Open Thread for June 25, 2010

Knight and Day may disappoint; Burn Notice kicks off Summer TV watching season; iPhone 4 will save us all.

With Perich on well-deserved vacation from OTIsponsibilities, I have returned to my former position as the arbiter of the pop culture news of the weekend. It is a pleasure for me to once again lay these delicious morsels of entertainment before you.

Knight and Day. Because he's like a knight. And also they're very different. It's punny.

Alas, we don’t even have to wait until the weekend to see the latest news of “june gloom” at the summer box office. Knight and Day, which had been billed as Tom Cruise’s triumphant return as a suave action hero, opened on Wednesday to the tune of $3.8M, which is apparently a disappointment, though it’s more money than I will make in my entire working life. Friday morning is a little early to call the game, and a ginormous ad buy (they were all over Burn Notice tonight) with some decent pull quotes may get the whole thing on track, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, come monday, we hear that Mission Impossible 4 is off.

(Let me confess that from the trailer, it looked to me like a halfway decent, amusing, popcorn movie. But I have no taste.)

See it? Love it? Hate it? And what do you think accounts for the downturn in summer box office (after a banner year in 2009)? Are we finally getting sick of remakes, sequels, and bad comic book adaptations?

Speaking of Burn Notice, I got a big kick out of this week’s episode. (Mlawski liked it too.)

Speaking strictly for myself, I’m enjoying this season, whether or not it gives aid and comfort to the enemy, though I’m not really on board with the new guy. And with Treme wrapped up for the year, I’m ready for some vapid summer fun. Burn Notice… White Collor… Entourage (hey, I told you I have no taste).

Any summer TV you’re loving or can’t wait for?

Finally, iPhone 4 was released yesterday, and has already taken America by storm. 600,000 online pre-orders the first day. Lines around the block (again!) all over the country. A party the likes of which we haven’t seen since Moses ascended Mount Sinai. Verily, yea, verily, this is the God phone, which delivered us from Egypt and the clutches of Pharoh…

And Steve spake unto them and said, "Take off the gold earrings, bracelets and amulets worn by your wives and daughters, and bring them unto me." And verily he threw the ornaments into a great fire, melted them and poured them into a giant mold. Out of the mold came the golden iPhone 4, one cubit wide by one cubit tall by two and a half cubits long.

So…um…did you get one? And what you think of the hype! OMG R3t1n/\ |)[email protected]!!!!!!!!1!!1! (With apologies to The Onion.)

Chew over these tasty morsels or suggest your own. This is your…Open Thread.

24 Comments on “Open Thread for June 25, 2010”

  1. RiderIon #

    I cannot understand this…cultural obsession with Mac products. The casing and outword appearance of the products are admittenly very sleek. When it comes to the actual nuts and bolts of the product, I am less than impressed. It just may be my long standing experience as a NNEEERRDD but I’ve yet to see an Apple product that’s great at what it does and has a great price point. I can get more indepth if someone desires but I’d rather this not degenerate into Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux discussion, as those never end well. Other things I don’t get: Justin Bieber, Twilight and Reaganonomics.

    On a less divisive note, I got a free movie ticket for going to see Toy Story 3 last week. I’m not sure what to go see. Any OTIers have suggestions?

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  2. Timm #

    I do think that people are finally getting sick of the sequels-mindless comic book movies-action movie summers. I certainly am. That’s not to say that a good property from one of those genres won’t do well, but the offerings from this year are pitiful.

    Overall it feels the movie selection this year is down from last year (which already felt like a truncated year from 2008), with little chance of salvation. What is the front runner for Best Picture? Shutter Island? Toy Story 3? What else is coming out for the year? A whole lot of nothing.

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  3. cat #

    But I Have No Taste: Should not have linked to the TFT podcast! Glee is great. Gossip Girl is great. The podcast is great. I can’t speak to the experimental noise collective…

    Downturn in the Summer Box Office: I think people just aren’t seeing sufficient reasons to drag themselves out to theaters. There are too many other ways of viewing movies now and no pressing need to see them as soon as they come out. The films that manage to do well make themselves a spectacle/event that make going to the theater part of the experience.

    Burn Notice: I love this show so much. I’m also not sure about the new guy. Or the new plot for that matter. As mcneil pointed out, it’s not really about the macro plot and more about individual episodes and Michael’s deadpan relating of (what should be confidential?) information. Good article, but I hope the show won’t be going anywhere soon.

    I’m currently keeping up with Drop Dead Diva, Pretty Little Liars and Work of Art in addition to Burn Notice. I’m looking forward to Warehouse 13 and Psych returning.

    White Collar irritates me the way Castle irritates me. The pieces are there. They just do terrible things with them. How do you misuse Nathan Fillion? And Matthew Bomer had so much goodwill from me after Chuck. And he used it up.

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  4. El Acordeonachi #

    Bah to Apple stuff. I’ve used Sandisk MP3 players for years now, not only so I can keep iTunes and Quicktime off my computer (evil tentacles) but also because of the price. South of $60 for the new player I just picked up (hopefully via the Amazon/OTI link, but I’m not sure how that works if you want to buy something that’s not actually linked…) Yeah, the Shuffle is around the same price, but it lacks any screen at all. The only thing I covet of Apple’s is the screen size (and game playing ability) of the iPod Touch. Which is why I stick with cheapo Sansa Clips rather than their players which can also play video. I don’t feel like watching video on, at best from Sandisk, a 2.4 inch screen.
    On the subject of USA action dramas, the only two that grab me were the first. Burn Notice and Psych. The others (Royal Pains, In Plain Sight, White Collar) I’ve given a chance, but they just don’t do anything for me.

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  5. Gab #

    RiderIon: A) I get the principles behind everything you don’t get, but the only one I am okay with in practice as well is Beiber. B) The Mac v. PC debate is parodied quite well by ItsJustSomeRandomGuy on YouTube, turning them into “Marvel v. DC” instead. Linux never makes an appearance, though, since they’re in the format of the commercials. C)_Inception_. Go see _Inception_. Or _The Last Airbender_.

    I saw _TS3_. I cried. Like, a lot.

    1) Absolutely *no* interest in seeing _Knight and Day_- my only interest is how much I dislike both lead actors. I doubt MI4 will get canceled, though- it will probably be pushed back for a release after the Les Grossman movie Cruise is making to get some social capital from there.

    Speaking of social capital in movies, I have a suggestion about that and sequels and such…

    2) _Burn Notice_ is a show I wish I was into but am not. I’ve never seen an episode I didn’t like, and I’ve seen probably twenty random ones by now. I watched the first four episodes of _White Collar_ and just wasn’t impressed enough to stick with it. Sorry.

    This summer, I’m all about the _Top Chef: DC_ and _Dr. Who_. I think I may give _Rubicon_ a try, but that’s not until August. And I missed the first episode of _Memphis Beat_ earlier this week, and the pilot isn’t available online, but I do so love Jason Lee *and* Alfre Woodard, so I hope I can figure something out.

    @Cat: How is _Work of Art_? I see commercials for it during _Top Chef_, but it looked rather… dubious… to me. I for some reason didn’t know _Warehouse 13_ was coming back.

    3) No Apple products of my own. I saw a headline in the _NYTimes_ this morning about some of the iPhone 4 owners losing their connections because they were *holding* it wrong, though. That’s kind of, uh, craptastic.

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  6. Chris #

    With all this talk of summer shows, I would be remiss not to mention Futurama, which returned last night. I thought it got off to a fine start, despite being gone (the half hour TV version, at least) for lo these many years. Though I suppose it doesn’t fit into the “vapid summer fun” motif that’s being discussed.

    I very much enjoy Psych, and while White Collar can be obnoxiously hamfisted from time to time I stuck it out for the first season and was all in all pleased. Enough to tune in for the second season, at least. Also, one of the stars was Bizarro Jerry from Seinfeld. Who can say no to that?

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  7. Jon Eric #

    @cat:
    White Collar irritates me the way Castle irritates me. The pieces are there. They just do terrible things with them. How do you misuse Nathan Fillion? And Matthew Bomer had so much goodwill from me after Chuck. And he used it up.

    Oh man, I’m a huge fan of Chuck; how did I not notice that Neil is the same guy as Bryce? I agree with your assessment of White Collar; the elements are there, but it doesn’t add up. Matthew Bomer is probably the best thing about it, though. I gave up after three episodes.

    Which brings me to question #2:
    Futurama had a strong re-debut on Comedy Central last night, and I’m looking forward to following that. I’ve also been enjoying Fox’s summer pickup The Good Guys, though I realize it’s unlikely to get more than eight episodes. I’ve also been enjoying this season of Last Comic Standing, in spite of Craig Robinson.

    I don’t really give a crap about questions 1 and 3.

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  8. Mark #

    Wrather, I sent Perich an article submission on Monday (on a topic he’d previously approved) and I haven’t heard anything since. So either it really sucked, or he didn’t get it yet since he’s on vacation, in which case if one of you other guys contacts me I’ll forward it to you before it gets out-of-date.

    I really like Burn Notice. I like the uber-competence of the main characters, something you don’t see too often on TV anymore since Star Trek:TNG.

    We started watching White Collar, and my wife “compelled” me to watch the rest of the season with her. The only character I liked at all was the sidekick, Mozzie. What network executive thought it would be a good idea to make a show about very snooty people stealing very expensive things? It’s like they wanted to make a show about Danny Ocean minus the other ten, and minus all of George Clooney’s charm.

    Plus, the embedded advertising was getting really annoying. Typical exchange:
    -“Hey, watch out for that car!”
    -“It’s okay, this new Nissan has a built-in collision warning system.”
    -“Wow, how did you afford this on a federal agent’s salary?”
    -“I got the employee-pricing discount, which is only available through Presidents Day.”

    Or maybe I was just upset about seeing Kelly Kapowski starting to show her age. She’s not likely to get any guest spots as a pool-side girl in Burn Notice anymore.

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  9. Trevor #

    @Jon Eric: I’ve been enjoying Last Comic *because* of Craig Robinson, so we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    Pete Quaife (original bass player for the Kinks) died yesterday, causes still undetermined last time I checked AV Club. What makes it eerie is a friend of mine just sent me a mix CD with “Waterloo Sunset” as the last track just days ago. This reminds me of when I put together a mix for two friends of mine for their wedding last year with the Jackson 5’s “ABC” a mere couple of days before Michael Jackson kicked the bucket (which leads me to another reason I enjoy Last Comic so far: the guy who did a bit about the Jackson death while at his own father’s funeral. It’s really good).

    The moral of these stories: unless you want your favorite musicians to die, don’t include them on a mid-summer mix CD

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  10. cat #

    @Gab I’m trying to get into the new season of Top Chef but it’s hard after watching Top Chef Masters. I was late to the first ep of Memphis Beat and it looked iffy so I’m going to try and rejoin it later.

    Work of Art is definitely not that highbrow but there’s something to love in it. A lot of the contestants produce some good work and it’s interesting to see them utilizing all the different techniques/media that they do.

    @Jon Eric Always nice to have someone agree with you. I like Last Comic Standing but I wish they could have more time to showcase their material. I prefer comedians like Dylan Moran, Dara O’Briain, and Sean Lock because their shows are well crafted. I don’t understand how they can judge them on a handful of jokes at the most.

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  11. Jon Eric #

    Yeah, I wish the last comic standing folks would release the showcase performances. I wouldn’t mind paying a few bucks to see those shows in their entirety. The highlight reel is nice, but by necessity they wind up slicing and dicing until you’re not even sure why they chose the ones they chose. And they skipped over my favorite guy so far, Jim David. So nuts to them!

    I’m really looking forward to the field be narrowed down, so that more time is spent on the remaining ones.

    I didn’t give the other two questions a fair shake, so here we go:

    1.) I actually like Tom Cruise when he’s in his smiley-kinda-creepy mode, and I though he and Diaz worked well together in Vanilla Sky all those years ago, so I might catch it on DVD or something. Not the kind of thing I’m willing to pay theater-ticket price to see these days. And I guess that’s the problem, isn’t it?

    I don’t think that the decline in movie ticket sales (and, more subjectively, movie quality) this year is indicative of any bigger trends. These things wax and wane, and ’08 and ’09 were pretty huge movie years. Had to come down sometime. And no, the public never gets sick of sequels. Although, it’s gonna be an interesting Oscar season this year, it looks like. I’m guessing some indie film nobody’s heard of will probably clean up (a la American Beauty), in the absence of any obvious contenders so far.

    3.) I don’t own anything Apple. I hate iTunes and its propensity for hogging system resources. As far as the iPhone goes, I can’t really afford a data plan anyway, and I really dislike the idea of buying something like an iPhone or iPad whose primary benefit is the ability to buy more crap to put on it – though I am okay with video game consoles, which I can’t really justify. So…. no.

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  12. Matthew Wrather #

    @mark and everyone: Perich is out of the country for a little while longer. If you sent it to [email protected], go ahead and forward it to [email protected]

    We are notoriously terrible about timing with submissions. (Ask Trevor. Or anyone who has ever sent us something.) We are pretty quick with a “thanks but no thanks”, however; so if your article has been languishing for weeks (four has happened; six is outside but not unheard of), don’t worry—no news is truly good news.

    Also: If “Colin” is reading: I tried replying to your email address at yahoo.co.uk but it kept bouncing. We’d love to see the full article. send it to [email protected]

    Reply

  13. Matthew Wrather #

    @mark — sorry, I see your draft.

    And @everyone — we’re revamping the submissions process internally, as well as considering more avenues (like discussion boards) for our readers—who have really given the site its vitality through comments—can be more heavily featured.

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  14. Gab #

    DR. WHO DISCUSSION PAGE!!!

    Ahem.

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  15. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Gab: Is that a question, a command, an exclamation, or what? :)

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  16. Gab #

    @Mlawski: Yes.

    Reply

  17. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Gab: Oh, wait. I get it. You were responding to Wrather’s comment. I thought you were just exclaiming for some reason. Sorry, sorry! Carry on!

    Reply

  18. Timothy J Swann #

    Ah, but if there are discussion boards, how will I be able to use a guest article on my CV as a writer?

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  19. Gab #

    @Timothy: Save the real gems for guest articles, mayhap?

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  20. Megan from Lombard #

    @Gab: After watching ‘Cold Blood’ I am not talking to the Doctor for awhile. (I watch on BBCA so have no idea what the finale holds and prefer not to be spoiled)

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  21. Timothy J Swann #

    @Gab – I guess so, perhaps even with the opportunity for collaborative articles, like a guest Think Tank.

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  22. Mark #

    @Timothy: shouldn’t that be an Overthink Tank?

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  23. Gab #

    @Timothy: Guest Think Tanks could be kind of awesome. I actually kind of miss the Think Tanks in general.

    @Megan from Lombard: I, too, watch on BBCA. Have you seen “Vincent and the Doctor” yet? ‘Twas on Saturday.

    Reply

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