, but why bother? My entire point is pretty well recognized, I think. This guy is about as deep as a mud puddle in the Mohave Desert. It's not that he's being cast into bad roles, oh no... this goes far deeper than that. To put it simply: this man is completely and utterly out of his element on the big screen. He tries too hard, and his style of comedy only barely worked on Saturday Night Live -- he had this hybrid mixture of physical comedy (The "Oh look, a cute, innocent woodland creature people normally think of as <i>harmless</i> has just made a lunge for my throat" gag that has been replayed over and over and over in every single one of his films) that was only half-complimented by the doofus, wanna-fit-in characters he played. In a way Will reminds me a lot of those pathetic 40-somethings you sometimes see hanging around with kids in college, desperately trying to fit in. "Look at me, gang, I'm still the life of the party! I'm still cool, I'm still cool!" In fact he plays those roles a lot (the summary for <i>Old School</i> is "three men are disenchanted with life and try to recapture their college days") so there's a certain sort of symmetry to things. In a way it feels right that he is practically living out the characters he has portrayed so often. Is this a case of art parodying life, or vice versa?

    After being forced to watch the <a href="<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319343/trailers">trailer</a> for this film I can say without a doubt we are once again being spoon-fed a piece of trite, formulaic crap that probably tumbled out of some hack writer's ass after a meal of bad sushi. There is a small part of me that wants to believe this film is some sort of elaborate, mean-spirited joke on Mr. Ferrell -- from the attack by the raccoon in Central Park to the much-overdone "misplaced, good-natured fool embarks on search for true identity" plot (a genre already well-exploited by such gems as <a href="http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0124298/"><i>Blast From the Past</i></a>) to the entire premise of how a 6'5" man never realized he was different from the people he grew up around... it just smacks of some dude sitting in front of a PowerBook saying to himself, "<i>Gee, how can I make Will look like an even bigger idiot after three straight failures in the box office?</i>"

    If you watch the trailer you should take care to look at the level of detail the production crew put into the "North Pole" set. I've seen better sound stages at a kindergarten production of "The Three Little Pigs."

    I had a lot of righteous ire when I first saw this in the elevator, and in my mind I could see myself writing this entry and using every possible combination of curse and invective known to man. I pictured myself contacting friends who speak foreign languages just so I could search through their vocabulary for curse words to help capture how maddening this is to me. I was genuinely pissed off that Hollywood had managed to churn out another soulless "family-holiday-comedy" starring this poor wreck of a man. I was absolutely furious that the movie industry could produce such a lamentable piece of work and then honestly act shocked and surprised that it doesn't gross $75 million dollars in the first ten minutes after it has been released (I have no doubt that this film won't crash and bleed in the theater the way it deserves to, but on the other hand I can't picture this generating any significant revenue). It's so hokey, formulaic and contrived that I'm willing to bet your average five-year-old will feel insulted after watching it.

    Now that a few hours have passed things have changed a bit: a great deal of the urgency I felt has left me. Instead of foaming at the mouth with hatred I'm just sort of spitting up in dismay, and let me tell you it's not a pretty sight. I would like to take the opportunity to beg a favor from the world at large, however: please shoot Will before he can make another film. I can't stand to watch this guy fumble through yet another half-assed effort at recapturing whatever glory he might have had when he was still on prime-time television. The way I look at it there are two things that really need to happen to prevent another atrocity of this nature.... First, somebody seriously needs to walk into New York and start swinging a cluebat around. There doesn't even have to be any method to it, I'm sure if they just walk around and swing it indiscriminately they'll eventually land a blow or two on our common enemy. At this time I would like to make something clear: this cluebat should be made out of a railroad tie, it should smell of the creosote they infused it with and it must have several rabid badgers lashed to it. Once our champion is done beating the entire cast of Saturday Night Live into smears on the pavement they need to tell all the remaining SNL alumni that the good old days of Belushi and Murray are gone, <i>so stop trying to recapture the glory.</i> You people are not funny any more, please stop making films now -- we can only take so much abuse before we'll come to the theaters armed and ready to riot. Anybody who insists that the magic is still there will be taken away to a re-education camp, their clothing removed and their bodies smeared with peanutbutter and cracker-crumbs. Once they've been turned into a gooey taste sensation they will be locked in a warm, humid room with a very hungry hill billy of questionable personal hygeine. Muzak should play soothingly in the background to help enhance the "mood" as our friends get to know one another more intimately. Teeth will be removed with a crowbar before the introduction to help make the experience more memorable.

    The other thing that needs to happen is somebody needs to hijack a fighter jet and fly out to California to lay waste to all of Hollywood. In my humble opinion the easiest thing to do is to nuke-and-pave that entire fucking place, then let the roaches take over. If anybody survives I think <lj user=crackjackal> said it best when she told me that napalm needs to be employed immediately... and anally. I for one think that flaming liquid goo being shot into body cavaties is a punishment befitting any of geniuses who hold executive positions in the studios. If you think I'm overreacting I would like to remind you that these "people" have given us any number of wonderful reasons to hate them. Once again, let me refresh your memory: <i>Leonard Part Six!</i> and <i>Police Academy 6</i> both spring immediately to mind since they have the number "six" in their titles, but let's not forget the mind-numbing horror that was <i>Batman & Robin</i>. I mean, how can a batsuit with <b>nipples</b> be overlooked when we recount the atrocities that Hollywood has foisted off on us? That scarred an entire generation (as did the advertising campaign tie-in with Taco Bell for most of the franchise). <i>Dudley Do-Right</i> wasn't a film, it was a goddamn <b>act of war</b> against the public as a whole. Looking at it from that perspective I feel even more justified when I say that these imbeciles must be stopped at any cost. From where I stand the terrorists across the ocean aren't the ones we should be worried about... it's the people holding the purse strings to multi-million-dollar "entertainment" budgets who need to be sent to Guantanamo Bay for indefinate questioning. Hell, the conditions in that rathole might be too humane for these people...

    ... after all, they did give us <i>Freddy Got Fingered</i>.

    <i>Get back to the country</i>

    Current Mood: pissed off pissed off
    Current Music: Aerosmith -- F.I.N.E.

  • 9 thoughts or Leave a thought
    Comments
    yakko From: yakko Date: November 6th, 2003 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
    You've just described, in a... word... why I never go to the movies anymore. Last time I was in a theatre was for _Reloaded_. I was to see _Revolutions_ yesterday, but after the pathetic reviews, I'm skipping it and watching _The Matrix_ in its entirety instead (I haven't seen the middle. I've owned the DVD since 2000).

    I have yet to find a DVD where I can't skip through commercials, but _The Lion King_ was the closest. I had to press NEXT or MENU 7 times in order to get to a fucking DVD menu.

    I'm glad I don't have to endure those monitors in the elevator. Instead, we have one 27" Sony Trinitron per floor where the elevators are. They're on 24/7 and waste a lot of electricity. They alternate between corporate propaganda and CNN/MSNBC/politics. I'm going to get my remote control and save the corporation some money. :o)
    brianblackberry From: brianblackberry Date: November 6th, 2003 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I've noticed that one of the most common places for those advertising screens are inside gas stations, especially Shell whom I suspect has a company wide deal to host the video monitors o' impulse buying. Still as bad as it is for us customers of said stations or you employees who are forced to watch them in elevators, imagine that poor attendant, having to listen to that crap 8 hours a day O_o

    Ah.. Remember the days of no ads before movies? Why is it I think we may be the last generation who will? Because that reason alone they (the ads) will stay, the next generations would of been used to viewing these commercials all their lives, seeing it as normal, as the 'standard'. Of course the real questions is, if the commercials add revenus to the theatres, why do they keep rasing the prices? Wait, maybe answering that would be too depressing...

    Man I need to remember to E-Mail ya about those icons...
    kinkyturtle From: kinkyturtle Date: November 6th, 2003 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Winsor McCay drew a cartoon about commercialism almost a century ago (which I can't seem to find at the moment) that's still relevant today. It depicted a train station, and practically every visible flat surface is plastered with advertisements. An ordinary citizen's nightmare, an advertiser's wet dream.

    "please shoot Will before he can make another film."

    I can see it now: Fire at Will, the new knee-slapping comedy from the makers of Elf and Grinch and Crap and So On!
    eisenkreis From: eisenkreis Date: November 7th, 2003 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
    Wow.

    And seeing these screen shots alone, I had no idea how truly right I was. o.o But I'm glad I'm allowed to hold an executive ranking! ^o^ Rah! Rah! Go Napalm!
    vakkotaur From: vakkotaur Date: November 7th, 2003 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
    Aha! So you are Mr. Cranky.
    feren From: feren Date: November 7th, 2003 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
    [So you are Mr. Cranky.]

    I think of myself as being more like The Filthy Critic.
    aynjel From: aynjel Date: November 7th, 2003 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)

    *whimper*

    I remember the Captivate monitors... from when I was working in downtown Chicago. They'd just appeared about halfway through that project. They annoyed me. But they annoyed me less than the micro-TVs that were in the elevators at the Palmer House which generally had CNN on. Between that and the McPaper, I actually had some integration with what was going on in the rest of the world...
    yotogi From: yotogi Date: November 7th, 2003 09:45 am (UTC) (Link)
    I didn't figure you'd have any problem punching the monkey.
    feren From: feren Date: November 7th, 2003 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
    No.
    9 thoughts or Leave a thought