Hollywood Shuffle

 

Something you might hear mentioned from time-to-time during Now Playing Podcast episodes is the hectic show schedule. While most tentpole flicks (especially superhero flicks) are given a release date years in advance, that’s not the case for every film. So when Now Playing is set to review a movie and suddenly the release date shifts, that can throw everything into chaos.

For instance, imagine if Universal had pulled Furious 7 at the last minute and released it in July instead of April. Now Playing Podcast would have had to scramble to fill seven weeks of programming. It’s not like there are backup shows ready to air.

So I grabbed host Stuart Atkinson for a few minutes and asked him about his role as Now Playing’s schedule-maker, what kind of surprises he’s dealt with in the past, and how Mission Impossible wound up on this week’s calendar.

You can read the story at the Venganza Media website.

 

Don’t fear adult education

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The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Ashford University’s “Forward Thinking” blog. It’s about conquering your anxieties as an adult learner and embracing the idea of returning to school for a degree.

Not everyone has a plan. Not everyone can say where they want to be in five, 10, or 20 years; and those that can, might not have a clue how to get there.

Sometimes you just take life one day at a time. You graduated from college, got a job in your field, and every day after that you worked to move up the ladder, confident that you were absorbing all of the knowledge you needed to make it in this world.

Then may come the day when it all stops. You’ve gotten as far as your degree will take you at your company. Or you’ve reached a crossroad and realize you want something different from your job. Compounding your anxiety over your stalled momentum is the realization that you don’t have what it takes to cross that career chasm. That’s when you reach the conclusion that it’s time to go back to school and embrace adult education.

Read the article in its entirety on Ashford University’s Forward Thinking blog.

Finally

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It figures that it would take news about a Halloween movie to get me to blog for the first time in almost two months. I’ve been busy. But today’s news is worth getting excited about.

Details about the new project, Halloween Returns, started popping up online over the weekend. It wasn’t until this morning that an official announcement came at the HalloweenMovies.com website. The new film isn’t a sequel, or prequel, or reboot — according to the producers, it’s a “recalibration” of the Halloween story. Whatever that means. If I’m going to take a guess, I’m going to say it’s a new Michael Myers story, not connected to the previous films, but acknowledging that they exist. Kind of the like the Halloween comics or (shameless plug coming) Halloween: Masks.

I’m good with that. I don’t know if we need to connect this new film to any of the previous Halloweens, and I’m not sure the audience would be interested in seeing those older films anyway.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton are going to bring to the Halloween mythos. I’m not really a Saw fan, but I’ve seen all the films, and I’ve seen Feast and The Collection. I’m sure they’ll bring a different vision to Michael Myers, and right now anything’s better than how the last film ended. Let’s not even talk about it.

So I’m excited about this Halloween. Production starts next month, and although no release date has been announced, you have to figure the film is on track to open in 2016.

By that time, it will have been seven years between Halloween films. That is the longest layoff in franchise history, so we’re really overdue.

Tale of two trailers

I wonder how much productivity was killed this week by the arrival of the Batman v Superman and Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers?

In my office, where we have desk space reserved for action figure battles, everything came to a halt on Thursday when the latter was streamed online during Star Wars Celebration. I saw tweets from people I follow who said they’d put the trailer on repeat and spent the afternoon breaking down every frame. Ain’t nothin wrong with that.

The money shot from the "Force Awakens" trailer.

The money shot from the “Force Awakens” trailer.

But for me, Star Wars was just the appetizer. Although I got goose bumps during the trailer, I’m still having trouble channeling my inner Jedi. I loved the first trilogy as a kid, and got into the books in the 90s, but I’ve never been a die-hard devotee. The last trilogy may have cut me too deep. I have no doubt The Force Awakens will be a return to greatness, but some memories are hard to flush out of your mind. Perhaps it’s still too early. I haven’t even gone full Avengers mode yet, as I’m still coming down from my Furious 7 cloud.

It’s not too early, however, for me to freak out over Batman v Superman. That teaser wasn’t supposed to debut until early next week – a fact that I kept trying to erase from my brain so the wait wouldn’t bother me so much.

Batman revealed.

Batman revealed.

I’m sure a lot of people weren’t surprised when that bootlegged, subtitled version wound up online late Thursday night. I was surprised, however, by the amount of negativity thrown its way. Nobody can even see the thing and they’re hating all over it.

The blurry version was posted to the Now Playing Podcast page on Friday morning, igniting a daylong debate over whether the finished film is garbage. Fans who felt they were burned by Man of Steel are ready to hate Batman v Superman, and not being able to see the teaser in full context just gave them more (imaginary) ammunition.

That’s why it was even less of a surprise to see director Zack Snyder tweet a polished version of the teaser Friday afternoon, days ahead of a planned theatrical debut event. I can’t imagine how many studio, theater, marketing, and public relations folks are furious the event got spoiled. Hopefully, Warner Bros can make the same move Marvel did when the Age of Ultron trailer leaked, and release another trailer with additional footage in the coming weeks.

Although I had the same issues everyone else did with Man of Steel, I’m all in for this sequel, because it’s all about Batman. I can’t believe we have to wait another year for this flick.

Affleck. Unblurred.

Affleck. Unblurred.

Everything stopped in my office again when the teaser was released Friday afternoon, but this time the reaction was different. Some of my co-workers just gave it a “meh” and said Star Wars did it better.

I say they’re two different flicks. One is full of hope and nostalgia; the other is dark and ominous. They’re not selling the same movie, that’s why I don’t think you need to poll the public on which one is better, as if they were going head-to-head the same weekend.

Since I brought it up, a glance at Wikipedia’s 2016 in Film calendar shows Batman v Superman opening March 25 against a Beverly Hills Cop sequel that I can’t ever see happening. And if it does happen, it’s not getting released that same weekend.

That means a clear field until May 6, when Captain America: Civil War hits. I gotta start getting excited for that one too.

Around the Web:

io9 breaks down Every Key Detail and Killer Moment from the Batman v Superman teaser.

Blurry or unblurred, some Now Playing Podcast fans still split on Affleck.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Graeme McMillan wonders where to start with the new Star Wars trailer.

McMillan also penned this piece on fan reaction to the leaked Batman v Superman teaser.

Everyone picked up on the “My father has it” line from the Force Awakens trailer, and here Entertainment Weekly looks for signs that Darth Vader is still alive.

And, Furious 7 is the fastest film ever to $1 billion. Awesome.

Catching up

Easter weekend is winding down and Opening Day is tomorrow, so I wanted to get a quick post in before I’m completely consumed by work and baseball. At least until next month when I’ll be completely consumed by Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Snip20150405_111) Now Playing Podcast

This weekend I posted a brief Q&A with the hosts of Now Playing Podcast. We talked about the upcoming Spring Donation Drive, which will finally see the hosts cover the Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park films. There will be a few other surprises mixed in there, you can find all the details in the article.

 

Snip20150405_122) Furious 7

I thought about writing a longer post with all of my thoughts on Furious 7. After seeing it for a second time this morning, I decided to just put down some brief thoughts here. It’s not the best entry in the series, but it’s still a great flick, and if you’re a fan, you’ll get real emotional at the end. I’m not gonna say I didn’t cry like that time when Bruce Willis pushed Ben Affleck back onto the space shuttle in Armageddon, cause that would be a lie.

3) Furious 7 and Now Playing Podcast

Don’t forget that the final entry in Now Playing’s Fast & Furious retrospective will be released on Tuesday. Also, on the Now Playing Facebook page, I’ll be posting a link to my F&F Spotify playlist. I’ve been asking fans to name their favorite songs from the flicks and help me put together the ultimate playlist, so that’s something to look forward to.

Historic finish

Venganza Media’s first Kickstarter project turned out to be a ridiculous success. When the clock ran out on the 30-day campaign this morning listeners had pledged more than $115,000 to fund “Underrated Movies We Recommend.”

That means there’s enough funding to deliver “Underrated” as a hardcover and audio book. You can read more about that here.

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I should probably hold off on posting this, because the good news is likely to become great news in the next few hours.

What’s the news? If you’ve been following my tweets today, you saw that Now Playing Podcast’s Kickstarter project passed its $95,000 stretch goal. That was just before noon, and as I write this, the campaign is just a few hundred dollars in pledges away from hitting $100,000.

That’s insane. I don’t have a lot of experience working on Kickstarter campaigns, but to hit $100 grand — with an original $40,000 target — is crazy. This is a runaway success, and the campaign doesn’t even officially end until early Thursday.

It’s been such a thrill working on this campaign, and the listeners came through in ways no one expected. It had me wondering today, how many independent podcasts can claim this kind of success and this fan base? Now Playing is legit, too legit, like the song!

Even better, today the Fast & Furious review was released. I urge you to listen and find out why this is the best podcast on the planet.