Tag Archives: movies

The Birth of “Imitation Movie Product”

Add "straight male" to the flavor your corporate "movie" label is complete

Add “straight male” to the flavor your corporate “movie” label is complete

by Legendary Lew

The infamous Sony Hacks and film studios’ release plans for the next five years have made it more clear than ever before: they’re not interested in movies. Instead, they are interested in manufactured product. It’s incredible how brazen they now are in showing an utter disdain for you as a viewer.

As Mark Harris astutely points out in the must-read film article of the year,

As with prepackaged food, exportability and shelf life are now primary virtues. The product Hollywood is selling right now keeps better if it contains as few organic ingredients as possible — whether organic to the place, the mood, the news, or the moment. Think of the major Hollywood studio movies you saw this year. Aside from their up-to-the-nanosecond technological razzle-dazzle, how many of them felt like they belonged specifically to 2014, as opposed to five, 10, or 15 years ago? Or, for that matter, five years from now?

And much like an insurance company visiting college grad prospects, the “movie” studios have the next five years of your life all set. Behold, their idea of movie plots:

harris-sequels-1

harris-sequels-2

You can consider some older movies to be “corn”– a la (Frank) “Capra-corn”– but these features represent the corporate farm corn to be fed to the masses all over the world. These listings prove an attempt to standardize film making to such an extent that there’s practically no deviance from any formula that would disrupt the franchise.

So I propose a solution to differentiate between indie films and these corporate franchise films: require the latter to be labeled “Imitation Movie Product” or IMP, for short.

Why not? By law, sandwich slices have to be called “cheese food” or “cheese product” to separate them from the much better stuff you would buy at a specialty shop. “Imitation vanilla flavor” is not to be confused with what you can legally call vanilla.  Film makers at both the indie and corporate studio levels can use the same tools to make the finished film–much like “cheese food” companies can use “real milk!”–but they definitely come out with different works.

So from now on, the releases listed above will be referred to, by me, as “Imitation Movie Product” or IMP for short.

I think this will clear up the confusion and “consumers” will receive better guidance as to what they are actually viewing and supporting. You’re welcome.

Why Making “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” the Worst Rated Movie on IMDB is a Mistake

Cameron will haunt your movie screens even more now

Cameron will haunt your movie screens even more now

by Legendary Lew

As of today, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas is gracing the list of IMDB’s Bottom 100 as the worst ranking movie on a site with over 2 million entries. Friendly Atheist “congratulated” Cameron for the dubious honor, gleefully boasting the movie is now rated even lower than From Justin to Kelly.

Sticking it to Cameron with this barrel bottom rating may seem like a great idea, but I think it’s actually counterproductive. I was very happy to share and laugh at the awful trailer for the movie and to share a post exposing the former child star’s attempt to rig Rotten Tomatoes. However, giving Saving Christmas the rock bottom rank on IMDB doesn’t help for a few reasons:

1. Cameron Now has a Reason to Play Victim

When he tried to rig Rotten Tomatoes, Cameron looked like a petty nincompoop.  KCSC‘s current rank on IMDB is based on the votes of less than 2000 users.  The next two ranked titles, Birdemic and Gunday, have their ratings based on 9K and 50K voters, respectively. Some of the posted reviews on IMDB for this faith-based movie were positive and others completely irrelevant, such as this one:

Ultimately if Christmas returned to its more simple religious roots (“reason for the season”), the vast economic pump that enriches, oh, Koch Industries and everyone else who keeps the religious right in power would be gone and they would, gasp, lose vast sums of money… One wonders why Cameron has made such a film when most Christians scream about the commercialism… I suppose Cameron isn’t so much saving Christmas as he’s saving the economy for his pay masters.

There had to have been rigging going on for this movie, perhaps by atheists or others who can’t stand Cameron. Yes, Cameron may go public with cries of Christian persecution, but with its current #1 ranking based on only 2000 voters, it seems unlikely all those one-star reviews were organic occurrences.

2. This Could Influence The Razzies

One of the problems I had with the last few Razzies was the voting done for what seemed like spite in some of the categories. Lindsay Lohan and Halle Berry were nominated for Razzies, I’m convinced, not for giving the worst performances, (indeed, I believe Lohan was great in The Canyons and was easily the only thing good about InAPPpropriate Comedy), but simply because they happen to be famous talents in awful films.

Saving Christmas is a very small film that would garner zero attention were it not for Cameron’s dickish ways.  The stats for the movie prove that it’s not burning up the town. So the question is, why give this movie the possibility of getting more attention by pulling a stunt that could influence Razzie voters into giving nominations for a movie that should just disappear from public consciousness? I podcast a yearly Razzies show on my website. If this movie gets nominations, that means I’ll have to watch it, and I’ll blame that on anyone who’s helped to get this movie on the IMDB Bottom 100. I don’t want to have to see Saving Christmas. Please help a guy out here.

3. IMDB’s Worst Movie is PR Gold

The best thing to happen to a filmmaker who makes a bad movie is to make the worst movie. People want to see “the worst movie ever made.” If you don’t believe me, ask Michael Stephenson, whose film career had a resurgence because of Troll 2. He even made a documentary about its cult success, Best Worst Movie. Tommy Wiseau enjoys cult stardom with every sold-out performance of The Room, the viewing experience being enhanced by his personal appearances. Had he been alive today, I’m convinced director Ed Wood could have sold-out personal appearances with revivals of Glen or Glenda or Plan Nine from Outer Space.

If Saving Christmas remains number one on the Bottom 100 of IMDB, Cameron continues extending the 15 minutes of fame that should have run out a long time ago. Add to that, he’s a grifter, using his gospel teachings to further his misogyny, homophobia and ignorance of evolution. Stephenson and Wiseau had to figure out that “worst movie” status is actually a gold mine. Cameron doesn’t have to figure that out. He already has. He gets media attention and free publicity for every crazy video he appears in.

We don’t need to feed the beast.

“Scrapers,” a New Stoner Rom Com of Best Buds Releases Sneak Peek Video

scrapersThe Underground Multiplex is proud to present the first peek of Scrapers, a Capra Movie House production, directed by Jake Weisman. This preview takes the form of a short called “Bong Bong.”

In it, Hal (played by Dakota Loesch) sings his favorite song in the shower, a tune sounding somewhat close to the theme of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He imagines himself and his best friend Mary (Sally Anderson) cracking cases in their own detective show on the eve of the #SaveBabyBenson episode.

Scrapers is a new Chicago indie, a romantic comedy for stoners who appreciate the importance of being best buds.

Take a hit off “Bong Bong”:

Wild Yard Sale This Week Plus …Would You Like to Share an Apartment with a Co-Founder?

soundslikewoodstockThe Underground Multiplex moves from its current location, the Brain Kitchen, on Saturday!  History was made there as we’ve met with wonderful people, hosted jazz concerts, held interviews with TV news and radio stations, entertained partygoers with music and movies, and developed our philosophy of collectivism in art and art promotion.

The Brain Kitchen was a special place, but always a physically limited space, so we are off to plant roots in a new home TBD soon.

In the meantime, there are artifacts we will be selling in a wild and funky yard sale Wednesday 5/28 and Friday 5/30 from 3pm-8pm at our grand location at 1424 N Greenview in Chicago. Among the items being sold are Joe’s crazy artwork, some of my insanely cheap but interesting records. books, games, a super 8mm camcorder, a super 8 Sound FILM camera with telescoping mic and various other goodies.  However, please do note the following:

Please don’t ask what specifically we’ll be selling. I’m way too busy packing and working to reply. Just stop by.
NO, we are not selling marionettes.
NO, we are not selling Meinecke or related artwork.
No early birds. We begin promptly at 3pm. Early birds will be plucked and deep fried with a delicious golden brown beer battered coating.

Come on over and pick up a piece of Chicago newsmaker history!

PLUS–Lew, co-founder of TUGM, is still looking for a roommate for a West Logan Sq apartment sublet beginning June 1st – August 31st. Strongly preferring someone who will continue on with a lease on Sept. 1st. If you are serious and interested, email lewojeda@gmail.com for more details.

 

Mediatrocities #10– Free Media: The Manifesto of The Underground Multiplex

LewandSophie

Legendary Lew

by Legendary Lew

Joseph R. Lewis and I were very proud to give a presentation titled “Free Media: Mending Arts When All is Broke” Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at Chicago Filmmakers.

Around 90 people attended to listen to Joe and I discuss the history of how The Underground Multiplex got started and some of the basic ideas that keep this

joe-profile-pic

Joseph R. Lewis

organization going. This is an age where there’s very little money going around for the arts, so it’s imperative that artists learn a new paradigm by which they can have works created, published and distributed. It may seem daunting to be responsible for all these aspects but it can be done and we’ll tell you how to approach it.

Give a listen:

Internet Hater Chris Dodd Wants Technology to Help Boost Sagging Theater Attendance

ChrisDodd

by Legendary Lew

Variety reports that last year, attendance for the 18-24 year-old age bracket in movie theaters dropped like a stone. It’s serious because, you know, everyone else is dead and will never benefit from films aimed toward them:

The number of frequent moviegoers in the all-important 18-24 age group plunged an unprecedented 21% in 2013, according to MPAA annual statistics released Tuesday at Cinemacon, while attendance in the 12-17 age bracket also saw a precipitous drop off, falling almost 15%.

Frequent filmgoers from 12-24 are likely spending much of their previous moviegoing time watching a variety of other screens.

Well, heavens to Betsy, whatever shall a bloated, non-innovative, money-wasting, inefficient, money-gouging, hypocritical corporate entity do?!

I know! Call in MPAA head Chris Dodd to give the industry a pep talk:

“We need to keep exploring fresh ways of leveraging our new technology to drive traffic to your theaters,” Dodd insisted during his keynote address delivered Tuesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“We can embrace technology, and use it to complement our offerings,” Dodd added.

I practically shat blood laughing so hard when reading these statements. This is the same Chris Dodd that backed the SOPA and PIPA legislations–so much so that he extorted the White House to try and have its support. SOPA and PIPA would have destroyed the internet as we know it with opposition to the legislation coming from internet companies that regularly help Hollywood promote its films. The public response to Dodd and SOPA/PIPA supporters was a whole lot of this.

It’s also the same Chris Dodd that supported the arrest of Kim Dotcom, only to have the case against him implode over embarrassing allegations, not the least of which was Dotcom’s assertion that he was ready to start a legally-created IPO with MegaUpload. (Dotcom’s new company, Mega, has since created an IPO in New Zealand)

Now, Dodd wants to urge the industry to use technology, i.e the internet, to boost theater tix sales.  Never mind that he tried to explode it a couple of years ago and will, no doubt, try again, unless Dodd has some other new type of technology he wants to introduce to the world.  Oh wait, I forgot, Hollywood doesn’t have one.

Next time Chris Dodd gives a speech, I suggest this type of formal attire.

 

 

TUGM Guest Stars on Heave Media for the Annual Razzies Podcast

by Legendary Lew

There were more than 43 reasons to hate Worst Picture Razzie winner "Movie 43"

There were more than 43 reasons to hate Worst Picture Razzie winner “Movie 43”

TUGM’s Tyler Pistorius and Lew Ojeda were guests on Heave Media’s annual report on The Razzies, hosted by Dominick Mayer. Head on over to Heave Media to listen to this scintillating discussion and don’t say we didn’t warn Hollywood about next year.