Archive for August, 2011

26
Aug
11

Letting the Right Remake Get Made

A remake, reboot or reinterpretation of a foreign film for the American market likely has pecuniary interests at heart—more exactly, the most riskless money possible. Idyllically that would not necessarily be the primary impetus with either a translation or a simple remake of an older film, or at least not at the expense of a main goal of expanding upon or reinterpreting the existing film, or perhaps simply executing a novel idea better than the original. The Ring was a solid example of the latter while The Departed (the script based on the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs) was one of the former, with both succeeding commercially.  However, frequently, no chances in variation on the theme were taken in a remake—rather a slicker and more action oriented veneer was applied to get some American asses in the seats and dollars out of wallets. With ready-made buzz, this is theoretically a straightforward prospect, though as an old adage intimates, practice and hypothesis don’t always follow former behind latter.

Of all the movies were this pitfall has been exemplified, the translation of Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) to Matt Reeves’ Let Me In is one of the more sympathetic.  While the original film itself was adapted from a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, it is, on its own merits, a brilliant horror film, that received recognition on the festival circuit though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences snubbed it even for a nomination. Although Reeves’ opus is a game effort, quite faithful to the original, it ultimately failed in its endeavor and, not inconsequentially, at the box office. It also lacked anything more to say about the story of a vampiric young girl and her relationship to an adolescent boy.

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

*************************SPOILERS HENCEFORTH*************************

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

Let the Right One In’s strength lies in as much what it only suggests as in what it demonstrates to the audience. The main focus is the peculiar relationship between the young boy, Oskar, and vampire girl, Eli. Oskar is played competently by Kåre Hedebrant while the vampire role of Eli (pronounced EE-lee) is owned by the haunting and almost impossibly thin Lina Leandersson. Trying to reconcile a being that is decades (perhaps hundreds) of years old residing in a young and innocent frame masks her manipulation of Oskar, though her machinations are considerably clearer with her “father”, a man who kills on her behalf in order to satisfy her need for human blood. The film only suggests that this father figure has some sort of romantic relationship with Eli, as it is never established exactly what kind it is or when it started. Let Me In treats the issue more ham-handedly by clearly showing an old photo booth picture of the young vampire (in this version “Abby”) and a young boy (“Owen”), which is obviously her supposed “father”. In both films, the father begs Eli/Abby not to hang out with the boy (Oskar/Owen) again, suggesting a jilted lover, and in each case Eli/Abby responds by gently caressing his cheek but doing so anyway. The inexact nature of the relationship made this interaction much more unsettling in the original than in the remake. Likewise, Eli’s eventual designs to use Oskar as a replacement are only hinted at where Abby’s plans seem explicit in the remake.

By a similar token, in both films Eli/Abby’s “father” is captured while attempting to kill a teenager for his blood. In the original he has tied up a boy in a gym locker room, but is trapped when the boy’s friends begin pounding on the locked door to the room, rousing the drugged boy who then calls out to them. Meanwhile, the father realizes there are no other exits and that he is trapped. In the American version, Abby’s father hides in the back seat of a car and, after subduing the driver to bleed him, attempts to escape a group of people who believe his is stealing the car, sending it careening off the road in a panic and becoming trapped in the wreckage. Although the scene is filmed in fascinating fashion (from a back seat view as the car flies out of control, rolls and crashes), a much more introspective, character driven scene occurs in the original as Eli’s father realizes he is cornered. The audience sees him slowly coming to grips with his fate as his would be victim’s friends begin breaking down the door. His resignation and hopelessness with this reality and innumerable past crimes weigh on him, as he slowly decides to dump acid on his face to obscure his identity. In the remake, the same action to hide his identity happens much quicker and there is less of a sense of desperation rather than sheer panic on the part of Abby’s father. Although the American remake comes off as slicker and more exciting, the emotional and revelatory content of the original is considerably higher—the remake in effect sacrificed the root of the horror in the film, the reluctant embrace of evil, for a well-executed action sequence, missing the point of the film all along.

In addition to an action oriented presentation, the American edition also includes more brutality and gore. Although the original certainly doesn’t shy from splatter, it is more judicious in its use, limiting it to sudden outbursts in somewhat shadowy circumstances. The remake revels in it almost pointlessly on several occasions, such as during the pointless flash forward that opens the film. Likewise, Owen’s bullies are almost comically cruel and engender no sympathy themselves, although the suggestion exists in both films that the lead bully is influenced by his older brother’s oppression of him. In the Swedish film, the bullies mainly stick to taunting and when they physically injure him, they show some remorse and run away. In the remake, the lead bully rather creepily instructs Owen to not tell his mother what happened; curiously, the bullies in the foreign version run away fretting that is exactly what will happen. Oskar is unable to tell his mother, likely out of shame as much as fear of retribution. This highlights Oskar’s impotence and his lack of a protector and companion, which inevitably draws him to Eli.

Though both movies feature divorced parents, Owen’s mother is a bizarre drunk, far more removed than Oskar’s mother who seems overworked and a bit inattentive rather than outright negligent. Likewise, Oskar’s relationship with his father is detailed at length, demonstrating some happy times interlaced with other instances where his father appears to relegate Oskar in favor of his friends.  In the remake we never see Owen’s father, merely overhearing him on the telephone misunderstanding Owen’s worries as generated by the religious fervor of his mother rather than a tangible and real problem: his association with a dangerous person.  The dearth of parental care serves to make Owen’s plight too sympathetic as a terribly alone, abused child that is understandably driven to Abby’s friendship and protection (“what choice did he have?”). In Oskar’s case, his choice to remain friends with Eli is less forgivable, as his parents, though far from perfect, have been there for him at times, despite not quite comprehending his predicament at school or otherwise. For Owen, it was a choice between a barren wasteland punctuated by sadistic bullying versus security in evil; for Oskar, the options were less distinct, with normality characterized by alternating bouts of kindness and impotence offset by a violent, evil, and empowering creature. The differing nature of Oskar/Owen’s dilemma is highlighted by the title of each film: Oskar, facing varying social pressures, must decide which is the right one to let in, while Owen is virtually ejected by his unenviable surroundings into the demanding arms of Abby—his is less a choice than an inevitable erosion.

One plot device that Reeves was wise to omit was the questionable cat scene, wherein a hoard of cats detect the infection of a woman was recently bitten by a vampire and swarm her in a CGI flurry. As is often the case in many horror novels such as (potentially—I’ve not read it) the one that provided the source material for the film, effectively describing a superficially silly situation like this can be far easier in print and can lose a large bit in translation to the screen. In the Swedish film it appeared campy and ridiculous, as opposed to disturbing or revolting. Reeves’ film ignored this scene entirely by having the woman bitten be immediately rushed to a hospital rather than being forced into medical care after a feline ambush. However, the sound decision to forego this unfortunate sequence highlights another place where Reeves faltered. In the original, another tenant in the apartment complex Oskar lives in becomes suspicious of the young girl whereas in Let Me In a police officer investigating the case eventually links the murders and crimes he is investigating to Abby. In both cases, Oskar/Owen is in Eli/Abby’s apartment when this suspicious party breaks in and warns her of the intruder, saving her life but costing the life of an innocent person as she pounces. The audience has little emotional connection to the police officer in Let Me In, while the tenant in Norwegian version is someone that has played a role throughout the movie: he invited Eli’s father for a drink; his close drinking buddy was Eli’s first victim in the apartment complex; and finally his girlfriend is the woman who is bitten. Although the last element also happens in Let Me In, the man and his girlfriend are always seen from a distance, appearing to be yuppies aloof from the rest of the tenants. Thus, when Eli kills the tenant who is partly avenging the deaths of his friend and lover, Oskar’s moral conflict resonates much more strongly with the audience as opposed to a police officer’s whose actions are admirable but emotionally distant.

The American production should, in any event, be applauded to some extent for allowing a mostly free hand for Reeves to remain faithful to Alfredson’s film while engaging in graphic violence and some creative cinematography. However, the point of all this, given that though visually interesting many of the changes detracted from the strengths of the original, is lost. Certainly as a vehicle for a quick buck, the film didn’t leave out the blood and shock, but the tits and glee of a mindless slasher flick were lost in a story that was more provoking than “the kids go to summer camp at Slaughter Lake”. The movie was a slow burn, unsuited for an escapist audience while failing to add anything for fans of the original. Thus, while the earnest attention to the original and the liberal use of gore might seem a worthy goal, they alone both aren’t a significant departure from the original nor sufficient to maintain the interest of any particular audience.

A remake of Let the Right One In might have taken another avenue, as opposed to a nearly carbon plot copy of the original. The American film could have kept much of the plot elements similar (e.g., apartment complex, a lonely youth in a divorced household, the mysterious arrival of a sympathetic and protective visitor) but could have explored a new direction by making the vampire a boy and the main character a girl. Although this would have reversed the interesting twist on the vampire mythology in the original of a female seducing a male, it would have, for an American audience given the age groups involved, a direct counterpoint to the romance novel version of Nosferatu encapsulated in the horrendously popular Twilight. By presenting the moral dilemma of defending and accepting protection from a vampire with whom the romantic aspect of the relationship is much more clouded than the superficial teenage angst and gallant fantasy of Twilight, an American audience might have been challenged on a deeper level. This tact would have necessitated a much more intensive—and risky—rewrite of the original screenplay. The filmmakers could have even expanded further by keeping the vampire female and introducing a subtext of sexual confusion of an adolescent/ young adult, twisting the Twilight story even further.

The American version could have also addressed a glaring incongruity of the original. As the story takes place in the 1970s, the obvious question is why Eli didn’t instruct her “father” to steal donated blood from a hospital or blood bank (it seems given her supernatural prowess and that such thefts would naturally occur at night, she could have even done it herself) or better yet even work there as a nurse or doctor and skim blood off the top. As Eli appears to not relish killing people for blood, this alternative would seem natural rather than the tremendously more perilous and morally questionable murder and collection of raw blood. The American viewing public has, at least in some segments, been exposed to this variant in the television series True Blood whose vampires manipulate or outright hypnotize humans and slowly feed on their blood over periods of time. By the same token, an American remake might even feature a “family” of an older woman and/or man, as well as siblings which the vampire would extract blood from time to time to satisfy his thirst.  This would negate doing anything overtly illegal that would risk exposure. Perhaps as in the first film where a failure by Eli’s father to find blood caused Eli to kill, an arrest in an attempt to steal blood might prevent the vampire from feeding normally, either causing him to kill another apartment complex tenant or even on the members of the “family”. Such an unforeseen accident might precipitate other members to flee or commit suicide, with one remaining who was recently feed on and couldn’t give anymore blood, and thus possibly being forced to do something illegal to gain blood.

This new direction is hardly bulletproof as the question would arise if the vampire, besides charming the now female Oskar character, would seek to feed on her blood or kept the non-violent relationship as in the original wherein Eli resisted her urge as that might have led her to kill Oskar. However the potential is there for creating a new story around the original’s foundation to explore similar as well as some novel aspects of vampire-human relationship and Oskar’s moral crucible.

The expansion upon an original film is the bolder form of a remake rather than a simple recasting and redo with perhaps slicker editing and cinematography. There are exceptions, as in the translation of Ringu to The Ring, with the original suffering not so much from plot but a film that dragged heavily and mainly needed a change of pace. Indeed if the original failed to realize its own potential rather because of budget or shoddy execution, a more direct remake might be in order. But if the original is a rather successful and complete film on its own, the screenwriter and director of a remake can look a wholly new direction, such as in The Departed. One can hope that David Fincher’s upcoming remake of another popular Norwegian film and novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is successful on one of these levels.

UPCOMING: Films that Deserve a Proper Remake

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

The content on this site is provided as general information and entertainment only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial product, or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy. The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of firms affiliated with the author. The author may or may not have a position in any security referenced herein and may or may not seek to do business with companies mentioned via this website. Any action that you take as a result of information or analysis on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

Advertisements
21
Aug
11

Roundup – Now You’re a He-Man

Line O’ the Day:

I bet you thought I was joking yesterday when I said I was going to continue covering the Abercrombie/Situation Douchegate story like it was the Cuban Missile Crisis. To be honest, I kinda was. Then — THEN — I woke up this morning, fired up the old LOLbox and saw that the Taiwanese animation people had made a video about it. AND. IT. IS. GLORIOUS. For the love of God, it starts with The Situation and some girl emptying a giant salt shaker onto the torso of what appears to be a dead stripper. And near the end, for reasons I don’t understand whatsoever, there’s a hostage situation. It’s got everything.

– Danger Guerrero, I Love You, Taiwanese Animation [Warming Glow]

Best of the Best:

The Terrazzo Jungle [Malcolm Gladwell via The New Yorker (March 15, 2004)]

Fifty years ago, Victor Gruen designed a fully enclosed, introverted, multitiered, double-anchor-tenant shopping complex with a garden court under a skylight—and today virtually every regional shopping center in America is a fully enclosed, introverted, multitiered, double-anchor-tenant complex with a garden court under a skylight. Victor Gruen didn’t design a building; he designed an archetype. For a decade, he gave speeches about it and wrote books and met with one developer after another and waved his hands in the air excitedly, and over the past half century that archetype has been reproduced so faithfully on so many thousands of occasions that today virtually every suburban American goes shopping or wanders around or hangs out in a Southdale facsimile at least once or twice a month. Victor Gruen may well have been the most influential architect of the twentieth century. He invented the mall.

Groupon Therapy [Lauren Etter on Vanity Fair]

In a letter to potential shareholders, Mason vowed that his trademark persona is here to stay. “We are unusual and we like it that way,” he wrote. “We want the time people spend with Groupon to be memorable. Life is too short to be a boring company.” But the pretense that Groupon is a scrappy start-up is wearing thin. Mason takes great pains to emphasize that the company is staying true to its idiosyncratic roots, but it’s hard to maintain that a publicly traded multi-national business being valued at $20 billion will remain a quirky outsider. Rob Solomon recently announced his departure from the company. He and Mason have a good relationship by all accounts, but Solomon prefers the bustle of a start-up atmosphere—something that Groupon no longer has.

See also: Groupon’s Accounting Lingo Gets Scrutiny [Wall Street Journal]

A Good Joke Spoiled: Reviewing An Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1 by Mark Twain [Michael Lewis via The New Republic]

In any case, Twain clearly thought of himself, and enjoyed thinking of himself, as heedless. For a writer of his caliber he had surprisingly little interest in assuming a fully adult role in the world, partly because adulthood struck him as an inferior state. Reflecting on the death of his eldest daughter, Susy, he writes that “Susy died at the right time, the fortunate time of life; the happy age—twenty-four years. At twenty-four, such a girl has seen the best of life—life as a happy dream. After that age the risks begin; responsibility comes, and with it the cares, the sorrows, and the inevitable tragedy. For her mother’s sake I would have brought her back from the grave if I could, but I would not have done it for my own.” When Twain was in his late sixties, after the death of his wife, he found companionship in a series of young girls. He took twelve-year-old girls as his dates to grown-up parties and entertained eleven-year-old girls for the weekend at his home. The Angel-fish, he called these young friends—though he does not have much to say about them in his memoir. And while it sounds completely creepy, it also feels deeply characteristic. There doesn’t seem to have been a hint of sexuality in these relationships, at least from his side. The man just preferred to feel like a boy.

Egyptians Turn Against Liberal Protesters [Wall Street Journal]

Six months after young, liberal activists helped lead the popular movement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the hard core of these protesters was forcibly dispersed by the troops. Some Egyptians lined the street to applaud the army. Others ganged up on the activists as they retreated from the square that has come to symbolize the Arab Spring. Squeezed between an assertive military and the country’s resurgent Islamist movement, many Internet-savvy, pro-democracy activists are finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant in a post-revolutionary Egypt that is struggling to overcome an economic crisis and restore law and order…Monday’s turmoil in Tahrir followed a massive Friday demonstration on the same square by hundreds of thousands of Islamists, who called for transforming Egypt into an Islamic state—and railed against the liberal and secular youths who had helped motivate millions to rise up against Mr. Mubarak. The Islamists’ numbers dwarfed those of the activists who have re-occupied Cairo’s central square since July 8, criticizing the slow pace of reforms, calling for police accountability and pressing for speedier trials of Mr. Mubarak and his associates.

Former Intel Chief: Call Off The Drone War (And Maybe the Whole War on Terror) [Noah Shachtman on The Danger Room on Wired]

Ground the U.S. drone war in Pakistan. Rethink the idea of spending billions of dollars to pursue al-Qaida. Forget chasing terrorists in Yemen and Somalia, unless the local governments are willing to join in the hunt. Those aren’t the words of some human rights activist, or some far-left Congressman. They’re from retired admiral and former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair — the man who was, until recently, nominally in charge of the entire American effort to find, track, and take out terrorists. Now, he’s calling for that campaign to be reconsidered, and possibly even junked.

Oddly, the same does not apply when markets are falling: then, journalists’ language becomes less homogenous. The authors have no real explanation for this.

Jurgen Klinsmann: America’s Newest Soccer Jesus [Luke O’Brien on Deadspin]

How incongruous. A savior who intends to try to do what we need him to do, not just what we dream he’ll do. For now, Klinsmann is saying all the right things. His first order of business, however, will be to name a team for the Aug. 10 friendly against Mexico, a rematch of the traumatic June 25 Gold Cup final that precipitated Bradley’s exit. It’s a symbolic assignment but a fitting one, given the contrast between youth development in Mexico and the United States (a battle Mexico has, for the time being, won). If Klinsmann gets past El Tri, we’ll congratulate him. If he achieves World Cup success, we’ll praise him. If he molds an American style of play that strikes fear into the hearts of enemy teams, we’ll canonize him. But let’s not get our hopes up, eh? Ah, screw it. Let’s.

See also: Klinsmann and the Meaning of Soccer [Matthew Futterman on The Wall Street Journal]

If Albert DeSalvo Wasn’t The Boston Strangler, Who Was? Bill James Investigates [Excerpted from the book Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence by Bill James via Deadspin]

In serial murder cases, if you plot the crime scenes on a map and connect the dots, very often they will form a sort of circle, and very often the murderer will live near the center of that circle. This is well known now, although it wasn’t recognized until about 1980. If you draw a circle on a map which is a one-mile radius from Coolidge Corner, it doesn’t include any of the murder scenes. But if you draw a circle which is a three-mile radius around Coolidge Corner, it includes virtually all of the murder scenes in Boston and Cambridge—all but one—and there are murder scenes at all points of the compass.

Daniel Ek’s Spotify: Music’s Last Best Hope [Brendan Greeley on Bloomberg Businessweek]

Without Spotify, labels know only when an album is sold. If a CD is ripped for a friend or borrowed for a party, they know nothing. Spotify gives them a record, by location, age, and gender, of every single time a track is played. Jay-Z used to think he was big in London, based on U.K. album sales; it turns out he’s big in Manchester. Spotify has discovered that radio plays—on real, terrestrial, electromagnetic spectrum—still drive interest in artists, as do Sweden’s summer talk shows. Sundin has a Spotify chart tracking Rihanna and Lady Gaga over seven weeks. Both show a bump on Friday and a spike on Saturday. They are weekend artists. Spotify knows when your party plays Gaga. “We know now,” says Sundin, “that the ROI on TV commercials doesn’t work.” Outreach to 15- to 30-year-old female bloggers does. Hits and stars are still important, he says. For albums—both CDs and MP3s—revenue spikes with the release, then trails off, then disappears. On Spotify, whenever an artist appears on a talk show or releases a new single, plays of her entire catalog increase on Spotify, then plateau at a higher level. Albums follow a bell curve. Spotify is a ratchet, a step function. “LOP,” Sundin says, “life of product, it used to be six months. Now it’s 10 years.”

An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage: Black women could find more partners across the race line—and it might just spur more black couples to wed [Ralph Richard Banks, the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford Law School via The Wall Street Journal]

Some black women resist interracial marriage for a more primal reason. Long before Cecelia began her ill-fated relationship with her now ex-husband, she dated a white law-school classmate. They broke up because she couldn’t imagine having children with him. “I wanted chocolate babies,” she explained to me. Given her milk-chocolate complexion, green eyes and curly hair, Cecelia worried that a biracial baby might come out looking white. Cecelia wanted chocolate babies not just so they would stay connected to black culture, but for another reason as well: So that no one would ever question whether they were hers. With biracial children, she feared that she might be mistaken for the nanny. Many black women share her anxiety about having a biracial child.

Mistakes in Scientific Studies Surge [Gautum Naik on The Wall Street Journal]

It was the kind of study that made doctors around the world sit up and take notice: Two popular high-blood-pressure drugs were found to be much better in combination than either alone. “There was a ‘wow’ reaction,” recalls Franz Messerli, a New York doctor who, like many others, changed his prescription habits after the 2003 report. Unfortunately, it wasn’t true. Six and a half years later, the prestigious medical journal the Lancet retracted the paper, citing “serious concerns” about the findings. The damage was done. Doctors by then had given the drug combination to well over 100,000 patients. Instead of protecting them from kidney problems, as the study said the drug combo could do, it left them more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening side effects, later studies showed. Today, “tens of thousands” of patients are still on the dual therapy, according to research firm SDI.

The Mysterious Imagery of The Dollar Bill [Colin Dorbin on Credit Sesame]

The fact is, numerous symbols adorn our currency and there has been intense debate over the decades of their meaning. Conspiracy theorists believe the imagery is rooted in Freemansonry and tied to the Illuminati (if you’ve read The Da Vinci Code or seen the movie, you know who they are). Others contend the imagery is strictly American and represents the foundations of our nation. In this infographic, we explain each symbol from both perspectives.

Curiously Strong Remains:

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

The content on this site is provided as general information and entertainment only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial product, or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy. The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of firms affiliated with the author. The author may or may not have a position in any security referenced herein and may or may not seek to do business with companies mentioned via this website. Any action that you take as a result of information or analysis on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

01
Aug
11

Roundup – ComicCon and Friends

 

Line O’ the Day:

“If PFC Bradley Manning did what he is accused of, he is a hero of mine; not because he’s perfect or because he never struggled with personal or family relationships — most of us do — but because in the midst of it all he had the courage to act on his conscience.”

– former Specialist Ethan McCord, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, Iraq War veteran on Manning, the media and the military [via Glenn Greenwald on Salon]

Best of the Best:

Bill Simmons Is God Of Hollywood [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]

When Green Lantern badly underperformed last weekend, it shouldn’t have been surprising, because Reynolds isn’t a movie star (despite Hollywood’s best efforts to convince us otherwise).

I’m pretty sure the movie tanked because it was awful.

You know how I know this?

BECAUSE I LIVE IN LOS ANGELES NOW AND I UNDERSTAND “THE INDUSTRY,” WHICH IS WHAT WE IN THE INDUSTRY CALL THE INDUSTRY.

We just spent the past 10 years compiling evidence that said, emphatically, “Ryan Reynolds can’t carry a bad movie.” Or, really, any movie.

Okay. Cool. Thank God we’ve established that. I can finally rest now that I know Ryan Reynolds isn’t a 40% legit movie star. Now to move on to our next pressing issue: DO BEAVERS HAVE DREAMS?!

Chasing Jose [Pat Jordan on Deadspin]

At 10 a.m., L.A. time, Rob called to tell me the interview was off. Jose had changed his mind yet again. I was apoplectic. Rob tried to calm me down with these reassuring words, “Pat,” he said, “why are you so upset? You and I both know Jose’s a piece of shit.”

The Silent Season of a Hero [Gay Talese on Esquire (July 1966) via Deadspin]

[H]igh in the grandstands, billowing in the breeze of early autumn, were white banners that read: “Don’t Quit, Mick,” “We Love the Mick.” The banner had been held by hundreds of young boys whose dreams had been fulfilled so often by Mantle, but also seated in the grandstands were older men, paunchy and balding, in whose middle-aged minds DiMaggio was still vivid and invincible, and some of them remembered how one month before, during a pregame exhibition at Old-Timers’ Day in Yankee Stadium, DiMaggio had hit a pitch into the left-field seats, and suddenly thousands of people had jumped wildly to their feet, joyously screaming – the great DiMaggio had returned, they were young again, it was yesterday.

Female Soccer Players Don’t Fake It Like The Men, Science Says [New York Times via Deasdpin]

Apparent injuries were divided into two categories. They were considered “definite” if a player was replaced within five minutes or was visibly bleeding. Otherwise, the injuries were considered “questionable.” Researchers found that an average of 11.26 apparent injuries occurred in men’s matches, compared with 5.74 in women’s matches. Those considered “definite” involved 13.7 percent of injuries for women and 7.2 percent for men. “We can say that men writhe on the ground looking like they’re injured more than women, almost twice as often,” said Dr. Daryl Rosenbaum, the lead author of the study, which was published in the July issue of the journal Research in Sports Medicine. “And when players are apparently injured, the percentage when it was authentic by our criteria was twice as high with women. You could trust more that they were injured.”

Bill Simmons Is Commissioner Of Fictional Presidents [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]

Maybe any NBA franchise that allows an ex-player, a coach, a former scout, or basically anyone without genuine business and/or legal training to negotiate with some of the smartest legal/business minds in the entire world should be fined $10 million by the commissioner’s office.

So true. You NBA shitheads have spent way too long giving out basketball jobs to people who have a background in the game of basketball and often hire a lawyer to assist them with the actual negotiating process. You should be listening to the guy who’s imitating a fictional President from a Kevin Kline film. WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE SENSIBLE ENOUGH TO KNOW THIS SHIT?

Do you realize that agents laugh about this behind closed doors?

AGENT: God, wait until they actually let Simmons run the Nets… (jizzes in pants)

Financial Crisis Panel Commissioners Leaked Confidential Information To Lobbyists, Report Alleges  [Shahien Nasiripour on The Huffington Post]

The 400,000 emails and documents obtained by the investigative committee show that Republican commissioner Peter Wallison broke confidentiality rules by leaking documents to Ed Pinto, a colleague of his at the American Enterprise Institute, a prominent right-leaning Washington-based research and policy organization. The misconduct did not stop there, according to the report. The assistant of Bill Thomas, the panel’s vice chairman and another of the four Republican commissioners, shared information about the commission’s hearings, targets and investigative direction with one of Thomas’s colleagues at law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney, one of Washington’s top lobbying shops.

Naughty by Nature [Jesse Bering on Slate]

Dramatic case studies illustrating the devastating effects of Klüver-Bucy Syndrome abound in the clinical literature, and they raise intriguing philosophical questions for us to consider. That some patients so stricken are overcome with excessive carnal urges and are not simply using the disorder as a convenient excuse to become freely promiscuous, lewd, and lascivious is perhaps best demonstrated by a 1998 Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery study by Indian neurologist Sunil Pradhan and his colleagues. In this report, a group of boys between the ages of 2.5 and 6 began to exhibit hypersexualized behaviors after partially recovering from comas induced by herpes encephalitis.

Why Some Home Sellers are More Delusional than Others [Stan Humphries Chief Economist at Zillow via Moneyland on Time]

We analyzed over a million homes currently for sale on Zillow, compared the listing price to an estimate of the current market value, and examined how the difference between those two numbers relates to when each home was purchased. We found that homes that had been last purchased prior to 2005 are now listed about 10% higher than their estimated market value. Homes last purchased between 2005 and mid-2007 – the period right around the national peak in home values – are priced lower, just 6.4% above their estimated market value. Strikingly, however, homes last purchased after 2007 are priced much higher relative to market value than homes bought previously. And the premium of listing price relative to market value reaches its maximum – 22.7% – for homes bought in 2009.

Why Netflix Raised Its Prices [David Pogue on The New York Times]

“I’ve had this conversation over and over again for the last 24 hours,” said Mr. Swasey. “Yes, 60 percent is a big number. But that increase is only $6 a month more. That’s a latté a month. We’ve gone from an extreme terrific value to a terrific value.” Want to know the worst part? He’s right.

New Research Suggests Everybody’s Less Satisfied [Tom Jacobs on Miller-McCune]

Herbst refined the data by looking at various subgroups, in such categories as age, race, marital status and employment status. He found consistent declines in life satisfaction for each such group, with one exception: black men, “who experienced a statistically significant increase in well-being between 1985 and 2005.”

Medical marijuana: A science-free zone at the White House [Stephen Gutwillig and Bill Piper on The Los Angeles Times]

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice issued medical marijuana guidelines to U.S. attorneys that are at best confusing and at worst a flip-flop on administration policy. The department’s much-heralded 2009 memo on the subject fulfilled candidate Obama’s campaign promise and established a principle that federal resources would not be wasted prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers who are in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state medical marijuana laws. The department’s update reiterates that the feds won’t target individual medical marijuana patients but might bust large-scale, commercial medical marijuana providers. The memo unequivocally threatens federal prosecution of large-scale medical marijuana providers even if they are in compliance with state law, a significant step away from the principle at the heart of the 2009 policy. Disturbingly, the new “clarification” doesn’t explain what the federal government considers to be the line between small and large-scale production — likely an attempt to slow state-sponsored medical marijuana distribution programs while sowing anxiety and confusion for patients.

See also: Christie Plans to Lift New Jersey Suspension on Medical Marijuana Program [Bloomberg]

The Graceful, Oversized Legacy of Yao Ming [Emma Carmichael on Deadspin]

Yao was great for the game because he was a great player who happened to be very tall and who happened to be from China. It’s for that reason — not that he was a demographically useful, unnaturally tall It Guy — that it would have been a pleasure to see him play a few more years.

FUCK YOU! THE LOCKOUT’S OVER! [Big Daddy Drew on Deadspin]

Oh, God. Holy shit. Oh, man. Someone bring me a helmet so I can bang the earhole. I’m so horny for football right now that I’m ejaculating pure Gatorade.

US more unpopular in the Arab world than under Bush [Glenn Greenwald on Salon]

I’ve written numerous times over the last year about rapidly worsening perceptions of the U.S. in the Muslim world, including a Pew poll from April finding that Egyptians view the U.S. more unfavorably now than they did during the Bush presidency.  A new poll released today of six Arab nations — Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco — contains even worse news on this front: In most countries surveyed, favorable attitudes toward the United States dropped to levels lower than they were during the last year of the Bush administration . . . Pollsters began their work shortly after a major speech Obama gave on the Middle East . . . Fewer than 10 percent of respondents described themselves as having a favorable view of Obama. What’s striking is that none of these is among the growing list of countries we’re occupying and bombing.  Indeed, several are considered among the more moderate and U.S.-friendly nations in that region, at least relatively speaking.  Yet even in this group of nations, anti-U.S. sentiment is at dangerously (even unprecedentedly) high levels.

Peter King Knows There’s No Coffee Like Hitler’s Coffee [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]

This gem came from Andrew Goldman’s interview with Judge Judy in the June 26 New York Times Sunday magazine…

You know, one of the great things about being an NFL reporter and not covering the NFL is that it gives me time to read up on important matters, LIKE HOW JUDGE FUCKING JUDY IS DOING.

Judge Judy works five days per month … and makes $45 million a year.

Oh, so you and she have a lot in common. Except for her far more rigorous work schedule.

Judge Judy Factoid II:

WHAT THE FUCK? Why are there two Judge Judy factoids in here? The NFL is about to start again. Free agency is set to take place DURING training camp. The NFL world is about to shift in ways so unpredictable that no one can really say what’s going to happen. It’s perhaps the most exciting time ever to be a football fan, and this is after one of the worst times to be a football fan. Hey, you know what we should be talking about? JUDGE FUCKING JUDY. Perfect. Beautiful. Just the kind of hard-hitting factoid I come to this column for. FUCK.

Incredible Joe Posnanski/Yogi Berra Factoid of the Week

HOLY FUCK ARE YOU SHITTING ME?! We go from Judge Judy to Yogi Berra? Is there some third geriatric asshole we haven’t touched on yet? What about Martha Raye? Any Martha Raye factoids in your back pocket, Peter? I MUST KNOW.

Fanciful Remains:

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ   ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

The content on this site is provided as general information and entertainment only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial product, or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy. The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of firms affiliated with the author. The author may or may not have a position in any security referenced herein and may or may not seek to do business with companies mentioned via this website. Any action that you take as a result of information or analysis on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.




Categories