Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The February 2018 Follow-Up Post

For the uninitiated, my "follow-up" posts are semi-regular installments where I write about recent developments related to topics I've blogged about in the past, but which I didn't think needed a whole new write-up to themselves. The original posts are linked below for your convenience. It's been a while since I've done one of these, so there's some ground to cover.

Late Night Under the Trump Administration - The ratings situation has mostly remained unchanged, with Colbert still inching up in the ratings, and Jimmy Fallon seeing his diminish. However, there's a new wrinkle in the sudden and very public transformation of former "Man Show" host Jimmy Kimmel into the "nation's moral conscience." Watching Kimmel go through the traumatic health crisis of his very cute infant son, and him using that to talk about the sorry state of American health care has been amazing to witness. He managed to help direct the conversation about the ACA and AHCA last year at a very important point in time, and the "Jimmy Kimmel test" became a talking point. The late night discourse is now proving more important than ever - to the point that obsessing over the ratings feels like missing the point.

What Happens After Weinstein? - It's only been a few weeks since I posted, but since then the list of bad actors has swelled considerably, and the stories just keep getting more heartbreaking. Salma Hayek's account of the behind-the-scenes drama during the making of "Frida" was especially hard to read. And I find myself getting more depressed at every new scandal, and every newly uncovered creep. Charlie Rose? John Lasseter? Really? However, we've also hit the point where we're seeing much more conflicted responses to some of these allegations. Al Franken and Louis C.K., for instance, responded well and took responsibility for their actions in a way that I found very sincere. Losing Franken in the Senate was a hard blow. Still, consequences had to be faced, and this thing's clearly not over yet. Some of these men will be forgiven in time, but we're a long way from that point right now.

China's Search For Crossover Hit - The success of "Wolf Warrior 2" made it abundantly clear that China really doesn't need a crossover hit. However, there looks to be a good chance for one emerging from the incoming crop of Chinese science-fiction films due next year. The Hollywood Reporter recently talked up the trend, which includes projects like "The Wandering Earth," based on a Hugo-winning short story, and Jackie Chan movie "Bleeding Steel." Chinese science-fiction has been making great strides in recent years, and it's about time that this was reflected on the silver screen too. The genre hasn't been too successful with Chinese moviegoers, but maybe homegrown films will help buck the trend. And with so many Western visions of the future looking so Eastern, isn't it about time we actually saw one from the Eastern point of view?

An Eulogy for the IMDB Message Boards - Well, apparently removing the message boards was just the first step. Character biographies disappeared a few months ago. Now some information such as box-office data have gone behind the IMDbPro paywall and several functions related to sorting and filtering the user-submitted reviews have gone kaput. Individually, none of these changes would be cause for concern, and most of them can be explained away by site redesign and cleanup efforts. However, it does highlight the difficulty in trying to monetize a site that has been so heavily dependent on user contributions over its history. And remember, most of the information on IMDb can now be found on other, much more user-friendly sites.

Goodbye Summer Blockbuster Hype - It's early yet, but 2018 is looking like a much more interesting movie summer than last year - though to its credit, there were some perfectly good summer movies in 2017 including "Dunkirk," "Baby Driver," "Wonder Woman," and the latest "Spider-man." This year, In addition to "Avengers: Infinity War" and "The Incredibles 2," I'm looking forward to "Oceans 8" "Deadpool 2," and "Mission: Impossible 6." And I'm more morbidly curious about the "Solo" spinoff than I am actually excited for it, because of all the production drama, but the anticipation is real.


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