This Open Thread contains 7 minutes of additional footage which nobody thought were necessary.
First off, FOOTBALL! Our American audience will already know that professional football, a season on the edge due to a labor lockout, started up again last night. Last season’s champion Green Bay Packers defended against the New Orleans Saints in Wisconsin, winning 42-34.
In case this wasn’t enough football for you, here’s some good news: ESPN has secured the rights to Monday Night Football through 2021. Kind of weird to be talking about the year 2021 like it’s a thing, isn’t it? Civilization, and football, will still exist in 2021. That’s good to know.
Not into football? Perhaps musical theater is more your speed? Well, Mr. and Mrs. High Class, check this out: Nick Jonas is replacing Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway. For teen pop idols who need to break out of typecasting, this is apparently the role to play.
You don’t think you’re good enough for the stage? Try some movies, then! Your options are Warrior, which is like The Fighter but with MMA (a movie I think they’ve tried to make once or twice already) or Contagion, the movie with that terrifying Gwyneth Paltrow poster.
Comment of the Week came to us via email in the form of a link from Michael G. to “Don’t Come to the Dark Side: Acquisition Lessons from a Galaxy Far, Far Away” (.pdf), an article by Lt. Col Daniel Ward, USAF, in the latest issue of Defense AT&L. Ward observes the following:
The Death Star’s lackluster contribution to the fight is reason enough not to build one, but serious problems emerged long before it was declared operational. In Return of the Jedi, viewers gain a fascinating insight into the programmatics of Empire acquisitions. In the single most realistic scene in the whole double-trilogy, Darth Vader complains that the second Death Star construction project is … behind schedule. In fact, much of the drama in Episode VI revolves around this delay.
“Consider the implications of pop culture’s most notorious schedule overrun. In the Star Wars universe, robots are self- aware, every ship has its own gravity, Jedi Knights use the Force, tiny green Muppets are formidable warriors and a piece of junk like the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. But even the florid imagination of George Lucas could not envision a project like the Death Star coming in on time, on budget. He knew it would take a Jedi mind trick beyond the skill of Master Yoda to make an audience suspend that much disbelief.”
Good observation, Lt. Colonel Ward – and good eye, Michael G. We couldn’t agree more.
Could Daniel Radcliffe and Aaron Rodgers save America from a pandemic? Or is there something we missed? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.
I think there’s a lot of Overthinking potential in the move of MNF from ABC to ESPN back in 2005, and how that relates to television scheduling – and whether television scheduling and cable-vs-network battles are predictors of the medium’s long slow decline. Sports and awards shows are the only programming that isn’t available on demand (even HBO shows can be torrented within hours of air). Can the NFL and the Oscars keep traditional broadcasting afloat? Can they keep thrifty-minded young people from ditching their cable subscriptions?
There’s also a lot of potential for me to keep hoping somebody gives Jon Gruden a coaching job to get him off Monday Night Football. I was relieved to see Kornheiser go, but Gruden is even worse.
It’s all part of the whole “We’ve got to get ex-players and coaches in the booth” issue. Most of these guys, at best, understand the sport but aren’t good on TV. Then there are the Joe Morgan’s of the world. Of course, you will find people who are bad at their jobs in pretty much any profession, entertainment based or otherwise. Jason Schwartzman is the lead on a TV show, after all.
Hey OTI crew! The first episode of mine and Ben Fell’s podcast is finally here! It’s full of jokes and neuroscience, which you can hear at http://psycomedia.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/psycomedia-episode-1-the-king-of-memory/ . You can subscribe at http://feeds.feedburner.com/Psycomedia or http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/psycomedia/id447193617
(Okay, I’m plugging this like mad, but I do think it sounds good!)
I’m going to see Contagion tomorrow. I’m washing my hands already.
Report back! I’ve been hearing mixed reviews. Also, does Gwyneth look rather overthinking it muse Tilda Swinton-like to anyone else in that picture?
I thought it was Tilda Swinton.
Me too, at first!
I thought it was…okay. I feel like it doesn’t really work as a movie – there are a LOT of characters, and they rarely converge. I don’t think there are ever more than two of the main characters in the same place at the same time. As a result, there’s a lot of cutting back and forth between very disparate places all over the globe, with the only connection being the disease. The characters are all of different station, too – for example, Matt Damon is a civilian, Kate Winslet is a CDC scientist in the field, Marion Cotillard is a WHO official, and Laurence Fishburne is the head of the CDC. So it all feels oddly impersonal. It’s hard to really connect with any one character because you just don’t spend that much time with them.
The whole thing feels more like a thought experiment than a narrative. What would happen if an unknown disease broke out and society had to deal with it? How do our institutions work in these conditions? The movie stays away from most of the usual cliches (with a couple of exceptions); most of the characters are government officials and scientists, which really isolates them. If you’ve seen Outbreak, with Dustin Hoffman, it’s kind of the flip side to that – we see very little of the actual human cost of the disease. There’s some very effective filmmaking here, which really induced some dread from shots of people shuffling papers, but there’s not much carnage. Laurence Fishburne also comes out and says what I think was the point of the movie, which kind of annoyed me.
It’s definitely an interesting movie, but it kind of feels like a Discovery Channel special with super high production values.
I found the H2$ thing very confusing until Broadway.com informed me that the cast switches will go Daniel Radcliffe –> Darren Criss –> Nick Jonas. I kind of like good vocals with my musical theater so I probably won’t be seeing this regardless of which of these guys is in the lead role. Also, come on, how can you do H2$ without Lillias White? If you know what I mean, you’re awesome.
The only time I’ve heard Nick Jonas “unproduced” was in that televised Les Miserables anniversary special. Which was…not good.
In other Broadway news, Laura Benanti is going to be in The Playboy Club so I’ll watch that for at least an episode or two to see if she gets to sing. Fall shows, please premier already.
It seems to me, in regards to the comment of the week, that one ginormous glaring plot hole in the entire trilogy is the first Death Star, glimpsed as an exoskeleton, at the end of “Sith.” If the second Death Star seemed like a giant waste of money, the first is a giant waste of money *and* time. Given that Luke and Leia are born at the end of “Sith,” presumably whilst Vader is coming into being, and their relative ages would have to be at least twenty in the first, original movie (Luke’s talking about college and behaving like a spoiled brat, while Leia is a Senator…perhaps there’s something there about the reversals in fortune of the twins throughout the course of the series), one would then imagine that, if Lucas means to suggest that the Star is being constructed right as Luke and Leia are shepharded to safety, that the first project must have taken at least twenty years to construct, while the second (if, as I read somewhere, the three films of the original series take place at intervals of two to three years) only took less than ten to get to the operational stage, nevermind the exposed parts. Perhaps the Emperor subcontracted out to a firm that guarenteed construction within a ten-year window as opposed to the twenty-year window of the original (assuming that the Star was, like the Titanic, on its maiden voyage when it blew. If the Star was in existence for at least a year prior to its destruction, it still means a construction time well over the one of the second Star)
Leia became a Senator at age 18, and the first Death Star was destroyed when she was 19. The second Death Star was destroyed when she was 23.
One possible explanation is that the second Death Star was nowhere near complete – it was just barely operational. Probably what happened is that the explosion at the end of Episode IV wasn’t nearly as destructive as depicted on screen, leaving a reusable shell behind. All that really needed to be finished were the shuttle dock, the big laser, and the throne room, the minimum set pieces needed for the emperor’s big plan. The rest of it was probably largely unfinished, with exposed wiring, unpainted walls, and discontinuous ventilation shafts everywhere.
Some reason may be that the second Death Star was being rushed due to the renewed threat of the Rebellion, something that was not a major concern while the first was being built. Or the mistakes you make building something the first time can be learned from and not made the second time.
One thing that bothers me about the Death Star article is that he continually harps on the Death Star only firing once in A New Hope and the Death Star in Jedi being useless and not operational.
Didn’t the Death Star fire a few times in Jedi at the capital ships?
As the Emperor says, the second Death Star was fully armed and operational, so it did indeed cause much havoc to the Rebel fleet before meeting its end. One thing that’s always bothered me: how did the Super Star Destroyer crash on the Death Star’s surface? If you watch the scene right before the A-Wing crashes through, it’s a pretty good distance from the Death Star, and even accounting for the angle at which the Star Destroyer begins its descent, it still seems to veer away from the Death Star.
I could argue this all night if I had internet at home :-(