Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt has written an editorial for WiReD Magazine titled “Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die”. In the article, Oswalt explains how our everything available anytime internet culture is making the concept of geek culture obsolete. Here is a short excerpt from the article:

The problem with the Internet, however, is that it lets anyone become otaku about anything instantly. In the ’80s, you couldn’t get up to speed on an entire genre in a weekend. You had to wait, month to month, for the issues of Watchmen to come out. We couldn’t BitTorrent the latest John Woo film or digitally download an entire decade’s worth of grunge or hip hop. Hell, there were a few weeks during the spring of 1991 when we couldn’t tell whether Nirvana or Tad would be the next band to break big. Imagine the terror! … When everyone has easy access to their favorite diversions and every diversion comes with a rabbit hole’s worth of extra features and deleted scenes and hidden hacks to tumble down and never emerge from, then we’re all just adding to an ever-swelling, soon-to-erupt volcano of trivia, re-contextualized and forever rebooted. We’re on the brink of Etewaf: Everything That Ever Was—Available Forever.

I know it sounds great, but there’s a danger: Everything we have today that’s cool comes from someone wanting more of something they loved in the past.  …. Now, with everyone more or less otaku and everything immediately awesome (or, if not, just as immediately rebooted or recut as a hilarious YouTube or Funny or Die spoof), the old inner longing for more or better that made our present pop culture so amazing is dwindling. … Here’s the danger: That creates weak otakus. Etewaf doesn’t produce a new generation of artists—just an army of sated consumers. Why create anything new when there’s a mountain of freshly excavated pop culture to recut, repurpose, and manipulate on your iMovie? The Shining can be remade into a comedy trailer. Both movie versions of the Joker can be sent to battle each another. The Dude is in The Matrix. The coming decades—the 21st-century’s ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s—have the potential to be one long, unbroken, recut spoof in which everything in Avatar farts while Keyboard Cat plays eerily in the background.

Read the entire editorial on Wired. What do you think of Oswalt’s theory? Is oversaturation leading us to the  of geek culture?

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Movie Purgatory

From time to time, we like to point out articles in other publications and websites which might be of interest to the /Film readers. This weekend the Los Angeles Times published an article titled “Hollywood’s little secret: movie purgatory” which uses the recently released Case 39 (the supernatural horror film starring Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper which was shot in 2006) to talk about the growing Hollywood practice of shelved movies.

“Case 39″ was stuck in a little discussed corner of the industry: movie purgatory, where films with marketable stars — not just Cooper but Matt Damon, John Cusack, Eddie Murphy and Mel Gibson — can linger for months, even years, trapped by marketing disagreements, creative clashes, executive shuffles, money shortfalls or the judgment that they are such surefire flops that it makes no sense to throw good money after bad and distribute them.

In a larger sense, experts say, the trend speaks to the financial house of cards that is the feature film these days. Although they seem to arrive by the bundle at the multiplex every weekend, studio-produced movies now take more time and money to make and market than ever before — and then go before an ever-smaller and more fickle theater-going audience. In the old days of movie distribution — say, the early 2000s — many orphaned movies might have been granted a pass out of purgatory with a direct-to-DVD release. But the cratering of the home video market makes that less economically attractive. A direct-to-DVD release also risks offending the sensitivities of stars and other creative people the studios want to work with again in the future. These shelved movies often have their champions, who might note that at least one modern classic, “Diner,” and one recent Oscar winner, “Slumdog Millionaire,” were temporarily orphaned. But often these champions find themselves speaking into a void.

You can read the full article on LATimes.com.

The Death of The Video Store

The Chicago Tribune has a somber nostalgic article about what we’ll miss about the video rental stores, just as the rental retail business is about to completely die off.

It’s the kind of thing that made video stores vital to movie culture, said Issa Clubb, a producer at the Criterion Collection in New York, which for decades has churned out an intricately curated selection of high-end video releases of classics and underrated films. “The best (stores) were run by people who happily said, ‘You didn’t come for this, but try it.’ A film blog might offer that, but it’s a self-selected audience. Without video stores I wonder what happens to that naive customer, the one who can be prodded to the unfamiliar.”

I love the convenience of digital on demand, netflix and redbox, but I miss the days of walking down the isles of Video Paradise — browsing the interesting movies that I had never heard of before. There was something magical and exciting about picking a movie based only on the cover artwork and short description alone. This might sound a little hypocritical, especially coming from a guy who started and runs a website which is focused on media and information overload on any given film project. The man who ran the store would recommend great classics that I had not yet seen. I guess blogs and social networks have replaced this type of recommendation.

I miss those days, yet am writing this post while watching a television show I rented on iTunes. Netflix launched 13 years ago, which means some teenagers have never experienced renting movies at the video store, and probably never will. And those that did, probably only visited Blockbuster or Hollywood Video — both of which didn’t really attribute much in the way of nostalgia.

You can read the article on ChicagoTribune.com.

Mark Zuckerberg has spoken out on The Social Network a couple of times before, once on Oprah—”I’m going to promise you, this is my life, so I know it’s not so dramatic”—and then again in an interview with Mashable—”We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much”. In neither of those instances did he elaborate too heavily on what issues, if any, he had with the film and its portrayal of him. Now, finally, Zuckerberg has taken to task the veracity of the picture, pinpointing what he believes to be its biggest disconnect from reality. Read More »

Whenever a great movie comes out portraying real-life events, I’m always left wondering what the real people who inspired the movie might have thought or taken away from the film. And David Fincher‘s The Social Network is a good example of this type of film. We’ve already heard Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s dismissive response: “We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.” And we’ve heard that the Winklevoss twins liked the film: “”It’s a great generational film, it’s very entertaining,” Cameron Winklevoss told CTV “From my perspective, the filmmakers tried to tell three different sides of a story. I don’t think there (are) any conclusions and it’s really up to the viewer to make their own decision.” But what about Eduardo Saverin, who was played in the film by Andrew Garfield?
Read More »

“The Michael Bayifier” is a website which lets you transform your photos to make them appear as if they were directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, The Rock, Armageddon). Unfortunately the site doesn’t include a filter to transform the background into one of Bay’s infamous platinum sunsets.

via neatorama

In late 2009, screenwriter Derek Haas (Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma, The A-Team) created a website called Popcorn Fiction, which he described as “a place where new popular short fiction could flourish, and Hollywood could have a new resource for cultivating great ideas.”

Read More »

Watch This: Louis C.K.’s Hilarious

louisck-hilarious

Louis CK’s Hilarious was one of my favorite films at the Sundance film festival this year. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been reduced, so thoroughly, to a useless pile of tear-filled laughter than when I watched this concert film. For months now, I’ve been wondering whatever became of Hilarious, but fortunately I’ve had Louis’ wonderful FX show to tide me over in the meantime.

Today, I discovered that Epix HD is now streaming Hilarious online for FREE. All you need to do is head on over to their website and request an invite code by entering your e-mail address (they’ll send you something for confirmation). Then, just go and watch the film! Check it out, laugh your ass off, then let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.

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